Katrina Honeyman, 1950-2011

November 10, 2011

An inspirational mentor, an exceptionally productive academic and a dedicated fan of Arsenal Football Club, Katrina Honeyman was popular with staff and students alike.

Born in London on 18 June 1950, Professor Honeyman studied for her undergraduate degree in economic history and sociology at the University of York before going on to complete a doctorate at the University of Nottingham.

She had temporary positions at the universities of Aberdeen and Manchester and went on to join the School of Economic Studies at the University of Leeds in 1979.

She worked her way through the ranks, and between 1993 and 1997 held the position of director of the University Centre for Business History at Leeds.

In 1999, she joined the School of History, and she was made professor of social and economic history in 2008.

Professor Honeyman's research focused on the contributions made by women and children to British industrialisation, and especially on pauper children sent to apprenticeships in textile factories in the North of England.

At the time of her death, Professor Honeyman was following the stories of those same apprentices into later life.

In addition to her work at Leeds, Professor Honeyman was active within her discipline more widely. She twice sat on the council of the Economic History Society, spent a year as president of the Association of Business Historians and also served as editor of Textile History. Her contribution to her discipline was recognised in 2005, when she was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences.

Gill Cookson, research Fellow in history at Durham University and a friend of Professor Honeyman, said that she had made an "unparalleled contribution" to Leeds.

"She handled the diagnosis of cancer in 2010 with fortitude, and during months of remission was able to travel and work, but the illness returned this summer," she said. "Katrina's sharp intelligence and wit went hand in hand with a rare generosity and consideration for others, which endured to the very end."

Dr Cookson also remembered Professor Honeyman as "an inspirational and constantly encouraging mentor of younger colleagues" who would be missed by a "wide circle of friends".

"The lively social gatherings that she frequently hosted fostered friendships throughout the department," she said.

"As the number of women in the school grew, she took particular pleasure in bringing together female colleagues for many a memorable evening."

Professor Honeyman died on 23 October. She is survived by her partner, John, and her sons Danny and Ben.


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