Gavin C Reid

Professor of Economics
My father Alexander (‘ Sandy’) Macfarlane Reid (Born Old Monklands 2nd August 1908, died Guildford 1st March 1978) was born into a family of many generations of master blacksmiths in Lanarkshire, and had a career as a teacher, army officer and research scientist.  In his youth he was a talented sprinter (220 yards specialist) and soccer player (centre half for Carluke Rovers).

His secondary education was at Coatbridge High School, where he was an excellent scholar, and outstanding athlete.  He graduated BSc with Honours in Biology from Glasgow University in 1930. His curriculum included mathematics, natural philosophy (physics), geology, botany, zoology, and chemistry. His honours thesis, on the distribution of stomata on the leaves of the Lycopodialis, was recognised for its quality, and was referred to in the written works of Professor F O Bowers (Professor of Botany from 1885 to 1925, and sometime Dean of Faculties). From 1930 to 1933 Sandy was a Demonstrator in the Department of Biology.

For three and a half years he was a keen member of the University contingent of the Officers’ Training Corps. An excellent shot, he won the cup for best shot of the year as a recruit. After teachers’ training in Jordanhill, he was a science master in several Scottish schools, including Hamilton Academy.

His army service totalled nine years (1939-47) four in regimental life, and five with Army Operational Research. From 1939 to 1944 he was an officer with Royal Signals (52 Divisional Signals). During active service, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He trained at the School of Signals, Catterick, and subsequently in mountain and snow warfare, once 52 Divisional Signals had became a mountain division. His research with Army Operational Research included comparative trials in jungle and mountain conditions of man pack wireless sets, throat microphones, and also the investigation of speech intelligibility.

He married Sheila Macgregor Jackson in Glasgow in 1943. They had three children, Margaret, Gavin (‘Guy’) and Mary Ann. They had a long and fruitful marriage, and especially enjoyed the companionship of retirement together.

After a two year spell with the Colonial Scientific Service in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, immediately after World War II, he joined the newly formed Army Personnel Research Establishment (APRE), Farnborough. Sandy remained there for over twenty years, as Principal Scientific Officer. His research work, in which he blended the academic and the practical, concerned, in his words, ‘the protection of the soldier’. Field trials carried him to many parts of the world, including Libya, Egypt, Malaysia, Borneo, Canada, Australia and the USA. Wherever he went, his great force of personality and considerable personal charm won him many friends, most notably in the USA and Canada. He was as happy in winter, on snow shoes, or in an igloo in Hudson’s Bay, as he was in the heat and humidity of Fort Benning, taking on the enlisted men at the shooting range.

He lived in Camberley, Surrey while working in the APRE, then returned briefly, after retiring, to Scotland to live in Freuchie and then Prestwick. However, now finding his fellow Scots ‘too rude’ he returned south for the rest of his retirement, setting up home with Sheila in Guildford, Surrey. In his pleasant retirement he kept in constant contact with former colleagues, and enjoyed innocent pursuits, like horse racing (with ‘field trips’ to Royal Ascot, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomph being especial favourites) and the local Caledonian Society. He was buried in Guildford The Mount Cemetery. His wife Sheila died in St Andrews in 1992.


Sandy Reid, Gavin’s father, in field-work settings, at home and abroad. He’s always the man in white.

William Reid VC (1921 – 2001), one of the greatest war heroes of World War II, was the cousin of Alexander Reid, Gavin’s father. They shared the same grandfather, George Reid, a blacksmith born in Airdrie in 1844. He married Janet Clydesdale in Old Monkland in 1870. It is from Janet Clydesdale that Gavin gets his middle name. Both Alexander (Gavin’s father) and William (Alexander’s cousin) came from blacksmithing families who were well known in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.
William Reid was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) at the age of 21 for conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy, while serving with 61 Squadron, Bomber Command in the Royal Air Force. As the pilot and captain of a Lancaster bomber, he was seriously wounded in combat, and his aircraft badly damaged by enemy fire, but he completed his mission against all odds. With his navigator dead through machine gun fire, and with severe multiple wounds, he steered by moon and stars to bring his aircraft and crew back to safety, despite a collapsed undercarriage on landing. All but the one crew member survived.
He went on to distinguished service with 617 Squadron. His aircraft was eventually fatally shattered in action over Rheims by a freak ‘friendly’ bombing accident, after completing his mission to drop a ‘Tallboy’ deep penetration bomb on the V-weapon facility at Rilly-la-Montagne. All bailed out, and William spent the rest of the war in Stalag III-A, at Luckenwalde.
Academically bright, William completed his studies at Glasgow University and the West of Scotland Agricultural College, and after graduation went on a travelling scholarship to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. He had a long and fruitful career as an agricultural adviser, and was a famed figure world-wide on the forces veterans’ circuit.

