Tim Burt
Master of Hatfield College

Master of Hatfield College (1996), Professor of Geography (1996), Dean for Environmental Sustainability (2008-present), Dean of Colleges (2002-2007). Tim was born in Somerset in 1951 and studied at Sexey's School, Bruton, then a state grammar school. He attended St. John's College, Cambridge as an undergraduate, followed by a Master's degree at Carleton University, Ottawa (research on frozen soils) and a Ph.D. at Bristol University (research on hillslope hydrology). He was Senior Lecturer at Huddersfield Polytechnic from 1977 until 1984, when he moved to Oxford as a Lecturer in Physical Geography and Fellow of Keble College (where he was successively Dean and Senior Tutor). Tim moved to Durham in 1996 as Master of Hatfield College and Professor of Geography. He was awarded a D.Sc. from the University of Bristol in 1999, and made a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2012. Tim's main research interests are in hydrology and geomorphology, notably soil erosion and agricultural pollution. He is also interested in climate change: he used to run the Radcliffe Meteorological Station at Oxford and now runs the weather station at Durham Observatory - both are amongst the oldest weather stations in the world. In 1994 he received the Cuthbert Peek Award of the Royal Geographical Society and was Chairman of the British Geomorphological Research Group (now British Society for Geomorphology) in 1995-96. He is closely involved with the running of the Field Studies Council, and, after serving as Chairman since 1996 he was appointed President in 2014. He has been married to Elizabeth since 1973 and they have two children: Emma who lives in Seattle with her husband, son and daughter; and Tom, who is married and lives in New Zealand.
I could list a thousand highlights after nearly 20 years at Hatfield but here’s one of the most amusing …
On October 12th 1999, the SCR had some entertainment in the Birley Room after formal dinner to celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday. Pianist Robert Gardener played Mozart trios with Claire Bawtrey (clarinet) and Alice Jackson (flute). At the end, Robert suddenly played a loud riff and out from behind the curtains sprang Alice Babington-Hill, one of our best ever sopranos, who had been hiding there for at least 20 minutes undetected, to sing “Happy Birthday” Marilyn Monroe style. After a couple more songs, Alice ended up sitting on the Master’s lap, still singing. Some evening! 


Donate to Tim's favourites
  1. The Chapel Choir
    The Chapel Choir
  2. HCAFC
  3. HCRFC