Robert Brian Dunn FREng FIMMM (Obit)

Fellows' Lounge
16 Jul 2010
Robert Brian Dunn

Robert Brian Dunn FREng FIMMM was a Lancashire man by birth, born in 1924 into a family engaged in coal mining for many generations. He died in late November 2008.

His basic schooling was at Eccles Grammar school, followed by a scholarship at the Wigan and District Mining and Technical College. He gained a Bachelor degree in Mining Engineering from Sheffield University.


Career in mining

After practical experience in the collieries of John Brown in South Yorkshire he returned to Lancashire with Manchester Collieries Ltd prior to nationalisation in 1947. After gaining more experience he became Manager at Maypole Colliery in Abram, which was then the largest colliery in the Wigan district.

The decline of the Lancashire coalfield, which was becoming evident due to exhaustion, prompted a move to the London headquarters of the National Coal Board, where Robert worked as a specialist Mining Engineer, introducing new technology into coal extraction. In 1954 he returned to the management of collieries, this time in the Scottish coalfields. He rose from group to area management throughout Scotland, culminating in his post as Head of Mining in the Scottish division.

Another major reorganisation in the coal industry occurred in 1967, as exhaustion could not be balanced by an intensive programme of new sinkings. Robert moved to North Derbyshire as Deputy Director and became Area Director before being appointed Director-General of Mining back at the NCB headquarters from 1973-84.

During this latter period he founded and directed British Mining Consultants Ltd and was Chairman of Associated Mining Consultants based in Canada. Robert travelled extensively and lectured to international technical bodies.

In 1984 Robert returned to private industry. He was Chairman of British Mining Services Group and Senior Mining Consultant to the Wardell Armstrong partnership. Ten years later he became President of the Association of Lancastrians in London.


Extra work for the industry

He was a Fellow of the British Institute of Management and a past President of both the former Institution of Mining Engineers and the Southern Counties Region. Robert was also a visiting professor at the Universities of Leeds and Newcastle. He served for many years on the Governing Body Executive Committee of Imperial College London and was a member of Court at Cranfield University.

In the City of London, where he was a Freeman, Robert was a founder and Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers. He was also a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers.