Alumni, Staff and Former Staff Remembered

We regret to report the death of the following members of the university community. See a list of BATLAA Alumni Remembered. If you would like to submit a notice or an obituary for publication here, email


Mr Raymond Anderton
QMC, Geography, 1965
b 11 03 44, d 31 08 13

Professor Ian Butterworth CBE, FRS
Professor Ian Butterworth, former Principal of Queen Mary College from 1986-89 and of Queen Mary and Westfield College from 1989-90, passed away on 29 November 2013. Professor Butterworth played a key role in the consolidation of the merger of the two Colleges and also served as Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of London.

Professor John Clarke
QMC, Aeronautical Engineering, 1949

Mrs Joy Harley
QMC, Botany, 1943

Mr Hariram Jayaram
LLM Commercial and Corporate Law, 1990
Managing Partner, RamRais & Partners, Malaysia
b 17 10 38, d 09 11 13

Mrs Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
QMC, MA English, 1951; Honorary Fellow, 1983

Mr Muritala Okunola 
QMC, LLM Laws, 1978

Dr Irene Thirsk 
QMC, History, 1950 

Mrs Valerie Jean Waters (née Pegg)
QMC, BA English, 1949
b 17 03 28, d 21 11 13

Val was born in West Bromwich in March 1928 and went to the Grammar School where she won a Drapers’ Exhibition to Queen Mary College, London. She read English, and incidentally met her husband, and also made friends who have remained close to this day. After graduating, she taught English and Latin in Clitheroe, Lancashire for a year before moving to London to teach English in a Harrow school. After her marriage, she taught at Tormead School, Guildford, part time, until 1958, when she became a full time mother. Her interest had always been in creative writing and as she found more time available began her lifelong work on short stories, articles, and poems. She found inspiration in the rugged scenery and fine beaches in North Cornwall, Northumberland and Scotland, where many holidays were spent. She was a well published author, with works in Hampshire Life, The Lady, Annabel, Best of British, Weyfarers, The Guardian and  many other places. She was a member of the Society of Authors and of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Her interests extended to family history, local history, and genealogy. She was an exceptionally good poet. Val died peacefully on 21st November 2013 after a short illness, following several years of failing health. She was married to Mike Waters (QMC Aeronautical Engineering, 1951).

Dr Olive Wilson
PhD Spanish, 1994


Professor Alick Ashmore CBE
Professor Ashmore who died at the age of 93, was a former Head of the Department of Physics. After working on Radar in the Second World War, Professor Ashmore joined the Liverpool Physics Department and conducted experiments on the 156 inch synchrocyclotron. In 1960 he was invited to come to Queen Mary as Reader in order to set up a group in experimental particle physics, which used the 7 GeV  Nimrod Proton Synchrotron which was being constructed at Rutherford Laboratory. After being promoted to Professor in 1965, he had a sabbatical year at Brookhaven in the USA and spent short periods at CERN. In 1968, following the departure of G.O. Jones, he became Head of Department, leaving in 1970 to become Director of the Daresbury Laboratory where he remained until his retirement. He was awarded a CBE in 1979 for services to science. Click here [PDF 232KB] to read an obituary. 

Professor Sir Christopher Bayly
Professor Bayly is widely regarded as the foremost scholar of global and imperial history, and since he joined Queen Mary in September 2014, taught both undergraduates and postgraduates and made a substantial contribution to the School of History. At the time of his death, Professor Bayly had completed the draft of a book on the global history of the twentieth century, which continues the exploration begun by his previous work, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914 (2004). He leaves a distinguished and inspiring intellectual legacy, and will be much missed by friends, colleagues, and students at Queen Mary and all over the world.

Julie Mary Bevan
BSc Physics, 1995

Professor Lorna Casselton, FRS
Professor Casselton joined Queen Mary in 1967, was appointed Professor of Genetics in 1989 and was awarded her DSc in 1993. She then moved with her research team to the University of Oxford in 1991 in order to focus full time on research. Professor Casselton was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999 and was appointed CBE in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to fungal genetics and international science.

Professor William (Bill) Fishman
b 01 04 21, d 22 12 14
Professor Fishman had a long association with Queen Mary having joined the university in 1972 as Barnet Shine Senior Research Fellow in Labour Studies with special reference to the Jewish Community and later being made an Honorary Fellow in 1999 and Visiting Professor in the Centre for the Study of Migration. An obituary was published in The Guardian.

Professor Stuart Hall
Professor Hall was a pioneering figure in British cultural studies, lauded for his research and theories on race, ethnicity and cultural identity. He held the prestigious position of Distinguished Visiting Professor of Humanities at Queen Mary, from 2004 to 2007, following in the footsteps of the great literary theorist, Professor George Steiner.

Margaret Laird OBE
Westfield, Medieval History, 1954
b 29 01 33, d 11 05 14

Sir Norman Lindop FRCS (1921-2014)

QMC, Chemistry, 1942

President of the Students’ Union from 1942-43, Honorary Fellow of Queen Mary and Chairman of Council of Westfield College from 1983-89, Sir Norman Lindop sadly passed away on 24 January 2014. Read more [PDF 175KB].

Dr Frank Alexander Middlemiss
QMC, BSc Geology, 1950; PhD 1955

Born in Leyton in 1920, Dr Middlemiss served in the Army Medical Corps during WW2. At the end of the war he enrolled at Queen Mary College, where he met his future wife, Florence, in their first week. He graduated with a First in 1950, leading to a PhD in 1955 before working as a geology lecturer at Queen Mary for 50 years. Dr Middlemiss was a member of the Geologists' Association, a founder of the Palaeontological Association, and was appointed as an Honorary Fellow to Queen Mary in 1996. 
An obituary was kindly supplied by one of Dr Middlemiss' daughters, Stella. Click here [PDF 302KB] to read it.

