Dr Nancy Holman of the Department of Geography & Environment remembers Professor Derek Diamond, who died on 6th May 2015.
In the course of one’s career it is common to come across excellent educators, incisive researchers, strong administrators and tireless champions of students and alumni – however, it is rare that all of these qualities are encompassed in one individual. It is therefore with great sadness that the Department of Geography and Environment and the Regional and Urban Planning programme mark the passing of Emeritus Professor Derek Diamond.
Derek joined the School in 1968 taking over the Urban and Regional Planning programme, which had been founded two years earlier under Professor Sir Peter Hall. He directed the MSc and PhD in Planning until 1979, during which time he touched the lives of countless students from across the world. Many of these alumni who either were taught by Derek during his time as director or later generations who were led through the streets of London on his famous walks have written to us to express their deep sadness at his death but also their desire to celebrate his life as an educator, mentor and friend.
In his later career Derek also served in increasingly important administrative roles within the School. He directed the Greater London Group from 1980-1995 and was the Convenor of the Department of Geography from 1983-87 and 1990-92, an Academic Governor from 1983-87 and Vice-Chairman of the Academic Board from 1988-1993. He was also instrumental in the foundation of the Gender Institute serving as its Interim Director from 1993-94.
Derek was also a well-respected academic crossing the fields from planning to geography, considering himself to be an applied urban geographer. His standing in the field was reflected in his chairmanship of the Regional Studies Association (1974-76), his presidency of the Institute of British Geographers (1994) and the numerous journals upon which he served as editor.
The Department would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Esmé and his two children, and to the countless generations of planners that he trained with such enthusiasm, wisdom and kindness. He will be missed by us all.
Read the book of Rememberences of Derek Diamond gathered by LSE London staff.
If you would like to post a tribute to Derek; leave your condolences or share any memories you have of him please comment on this post.
Professor Derek Diamond was a remarkable individual who gave me the warmest of welcomes when I joined the (then) Department of Geography in 1988 as a young lecturer. Derek not only provided me with immense support and encouragement at a personal level (it was always a joy to have meetings with him), but he was also very much behind the need to get gender on the academic agenda when many other male (and some female) colleagues in the early 1990s were unconvinced of the importance of a pioneering interdisciplinary strand of social science scholarship which has positively exploded since that time. It is thanks to Derek, and to his faithful allies and champions in this struggle, most notably Hazel Johnstone MBE and Professor Henrietta Moore (now at UCL via Cambridge) that LSE houses a world-leading and renowned Gender Institute which has produced many of the leading lights in feminist research and theory today, attracting students and visiting fellows from a wide swathe of ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries alike. Derek’s foundational efforts have never been forgotten in the GI, and he was fondly, and deservedly, acknowledged, inter alia, in the 20 year anniversary of the Gender Institute which took place in May last year http://www.lse.ac.uk/genderInstitute/events/eventsProfiles/201314/ThePresenceOfGender.aspx. I was so proud that a fellow Geographer was the mover and shaker in this initiative!
I was shocked and saddened to hear about Derek’s untimely death, especially as he always seemed to defy ageing with his youtful appearance, razor-sharp intellect, and boundless energy. I have lost a dear colleague who was part of my own history, and who has touched and influenced the lives of countless more. I feel bereft at the thought I will no longer have the opportunity to ‘catch-up’ (he was always so on the ball in respect of keeping abreast with people’s lives). We will all miss him terribly, but my deepest sympathies are with Esme, Stella and Andrew for their profoundly tragic loss.
Derek taught me while he was a lecturer at Glasgow University in the early part of his career. He was an inspirational teacher with a dedication to his subject and an incisive wit to enliven all his lectures. I enjoyed my contact with him and it was hugely rewarding when I was able to join him as a Vice President of the Town and Country Planning Association – it was his teaching that gave me that interest so many years before.He will be much missed and greatly honoured in all our memories of him.
In addition to his many academic achievements, Derek was above all else a wonderful individual, an exceptionally nice man, and a great friend and colleague.
He will be missed and fondly remembered.
Larry S. Bourne
University of Toronto
I learned so much from Derek on so many aspects of life. He was ‘tops’ in my book as an academic, professional colleague and a most sincere and wonderful friend.
To Esme, and Stella and Andrew I send my deepest condolences.
Derek and I were undergraduates in Oxford, 1952-55. I met Esme when she visited for a Herbertson Society social evening and send her my deepest sympathy. Derek and I edited a magazine called Aspect. Strangely, there seems to have been only one issue, or perhaps I only have one now. I remember how he rescued me after our final examinations were over and I was walking along the High Street. Come and join us, he said, and encouraged me into the Eastgate for a celebratory drink. That was so typical of him. He was a great friend and supporter of his fellow students.
I would like to say about my sadness hearing about Professor Derek Diamond’s death. I am geographically far away, in Brazil, but I do share this feeling with the LSE community. We have been fortune to have Professor Derek on our 90/91 Regional and Urban Planning Course. I will always remember how great educator he was and how he shared his academic knowledge and experience. He was an important part of our course history.
Outside of your LSE community he was also a fine philatelist, a fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society of London and a specialist on New Zealand. He recently wrote The 1898 Pictorial Issue of New Zealand, and edited Aspects of Collecting New Zealand Stamps with Andrew Dove.