Jack Smith (OK Ex-Staff) died July 6, 2015
Smith taught Chemistry at King’s from 1948 to 1961 and died at his home in Cheshire, at the age of 91.
Born in Kendal, Cumbria, Jack was educated at Kendal Grammar School, and Magdalen College Oxford, where he read Chemistry. In 1948 he joined the teaching staff at King’s. He quickly proved to be an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher who brought a refreshingly practical approach to the teaching of Chemistry.
Jack’s uncle ran the cinema in Kendal, and many hours spent in the projection room was to give him a life-long interest in Film. Soon after coming to King’s, he founded the Film Society. He hired copies of leading films, trained boys in the use of projectors, and put together programmes in the Great Hall two or three times each term, all for the modest subscription of one shilling per term. Audiences were regularly over one hundred – it was before the ubiquity of television!
More importantly, Jack created and developed the Film Unit, which each year made a 15 to 20 minute film of an original story, presented at an evening premiere in the Great Hall, and attended by a distinguished guest from the film industry. One of these films, Down to Earth, gained a major British Film Institute award for amateur films.
When Jack left King’s, Head Master Frank Shaw described him as “a man of shrewdness and wit, urbanity and capacity for friendship”.
Jack spent the rest of his working life at Granada Television, producing a variety of programmes, mainly on scientific and medical subjects.
During his retirement, Jack threw himself enthusiastically into a number of fresh interests, notably the study of fungi and mosses. He became a Fellow of the Linnaen Society, and even in his seventies joined an expedition to Nepal to photograph very small plants in remote places.