Trevor-GoslingUK: Trevor Gosling, a UK air conditioning pioneer and one of its greatest ever engineers, has died at the age of 76.

A true larger-than-life character, Trevor was best known throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s when his company, the independent Carrier distributor DES, was one of the major driving forces behind the fledgling UK air conditioning industry. 

A life member of ASHRAE, he was a hugely influential figure, a mentor to many in the industry and author of some of the first air conditioning text books and training manuals. His book Applied Air Conditioning and Refrigeration is still a source of reference today.

With an engineering background and some knowledge of ventilation, Trevor joined Ashton-under-Lyme company Hall and Kay in 1962. Hall and Kay was a company steeped in the cotton industry who saw an opportunity as air conditioning contractors.

Within a year he was asked to set up Ductwork Engineering Services (DES) as a Carrier air conditioning distributor which in those formative years traded in the UK as Carlyle.

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Trevor Gosling (right) with RAC editor Terry O’Gorman in 1987

Blessed with huge charisma and boundless enthusiasm, Trevor also possessed the entrepreneurial far-sightedness that drove the UK air conditioning industry. It was he that started the first Carrier training courses in the UK that became a model for the industry and responsible for educating most of the senior consultants and contractors at the time.

Along the way, he formed, with others, Applied Industrial Refrigeration which, in addition to selling industrial refrigeration equipment, also sold Liebert computer air conditioning systems.

In 1980, he purchased aircraft engineering business Rollason Engineering and turned it into a company making air handling units.

The DES business was bought by Carrier in 1983, making Trevor the first UK air conditioning industry millionaire.

He was also instrumental in the formation of a company called Modular Air, and later in his career was involved in representing German close-control manufacturer Stulz and numerous consultancies.

Outside of work, he was a keen rugby player into his 40s and had captained, and was president, of Bromley Rugby Club. He was a keen sailor and proud father of two successful daughters Vicky and Karen.

The funeral will take place on Tuesday October 21 at Croydon Crematorium.

Neil Everitt writes:

When I joined the industry as a wet-behind-the-ears journalist in 1979, Trevor Gosling was one of a number of charismatic entrepreneurial figures that the hvacr industry was blessed with. But of all the “larger than life” characters, Trevor Gosling stood out. It was people like Trevor – free-thinkers, blessed with incredible foresight, mavericks who worked even harder than they played (and, boy, did they know how to play) – that created this industry.

Sadly, they are no more. They were of a time. Today’s politically-correct, fad-driven, business-by-numbers environment would have no place for the likes of Trevor Gosling, or he for them. Today’s industry is, I feel, the lesser for it.

It is a shame and such a waste that his undoubted talents were not able to be harnessed more effectively by the industry in his latter years. He had a brilliant engineering mind and was once described by former Carrier colleague David MacRae as “the greatest air conditioning engineer I ever worked with.”

I last had lunch with Trevor about five years ago. While the energy levels were not as obviously high, the enthusiasm and humour were unaltered. He still had the Rolls Royce but the distinctive DES 69 number-plate, which had made it such a familiar sight in Croydon for so many years, had been sold and replaced by a more personal personalised number plate.

I fear that Trevor Gosling hasn’t been – and never will be – so easy to replace.