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ian mcdougall

Ian R McDougall, BSc, CEng, FIChemE

Mr Ian McDougall, former Brotherton Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, died on 29 March 2013.

Born on 21 June, 1920, at West Bridgford, Nottingham, Ian was brought up, along with a younger sister, Alison, and brother, Angus, in a house which overlooked the LMS main line to St. Pancras. This stimulated in him a lifelong interest in railways. He won a scholarship from his primary school to Nottingham High School where he showed proficiency in languages and sciences and also coxed one of the rowing club boats, although sport was not generally to his taste. He was offered a place at King’s College, Cambridge, to study natural sciences but the outbreak of World War II and family finances at the time led to his continuing to live at home and attending the University College at Nottingham, then affiliated to the University of London. Ian graduated with an external London University degree in chemistry in 1941 and his first professional appointment after graduation was as the superintendent of a chemical plant operated by ICI Explosives.  War service then interrupted his career and he joined the Royal Engineers in 1943, where he attained the rank of Captain.  Much of his service was spent on attachment to the Indian Army in India and Burma.  Demobilised in 1947, he married Beatrice (Betty) Crossland, who was the sister of one of his school friends, and they lived for a while in the London area as he went on to work for a number of companies involved in the design, fabrication and commissioning of chemical plant.  During this period he studied Chemical Engineering part-time at Battersea Technical College and obtained chartered chemical engineer status.

In 1954, Ian joined the academic profession, with his appointment as Senior Lecturer at Bradford Technical College.  Three years later, in 1957, he was appointed to a lectureship at Leeds.  He chose a propitious moment to join the University, with Chemical Engineering, having recently achieved separate departmental status, being on the point of moving into the new building erected to accommodate the Houldsworth School of Applied Science.

Rapidly establishing himself as a most able and congenial colleague, Ian was to prove a mainstay of the Department throughout his twenty-eight years on the staff – a period which saw four-fold growth.  A gifted and enthusiastic teacher, he went to great pains to ensure the success of his students.  His teaching covered all parts of the syllabus, although he specialised in heat transfer, statistics and the transport and storage of bulk solid materials.  His earlier industrial experience gave solidity to his teaching and also stood the Department in good stead by facilitating the establishment and maintenance of a number of valuable external contacts.  Although his teaching load and other commitments constrained his research activities to a degree, he undertook important studies of the flow characteristics of particulate solids, and supervised a number of research students in this area.  He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1970, at which time the title of Brotherton Senior Lecturer was also conferred upon him.  (In 1944, Dr Charles Ratcliffe Brotherton, nephew of Lord Brotherton, one of the University’s greatest benefactors, had himself generously endowed a Brotherton Lectureship in Chemical Engineering and had also made a large donation towards the erection of a new building, which in due course helped to finance the cost of constructing the Houldsworth School.)

Prominent within the University community as a whole, Ian had a long involvement with the Association of University Teachers (AUT).  He served for many years on the committee of the Local Association and was Chairman from 1977 to 1979.  He also represented Leeds on the national AUT Council on several occasions.  An elected Faculty representative on the Senate continuously from 1974 until 1985, he served in addition on committees including the Academic Staff Committee, the Joint Committee of the University and the AUT and the Senior Common Room Committee.  He was also a prime mover in the establishment of the British Council link between the Houldsworth School and the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, where he twice (in 1975 and again in 1977) served as a Visiting Professor.

Elected a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in 1965, Ian participated extensively in the Institution’s affairs.  He was a member of its Nominations (later Membership) Committee and, in 1979, became Honorary Registrar, an office carrying with it ex-officio membership of the Institution’s Council.  The formation of an individual Yorkshire Branch of the Institution – of which he was to be one of the first chairmen – also owed much to his energy and advocacy.  For many years, he was the Institution’s assessor, later moderator, for HNC and HND awards in Chemical Engineering.

Away from his academic and professional commitments, Ian had an enduring interest in the study of wine and railways, especially steam.  At one point he was a Vice-President and Trustee of the Middleton Light Railway, some of whose equipment found a temporary home in the Chemical Engineering Laboratory. He retired from his post in 1985 but retained an association with his Department as Honorary Lecturer for several years afterwards and was an enthusiastic member of a wine-tasting circle until infirmity made it difficult for him to continue to attend. His death followed his collapse whilst trying to retrieve a bottle of wine from his cellar at home, at about the same time as the wine circle was holding its latest meeting in Leeds.

Ian’s wife of 66 years, Betty, died some weeks before him. He is survived by his son, Andrew, his brother Angus, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.