Hull Geological Society
Remembering Dr Derek Gobbett 1934-2016
(by Mike Horne FGS)
Derek Gobbett was born and brought up in Essex. He studied for his first degree in Geology at Cambridge University. After National Service in the army he returned to Cambridge to study for his PhD on the topic of Carboniferous and Permian brachiopods of Svalbard and published an often cited paper about them in 1963.
Derek worked in Malaya from 1961 to 1968 lecturing in palaeontology and stratigraphy at the University of Malaya and established their palaeontology collection. He was a founder member and the first Secretary of the Geological Society of Malaysia. He edited the “Geology of the Malay Peninsula: West Malaysia and Singapore” which was published in 1973.
He then returned to Cambridge University to work as a Senior Research Assistant in the Geology Department from 1968 to 1972. Derek then taught A level geology at Solihull Sixth Form College until he retired. At that time he was also an active member of the Black Country Geological Society and the Earth Science Teacher Association, forming and chairing the Field Work Committee. Justin King (the chief executive of Sainsbury’s) (McGavin 2005) was inspired by Derek’s teaching recording that “Dr Gobbett was slim, with a scraggy beard: exactly what you would expect a geology professor to be. We called him the Mountain Goat …the reason why he is my most memorable teacher is that he took a class of pupils who had never done the subject before and enthused them.”
He was also an active member of the Rotunda Geology Group and the Driffield U3A Geology Group as well as being a local recorder for the British Trust for Ornithology.
It is strange that many different groups of geologists referred to Derek as a being a mountain goat, but there was probably a good reason – a few years ago at South Landing a woman approached the Flamborough Quaternary Research Group saying she was going to call the coast guard because an elderly gentleman had fallen halfway down the cliffs – we assured her that it was OK because he was a geologist who had climbed up to collect specimens!
Margaret Gobbett has donated some of Derek's books and archives to the
Margaret Gobbett has donated some of Derek's books and archives to the Society.
References & Bibliography–
Gobbett D 1968. Bibliography and index of the geology of West Malaysia and Singapore iii, 152 pp. & map Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia no 2
Gobbett D 2000 St Austin and the Fairy: a tale of two RIGS
Gobbett D 2015 A summary Cenozoic history of the Yorkshire Wolds
Gobbett D 2015 Tectonic structures in the Chalk of the northern part of the Yorkshire Wolds
Gobbett D J & C S Hutchinson (eds) 1973. Geology of the Malay Peninsula: West Malaysia and Singapore
McGavin H 2005. Dr Gobbett Was Slim, With A Scraggy Beard… The Times Educational Supplement April 29, 2005
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