Dan Sinclair

Pillar of LSE

Daniel James Sinclair, geographer: born Dunfermline, Fife 31 October 1923; Lecturer in Geography, London School of Economics 1948-64, Senior Lecturer 1964-89; married 1947 Margaret Tammadge (died 1987; two sons), 2000 Susan Squires; died Lincoln 30 December 2004.

Dan Sinclair taught at the London School of Economics for 41 years, from 1964 as a Senior Lecturer in the Geography Department. The remarkably strong personal influence which he exerted will be remembered there and, more widely, in London University, by generations of students and colleagues.

It was a very active period for, during his early years there, LSE ran both day and evening undergraduate courses and there was a strong influx of postgraduate students, many from overseas. Sinclair was at various times chairman of the Library Committee, the Senior Common Room, the local Association of University Teachers, the Careers Advisory Service, an elected governor and member of the building and many other committees. In 1978 he was appointed Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

He was completely loyal to the school and had an important role in assisting the then Director, Sir Sydney Caine, during the student troubles in 1967. It was Sinclair who succeeded in securing assistance from the police to evict occupiers from the administrative offices on 15 March 1967, as Ralf Dahrendorf recorded in his history of LSE, "to the delight of the media".

Sinclair also had wide influence outside LSE, especially in extra-mural and extension work. For many years he was chairman of the Commerce Degree Bureau of London University and Chairman of the External Board of Examiners for the BScEcon degree. He had also a prominent role in the development of the school's external services.

He worked hard for the Association of Agriculture, with its publications for schools and the development of effective Farm Open Days. From such work he derived great satisfaction. His unselfish commitment had its cost in terms of his own research career but, he once wrote, "though the time spent on such activities might have been put to other uses, I do not regret a moment of it".

At LSE he developed new courses of study in economic geography, especially with regard to agriculture and to changing situations in Europe. He edited The Faber Atlas through five successive editions (1956-70) and took part with Italian colleagues in the preparation of the World Atlas of Agriculture (1969). With his first wife, Margaret Tammadge, a highly skilled cartographer, he published many well-illustrated articles in the Geographical magazine. His work was also of great assistance to his colleague Emrys Jones in the publication of the Atlas of London (1968).

Daniel James Sinclair was born in 1923 at Dunfermline and educated at Dunfermline High School; he won a Kitchener Scholarship for study at Edinburgh University, 1941-45. During his three years' service with the Ministry of Agriculture as an Assistant Rural Land Utilisation Officer, which involved surveys likely to bring increased productivity from hill lands, he came to the notice of Dudley Stamp, who proposed him in 1948 for appointment as a lecturer at LSE. He was promoted Senior Lecturer in 1964.

Michael Wise