Obituary: Sir Alan Turner Peacock, 92

Sir Alan Turner Peacock was honoured with the DSC. Picture: comp
Sir Alan Turner Peacock was honoured with the DSC. Picture: comp
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A highly respected economics lecturer and holder of the Distinguished Service Cross has died in Edinburgh at the age of 92.

Sir Alan Turner Peacock was formerly chief economic adviser to the Department of Trade and Industry.

He taught economics at the London School of Economics (1948-1956) and Edinburgh (1956-1962) and York universities (1962-1978). He ended his full-time career as professor of economics at the University of Buckingham where he also negotiated the award of its Royal Charter when principal and later vice chancellor.

He was also a visiting scholar at many other European universities, including being an honorary professor at Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University.

Sir Alan often referred to “a village near Newcastle” as his birthplace, and then moved with his family to St Andrews, where his father – who had done path-breaking scientific research into the causes of trench fever during the First World War – was a professor of zoology.

He was educated entirely in Dundee until he left school and went on to study at university.

His great passion was music; playing, writing and discussing the technical details. He composed music and studied composition with Austrian composer Hans Gál.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his naval intelligence work in the Arctic in the Second World War, after remaining fluent in German since his student days.

He recalled when editors and printers, thinking “DSC” was a typographical error of a DSc degree, corrected it to his annoyance, given everything sailors had to endure in Arctic winters to earn it.

During his time as an academic and right up to his death Sir Alan wrote extensively, his published works including more than 30 books and pamphlets and 200 professional articles. Defying Decrepitude: A Personal Memoir by Alan Peacock is typical of his style of self-effacing defiance and mocking irreverence for one’s fate.

He was knighted for public service in 1987.

Sir Alan moved back to Edinburgh to retire. He became joint founder of the David Hume Institute, a research organisation that specialises in legal and economic aspects of public policy, serving as its first executive director from 1985 to 1991. He was also a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

He is survived by two sons and a daughter. His wife, Margaret (nee Burt), predeceased him.