Elected: 1936
Discipline: Organismal and Environmental Biology
Dr John Berry CBE FRSE
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John Berry, the longest serving Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, died in February 2002 at the age of 94. He was the son of a Fife landed family, and his father, William, an Edinburgh advocate, was deeply involved in the early stages of bird protection and nature conservation in Scotland, to which John Berry came ultimately to devote his life. He was born into a very different world from ours. In 1907, there was no electricity in the family home at Tayfield, and there was to be none for several decades. There were no pine trees on Tentsmuir, where he roamed as a boy and accompanied his father on shooting and natural history trips. There were no votes for women, but Miss Baxter and Miss Rintoul, friends of the family, were laying the foundations of the modern knowledge of birds in Scotland, and persuaded the Berrys to shoot any bird for them on Tentsmuir that they could not otherwise identify. There was no such thing as Town and Country Planning, but that extraordinary polymath Patrick Geddes, father of town planning, came over from University College, Dundee, for tea and taught little John botany on Tayfield lawn.