Roy Clare

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Roy Clare
Born30 September 1950
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
RankRear admiral
Commands held
AwardsCBE DL

Roy Alexander George Clare CBE DL (b. 30 September 1950,[1] Hammersmith, London). Is a non-executive Director/Trustee in the 'third sector', including appointments as: inaugural Chair of the Chelmsford Cultural Development Trust;[2] and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Good Things Foundation, the UK's leading digital inclusion charity. Formerly a Flag Officer in the Royal Navy, he has more than twenty years' experience as a museum director and in leadership and governance of cultural bodies. In April 2011 he was appointed director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand, replacing interim director Sir Don McKinnon.[3] His contract was twice extended by the Museum's Trust Board, but he and his wife returned to the UK at the end of 2016 to be nearer family. His successor as Director was Dr David Gaimster.

Early life and naval career[edit]

He moved with his family from London to Cape Town, South Africa, where he attended St George's Grammar School.

He joined the Royal Navy as a seaman at HMS Ganges in 1966, aged 15, and rose to become a rear admiral in 1999, serving in a NATO appointment before leaving the service voluntarily in 2000 to take up the role of Director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.[1]

During his naval career he studied at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth (passing out in 1972 as the winner of that year's Queen's Sword of Honour), the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich, and the Royal College of Defence Studies (1993). He was Military Assistant to the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (1989–91) and, later, the Assistant Director of Navy Plans (Ships) (1993–96).

He served at sea in Eastbourne, Decoy, Ashanti, Diomede, Juno and Glamorgan. His commands included the minehunter Bronington[Note 1] the destroyers Birmingham (1987–89) and York (1991-92), and the aircraft carrier Invincible (1996–97).[4] He was Captain of the Third Destroyer Squadron in 1991–92 and in 1998–99 was Commodore of the Britannia Royal Naval College, where he was responsible for preparing new entrant officers for their careers. While Commodore at the College he founded the Britannia Museum, opening the college to public visitors for the first time.[1][4]

He was a trustee of the historic vessel HMS Bronington between 1989 and 1999, after she was decommissioned from the Royal Navy; he was vice-president of the Bronington Trust in 1999 until the Trust ceased to exist in 2002. He edited the book HMS Bronington: A Tribute to One of Britain's Last Wooden Walls And a Celebration of The Ton Class, which was published in 1996.

Museums career[edit]

He was director of the National Maritime Museum between 2000 and 2007[1] during which time he oversaw a series of exhibitions, including Elizabeth, Skin Deep and Nelson & Napoleon. He instigated SeaBritain 2005,[4] a partnership with Visit Britain and sixty other organisations to commemorate the bicentenary of Admiral Nelson's victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.

He also led a major re-structuring of collections management, including the creation of a comprehensive inventory, improved conservation facilities and a partnership project with Chatham Historic Dockyard to display and store models of ships. He initiated the £16 million Time and Space project to restore buildings at the Royal Observatory, create new galleries and education spaces, build a 120-seat planetarium - the Peter Harrison Planetarium - and generally upgrade the visitor facilities.[4] The refurbished Royal Observatory was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in May 2007.[5]

During this time he was also Director of Queens House, the Caird Library and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. From 2001 to 2007 he was chairman of a leadership working-group established by the National Museum Directors' Council. During that period he was a member of a maritime policy think-tank called the Greenwich Forum.[1][6] Between 2005 and 2007 he was a member of the board of Creative and Cultural Skills (a Sector Skills Council for museums) and between 2009 and 2011 he was a member of the board of the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency.[1][4]

From 2007 he was chief executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), of which he had been a board member during the previous year.[1] During his tenure as chief executive the MLA was substantially restructured to improve effectiveness and reduce operating costs. The slimmed-down organisation was subsequently merged within Arts Council England. During that period Clare was also chairman of Living Places, a grouping of UK cultural agencies which aimed to foster the benefits of cultural and sporting opportunities in the community. The five agencies involved in the project were the Arts Council England, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), English Heritage, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and Sport England.[7][8]

In April 2011 he was appointed director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand, replacing interim director Sir Don McKinnon.[3] In this role, he was responsible for leading a fundamental review of the museum's strategic vision, culminating in the publication of 'Future Museum' in 2012. Since then, guided by the published vision, the museum has invested substantially in its collections, professional capacities and digital resources; detailed plans for further capital investment are being laid. In October 2015 the Trust Board of the museum reported double-digit growth in audiences and high levels of customer satisfaction.[9]

In 2014 he was elected to the Board of Museums Aotearoa (the association for New Zealand's museums); he was elected Chair of Museums Aotearoa in May 2015. He stepped down from the Board at the conclusion of a year as Chair in May 2016. That month he announced that despite being urged to do so he had chosen not to accept the Trust Board's offer of a further extension to his contract as Director of Auckland War Memorial Museum. He and his wife returned to the UK at the end of December 2016, to rejoin their family who live in England.

During a sabbatical in 2017 he progressed a long-postponed maritime research project. He now has roles as a non-executive Director/Trustee in the 'third sector', social businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations and he is an occasional Guest Speaker onboard ships of the Noble Caledonia cruise line.


He was appointed CBE in 2007 "for services to museums"[10] and in the same year he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Greenwich.[4]. In 2018 he was appointed to be a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex DL

He was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and also the General Service Medal in 1977 and in 1989. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 2001, of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights in 2002 and of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 2004.[1]

In 2001 he became a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute; and he was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation between 2005 and 2008.[1]

Personal life[edit]

A keen yachtsman, Clare was chief mate of the Royal Navy yacht Adventure in the first Whitbread Round the World Race.[1] He and his wife Sarah[6] (an Anglican Priest) have a son and two daughters and two granddaughters. Their home is in Essex on the Blackwater Estuary where they keep a sailing boat. He is a naval member of the Royal Yacht Squadron.


  1. ^ Clare was the first lieutenant from 1975 to 1977 with the Prince of Wales as the captain, and then commanded Bronington from 1980 to 1981.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Roy Clare CBE: Authorised Biography". Debrett's People of Today. Debrett's. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "New director for Auckland War Memorial Museum appointed". Public. The New Zealand Herald. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Rear Admiral Roy Clare CBE Awarded Honorary Degree". University of Greenwich. 23 October 2007. Archived from the original on 26 April 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  5. ^ "Re-opening of the new Royal Observatory, Greenwich". National Maritime Museum. May 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Roy Clare". CILIP Conferences. 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  7. ^ "About us". Living Places. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  8. ^ "Interview: Roy Clare". Public. The Guardian. 28 July 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  9. ^ "Aucklund Museums Trust reports improved visitor numbers".
  10. ^ "Roy Clare, CBE". The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Archived from the original on 27 February 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2011.