Biography of Sydney Checkland
Sydney George Checkland (1916-1986) was Professor of Economic History from 1957 to 1982. He was instrumental in the establishment in 1976 of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Born in Ottowa, Checkland worked in a bank and then became an accountant before travelling to Birmingham in 1938 to study for a BComm. He became active in student politics, serving as President of the Guild of Undergraduates of the University of Birmingham, President of the National Union of Students in 1941 and President of the International Union of Students in 1942. He served in the Canadian Army during the Second World War, and was wounded at Falaise.
After graduating MComm in 1946, Checkland became a lecturer in Economic Science at the University of Liverpool. In 1953 he was appointed a lecturer in Economic History at Cambridge and four years later was appointed to the new chair at Glasgow. He built a flourishing new department there, particularly strong in the fields of business, banking, and urban history. He cultivated links with local business leaders, which led to the creation in the Colquhoun Lectureship in Business History in 1959, and was a driving force in the foundation of the Business Archives Council (Scotland) in 1960. Among his many scholarly works, The Gladstones: a Family Biography, 1764-1851 (1971) won a Scottish Arts Council book award and Scottish Banking: a History, 1695-1973 (1975) won a Saltaire Society prize.
Checkland served as a board member with the East Kilbride Development Corporation, 1964 to 1968. He was Chairman of its Industry and Employment Committee of the Social Science Research Council from 1982 to 1984 and President of the Economic History Society from 1977 to 1980.