His death in 2001 was marked with a dignified and respectful funeral in Crieff, attended by a large body of mourners from both civilian and military life. At the end of the service, four Tornado jet aircraft from 617 Squadron thundered overhead in diamond formation, in a symbolic act of homage. At the time, the noted commentator Jim McNulty wrote ‘William Reid VC personified the bravery and sacrifice of an entire generation. We shall seldom see his like again.’
In 2009 his Victoria Cross was sold at auction for £348, 000 - the highest price ever paid for such a medal awarded to a UK citizen. But no price can measure his valour.

Gavin on his tricycle (‘trike’), in the garden at Addlestone, Surrey, England, 1947:  young enough to be still in nappies, sitting on his lambskin rug, treasured for many more childhood years. He’s certainly feeling happy with life.

This photograph was taken in the back garden of ‘Ivy Dean’, Folkestone, Kent, probably late 1947 or early 1948. To the left is my father, Alexander (‘Sandy’) M Reid, in Lt Col uniform, at the end of active service in his military career. He is holding me, Gavin (‘Guy’) Reid. I hope it was warm! To the right is Edward (‘Teddy’) Tobias Renbourn, former Harley Street psychiatrist, who was later to direct the Army Personnel Research Establishment (APRE), Farnborough. Sandy and Teddy were lifelong friends. They subsequently published a number of papers together, in the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Journal of Physiology. I best remember Teddy (or ‘Uncle Teddy’ as I called him) for his publication of The Life and Death of the Solar Topi: a little known, but intriguing classic, which was commended in the academic journal Western Folklore for its historical insights (‘The Wrong Topi’, by De Caro and Jordan, 1984).  He was the first author I knew in person; and the first person to contact me when my father died.  Seated is Teddy’s wife holding my sister Margaret, and to her right is my mother Sheila Reid, looking - to my eyes - very beautiful.

Family gathering: at ‘Ivy Dean’, Folkestone, Kent, 1948. To the left is Thomas McNab (cousin), Aileen McNab (cousin), Thomas Balfour Jackson (‘Uncle Laddie’), Gavin (‘Guy’) and sister Margaret. This was shortly before the Reids left for Port Harcourt, Nigeria.


Outside the ‘gidah’, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, 1949. Note the brick build, the faux leaded glass windows, and the wooden support for the veranda. The veranda was necessary, given the torrential rain. In the photograph, are the much loved Nanny in background, and then (from L to R) Gavin (‘Guy’), Margaret (elder sister, with plaits up), and Mary Ann (younger sister).


The Mess, Saturday night (a fancy hat night) Port Harcourt, Nigeria, 1949. My mother (Sheila) is wearing a Russian hat that had belonged to her brother Gordon (acquired on a trip to the Soviet Union). Very hot for the African climate!  At the end of the evening, everyone danced the Conga, slightly tipsy on cocktails, and sang ‘Everybody Loves Saturday Night’, while weaving around The Mess.

