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Obituary: Bob Allan

13 January 2015

27 March 1951 – 8 January 2015

We are greatly saddened to announce the death of Bob Allan, who passed away peacefully, at home with his family, in the early hours of 8th January 2015, at the age of 63.

Bob Allan receiving returement clock (26 October 2011)
Bob Allan receiving a clock as a retirement gift (26 October 2011)

Bob was an undergraduate student at UCL between 1969 and 1974.  He was awarded a BA in Scandinavian Studies with Upper Second Class Honours on 1 August 1974. 

Bob was extremely kind and very helpful to all those who came into contact with him, from his students (Bob mainly taught courses on Danish literature and Scandinavian Literature), those who worked with him on on the first editions of two Danish grammars for Routledge: Danish: A Comprehensive Grammar (1995) and Danish: An Essential Grammar (2000), to those he worked with in his role as Faculty Tutor, in which he helped colleagues with sound and useful advice on many an occasion.

Bob undertook many overseas trips and school visits for the UCL International Office over the years, representing the university in places as diverse as Kenya, Cyprus and China to name but a few.

He was full of wit and wisdom on university applications and other essential information, always delivered in an entertaining and informative way which made him a huge hit with everyone he spoke to, be they prospective students, parents or teachers. It’s fair to say he made a positive contribution to the lives of many nervous applicants.

During his long career, Bob was involved in many other external activities relating both to the teaching and assessment of Danish and Faroese, and to education and professional development more generally.

These include: having been a long-standing Visiting Lecturer at the University of Cambridge; external examining for the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia and, most recently, the University of Chester (on a work-based integrated studies programme delivered in Denmark), The Civil Service Commission, The Institute of Linguists, and The Council of Legal Education; being a lay member of the General Medical Council’s Test of Competence Development Group ; examining, curriculum and assessment design, teacher training and other related activities for the International Baccalaureate Organisation; various publishing and other consultancy work; and membership of the Boards of Governors of three schools, both primary and secondary (Greenleaf Primary School, Walthamstow, the British School of Brussels and Coopers Company and Coburn School, Upminster), including having being Chair of Governors of my children’s primary school - Greenleaf - for 6 years).

Bob was much loved and widely respected and accomplished many things during his career at UCL, but we all feel he would wish to be remembered for helping and encouraging many generations of staff and students.


1974: Part-time teacher of Danish, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

1975-76: Teacher of English at Føroya Læraraskúli, Fróðskaparsetur Føroya

and Studentaskúlin í Hoydølum [all in Tórshavn, The Faroe Islands]

1976-94: Queen Alexandra Lecturer in Danish, UCL

1995-97: Senior Lecturer in Danish, UCL

1997: Honorary Senior Lecturer in Danish, UCL


1991-92: Deputy Tutor to Arts Students, UCL

1992-1994: Sub-Dean and Faculty Tutor, Faculty of Arts, UCL

1994-2011: Sub-Dean and Faculty Tutor, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, UCL

[full-time post from 1997 onwards]

1995-96: Deputy Senior Tutor, UCL

1996-2008: Senior Tutor, UCL

2010-2011: Acting Faculty Tutor, Social and Historical Sciences