Lou Donovan (1935-2007)

A  strong supporter of women in geology.

Shirley Louise Saward graduated with a BSc in geology and zoology from Bristol University in 1957 before starting her career as a geologist. She used her middle name, and was generally known as ‘Lou’, and through her marriage to Desmond Donovan, whom she had met at Bristol, she took his surname, and so was known to many during her professional life as Lou Donovan.

She first took a job in the Palaeontology Department of the British Museum (Natural History) (1958-59), before being awarded a diploma in town planning from University College London in 1971 and working across a number of planning departments at Cheshire County Council (1972-1974) and Greater Manchester Council (1974-76). She then became Deputy Minerals Officer at Staffordshire County Council (1976-1978) but retrained as a well logger and well site geologist and worked for the UK state oil company BNOC/Britoil (early 1980s). The last 15 years of her career she spent at the Geological Survey in Edinburgh (1985-90) before returning to London, where she was based for the rest of her life.

She became involved with many geological and civic societies (Hull, Edinburgh, Yorkshire) over the years and was an active member of the Geological Association where she championed women in geology.

Read more

Morgan. N. 2007. Obituary on the Geological Society of London website. Read the obituary here.