Binns, Blodwen, Lloyd, 1901-1991, botanist, bacteriologist and biologist

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Binns, Blodwen, Lloyd, 1901-1991, botanist, bacteriologist and biologist

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  • Lloyd, Blodwen

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Blodwen Lloyd Binns, M.Sc., Ph.D., was a lecturer and later senior lecturer in botany, bacteriology, and biology at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow from 1926-1962.

Blodwen studied at University College, Aberystwyth, and graduated with first class Honours, and an MSc degree. She later achieved a PhD from the University of Glasgow, 1929. In 1926 Blodwen Lloyd Binns joined the staff of the Royal Technical College (University of Strathclyde antecedent) as lecturer, later becoming senior lecturer, in Biology and during her long association with the institution, she built upon an active teaching and research group. Lloyd Binns travelled widely and internationally for her research including: to Naples to study Dinoflagellates; to the University of Geneva to study the Alpine flora; to the Pasteur Institute to study the diphtheria organism; to the University of California to study marine bacteria and along the Amazon River to collect specimens. In 1939 Professor Waksman, who was later to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of Streptomycin, invited her to speak at an International Congress of Microbiology in New York. Having heard her, he immediately offered her a Senior Fellowship to work with him. A few months later, World War II broke out and Dr Lloyd returned to Glasgow. She joined the Ministry of Labour, becoming successively Welfare Superintendent and Personnel Manager in the Training Scheme for Women in Engineering, and Woman Power Officer. In 1944 she moved to the British Council in London to become Secretary of the Science Department and Deputy to the Director, meantime editing the Council’s ‘Science Commentary’ and lecturing to HM Forces.

After the War Binns returned to Glasgow and continued her work. She became founder Chair of the Glasgow Film Society, in 1954 Chair of the British Universities Film Council, an important figure in the formation of the University of Strathclyde ’96 Club, and Vice-President of the Andersonian Naturalists (now the Glasgow Naturalists) in the early 1960s. In the Royal Technical College building, Blodwen unearthed a major herbarium collected by John Scoular (1804-71) and Roger Hennedy (1811-79), both Professors of Natural History at the University of Strathclyde antecedent institution. She cleaned, remounted, reclassified and catalogued thousands of specimens that are now on permanent loan to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Later in the 1960s Dr Lloyd Binns was offered a Visiting Professorship for one year in the University of Malawi. Seven years later, having written a book on the flora of Malawi (including native names, and there are about nine dialects) she established a Malawi herbarium and chose the flowers for two sets of Malawi postage stamps.

In 1984, Dr Blodwen Lloyd Binns was presented an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Strathclyde. She died in 1991.


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Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow (1887-1964)

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1926 - 1962

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Blodwen Lloyd Binns was a lecturer at the College.

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GB 249

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ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2003); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).


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Created by Kimberly Sommerville, June 2011. Revised by Victoria Peters, November 2017. Biography details added by Rachael Jones, January 2020.




-Obituary in 'Prism' magazine, January 1992, reference number: OS/83/1 (University of Strathclyde Archives and Special Collections)

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