OBITUARY : Professor Stuart Wilson

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The Independent Online
Stuart Wilson was a man of great energy and strength of character, and a powerful force in economics in his generation. He occupied the Chair of Economics at Hull University for almost a quarter of a century. His interests were money and banking, especially Commonwealth banking.

Wilson's early life was spent in Australia, where, after graduating from the University of Western Australia in Perth, he taught at the Universities of Tasmania and Sydney, and later at University College Canberra. The English-born economist Professor A.G.B. Fisher who was teaching in Perth had stimulated Wilson's interests in European banking and in 1947 he came to England, and for almost 50 years developed his career, first at the London School of Economics and later at Hull. Except for visits, he never returned to live in Australia, although he never lost his Australian accent, or indeed his Australian characteristics and sense of humour.

At LSE he worked with the monetary economist R.S. Sayers, as well as with Lord Robbins, Frank Hayek and Sir Arnold Plant, and was promoted to Reader in Economics in 1950. These years at LSE were to influence his thinking for the rest of his life. In 1959 he moved to the Chair at Hull following G.C. Allen and Lord Roll of Ipsden, and he remained in this redbrick university until his retirement in 1982.

All Wilson's life he was a prodigious publisher of articles and books on money and banking. His major works include Monetary Policy and the Development of Money Markets (1966), London Money Markets (1976), Banking Policy and Structure (1986) and Money Markets, an International Perspective (1993).

Following the Robbins Report, all universities saw growth in the 1960s and 1970s, and Wilson took advantage of the times to ensure that Hull got its share of promising young economists and of new buildings. The Department of Economics and Commerce, as it then was, was a broad church, and from Economics sprung the Departments of Politics, Economic History, Accounting and Management.

One achievement of which Wilson was justifiably proud was obtaining funds from the Hayter Foundation (founded by Sir Richard Hayter to promote Asian studies) to set up the Centre for South East Asian Studies, of which he was the first chairman; this led to his becoming a governor of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, with which he had a 40-year relationship. Another of his links was with the Bank of Japan which for over 30 years sent Japanese students to Hull, and in recent years the bank was one of the main sponsors of the annual Wilson Lecture on Banking.

Wilson was a great correspondent and a great traveller. In later years he continued to give seminars and papers in many countries, but especially in Japan and South East Asia, for which he felt a special affection.

Colin Johnson

John Stuart Gladstone Wilson, economist: born Melbourne 18 August 1916; Professor of Economics, Hull University 1959-82 (Emeritus); married 1943 Beryl Gibson; died Hull 5 June 1996.