Obituary: Horace Law (Jock) Snaith

College Registrar from 1967 to 1983

Birkbeck was saddened to hear of the death, at the age of 90, of Birkbeck Fellow and former Registrar and Secretary, Horace (Jock) Law Snaith. He died peacefully at the Marie Curie hospice in Edinburgh on 11 September 2013.

Born and brought up in Scotland and the Lake District, he went on to study at St Andrews and Oxford. His studies were disrupted by the Second World War. After two years as a Royal Naval Sub Lieutenant on the destroyer HMS Wallace he was attached to naval intelligence for the latter part of the war.

Post-war and newly married, he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as a District Officer in Tanganyika. After many years of service he retired as a District Commissioner to join the Department of Education in Tanganyika where he was instrumental in obtaining funding for and setting up the University College, Dar-es-Salaam and was appointed its first Registrar.

In 1967, not long after independence, he left Tanzania and returned to the UK to take up an appointment as Registrar and later Secretary of Birkbeck. He retired in 1983 and moved to Edinburgh. During his retirement he was involved in setting up, together with his lifelong friend Professor Sir Alan Peacock, the David Hume Institute in Edinburgh.

Throughout his retirement, he continued to take a keen interest in the fortunes of Birkbeck College and was delighted that his connection continued when his niece and her husband enrolled at the College as mature students. Jock leaves behind a daughter, son and two grandchildren.