Gordon Jackson OBE (1923-1990), the Scottish character actor, was the uncle of Gavin. He was the brother of Gavin’s mother Sheila, and they were both very close for all of their lives. Sheila was diagnosed with terminal cancer within a year of Gordon’s death, and died herself in 1992.   
Gordon Cameron Jackson was to become the leading Scottish character actor of his generation. He was famed world wide for his film and television work, had a noted stage career, and was active in all areas of the acting arts including radio, solo performance, and poetry reading. Born in Glasgow in 1923, he was a precocious academic and musical talent at Hillhead High School, and already a star of radio as a schoolboy, notably in Children’s Hour. He left school to become a draughtsman engineer with Rolls-Royce. Symbolically, he never abandoned his draughtsman’s board.
His film career started in 1942 with Ealing Studios (The Foreman Went to France), while he was still working with Rolls-Royce, and he decided to build his career in film after a brief spell back at Rolls-Royce. His early Ealing Studios films included The Captive Heart and Whisky Galore. His career in film developed rapidly, and his notable performances include leading parts in The Great Escape, The Ipcress File, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Shooting Party.  He was perhaps best known for his television work, notably as the butler Hudson in Upstairs Downstairs, and as the head of CI5 (read ‘MI5’) George Cowley in The Professionals.
Gordon received an Emmy award in 1976, was British Actor of the Year in 1974, and received the Logie award in 1981 for his performance in A Town Like Alice. In 1979 he received an OBE.
Gordon was a much loved actor in a fiercely competitive community that sometimes seems to be noted for feuds, jealousy and envy. He could (and did) rise above all this, and was unfailingly kind and generous to others and to their reputations. He worked with some of the greatest of names in film, television and theatre, including Bette Davies, Marlon Brando, Michael Cane, Steve McQueen, James Garner, John Mills, Sean Connery, James Mason, Maggie Smith, Stanley Baker, and Richard Attenborough.

Even when, in the after-party of The Great Escape, Charles Bronson said to him with some menace, after steady alcohol consumption, ‘Gordon you can talk about anything, talk about my hat’, spinning it sarcastically on his finger, Gordon still saw the funny side of it. This confronted with a man who was so convincingly to play a violent vigilante in Death Wish! Perhaps British filmgoers themselves have not been too kind either to Gordon on his role within that film, as he is ever remembered for playing the character who ‘gave away the game’ of escapees with an accidental ‘Thanks’ (in English) to a Gestapo officer who deliberately said ‘Good Luck’ (in English!). 

However, the reputation of Gordon Jackson lives on, with fans of his films and especially his TV series becoming greater in number every year. His key roles are being flatteringly imitated (e.g. the role of Harry Pearce, Head of MI5 in the TV series Spooks is increasingly played by actor Peter Firth in a Gordon Jackson – that is, George Cowley - manner); and it is yet to be seen how Hudson will be played in the projected re-make of Upstairs Downstairs. Surely with a hint of Gordon?

Gavin in the New Forest, Hampshire, 1954. Gavin, bare legged, short socked, and sandaled, in 1950s long ‘shorts’, feeding carrots to a New Forest pony.  It shows his early love of the horse. It also marked his first tumble on account of a horse – the herd spooked, over fighting for carrots, and Gavin fell under hoof.  His Dad came to the rescue. No harm done: they neatly jumped over and around Gavin. The day-out was possible through his family borrowing Uncle Gordon’s black Morris Minor convertible, for the picnic trip from Camberley to Lyndhurst. What a memorable and beautiful outing.


Family portrait taken in the back garden of The Lawn, Woodlands Road, Camberley, Surrey, 1955. To the right is Rona Anderson (actress, wife of actor Gordon Jackson), aunt of Gavin. Two fine portraits (vintage bromide prints) of her (‘Making Music’), by society photographer John Gay, are held in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Her films range from Scrooge, through The Black Rider, to The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie. Behind her is Gavin’s grandmother, Margaret Jackson (neé Fletcher). His own mother is in the chair on the left, with sister Margaret (‘Me’) to the right, Gavin (‘Frère’) at the back, and younger sister Mary Ann (‘Soeur’) to the front. Margaret was later to practice her French on this photo.

My father, Maj. Alexander M Reid, taking my temperature as part of the medical support team for an amateur boxing bout at the Agincourt Hall, Camberley, Surrey, around 1956. His colleague ‘Teddy’ Renbourne was also there as a qualified medic. I didn’t box: I was just a guinea pig for procedures. I’m wearing my Lyndhurst School blazer (navy blue, with red edging ribbon), and my father is wearing a Harris Tweed jacket of the sort I was to wear much of my professional life. Teddy Renbourne’s son, John Renbourne, was boxing for France Hill School, and my recollection is that he took a bit of a thrashing. However, maybe that was a good thing, and turned him away from the ring to other more tranquil pursuits. After A-level music at France Hill, then Art School, he became famous as the guitarist (and sitar player) of Pentangle. He has produce a large body of beautiful music, ranging from early English lute music to blues, and is a noted guitar composer. There’s a large amount of his stuff on the web, including teaching video-clips. My personal John Renbourne favourite is The Hermit: one of my most played LP vinyls.

