Jean Grove

Jean Mary Grove, nee Clark, was a Cambridge University geographer and mother of six. She was a glaciologist interested in the history of climate change, long before this became a fashionable subject. Over the course of a long career, filled with intrepid fieldwork, she reconstructed the history of glacier fluctuations across the globe over the last thousand years and wrote the seminal text (The Little Ice-Age, London 1988) on the subject of the medieval warm period and the Little Ice Age. She was a committed and inspiring teacher, serving as Director of Studies in Geography at Girton College from 1960 until 1994, and encouraging generations of students to undertake adventurous fieldwork on glaciers and icecaps. She found her six children no impediment to her fieldwork, or that of her husband Dick, also a climate geographer with a complementary specialism in desertification: they simply came along. She had little time for the desk-bound and the theoretician. She was a committed Catholic and a member of the congregation at Blackfriars since the 1950s. Jean and Dick’s house in Cambridge was usually full to the brim, with children, students, friends, and friends of friends – some visitors would end up staying for years, and mealtimes were often like the feeding of the five thousand, the food miraculously extending so that no visitor went hungry, not even those who turned up unexpectedly half-way through the meal. We hope that the Jean Grove Trust perpetuates, to some small degree, Jean’s generous, warm and practical spirit.