Spate, Oskar Hermann Kristian(1911-2000) geographer

R Gerard Ward

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    Spate, Oskar Hermann Khristian (1911–2000), geographer, was born Oskar Hermann Christian Spâth on 30 March 1911 at 13 Seymour Buildings, St Pancras, London, the son of Karl Georg Christian Spâth, later Spate, hotel and restaurant proprietor, and his wife, Olive Sarah Margaret, née Tester. His father was German, and his mother English. For some years the family lived at 48 Doughty Street, once Charles Dickens's residence. Both parents were members of the Salvation Army at the time of his birth, but Spate himself was later agnostic. When his father was interned during the First World War his mother took him to Iowa in the United States. The family returned to London in 1919. Spate's father was badly affected by his experience of internment, and his mother, 'a woman of enormous will, great intelligence and little education', was 'the dominant person [in his life] from his childhood to early manhood' (private information). He attended St Clement Dane's School where his interest in geography was stimulated by his geography teacher, the author Leonard Suggate. He entered St Catharine's College, Cambridge, as a scholar in 1930, where he both developed a love of literature and gained an appreciation of time and space in landscapes near Cambridge. After graduating with first-class honours in geography and English in 1933 he stayed on to write a PhD dissertation on the historical geography of London, 1801–51, which he completed in 1937. On 15 August 1936 he had married Daphne Jessica Huband (b. 1913), 23-year-old daughter of Charles Huband, law reporter. They had a daughter and two sons.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOxford Dictionary of National Biography Online
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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