Gavin’s (Guy’s) first sports car. Birthday present on 25th August 1950.  Note it is a shooting brake, with ‘go faster’ arrows. This was shipped back to the UK in due course, and used for many years in Camberley. It was a ton weight, and hard to drive fast. Sister Margaret is the passenger in the back. A note on the back of the photo by my father remarks ‘she wanted to drive, but Guy would have none of it’.

Gavin (‘Guy’) doing a handstand in the back garden of ‘The Lawn’, Woodlands Road, Camberley, Surrey, probably summer of 1954 or 1955.  His dress is typical for him: Clarke’s brown leather sandals; long flannel grey ‘shorts’; red and black striped elastic belt with silver snake buckle; Fred Perry short sleeved cotton shirt and Lyndhurst School tie, with red and black diagonal stripes.

Sheila Reid (neé Jackson), my mother, with her three children, back garden in ‘Ivy Dean’, Folkestone, Kent, 1948. My elder sister Margaret it on the left, me next to her, and my younger sister, Mary Ann, is on my mother’s knee.

Gavin in the back garden of Ivy Dean, Folkstone, Kent, England, 1948. He is holding his beloved pet, a golden Labrador, called Ruhr.

Summer photo taken at our family home, The Lawn, Woodlands Road, Camberley, Surrey, probably 1953.  Gavin lived here from 1952-1965. The wooden stools were carved by commission in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one for each child. The family consist of: My father, Maj. Alexander (‘Sandy’) Macfarlane Reid, BSc, Principal Scientific Officer, Army Personnel Research Establishment (APRE), Farnborough, Hants. My mother, Sheila Macgregor Reid, primary school teacher at Yately Manor Prep School, (and subsequently at Elmhurst Ballet School, Camberley). To the front, my younger sister, Mary Ann (who was then at Yately Manor), me (‘Guy’) who was at Lyndhurst Prep School, Camberley, and my elder sister Margaret (who was at Whitefriars School, Farnborough). My father plaited his daughter’s hair – using techniques learned on horses!
Gavin, in his Second Year (1958-59) of studies at Frimley and Camberley Grammar School. The picture was taken at school, and Gavin is wearing the school uniform of: a navy blazer, with red and silver school heraldic shield on the front pocket badge; a white shirt; and dark navy blue tie with diagonal red stripes. His year master was Mr ‘Nobby’ Clarke, and his best friends were John Hibbs, Martyn Gardiner and Phillip Thomson. ‘Nobby’ Clarke was the art teacher and a talented amateur theatre director. John Hibbs read chemistry at Birmingham University, followed by a doctorate in electrochemistry at Newcastle, and then went on to a research post at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University, before quitting academia and becoming a free lance computer programmer and IT consultant. Martyn Gardiner, an air cadet at school by VI th form, read aeronautical engineering at Southampton University and went on to a distinguished career in the Royal Air Force, reaching very high officer rank and being awarded the OBE. Phillip Thompson, the ultimate hobbyist, and an expert in model railways, fancy goldfish and much else besides, went on to qualify as chartered accountant. Martyn introduced Gavin to scouting, and at his suggestions Gavin joined the 4th Camberley scout troop, in which he served for many years.

This is a picture of Gavin with two patrols from the 4th Camberley Scout Troop that went to Austria on a climbing expedition in 1963. It was taken outside St Michael’s Church, Camberley - the muster point for departure. The patrol leaders were Michael Jones (Cobra) and Gavin Reid (Fox). They were part of a 350 strong expedition, named Operation Snowflake, which travelled to the Austrian Tyrol under the auspices of the Austrian Alpine Club. The base camp was in Imst in the Oberinntal valley (a beautiful location immortalised in Carl Zeller’s operetta Der Vogelhändler). The members shown in the photograph were (back line from left to right), Tony Hepworth, Robert Pharo, Peter Bricknell, Gavin Reid, Danny Carter, Bob Dicker; and (front line from left to right) Roger Barrow, Michael Jones, Jimmy Davies, John Davis. Gavin was the only German speaker in the group.


