Malcolm Hardstaff Obituary

Malcolm (CR 1961-92) joined MC in 1961 following a brief period at Keighley Grammar School. Not entirely convinced of his vocation in those early years, a two-year secondment to the Nuffield Foundation’s Junior Science Project assured him that his future lay in teaching and that Marlborough College was going to be a difficult place to beat. His pedigree as a biologist was impressive, his particular interest being the flora of the British Isles; many a member of the Natural History Society, of which he was President for many years, would testify to his detailed knowledge of local species. A founding member of the Wiltshire Botanical Society and honorary Keeper of the Wedgewood Herbarium in the College, his botanical interests occupied a considerable proportion of his time throughout his life.

In the classroom his enthusiasm for his subject was infectious, his attention to detail typical of the well-trained scientist, his care and concern for his pupils, characteristic of his quiet, unselfish nature – a man who saw the best in everyone, slow to chide, quick to praise. To colleagues and pupils alike he gave wise and honest counsel.

A keen walker, Malcolm, together with his wife Jean, for many years shared his knowledge and love of Wiltshire countryside with visitors to the College’s Summer School.

Malcolm retired in 1992 after thirty-one years, twenty as head of department. During a lull in the  Prize Day drinks party he turned to me a with a wry smile and said, “ I’ll think of you on this day next year”. Reflected in his eye I saw the first tee at the Marlborough Golf Club. Golf was one of Malcolm’s passions, and several generations of Marlburians will thank him for their introduction to competitive inter-school golf. Together with David Green (CR 1962-95) he was a founding member of the Pedagogues Golfing Society.

Alan McKnight (CR 1981-2013)