Professor Harshad Navsaria
Professor Navsaria, or Harry, as he was affectionately called by his friends and colleagues, worked at the dermatology research department within the School of Medicine and Dentistry for most of his working life. He started in June 1987 at London Hospital Medical College, prior to the merger with QML, as a technician in Professor Irene Leigh’s small research group and progressed to Professor of Tissue Engineering in the Centre for Cutaneous Research within the Blizard Institute. Harry’s scientific love was the keratinocyte and he made significant contributions to the development and application of skin grafts, particularly for the treatment of burns patients. He had a love of communicating his science which he did in both an enthusiastic and entertaining manner with his interactive game in the Centre of the Cell being one of the most popular with visiting school children. 

Emeritus Professor Donald Preece
David Preece, Emeritus Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London, passed away on 6 January 2014. Professor Preece joined Queen Mary in September 2000, retiring in 2008. He was involved in the refurbishment of the organ in the Great Hall and a piece of his music was played when the organ was officially inaugurated in 2013. He authored a book for the occasion titled The Pipe-Organs of London's East End and its People's Palaces.

Mr Ronald John Price
QMC, Mechanical Engineering, 1954
b 10 02 32, d 20 06 14

Mr Jack Vardy 
QMC, Physics and Engineering, 1932

Professor Sir David Watson
Honorary Fellow, 2010

Mr Cecil John Weyman
QMC, Electrical Engineering, 1950

"John Wayman was a lieutenant RN before coming up. He joined GEC Applied Electronics Laboratories, Stanmore after graduation and worked initially on the AI-18 airborne radar for the Royal Navy Sea Vixen aircraft and on the guidance system for the Sea Slug ship to air guided missile. He became Group Leader for the development of digital techniques and his group designed and built the first British airborne digital computer, called DEXAN, which first flew at Boscombe Down in 1960. The system had many new inventions originated by John for which he held the patents. It was successfully interfaced with the Green Satin Doppler radar and with airborne gyro heading and attitude reference systems. In 1968 John moved to Elliott Brothers Mobile Computing Division as Deputy Chief Engineer. In 1970 it became Marconi Elliott Computer Systems and in 1972 was taken over by GEC Computers. John then left engineering and joined the marketing and sales organisation of the company, becoming Inter-Group Liaison Executive. He received special recognition for his work on Project Wavell, a British Army command and control project. He was a member of the Technical Committee for two MIL-COMP conferences and served on the Organising Committee for three IEE International Conferences on Command, Control and Communications. Since retiring in 1990 John developed a suite of software for an innovative system that is currently being used to produce rotas for magistrates sitting at a number of local court houses. It uses information about individual magistrates' availability and court requirements and produces rotas for up to a year ahead which are as good as can be produced by a very time consuming and laborious manual process: some rotas have 7000 or more individual bookings. He was a school governor and Secretary of Stanmore Park Conservative Association." - Extract from Dr Patrick Flynn's book, An Undergraduate at Queen Mary College 1947-1950, 5th edition (p83) -

Mr Stephen John Patrick White 
QMC, Mathematics, 1971

Stephen was known as "Chalky" throughout his time at Queen Mary, being introduced as such by a fellow student with whom he was at school in Loughborough. He represented QMC at Hockey and won college hockey colours for his work as secretary and general bon viveur of the Hockey Club as much as for his idiosyncrasies on the field. He was also a keen supporter of any and all bar activities at Creed Hall and in the Students’ Union at Mile End Road. As an academic, nothing fazed him but his multitude of other interests kept him from too many lectures and he graduated “with a poor degree in difficult sums” as he often explained himself. He went on to work in IT with local government and in IT consultancy before being diagnosed with cancer in the 1990’s. Although he recovered from this early onset, the cancer returned in late 2013 and he died on 25th March 2014, leaving the world a duller place.  
The above obituary was supplied by Stephen's contemporary, Andrew Deeks (Mathematics and Computer Science, 1971)

Professor Roger Woledge 
Professor Woledge was visiting Professor in Sports & Exercise Medicine in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at QMUL since 2008. He was a keen horseman and was tragically killed in a riding accident in Epping Forest in March 2015. Before retirement, he was Professor of Experimental Physiology, Head of the Department of Physiology and latterly Director of the Institute of Human Perfomance at University College London. Since retirement he has made a big impact on human motion and human performance studies at Queen Mary in the Human Performance Laboratory at Mile End. His work contributed to the success of dozens of undergraduate, MSc and PhD projects as well as post-doctoral studies. He was also a strong supporter of inter-disciplinary links with the the Schools of Mathematics, Engineering and Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. Roger leaves a wife Julia and daughter Elizabeth.



Dr John Ward (Jack) Blencowe
QMC, Botany, 1944
b 23 05 24, d 16 12 15

Professor Lisa Jardine CBE FRS FRHistS 
Professor Lisa Jardine CBE FRS (1944-2015), a distinguished former member of staff passed away on 25 October 2015. Lisa was Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies in the School of English and Drama at QMUL from 1989 to 2012 and led the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters before moving to UCL in September 2012. An obituary was published in The Telegraph


Doyin Sarah Fagbenro
Law, 2013
b 28 11 90, d 10 01 16

Olwyn Hughes
(English Literature, 1950), the literary agent and guardian of the work of her brother, the poet Ted Hughes, and his wife, Sylvia Plath, died on 3 January 2016. Read an obituary in The Guardian.