Every person was a character in his own way. Roger Barrow fell hopelessly in love (unrequited love, as it turned out) with a pretty girl who served beer at the local inn, by the name of Crystal. Michael Jones, an exceptionally handsome young man, took a shine to a girl who lived above the Imst station. He kept looking up to her, as we massed for departure from Imst station, and she came down and gave him food. As the train pulled out, in glorious summer light, in a most beautiful Alpine setting, he scribbled a note for her, with his address on it, which he threw out of the train window. She started up a correspondence with him, but sadly it all came to nothing. Gavin himself avoided expedition romances.
This picture of Gavin was taken at the summit of the Zugspitze Mountain, in mid-August 1963. It is the highest peak in the Wetterstein Mountains, and the highest mountain in Germany. It was first conquered on 27 August, 1820. He was part of an expedition called Operation Snowflake, in which his scout troop, the 4th Camberley, participated. This photograph marks the culmination of a three day walk-and-climb journey.


Gavin was a keen scout for many years (1958-65), and was the Fox Patrol Leader. In his time, he engaged in many camps and hikes, and was trained in numerous skills, including map reading, fishing, orienteering, observation, survival, wildlife, life-saving, woodcraft, hygiene, cookery, and first aid.  He was also involved in many community activities. Of the latter he particularly enjoyed visits to local homes for the elderly, where he played the piano, sang, and performed conjuring tricks.  He never forgot the wise advice he was given there.


He progressed to Senior Scout, and then received the highest award of Queen’s Scout. This was presented in 1965 at the Lord Mayor’s residence Mansion House London, followed by afternoon tea (cucumber sandwiches and meringues) with Lady Maclean (the Chief Scout’s wife). Shortly thereafter, Gavin was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award, then a relatively new scheme, which was presented to him by Prince Phillip in Buckingham Palace on 11th May 1965.  He guest was his father, Maj. Alexander (‘Sandy’) Reid, who was very proud, and said, ‘Well done - this will be my only chance to visit Buckingham Palace’.

This photograph shows Gavin playing Lysander opposite Hazel Brown (playing Helena) in a high school production of William Shakespeare’s delightful romp A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in 1963. Lysander, charmed by the love juice of the fairy Puck, is professing undying love to a slightly incredulous Helena, who quite sensibly goes on to marry Demetrius. Lysander was one of several roles that Gavin played at high school (Frimley and Camberley Grammar School). He was keen on drama and theatre, including sketch writing, but found it absorbed too much time, and ultimately diverted too much energy from studies.

His first role was as an extra in a primary school (Lyndhurst School) production of Dick Whittington. This production was in 1954, and involved two bystanders criticising Dick Whittington. One would say ‘See, here’s a lad for London’ and Gavin had to say sarcastically ‘Well he won’t get there today!’  Sadly, by the time the production was performed at Christmas in the Agincourt Hall, Camberley, Gavin had lost his voice with a bad cold, and sat voiceless in the audience while an understudy bawled out his still remembered first theatrical line of ‘Well he won’t get there today!’.

At secondary school, Gavin was twice winner of the Evelyn Close Elocution Prize (first, with a speech from The Merchant of Venice and then with a section of prose by James Anthony Froude), and played a number of theatrical roles, of which his last and most significant was as Cuthman in Christopher Fry’s The Boy With a Cart, in 1964. It was a large part to play, with an immense amount of verse to memorise, and great complexity of expression. Richard Burton had opened his career with this play, in 1950, and it is a humbling experience for any aspiring actor to hear his masterly reading of this work.

Hazel Brown, who is the amazed Helena in the photograph, enjoyed being directed by our marvellous art master, David (‘Nobby’) Clarke, who was an inspiring teacher and mentor. Resigning his teaching post in 1973, he went on to a distinguished career in pageants and festivals, and was especially associated with the Guildford Festival, which he directed for many years until 1996.  Hazel went on to join his theatre troupe, The Cloister Players, and played Princess Katharine in his production of Henry V. The Cloister Players chose large outdoor settings for their performances, and if my memory is not faulty, this particular one was played in an old chalk pit near Guildford. Hazel has retained her love of the theatre, and reviews shows for the SE of England for

Gavin’s attempts at drama and theatre would always have been overshadowed by his famous uncle (Gordon Jackson) and aunt (Rona Anderson), who bravely went on to make livings, and strong reputations, in this most competitive of arts.

