Roy Millward

Posted by pt91 at Feb 22, 2016 03:49 PM |

Roy Millward, who died aged 98 on 25 January 2016, was a lecturer and reader in the Geography Department from 1947 until he retired in 1982. A graduate of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, Roy was appointed assistant lecturer by Professor Pat Bryan, and with Joe Jennings, a physical geographer, and Terry Garfield as chief technician, he was a founding member of the Department as we know it today. During his long career in the University, Roy was one of a small band of staff who oversaw the transformation of the then University College into a fully independent degree awarding institution in 1957, and its subsequent rapid expansion. Within Geography, Roy played a significant part in the creation of a modern well-equipped teaching and research Department, and had the deep satisfaction of seeing student numbers increase twelvefold and that of staff fivefold between 1950 and 1980.

Roy had a long and distinguished academic career. His research involved the publication of over fifteen books and a plethora of peer reviewed papers and book chapters within the fields of European regionalism, historical geography and regional development in the British Isles. Of his  publications on Europe, the most significant,  Scandinavian Lands (1964),  became the benchmark for an understanding of regional diversity in northern Europe. In parallel to his European interests, Roy in the early days of his career, developed an interest in historical geography particularly that of the British Isles. He collaborated extensively with W.G. Hoskins, jointly editing several of the volumes in the Making of the English Landscape series, and culminating in the publication of his own book in the series, Lancashire (1955), his native county. Of the series as a whole a number of reviewers have considered this volume to be the most effective and rounded representation of landscape analysis. However, it must not be overlooked that Roy himself had a long-established research interest in the historical geography of Leicestershire, well illustrated in two masterly chapters in the British Association for the Advanced of Science volume, Leicester and its Region (1972) and of course in the publication of History of Leicestershire and Rutland (1985). During the 1970s, in collaboration with his physical geography colleague Adrian Robinson, many of the ideas contained in his early research were developed further in two major series,  Landscapes of Britain and The Regions of Britain, involving ten books, on different parts of the country. After retirement, again with Adrian, Roy ventured into the more popular market with the well received, Shell Book of the British Coast(1983). He was also a major contributor to the Reader’s Digest volumes, Discovering Britain (1982) and Guide to Places of the World (1987).

In spite of this intensive research and publication programme Roy still carried a heavy teaching load across the whole range of human geography. His teaching was enthusiastic, innovative and highly appreciated by the students. His particular forte however was conducting field courses/excursions for both undergraduates and lay people, and his ability to explain a landscape was exemplary and a lesson to all young lectures and teachers. His favourite metaphor was of the landscape as a palimpsest, a text on which the erasures and additions made by succeeding generations could be identified and interpreted by a combination of work in the field and the archive. For years, and well into his retirement, he regularly led excursions for the local branch of the Geographical Association (of which he was secretary for nearly twenty years) and the Departmental Staff Common Room, and these were always the highlights of the year.

Outside academia Roy had a wide variety of interests; to mention just a few, classical music, classic films, theatre, railway travel, and country walking. He and his family regularly visited the Hebridean Isle of Raasay where they had a second home. Of the greatest importance was his adherence to the Quaker faith, so cogently illuminated in his contribution to My Life My Faith (2010). Roy and his family were involved in the Friends Meeting House on Queens Road, and for years after his retirement he played a significant role in the University Chaplaincy.

He leaves his wife, Helen, four children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Tony Budd and Gareth Lewis, ex-colleagues, Geography Department.

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