Whitaker Medal of the Hydrogeological Group of the Geological Society:

(reproduced from Geoscientist for April 2005)

“Glyn Parry Jones was born near Wrexham and studied geology at Aberystwyth said Dr Michael Price, one of Prof Jones’s former students, announcing the award. After graduating in 1954 he joined the Colonial Surveys as a geologist in Nigeria. On the basis of research he undertook in Nigeria (in between carrying out his duties as a field geologist) he was awarded an MSc from Aberystwyth. It was at this time that Glyn first became interested in hydrogeology.

At the end of his third tour he returned to the UK, transferred to the ‘home’ surveys and joined what was then the Water Department of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. Professor Hollingworth, the head of the Geology Department at University College London, saw the need for a formal training for hydrogeologists. To direct and teach it he recruited Glyn Jones, and the UCL hydrogeology course – Glyn’s course, as it became known – started in 1965. Over the next 25 years he created and ran a course that became famous as the place to study hydrogeology, and he trained hundreds of hydrogeologists from Britain and around the world to MSc or PhD level.

After 25 years, Glyn ‘retired’ and handed the UCL course over to Willy Burgess (except that he stayed on to help Willy teach the course). Then, in 1992, when we started the MSc course at Reading, he helped me with the teaching there as well and became a Visiting Professor at both universities. Finally in 2003, with both courses closed, he settled down to devote more time to his lawns, hedges and brood of grandchildren.

During all that time he wasn’t only teaching. He did research, and served on numerous committees, including the Hydrogeological Group committee, the UK committee of IAH and various NERC committees. He served on the Editorial Board of the QJEG. He has been a consultant and an Adviser to the UN, UNESCO and various foreign governments.

But it is for his teaching that we mainly remember Glyn. During almost 40 years of teaching Glyn must have taught or helped to teach at least half of the hydrogeologists in Britain and many more from overseas. We all remember him with respect and affection. Rarely can one individual have had such an impact on the teaching of a subject.

We can all get our names on books, reports, papers and even medals. Glyn has done all that. But he has also put his name on the hearts of two generations of hydrogeologists, and that is a much greater achievement. I think that this recognition of Glyn’s contribution to hydrogeology is long overdue.

Glyn Jones replied: “Fifty years ago this month I set sail from Liverpool to take up my first job with the Nigerian Geological Survey and start an interesting and fulfilling career. The combination of field mapping and applied projects provided a practical background that was of benefit in later years. Three colleagues from that time, Roger Cratchley, Robin Hazell and the late Ed Wright, have all provided support at various times since.

“When I was successful in the annual competition for the Geological Survey of Great Britain I found myself assigned to the Water Department under Jack Ineson and so began my training in Hydrogeology. I was guided by Dave Gray and particularly by Dick Downing who served as mentor and has remained a long-standing friend always ready to help when necessary.

“My previous ‘instruction’ became the basis for the syllabus of the full-time postgraduate course in ‘Hydrogeology and Water Resources’ at UCL, which was started at the same time as the International Hydrological Decade but continued rather longer. Although thought of as a ‘one-man-band’, people such as Shami Puri, Sarah Beeson and Sue Bull assisted significantly, as did numerous PhD students.

” After ‘retiring’ I worked part-time for Aspinwall & Company for some ten years, helped in a wide range of work by Tony Marsland, Chris White, Mike Carey, Shaun Salmon and the late Mick Morrey, himself an ex-student at UCL. When John Allen at Reading University Sought my advice and support for a new MSc course, I found myself in the ideal posltion of teaching for one day a week with all the administration done by Mike Price.

“Supporting me for all the time I was ‘gallivanting’ here, there and everywhere leaving her to raise ou’r family was my wife, Annwyl, who deserves unstinting praise. When I look back and see the changes that have taken place in Hydrogeology in my lifetime, I realise that I have been very fortunate and privileged to have had the best of times and the best of friends.”

Whitaker Medal of the Hydrogeological Group of the Geological Society

Leave a Reply