Document Reference NumberULA/D4
TitleJack Simmons collection
DescriptionPapers and research notes (1930-1998) of Professor Jack Simmons, Professor of History, Leicester University 1947-1975
Extent47 boxes
ArrangementExtent includes 23 boxes that are not catalogued (Accession 4) - box listing available
AdminHistoryJack Simmons (1915-2000) became Professor of History at University College Leicester in 1947, one of ten professors appointed at that time who guided the College through its incorporation as the University College of Leicester in 1950 to full university status in 1957. He retired from Leictester in 1975. As well as playing an influential part in the developmnet of the young univeristy and serving as both Pro Vice Chancellor and Acting Vice Chancellor (1960-3), he had a distinguished career as a teacher and writer and was an active member of the local community.
Jack Simmons was born in Isleworth, Middlesex and brought up alone by his mother after his father was killed on the Somme in the First World War. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied modern history. He returned to Oxford after a year in Paris to become Beit Lecturer in Imperial History. Unfit for wartime service, he remained at Oxford until his appointment to the Leicester chair.
His published work included a biography of the poet Robert Southey, and studies on imperial history, local history and topography, but he is best remembered for his research and writing on the history of railways in particular and transport in general. His best-known books are probably The Railways of Britain (1961), St Pancras Station (1968) and (with Gordon Biddle) The Oxford Companion to the British Railway History (1997). Jack Simmons had been interested in trains from an early age and some of his schoolboy train spotting notebooks have survived with his papers. He also established the transport history collection in Leicester University Library and was significantly involved in the foundation of the National Railway Museum at York and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television at Bradford.
At Leicester Simmons was for many years chairman of the University Press, by whom his history of the university, New University was published in 1958. He was also influential in the establishment of Leicester's Museum Studies course. Locally, he was President of the Leicester Archaeological Society and Chairman of the Leicester Local Broadcasting Council.
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AccessStatusAvailable for general access
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