Crick, Bernard, 1929-2008

Alternative names
Birth 1929-12-16
Death 2008-12-19

Biographical notes:

Bernard Rowland Crick was born in London 16th December 1929 to Harry Edgar Crick, an insurance officer, and Florence Clare Crick (nee Cook). He was one of three children including another son Kenneth Edgar Crick, and a daughter Joan Crick.

Bernard was educated at the Whitgift School in Croydon; University College London where he gained a first in Economics; and the London School of Economics, for his doctorate (1950-1952) on The Origins and conditions of the American Science of Politics.

Bernard then went to America and taught in a number of universities, including Harvard (1952-1954), McGill, Montreal (1954-1955), and Berkeley, California (1955-1956) before returning to the UK in 1956 and teaching at the LSE for the next 8 years as assistant lecturer, and later senior lecturer.

In 1965 he appointed Professor of political theory and institutions at Sheffield University, where one is his students included the Labour MP David Blunkett. One term was spent at the University of Ghana, as visiting Leverhulme Professor. Six years later he moved to Birkbeck College, University of London and became the foundation professor of politics at Birkbeck College in 1971.

Bernard sat on a number of committees including the British Association for American Studies, 1958-1963; the British Records Association, 1961-1964; founder member and joint secretary from 1964-1968 of the Study of Parliament group, Government and Social science committee, SSRC 1969-1973; Social Science Liaison Committee of the Standing Conference on University Entrance of the committee of University Vice-Chancellors, 1970-1980; Political Studies Association, 1963-1973, 1978-1981; Honorary president of the Politics association, 1970-1976 and later vice president of the PSA 1995-; Council of the Hansard Society 1959; Chairman of the joint steering committee of the Hansard Society and the Study of Parliament Group The Future of Parliamentary Institutions programme; Chief examiner for the University of London A-level British Government and Politics 1975-1981; C.N.A.A combined studies committee, 1978-1981; Council of institute for the study of Drug Dependence, 1978-1982; Joint editor of the Political Quarterly with W.A Robson, then John Mackintosh, then David Watt, 1965-1980; and thereafter chairman of the board. He was also a political advisor in the Northern Ireland Constitutional convention 1974, chairman of the British-South Africa Conference- 1991-1995, and chairman to the executive committee of the Edinburgh University Settlement.

In the early 1970s Crick embarked on a biography of George Orwell [Eric Blair] after being contacted by his second wife, Sonia Bronwell Orwell. He conducted numerous interviews with those who knew Orwell, and used the George Orwell archive at University College London.

In the early 1980s Sir Bernard Crick was part of the Number 10 Gower Street group think tank, which assisted with speech writing and policy development for Neil Kinnock and the Labour party.

Bernard Crick took early retirement in 1984 to live in Edinburgh. However, he later became the Chairman of the Advisory group on Education for Citizenship and the teaching of Democracy in Schools, 1997, after being approach by a former student at Sheffield University, David Blunkett. The report was published 1998. He later advised the Labour government on devising the citizenship tests for immigrants to the UK.

He was knighted in the 2002 new year honours list for "services to citizenship in schools and to political studies". He had started a book on The four nations but sadly did not complete these when he died 19th December 2008 at St Columbus Hospital Edinburgh.

Bernard was married three times, to Joyce Morgan in September 1953 with whom he had two sons Oliver and Thomas, then to Margaret Emily Cahill in 1978, then to Freda Edis in December 1989 whom he later separated from. He is survived by his partner Una Maclean Mackintosh and his two sons from his first marriage.

From the guide to the The Papers of Professor Sir Bernard Rowland Crick, 1947-1992, (University of London, Birkbeck)


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