Joan Margaret Kenworthy


Joan Margaret Kenworthy FRMetS

Joan Kenworthy has made an outstanding contribution to the history of meteorology over a long period.

She has published three of the Royal Meteorological Society’s occasional papers, all of them substantial and scholarly, one of them about relations between this Society and the Royal Geographical Society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and two about Albert Walter, a distinguished meteorologist in the colonial service. For researching the latter two papers, she not only dug deep in archives in both Africa and the United Kingdom but also established close contact with Walter’s family.
Joan organized and hosted at Durham University in the early 1990s two major historical conferences, one on ‘Observatories and climatological research’, the other on ‘Colonial observatories and observations: meteorology and geophysics’. Complete proceedings of these conferences were published, both edited by Joan, and copies were sold by the Royal Meteorological Society for many years.

Joan has also contributed historical pieces to Weather, in particular profiles of the eminent climatologists C.E.P.Brooks and W.G.Kendrew, obituaries of F.K.Hare and S.P.Jackson, and a number of scholarly articles, including one on the Durham University Observatory and its meteorological record, another on the contribution of the Chevallier family to meteorology in north-east England, and a third on inferences regarding rain-gauge exposure at Durham from 1868 to 1870. In Notes and Records of the Royal Society, she has co-authored an article on a contribution to meteorology by Spencer Cowper, who was Dean of Durham from 1746 to 1774.

Joan has given many talks on historical aspects of meteorology to the History Group and the North East Local Centre and served as a most effective member of the committee of the History Group for many years. She has also played a leading rôle in making sure papers of the celebrated climatologist Gordon Manley have been preserved and catalogued, particularly his research material relating to historical records of British weather.