Obituary for Dr Harold Smith

Dr Harold Smith died earlier this year. Harold pioneered Carboniferous palynology, coal petrology and thermal maturation studies. His early work demonstrating how the distributions of miospores in coals can be used to interpret the palaeoecological and palaeohydrological development of coal mires was of singular importance, while his subsequent work in coal-seam correlation and Carboniferous miospore biostratigraphy (some published in the Journal of Micropalaeontology) remains relevant today. The 1967 monograph ‘Miospores in the Coal Seams of the Carboniferous of Great Britain’ written with Mavis Butterworth is still a standard taxonomic reference in Palaeozoic palynology. Harold was awarded honorary membership of the International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology in 1987. He later integrated biostratigraphy and vitrinite reflectance work to provenance coal material found at archaeological sites, such as in roman villas and on shipwrecks (notably HMS Bounty). After retiring from the Coal Survey Laboratories, Harold devoted his time to ornithology and contributed greatly to bird monitoring and conservation in South Yorkshire.