Ian McDougall

Ian McDougall
Ian McDougall
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IAN McDougall, who has died aged 92, became a senior lecturer in the department of chemical engineering at Leeds University, having originally studied the subject part-time at Battersea Technical College.

He was brought up, along with his brother and sister, in a house in West Bridgford, Nottingham, which overlooked the LMS main line to St Pancras.

The sight and sounds of the passing trains triggered an affection for and fascination
with railways that would last a lifetime.

He won a scholarship from his primary school to Nottingham High School where he was good at languages and sciences, and he also coxed one of the rowing club boats, although sport was not generally to his taste.

From that school, he was offered a place at King’s College, Cambridge, to study natural sciences, but the outbreak of the Second World War and family finances at the time prevented him from going to Cambridge. Instead, he continue to live at home, attending the University College at Nottingham, then affiliated to the University of London.

Mr McDougall graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1941, and his first job was as the superintendent of a chemical plant operated by ICI Explosives.

War service interrupted his career in 1943 when he joined the Royal Engineers. Much of his service was spent on attachment to the Indian Army in India and Burma.

Demobilised in 1947, he married Beatrice (Betty) Crossland, who was the sister of one of his school friends, and they lived for a while in the London area as he went on to work for a number of companies involved in the design, fabrication and commissioning of chemical plant.

It was during this period that he studied chemical engineering part-time, at Battersea Technical College.

He transferred from industry to academia in 1954, being appointed a senior lecturer at Bradford Technical College, and three years later he became a member of the lecturing staff at Leeds University.

It was just then that chemical engineering was given separate departmental status, and was on the point of moving into the newly-completed Houldsworth School of Applied Science.

He would remain on the staff there for the next 28 years.

His earlier experience in industry added an extra dimension to his teaching, and enabled him to help the department establish external contacts.

Promoted in 1970 and given the title of Brotherton senior lecturer, Mr McDougall was
a prime mover in the establishment of the British Council link between the Houldsworth School and Moratuwa University in Sri Lanka, where he twice (in 1975 and again in 1977) served as a visiting professor.

Away from his academic and professional commitments, he had an enduring interest in the study of wine and railways, especially steam. At one point
he was a vice-president and trustee of the Middleton Light Railway, some of whose equipment found a temporary home in the chemical engineering laboratory.

He retired from his post in 1985 but retained an association with the department as an honorary lecturer for several years afterwards, and was an enthusiastic member of a wine-tasting circle.

His death followed his collapse whilst trying to retrieve a bottle of wine from his cellar at home, at about the same time as the wine circle was holding its latest meeting in Leeds.

Mr McDougall’s wife of 66 years died some weeks before him, and he is survived by their sons, Andrew and Angus, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.