Tom Markus obituary


My father, Tom Markus, who has died aged 95, was the primary professor of constructing science on the College of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the place he established a thriving analysis base and, impressed by his socialist politics and Catholic religion, made big efforts to handle housing issues within the metropolis.

In 1971 he helped arrange the Help challenge in Govan to rehabilitate previous tenement buildings. In 1979 he based and chaired the Proper to Heat marketing campaign, bringing collectively authorized, architectural and medical experience to push for enhancements in chilly and damp housing. He labored to carry an finish to “slopping out” in Scottish prisons, and gave proof within the Home of Commons in regards to the risks of coating residential buildings in flammable materials – in 1984, three a long time earlier than the Grenfell hearth.

In all these campaigns Tom was questioning energy. He believed the hierarchical maintain of 1 group over one other might solely be countered by solidarity. In his e-book Order in House and Society (1982), he demonstrated how buildings created ordered relationships.

He launched himself into campaigning and writing, and an abiding reminiscence is of him coming dwelling from yet one more night spent measuring the dampness in a council flat, the place a baby had been coughing and wheezing.

Born in Budapest, his father, Victor, owned an engineering firm, Márkus Lajos, and his mom, Lili (nee Engel), was a ceramic artist. As a Jewish household threatened by rising antisemitism, they left Hungary in 1939, and got here to Britain, the place they discovered refuge.

Tom studied structure at Manchester College, the place he met Beryl McDermott, a regulation pupil, they usually married in 1954. Each had been a part of a gaggle of socialist and Catholic college students and workers in Manchester, and he was baptised throughout this era. Their political dedication and non secular religion underpinned a lot of their lives collectively.

From 1956 to 1964 he labored for the glass producer Pilkington, creating an experience within the technical elements of constructing that will turn into the inspiration of his educational profession. He was appointed professor of constructing science at Strathclyde in 1966.

After formally retiring, he carried on instructing, analyzing, writing, researching and campaigning till he was about 90.

Beryl died in 2014, however Tom continued to take big pleasure in household and buddies. He’s survived by six youngsters, Mary, Kate, Daniel, Peter, Allan and me, and by seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


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