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Obituary: Professor Tony Chandler

Former Master of Birkbeck

Professor Tony Chandler died on 17 July 2008. Born in Leicestershire on 7 November 1928, he attended Hinckley Grammar School and Alderman Newton Boys' School. In 1946 he enrolled at King's, London, and left with a first class BSc in Geography with Mathematics. He took a Teacher's Diploma, and spent his national service (1950–52) teaching meteorology and commonwealth studies to servicemen at RAF Cranwell.

His specialisms were meteorology and air pollution, and he pioneered highly innovative research into London's climate and 'heat island', giving rise to his major book, The Climate of London (1965). He served on many committees of enquiry into pollution and provided evidence for architects and planners with respect to the design and arrangement of buildings.

In 1952 he was appointed assistant lecturer at Birkbeck, and started a MSc degree, which included a thesis on the historical geography of Leicestershire. At the end of his third year at Birkbeck he was promoted to lecturer and began his pioneering work on the urban climate of greater London. In 1956 he moved to UCL, becoming professor in 1969, and departed to a chair at the University of Manchester in 1973.

Professor Chandler became Master of Birkbeck in October 1977, as successor to the political economist Ronald Tress. This return to his alma mater was irresistible but he resigned on medical grounds in January 1979, which his Birkbeck colleague, Professor Eila Campbell, described as "devastating news". At the age of 49, he entered what would prove to be three decades of retirement.