Dr Gordon Dawson Anderson 1932-2009

Originally published in the June 2009 Edition of The Auger Membership Magazine

Dr Gordon Dawson Anderson  1932-2009

Gordon Anderson prided himself in being a graduate of the School of Agriculture, King’s College, Newcastle, then part of the University of Durham.  He had happy memories of his student days at Newcastle for it was here that one cold winter’s evening he met his future wife Marion when carol singing with the Student Christian Movement.  It was in Newcastle too that he had the good fortune to benefit from one of the most outstanding and dedicated teachers in Soil Science, Edward Crompton, who was also to support Gordon in his strong Christian beliefs which were a driving force throughout his life.

After leaving Newcastle, Gordon spent 15 years in East Africa, mostly at the Northern Regional Research Station in Arusha, Tanzania.  While based there, he made a survey of the soils of South and East Kilimanjaro and also undertook many trials on the nutrition of local crops.  In 1968 he produced the Soil and Land Use Potential maps of Tanzania for the atlas.  Then followed 2-year spells teaching at the University of Zambia and Makerere, Uganda.  On his return to the UK in 1973 he joined ADAS at Leeds and was able to take up again one of his abiding interest which began at Newcastle – improving the productivity of hill land.  The results of his post graduate trials on the North Yorkshire moors gave clear and convincing results.  Over-sowing, with clover plus lime and phosphate as appropriate, could transform the yield and quality for upland pastures without ploughing.  Although unpublished, a comprehensive report on his investigations is available as a disc or CD.  When he left ADAS in 1980, Gordon with the help of his family, was able to put his ideas into practice on a hill farm in the Scottish Borders near Jedburgh.  The results were outstanding and the land is now being farmed very successfully by his sons Paul, David and Stephen.

Whatever he tackled, Gordon was strongly focused and dedicated to the matter in hand.  His enthusiasm for hill land reclamation was evident when presenting papers – he had to tell the full story and frequently to the bane of Conference Chairmen, ran well over his allotted time!  Had he lived a few more months Gordon and Marion would have been celebrating their Golden Wedding; we extend our sympathy to Marion and his family.

Provided by Tom Batey, Bryan Davies & Ernest Kirby