Dr Bill Grimstone (1933-2018)

by Sally March

Members of the College will be saddened to hear of the death of Dr Bill Grimstone (1952) on Wednesday, 29 August 2018.

Dr Bill Grimstone (1952)

Dr Bill Grimstone (1952)

Dr Albert Victor (Bill) Grimstone came up to Pembroke as a Major Scholar in 1952 to read Natural Sciences, having attended Varndean School for Boys in Brighton.

After graduating, Bill stayed on for a PhD in Zoology, studying the organisation of cells. He was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship in 1958, taking up the post after spending a year at Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow and working his way to a College Life Fellowship. During his time as Fellow, Bill held the roles of Assistant Tutor, Director of Studies in Natural Sciences, College Curator, Tutorial Bursar, President of the College and Chairman of the Gardens Committee.

He held a number of roles within the Department of Zoology, becoming University Lecturer in 1966. He published many papers in cell biology and was well known for his beautiful electron microscope pictures, which revealed the ultrastructure of cells. He was a founding editor of the Journal of Cell Science holding the role between 1966 and 1992. In 1968 he published The Electron Microscope in Biology and A Guidebook to Microscopical Methods (with R J Skaer) in 1972. He also wrote about Zen Buddhism.

Bill was a keen historian of Pembroke College and a regular contributor of articles to the Gazette. In 1992 he co-edited Meredith Dewey: Diaries, Letters, Writings with Professor Malcolm Lyons (1946) and Ursula Lyons. In 1997, to coincide with the 650th anniversary of the foundation of Pembroke, he edited Pembroke College Cambridge: a Celebration. He was also the organiser of the exhibition and lectures mounted to mark the anniversary. A mammoth task, the compilation of a College Directory of Members, was published in 2000. His final book, An Illustrated Catalogue of Pembroke Portraits, was compiled as Curator and published in 2013.

An invaluable source of knowledge about the College, and keen to share this knowledge more widely, Bill regularly gave detailed tours of Pembroke, with particular attention given to the architecture of the Chapel and the Old Library, where he highlighted the contribution of architects other than Wren. The fruits of this original research were published in 2009 as Building Pembroke Chapel: Wren, Pearce, and Scott.

Bill is survived by his two daughters, Phillipa and Meredith.

The funeral will be private. Details of any Memorial Event in College will follow in due course.

Lord Chris Smith

Photographer: Professor Ian Fleming (1956)