My elder sister, Margaret McGregor Fletcher Reid, was born in 1944 and died, tragically young, in 1991. She started her education in schools in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and Millport, Isle of Cumbrae (both briefly) before settling down for many years at Whitefriars School, Farnborough for her primary education, and then Farnborough Hill College Convent, for her secondary education. 

She was a rebellious, lively and humorous child, given to pranks and escapades, but all of a harmless variety. She took her pet white mouse to school one day, hiding it in her desk, and her mouse tried to escape by pushing up the ink well, and poking its little head through the desk hole: cue twenty screaming girls, and a flustered nun! Ann Robinson the journalist and television show host was a notable member of her class at Farnborough Hill.

After school, Margaret went on to Further Education at Farnborough Technical College, seeking, and achieving, entry into officers’ training for the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC), initially as an Officer Cadet at the Garrison Head Quarters in Guildford, Surrey.  After ‘passing out’, in her cohort she was the youngest Second Lieutenant, then subsequently youngest Captain in the WRAC. In her final years of service in the WRAC she was Schools Liaison Office, Southern Command, stationed at East Grinstead - a job she greatly relished.

After military life, Margaret undertook administrative jobs with the UCCA (subsequently UCAS) in London, and then the UN in Geneva. She left Geneva to live in Athens, Greece (specifically in Pireaus and Kiffisia) where she married and had a family of two girls and a boy. With ill health already lurking in the 1980’s she returned to Guildford in the UK, with her family, and worked as an administrator for the architects Building Design Partnership.

After her funeral on the 5th December 1991 she was buried near her father in Guildford The Mount Cemetery  

This is a picture of Gavin on graduation day, taken by his father ‘Sandy’ Reid in Marischal College quadrangle, Aberdeen University, July 1969. Gavin graduated MA with First Class Honours in Economic Science. During his time as a student (1965 - 69) he received six merit certificates, two class prizes, and: the Memorial Prize in Economics (1968), for his essay on forecasting in economics; the Henry Prize in Mental Philosophy (1969), for his work in political economy; and the Stephen Scholarship (1969), for his pursuit of advanced studies in economics. His first article (in Economica, 1971) was drafted while still an undergraduate, and subsequently published with (then) a young economics lecturer, now Alex Kemp OBE, Professor of Petroleum Economics, Aberdeen University.

His studies were structured as follows: first year (bajan), political economy, international relations, politics; second year (semi), political economy, economic history, political theory; third (tertian) and (magistrand) fourth years, included public finance, industrial economics, regional economics, economics policy, international trade, monetary economics, advanced microeconomics, advanced macroeconomics, development economics, economic growth, welfare economics, statistics, econometrics, and computer programming. A superb all round training!

His tutor in first year economics was Michael Kelly, later to become Lord Provost of Glasgow, and the Rector of Glasgow University. Gavin’s Regents (i.e. academic advisors) were: Donald MacKay (later Sir Donald), subsequently Professor of Economics at Aberdeen and Heriot-Watt Universities and Chairman of Scottish Enterprise; and Harry Richardson, subsequently Professor of Urban & Regional Economics, University of Southern California.

Contemporaries of his included (in 1969) multiple prize winners Graeme R D Catto, and Rosemary Thomson. Graeme Catto went on to a distinguished career in medicine; and Rosemary Thomson (now Ashton) went on to a glittering career in English language and literature.  Professor Sir Graeme Catto is now noted as a world authority on transplant immunology, and became Vice-Principal of Kings’ College London, and President of the General Medical Council. Professor Ashton, OBE is Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London, and a world expert on Romantic and Victorian literature.

