ALAN POOLE GARDINER, son of Clement Gardiner, was born at Brislington, Bristol, 11 March 1871, and died at his home at Bradfield, Berkshire, 25 January 1951. He came of an old Bristol family; an ancestor, John Gardiner, was Warden of the Society of Merchant Venturers about 1626, and another John Gardiner was High Sheriff of Bristol at the time of corn riots; Captain Alan Gardiner R.N. was the founder of Durban. A. P. Gardiner was educated at Brighton House School and University College, Bristol, graduating B.Sc. (London) in 1905. He was for a time lecturer in Biology and demonstrator in Physiology in the laboratory of Sir Ernest Cook, subsequently holding teaching appointments at Alton, Falmouth (1906) and Newbury (1912) grammar schools. He was lecturer in Biology and Chemistry to Cornwall and Hampshire county councils. ln 1915 he joined the staff of Bradfleld College, where he was senior science master from 1918 till his retirement in 1933; be returned to teach Biology and Chemistry for the period of the war, 1939–1945. “J. D. H.” writes in The Times (2 February 1951):
“It is as a supreme biologist that Gardiner, whose obituary notice was published on January 26, will be remembered at Bradfield. When the Hollowell Prize was endowed in 1918, it was Gardiner who conceived the idea of awarding it to the best exhibit in a many sided Natural History exhibition. He established a tradition of competent enthusiasm, raising the status of the ‘ bug-hunters’ and making it easy for many boys to enjoy those country pursuits, which only a few could enjoy in the days of Collett and Beach Thomas. That the exhibition is now an important annual event, to the encouragement of real research instead of mere collecting, is due as much to Gardiner as to the founder of the prize.”
Gardiner himself looked upon his organization of the Hollowell Memorial Exhibition as his most important scientific work.
Gardiner married Minnie Gertrude Handcock, daughter of Charles Handcock, in 1899; they had a daughter, Margot Kathleen, who married Thomas Stevens, grandson of the founder of Bradfleld College, and a son, Alan A. M. Gardiner, now biology master at Radley College. Mrs.Gardiner died in 1935, and Gardiner married her sister, Edith Georgianna, in 1937.
Gardiner was elected a member of the Conchological Society in 1914, was Recorder of Marine Mollusca from 1931 till his death, and President in 1934. He was a vice-president and member of council of the Malacological Society. Gardiner was interested principally in Mollusca of the littoral zone, which formed the subject of his presidential address (J. Conchol. 20, 65). His researches were particularly directed to the ecology of Mollusca of the sea-shore and estuaries and their association with other organisms. He proposed a new genus and species, Berthellina engeli (J. Conchol.. 20, 198), but most of his published papers and notes deal with the natural history and distribution of Mollusca. His collection was bequeathed to Oxford University Museum.
Dr. Kathleen White has written the following appreciation:
“A. P. Gardiner will long be remembered by his friends as a naturalist, gardener and teacher. As a naturalist his interests were widespread and his knowledge deep. He was an enthusiastic botanist with a great interest in the habitats of the rarer native species, many of which he had collected and reared in their natural environments on his rockery. This rockery, which he loved and tended so well, is consequently very rich in variety, rarity and beauty of species. He was an ardent collector of British shells, and his affection for both animals and plants, correlated with great patience, made him the finest collector I have been privileged to know, and gave him a comprehensive knowledge of British marine Mollusca, as well as of other animals and plants in the field.”
“Probably as a teacher ‘A. P. G.’ was at his best. His charm of manner, enthusiasm and delightful eagerness to share his interests with any of kindred tastes produced one who inspired me and many others to a biological career. The fine standard of the Hollowell Natural History Exhibition at Bradfield College was an indication of this. To know him as a teacher was to love him, and many must be grateful that they were privileged to pass through his hands. Probably as a teacher ‘A. P. G.’ was at his best. His charm of manner, enthusiasm and delightful eagerness to share his interests with any of kindred tastes produced one who inspired me and many others to a biological career. The fine standard of the Hollowell Natural History Exhibition at Bradfield College was an indication of this. To know him as a teacher was to love him, and many must be grateful that they were privileged to pass through his hands.”