Psychologist logo
BPS updates

Ed Miller 1939-2015

The former British Psychological Society President remembered.

13 July 2015

Ed Miller, who died on 22 May, was a distinguished academic and clinical psychologist, who was a past President of the Society (1992 to 1993) and the first clinical psychologist to be directly employed within the Department of Health.

He served as an officer in the Royal Signals before studying at the University of Hull, and after training as a clinical psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry returned to Hull as a Lecturer when Alan Clarke was professor. He moved to Southampton in 1971 to become Senior Lecturer at the new Medical School,  and then moved to Cambridge as District Psychologist and as Honorary Lecturer in the University. 

In 1990 he was seconded to a senior position at the Department of Health, having previously been Consultant Adviser in Clinical Psychology to the Chief Medical Officer. There he worked under both Virginia Bottomley and Stephen Dorrell, influencing policies on both clinical psychology and broader mental health issues. Meanwhile in 1992 he moved to the Chair of Clinical Psychology at the University of Leicester, where he led the clinical psychology training course, and introduced a number of innovative postgraduate courses.

Ed had a broad and deep knowledge of psychology, with an ability to apply its findings to matters of public concern. His clinical interests were in the fields of clinical neuropsychology and work with older people, and he published widely in both areas. The title of his Presidential Address: 'Psychological treatment: nineteenth century style' reflected his long-standing historical interests in the history of both mental health services and the Poor Law, and after his retirement he completed a Masters degree in local history at Leicester.

Ed was warm and friendly, with a sharp mind and an ingrained distaste for the pompous and pretentious, combined with a dry wit. He had a strong and ever present sense of humour with a rich store of anecdotes, repeatable and unrepeatable! Ed and his wife Sally had enjoyed holidays on the Isle of Skye for many years, and after he retired they went to live there, but sadly had to return to live in Rutland because of his long-standing heart problems. Our sympathy goes to Sally and their three children, Andrew, Johanna and James.  He was an outstanding example of a psychologist who combined both leadership of the Society and one of its professional branches, and will be remembered as a very significant figure in the history of clinical psychology in Britain.

- John Hall (Oxford), David Griffiths (Cardiff), Geoff Shepherd (Cambridge), and Mike Wang (Leicester)