Students of economics in that 1965-69 era at Aberdeen University included: Sir David Hendry, Professor of Economics, University of Oxford; and Geoffrey Wood, Professor of Economics, Cass Business School. Amongst the graduates in economics of Gavin’s year (1969) were Robert Black, currently Auditor General for Scotland.
This is the line-up for the modern jazz ensemble Wessex Quintet, which Gavin played in over the period 1969-71. We were largely a rehearsal band, and held open rehearsals in the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton University.  Mainly a jazz pianist, Gavin played jazz flute as Keith Mills, the leader of the quintet, was a much superior talent; and flautists were in scarce supply. This particular gig was the annual Southampton University Student Ball, in the summer of 1971. We shared the bill with the famed, indeed notorious, band The Scaffold, made up of Mike McGear (brother of Paul McCartney), Roger McGough and John Gorman. They were notable for their renditions of Lily the Pink, and Liverpool Lou.  Less distinguished, we were: to the left, Keith Mills, a BMus student. To his right is drummer PC Mick Orman (always on the beat), and to the far right singer Annette Edwards. She was a replacement for an earlier vocalist Elsa Dutka – who was ‘too opera’ for us.  Annette always captivated the audience with her rendition of Misty. That’s Gavin in the striped blazer (long gone): he still wears that neck tie. Keith found he played better with his shoes off. In our first set, in the quiet room, we were scheduled at the same time as The Scaffold, and had the grand audience of one, a Securicor guard, who kept watch over the fire exit. Our second set, in the ball room, was well attended, but nearly didn’t happen because we followed a Jamaican steel band, who used naked (from the waist up) female limbo dancers. Keith, being strictly religious, wanted our band to pull out in protest. We asked if it would be OK if we didn’t look – and this seemed to work, so we played.  PS We did look – sorry Keith.

Rehearsal, probably in the summer of 1977, in the front room of  6 Corstorphine House Terrace, Edinburgh, where Gavin lived from 1972-81. He was then a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Edinburgh. To the left is Robert Cressy (later to become Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Birmingham) and to the right is Brian Main, later to become Professor of Business Economics at the University of Edinburgh. We played mainly Chuck Berry numbers (the favourite being Oh Carol) and their ilk, and never performed in public. Gavin is in the middle, playing a Crumar electric piano, which usually ran through a Carlsboro 120 watt amp and speaker (but quietly in rehearsals). In the background are the Lewis Chess set, put up on the wall by Gavin in 1972, using photo tiles, when chess was all the rage, and academics had time to play it - and Bobby Fisher mesmerised us all with his genius at the board.

This is a performance by the group P’fessuh Rhythm, a small blues band that Gavin formed with John Duffy in the 1970’s, while a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Edinburgh. John was then a Lecturer in Statistics at Edinburgh University, and went on to become Head of Statistics at the University of Birmingham, and finally Chief Officer-Analytics at the Scottish Funding Council, Edinburgh. I rate John in the top ten of ‘cleverest people I have known’. The group members were Gavin (keyboard, piano, flute and vocals), John Duffy (acoustic guitar and vocals), and his younger brother Tony Duffy (electric guitar – solo and rhythm;  piano and vocals). Tony went on to become a school teacher and noted amateur fisherman. We rehearsed in the front room of the Duffy (seniors) family home in Cowdenbeath. The photograph is of a performance at the George Square Theatre Edinburgh, during the Edinburgh Festival, probably late summer of 1977. Gavin is playing the flute, and John is playing the acoustic guitar and singing (probably the blues ‘Trouble in Mind’).  Other numbers we played were ‘How Long Blues’, ‘Midnight Special’ and some Jelly Roll Morton numbers like ‘Winin’ Boy’ and ‘Buddy Bolden Blues’. It was a good performance, with large attendance. The photo was dedicated to my step son Kevin.
This is a photo of Gavin in soccer gear with a plastic practice (‘equivalent weight’) soccer ball. He is wearing a well known Edinburgh football team’s track suit: the Hibernian ‘away strip’ with colours of the late 1970s. Having spent his teenage years in Camberley, Surrey, he did not carry any tribal attachment to a team. In Camberley his best local team was Aldershot, so perhaps not surprisingly he became an Arsenal supporter. In Edinburgh, most of his friends were Hibs supporters, so at first he went along with that. Thus he was able to see George Best on a regular (or should that be irregular) basis: overweight, alcoholic, but still hugely gifted, and helped by a remarkable ‘football intelligence’.  Gavin subsequently became a Hearts supporter, mimicking the affiliation tendencies of soccer star Alan Gordon (RIP, 2010) – ‘Irvine Welsh’s accountant’ - one of Edinburgh University’s most noted economics graduates of recent decades. Gavin never played serious football, only friendly five-a-side, but his father, Sandy, and his son, Neil, were both amateur soccer stars, for Carluke Rovers and Tynecastle Boys Club respectively.   The photo was taken in the front garden of Gavin’s house at 6 Corstorphine House Terrace, Edinburgh, probably in the autumn of 1979.

