Sir Roderick Castle Floud FBA (born 1 April 1942) is an economic historian and a leader in the field of anthropometric history. He has been Provost of the London Guildhall University, Vice-Chancellor and President of the London Metropolitan University, Acting Dean of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, and Provost of Gresham College (2008-2014). He is the son of Bernard Floud, M.P.
Educated at Brentwood School in Essex, Sir Roderick gained his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Oxford (where he was also Treasurer of the Oxford Union), attending Wadham College. He gained his Doctorate in 1966 from Nuffield College, Oxford.
Having been an assistant lecturer in Economic History at University College London, he became a Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (1969–1975). Between 1975 and 1988 he was the Professor of Modern History at Birkbeck, University of London, with a year as the Kratter Visiting Professor of European History and Visiting Professor of Economics at Stanford University (1980–1981).
He was the Provost of the London Guildhall University (then called the City of London Polytechnic) between 1988 and 2002. Following that, he was the first Vice-Chancellor of the London Metropolitan University after it was formed out of the merger of the London Guildhall University and the University of North London and attracted controversy over the destruction of a history of London Guildhall University that he had commissioned. In 2004 he moved to become the President of the London Metropolitan University, a position he held until March 2006. He was knighted in 2005.
He was the acting Dean of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London from 1 August 2007 to 30 September 2009. On 1 September 2008, he succeeded Lord Sutherland of Houndwood as the sixth Provost of Gresham College. In 2014 he retired from the College and was succeeded by Sir Richard J. Evans.
Sir Roderick Floud’s interest in part-time and mature students in higher education has been reflected in his participation in numerous boards and committees. These notably include: President of Universities UK (2001–2003), Vice-President of the European University Association (2005–2007), Chair of the Standing Committee for the Social Sciences at the European Science Foundation (2007–2013).
As well as his professional academic career, Roderick Floud is a leading economic and social historian. He was one of the first people in Britain to apply statistics and computing to the study of economic history, and he was also a leader in the field of anthropometric history, the study of changes in human heights and weights. His D.Phil thesis, later published as The British Machine Tool Industry, 1850-1914, made use of econometric analysis and he soon published An Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Historians and other books and articles on computing and statistics in history. In the 1970s, in association with Professor Robert Fogel in the United States, he turned to anthropometric history, publishing a number of articles and then writing (with Kenneth J. Wachter and Annabel Gregory) Height, Health and History: nutritional status in the United Kingdom, 1750-1980 and later (with Robert Fogel, Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong) The Changing Body: health, nutrition and human development in the Western World since 1700. He has recently taken up an entirely new field, the economic and social history of British gardening.
Floud has been the editor of 4 editions of what is now The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, the leading university textbook on the topic. He has also published books and articles on higher education, part-time students, access to university courses and the regulation of universities.
Other positions and fellowships
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
- Fellow of the British Academy (elected 2002)
- Past Master of the Guild of Educators
- Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (elected 2001)
- Fellow of Academia Europaea
- "Book pulped at London Met", Times Higher Education Supplement, 27 August 2004, http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/book-pulped-at-london-met/190892.article. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- The British Machine Tool Industry on Amazon.co.uk
- Review on An Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Historians on Indiana: Magazine of History Volume 70, Issue 1, March 1974
- The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition and Development in the Western World since 1700 on the Cambridge University Press website (accessed 10 March 2015)
- Making and Running Great Gardens 1700 - 1900 lecture by Roderick Floud at Gresham College, 20 June 2013 (accessed 10 March 2015
- The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain lecture by Professor Sir Roderick Floud, Sir Andrew Dilnot, Nicholas Crafts, Dr Leigh Shaw-Taylor and Professor Jane Humphries at Gresham College, 24 September 2014 (accessed 10 March 2015)
- List of Fellows on the ACSS website (accessed 10 March 2015)
- Roderick Floud's entry on www.debretts.com (accessed 10 March 2015)