New incident reporting system launched
27 September 2012
Eric Leonard Taplin, 22 February 1925 – 22 September 2012
We are very sad to announce the death at the age of 87 of Eric Taplin, who passed away on Saturday 22 September.
Eric was the Head of the Department of Social Studies at Liverpool Polytechnic, the predecessor of the current School of Humanities and Social Science at LJMU, from 1972 until his retirement in 1984. He first came to Liverpool in 1960 when he was appointed as a lecturer at the Liverpool College of Commerce, which was later merged into the Polytechnic. His role in developing the department and the Polytechnic was pivotal, as he was an able administrator while at the same time always dealing with everybody he came into contact with graciously, fairly and generously.
Eric was also a wonderful teacher, and great scholar as well, and he became the foremost historian of Liverpool Labour History, and especially of the Liverpool dockers and seafarers. His work on the Liverpool dockers’ union was pioneering at the time, and opened up the field for others who have followed him. His main publications included Liverpool Dockers and Seamen 1870-1890, (1974), The Dockers Union: A Study of the National Union of Dock Labourers 1889-1922, (1986), and Near to Revolution: The Liverpool general Transport Strike of 1911, (1994). He also published many articles in journals and collections right up to the present. He submitted the final corrections to his last article to the editors of the journal Historical Studies in Industrial Relations only a few days before his death.
After his retirement, Eric was honoured to be appointed a research Fellow at Liverpool University, a post which he held up until his death. He was also the founder and long-time president of the North West Labour History Society from the early 1970s, and was still on its committee at his death. A conscientious objector in the World War Two, Eric was also a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a long-time member of the Labour party in Maghull.
There will be many past and present members of the University, and many elsewhere as well, who will have very fond memories of Eric, as he was a fine man who made many friends wherever he went.
Eric had been suffering from cancer for the last year or so. He remained as sharp as ever, and as good company as ever, until the end, which came peacefully in hospital. His wife Joan sadly pre-deceased him in 1988, but he leaves a son and daughter and four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Eric’s funeral will take place on Friday 5 October, 1:20 pm at Thornton Cemetery, Lydiate Lane, L23 1TP. The Wake will be at Maghull Town Hall, The Meadows, Maghull. A memorial event to celebrate his life and work is to be arranged later.
Prof. Sam Davies, School of Humanities and Social Science.