John Blackstocke Butterworth
(13 March 1918 – 19 June 2003) was a British
Jack, as he liked to be called, was graduated in jurisprudence from Oxford University
on the eve of the Second World War
. He enlisted in the Royal Artillery
and spent much of the war in Scotland, protecting strategic targets from air attack.
He qualified in 1946 as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn
, and then became a law tutor at New College, Oxford
. He had a reputation as an outstanding teacher and he was made an Honorary Bencher
of Lincoln’s Inn in 1953. He was quick-witted and shrewd, which accounts for his appointment as bursar
of New College for the last seven years of his time at Oxford.
He became the first Vice-Chancellor
of the University of Warwick
. In 1963. Warwick was one of the handful of new universities created in the wake of the Robbins Report
(1962). One of his colleagues at the time described him as “a noisy” vice chancellor.
Butterworth believed strongly that his job was to select professors who would be leaders in their discipline and that he should stand aside and let them develop their subjects in their own way (though within a tight budget). Because he had worked only at Oxford, he wanted Oxford’s standards of academic performance at the undergraduate level and in research. He had a belief that Warwick must maintain a balance between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ disciplines: you could justify a strong commitment to the Humanities
if you had a Business......