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School of History

Professor Glyn Williams


We are sad to announce that former Head of the School of History Professor Glyn (Glyndwr) Williams (1932-2022) passed away peacefully at home on 23 January 2022 after a short illness. Glyn spent his whole professional career at Queen Mary University of London from his arrival in early 1960s and was a leading figure in the growth and development of the School of History until his retirement in 1997. He served as a very successful Head of School and as Dean of the Faculty of Arts. As Dean he was closely involved with and influential in the negotiations which led to the merger of the Queen Mary and Westfield in 1989. He became Professor Emeritus in 1997. 

Glyn was a specialist in eighteenth-century history, particularly concerning maritime history and the British overseas. He was President of the Hakluyt Society (1978-82) and was for five years co-editor of the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. He was prolific as a writer and editor, from the publication of his first book, The British Search for the Northwest Passage in the Eighteenth Century in 1962 to his most recent publication, the co-authored monograph, Pacific Exploration: Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook to the Beagle (2018). Glyn’s involvement with the project to publish the journals of Alejandro Malaspina explorations (1789-94) brought the history of the Spanish exploration of the Pacific into the wider context of Anglo-American history and exploration. The work Ruling Britannia: A Political History of Britain 1688-1988 (1990) which he wrote with his colleague John Ramsden underpinned the teaching of British History in a wider global context in the School of History. Glyn was committed to communicating his scholarly work beyond the academic community, a commitment which was recognised by the award in 1994 of the Caird Medal by the National Maritime Museum. 




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