ONE of the longest-serving senior officers at Winchester City Council has retired after decades looking after the city’s history.

Dr Geoff Denford was the council’s head of museums and spent more than 30 years caring for the civic collections.

With his team, he was responsible for safeguarding around one million artefacts, as well as the operation of City Museum, The Westgate and City Space.

He was particularly proud of his work on the four-year, Heritage Lottery-funded refurbishment of City Museum in The Square.

Geoff introduced and wrote the series of beautifully-presented guidebooks available from the museums and he was responsible for first securing national accreditation for the museums.

More recently, he curated the popular Treasures of Hyde Abbey exhibition in 2010, celebrating the 900th anniversary of the founding of Hyde Abbey.

His colleagues kept him hard at work until the last minute, securing a middle Bronze Age gold torc (or neck ring) between 3,100-3,600 years old from a local metal detectorist.

Geoff’s academic interests lay in other periods of history: his doctorate – also completed during his time in Winchester – was on Prehistoric and Romano-British Kimmeridge Shale.

Cllr Mike Southgate, council portfolio holder for museums, said: “Geoff is known for his thoughtful and calm approach. He has an eye for presentation, and a wonderful ability to draw the interesting stories out of the objects in the collections.

“He has really lived and breathed the history of Winchester, having plunged in during the exciting era begun by the Martin Biddle excavations in the city and continued by the Council’s own archaeologists: the digs during this time have proved to be one of the most revealing archaeological programmes in the world.”