This is a picture of Gavin on the Wolfe Island Ferry, out of the port of Kingston, Ontario, in the summer of 1982. The photograph was taken by Darlane Slack. At that time, Gavin was a Visiting Associate Professor in the Economics Department of Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada (1981-82). Gavin was then a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Edinburgh, mainly worked in microeconomic theory, and had just published his first book, a little volume on oligopoly theory. It was called The Kinked Demand Curve Analysis of Oligopoly, and was published exclusively by the Edinburgh University Press in the UK, and jointly with the Chicago University Press in the USA. At Queen’s, Gavin taught one graduate courses in Applied Econometrics, an intermediate undergraduate courses in Statistics and two semesters of Economic Principles, the latter based on Richard  Lipsey’s popular textbook.

He was privileged to have an office two doors along from Richard (Dick) Lipsey, world famous economist, and author of Positive Economics. This was the first economics text that Gavin had encountered at Grammar School, in his school library. It was, and is, an inspiring text, imbued with the spirit of logical positivism, as befitted its roots in the LSE of the 1950s. Dick was an inspiring colleague and a lot of fun too. He ties with Ronald Jones in the top five cleverest people Gavin has met. Memorable outings with Dick included a night out playing shuffle board with him and Doug Purvis.

Douglas Purvis was a macroeconomist of great international distinction, and subsequently Chairman of Economics at Queen’s. Sadly, he died after a surfing accident in 1993. As a counterbalance to intense academic work, Doug had encouraged Gavin to manage a junior football team, Sydenham Warders, during his time in Kingston – a very enjoyable experience. Gavin’s other friends from Queen’s included Jim Brander, John Baldwin, Dave Backus, Tom McCurdy, Robin Boadway, Gordon Sparks, Tim Hazledine, Gordon Fisher and Dan Usher.  A high spot of the year was the visit by James Tobin, who had just won the Nobel Prize in Economics. It was Doug Purvis who had prepared the official record of Tobin’s work for the Nobel Prize awards committee.

This is a picture of Gavin at the French national research centre LATAPSES in the science and technology park, Sophia Antipolis, south west of Nice in 1998. At the time he was holding a Nuffield Foundation Research Fellowship in the Social Sciences, and was a Visiting Professor at the University of Nice.  It was the year in which his Venture Capital Investment book was published and Gavin taught graduate seminars at Nice University on this book and related themes in economics and finance.  A confirmed Francophile, Gavin has also been a research visitor to the research centre MRSH, University of Caen. Other research centres at which he has been a research visitor includeZEW Mannheim, WZB Berlin and EIM Rotterdam. 

At the graduation ceremony of Friday 26th November 2010, Gavin was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) by the University of Abertay Dundee for his research work in business economics.


The Laureation was read by Professor Nicholas Terry, Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abertay Dundee. This made reference to Gavin as ‘one of a small group of highly respected academic economists who have successfully applied a rigorous approach to identifying and analysing problems with real world meaning for the practices and behaviour of business firms’. It continued that Gavin had also ‘built a formidable reputation as a scholar contributing to the proper understanding of economic growth in Scotland’s economy with its preponderance of small-to-medium sized business enterprises’.


Past recipients of honorary degrees from the University of Abertay Dundee include the economist Professor Robin C O Matthews, the business strategist Professor Coimbatore K Prahalad, and other notable public figures, such as Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Lord David Puttnam, Professor John Sizer, Professor Sheila McLean, Professor Tom Devine, Craig Brown, Kirsty Wark, Midge Ure, Sir Michael Bonallack, Brian Souter, Ian Rankin, Professor Sir Graham Hills, Professor Sir John Shaw, Baroness Helena Kennedy, and Professor Sir Philip Cohen.     


On the 2nd July 2012, Gavin was awarded a higher doctorate, a DLitt, by the University of Aberdeen for his published research work on small business enterprise. This higher doctorate is awarded for ‘an original and substantial contribution to humane learning’ and in this case it was externally examined by three distinguished international authorities. In putting forward his portfolio of a lifetime’s publications, Gavin themed his connecting narrative around his well-known publication Small Business Enterprise: an Economic Analysis, relating it to both his previous and subsequent works.