Emrys Jones, FBA, FRGS ( 17 August 1920 – 30 August 2006) was a Welsh Professor of Geography at the London School of Economics and a renowned author and consultant in the fields of geography and urban planning.
Emrys Jones was born in 1920, to Samuel and Anne Jones, in Aberdare, Glamorgan, Wales, on the rim of the South Wales coalfield, when the coal and iron industries were about to begin their long decline. He was educated at the Aberdare county school for boys.
Marriage & Tertiary Studies
He married Iona, from Anglesey, and in 1938 went to University College, Aberystwyth, now Aberystwyth University, but then a small college of about 700 students at the forefront of the British development of geography. Reading geography and anthropology, he took a particular interest in the geography of cities. As a pacifist, he became a conscientious objector in the Second World War, serving as an orderly in a cancer hospital and working as an ambulance driver.
After the war he completed an MSc (1945) and PhD (1947) at Aberystwyth. He was appointed to an assistant lectureship at University College London (1947–50), followed by a lectureship and time as a senior lecturer at Queen's University, Belfast (1950–58). In 1959, he became reader in social geography at London School of Economics (LSE), and a professor (1961–84).
London School of Economics
While at LSE he formed a productive relationship with Professor Michael Wise. He published his Social Geography of Belfast in 1960, and his studies of "the spatial component of human behaviour" resulted in his edited Readings in Social Geography of 1975. He published an Atlas of London with D.J. Sinclair, producing his first maps in 1968. Other works included Human Geography (1964), Towns and Cities (1966), Man and his Habitat (1971), The Future of Planning (with Evan Zandt, 1973) and Introduction to Social Geography (with J. Eyles, 1977), as well as many journal articles. He became an international consultant in town and regional planning schemes, was involved in the work of the Council for National Academic Awards, and advised polytechnics which were introducing degree courses.
Jones was honoured with the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, of which he was a vice president. He was also awarded an honorary fellowship of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and received honorary degrees from Queen's University, Belfast, and the Open University in 1990. In 2003 he was elected a senior fellow of the British Academy.
Jones continued to write throughout his retirement, producing Metropolis in 1990. Passionate about his Welsh identity since his youth, Jones gave more time to Wales in his retirement. He served as chairman (1983–89) and then president of the council of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1989-2002), and edited and wrote the greater part of The Welsh in London in 2001. He was received into the Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod in 2005.
Jones died in 2006, aged 86, survived by his wife Iona and daughter Catrin. Another daughter, Rhianon, predeceased him.
- Elliot, John. Emrys Jones: A founding spirit of social geography. The Guardian. 15 September 2006.