James Balfour Lockhart

Born: 15 August 1886 in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: 27 January 1969 in Glenfarg Hospital, Perthshire, Scotland

Balfour Lockhart's father was Robert Mitchell Lockhart (born in Prestonpans in 1854; died in 1937) who was a railway goods clerk. His mother was Janet Porter (born in Darvel, Ayrshire about 1852). He had a younger sister Jeanie (born about 1888).

Balfour Lockhart attended Cambuslang Public School in Cambuslang between 1891 and 1900, then attended Skerry's College in Glasgow. He showed such outstanding abilities that the College offered him a position as a tutor in their Edinburgh branch. He passed examinations of the Edinburgh University Preliminary Board, namely Higher Latin in September 1911, then Lower Dynamics, Higher English, Mathematics, and French in April 1912. He began reading for a degree in mathematics and natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in October 1912, at age 26, but after completing two years, World War I began and he enlisted for military service. During the first of his two years at university, October 1912 to June 1913, he had studied Ordinary Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry. During 1913-14 he studied Ordinary Political Economy, and Intermediate Honours Mathematics.

After war service, which included periods spent in Gallipoli and Egypt, he resumed his studies at the University of Edinburgh in 1919, taking Natural Philosophy (Intermediate Honours Heat and Electricity) and on the 8th of July of the following year graduated M.A. with First Class Honours in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. He also graduated with a B.Sc. in the same year. He declined the opportunity to undertake research in mathematics, and took up a commercial appointment. This, however, was not to his liking and he soon applied for a teaching post. In October 1920 he was appointed as Mathematics Master at the Edinburgh Academy.

He married Agnes Russell Blyth in Kirkcaldy in 1922.

Lockhart spent the rest of his career at the Edinburgh Academy, being promoted to Head of Mathematics in 1940. He retired from teaching in 1951.

James Lockhart was a member of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, joining the Society in December 1920 immediately after his appointment to the Edinburgh Academy. He served the Society as Treasurer for 23 years from 1927 to 1950 having earlier served on the Committee. He was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 7 March 1932, his proposers being Sir Edmund T Whittaker, Herbert Westren Turnbull, Charles G Barkla, Sir Charles Galton Darwin.

An obituary, written by S Read, appears in the Royal Society of Edinburgh Year Book 1970, pages 33-34.
We give a version of this obituary at THIS LINK.

Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

November 2007

MacTutor History of Mathematics