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Obituary – Arthur Hurrell (CR 1961–76)

Arthur Hurrell (CR 1961–76) died on 20th October 2019.

He was born on 11 May 1924 and educated at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, and St John’s College, Cambridge, where he read Mechanical Sciences. From 1944 to 1947 he was an Assistant Research and Development Engineer at Boulton Aircraft Armament Ltd, after which he enjoyed a varied international teaching career, first as Assistant Master at his old school (1947–53) and then Senior Mathematics Master at Wallasey Grammar School (1953–57). From 1958 to 1961 he was Principal of Queen Victoria School, Tailevu, Fiji. The School Mathematics Project (SMP) was started during his first year at Marlborough and he contributed chapters, particularly to the A Level text books. After leaving Marlborough he became Senior Mathematics Master at the Sixth Form Science College, Legon, Ghana (1977–79), and Senior Lecturer at the University of Lesotho (1979–85).

In 1949 Arthur married June, who survived him. The youngest three of their four children were educated at Marlborough: Tim (C2 1967-72), Elspeth (B1 1972-74) and Peter (LI 1972-77). Tim, who followed his father to St John’s College, Cambridge, was tragically killed in an avalanche in 1982 after completing the first, and still the only, ascent of Kuksar (6943 m) in the Karakoram range of the Himalayas. Arthur and June produced an edition of Tim’s diary of the ascent, republished in 2015 as A Step Too Far.

Arthur’s Common Room colleague and fellow Johnian, Colin Goldsmith (CR 1955-91), has written: “Arthur joined the maths department at Marlborough with a degree in engineering from Cambridge University, some experience in industry and a decade of teaching at two schools. At that time there was an engineering stream in the sixth form here in which boys studied for A levels in maths and physics supplemented by practical tuition in the metal and wood workshops. This was not a soft option and I remember that in one year two boys from this form earned scholarships at Cambridge University. Arthur taught a broad timetable and was naturally particularly valued by the aspiring engineers.

We lived next to each other for five years when our children (9 in total) were of school age. On one Boxing Day morning, Arthur and I set up with John Keighley (CR 1956-88) an informal hockey game on the tarmac alongside the College armoury. Our children were probably aged 5 to 12 on that day. Hockey games were played on the next 25 Boxing Day mornings (except when there was snow on the ground!). We moved to Maples when the first all-weather pitch was made and many other families joined in. In the final year, there was a full-blooded game on Maples with the core players now aged about 30 while I organised a relaxed game on the second all-weather pitch for parents, grandparents and children too young or vulnerable for the main game.”


David Beamish (MC 1965–69)