Harry Tristram (1925-2019)

14 February 2020

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Harry Tristram, a good friend of, and generous donor to, the department for many years.

Harry was not an historian by training, although he had a long association with UCL. He joined what was then the Botany department after studying for a PhD at Sheffield University in the late 1940s, and worked here for his entire career, as a researcher, lecturer and then senior lecturer.

Harry’s association with the History department sprang from his marriage to Stella Neale, the daughter of Sir John Neale FBA (1890-1975), Astor Professor of English History, who worked at UCL from 1927 until his retirement in 1956.

Sir John Neale was an eminent and very successful historian of Tudor England, and in 1970 the department marked his 80th birthday by establishing the annual Neale Lecture in British History, the first of which was delivered by Dame Veronica Wedgwood. This lecture has since become a significant fixture on the department’s calendar, and the event has been graced by many of the most important historians of the last fifty years.

For many years, the Neale Lecture – sometimes accompanied by a one day colloquium – was made possible thanks to the financial support of Random House, Neale’s publisher, but when that arrangement came to an end Harry Tristam very generously offered to step in with generous donations, thereby making it possible to keep the lecture series going. For this, the department is hugely grateful.

Harry had suffered serious health problems for some time before his (peaceful) death in October 2019. He was buried at Highgate Cemetery on 22 November, and our thoughts go out to his family, including his daughter, Mrs Jennifer Clayton.