Past Lives

Tim King graduated in Botany from Pembroke College, Oxford in 1967.  On the basis of a Nuffield Foundation Biological Scholarship in 1970-71, he gained a postgraduate Diploma in Applied Statistics in 1971 and his DPhil. in 1972, both at Pembroke College. His thesis was on “The plant ecology of ant-hills in grasslands”. He was the botanist at Westminster School from 1972-6, running its Biology Department from 1973-5. From 1977-1986 he taught Biology at Magdalen College School, Oxford. In 1986 he was appointed Director of Studies at Abingdon School.  He became joint Deputy Head in 1991 and second deputy from 1997 until his retirement in 2005. 

During his teaching career, and since retiring from full-time teaching, Tim King continued with some botanical research, university teaching, textbook writing, examining, school inspecting and charity work. He taught part time at Oxford University (141 undergraduate tutorials) and for the Open University (tutor S323 Ecology, and for two field courses). He is the author or joint author of ten textbooks which have sold about 130,000 copies altogether.  Ecology (reprinted 15 times) and the Nelson practical books had a considerable influence on the teaching of A level Biology in schools. An experienced examiner at O- and A-level, he was chief examiner in two O level subjects before becoming Chief Examiner at A level Biology for the Cambridge Board from 1984-88. As an ISI inspector, he carried out eight five-day inspections of independent schools.

Tim was chairman of the Oxford Friends of the Home Farm Trust for seven years, during which he helped to institute the Coming of Christmas concerts. More recently he has served various bodies providing nature conservation advice, such as the Land Committee of the Oxford Preservation Trust, the Port Meadow Management Committee and the Aston Rowant NNR Advisory committee (Natural England). He has been an active member of the St Margaret’s Area Society for forty years (chairman for six years, secretary for twelve), pontificating on local planning issues.  He was secretary of the Old Abingdonian Club from 1986-1991, and chairman in 2001-2.

Tennis and chess have been particular interests. An LTA-qualified coach, he played at UK Junior Wimbledon, captained his college at tennis, and ran tennis at Westminster and MCS. An ex-Secretary of the Oxford University Chess club, he organised Chess at Westminster, MCS and Abingdon, was chairman of the Oxfordshire Schools Leagues for years, still plays for Oxford City and played frequently for Oxfordshire.

Tim comes from an old Oxford family, having traced the Kings of Cowley back to 1660. Tim has been married to Heather, an artist, since 1969.  He and Heather have written her family history, currently titled Weaving, Wandering and Wigneys; The ups and downs of a typical? English family, and published it in 2017. They have three children in their forties, and three grandchildren.

Ant Hills
Ant Hill
Green Plants and Their Allies