Development & Alumni Relations Office 


Samuel Ian Gamble Adamson, MB BCh BAO DCH MFCH FRIPHH (died 9 Jan 2019, aged 74)

Full obituary available online


Ian was born in June 1944 in Conlig, County Down, one of three children and only son to John Adamson, and his wife Jane. His father had an inquiring mind and read widely in all sorts of subjects and Ian took after him, read assiduously and developed an interest in history and culture, as well as in science.


Ian went on to study medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, graduating in 1969. After graduation he worked as a consultant paediatrician for many years and was a specialist in community child health and in immunisation against tropical diseases. He had a surgery on the Falls Road bringing him into contact with people from all backgrounds and became a dedicated community activist at the height of The Troubles.


Later in his career he turned towards politics. As a progressive minded politician, he was committed to fostering cross community dialogue, and he worked tirelessly to achieve peace between the two communities, including being adviser to Ian Paisley in the months leading up to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. He served on Belfast City Council from 1989 to 2011 including as Lord Major 1996 – 1997 and was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to local government.

Following retirement Ian pursued many interests including languages and Irish history.  He wrote a controversial series of books exploring the pre-history of Ulster - The Cruthin (1974) being the best known. He was a founder of the Somme Association and instigated the restoration of Northern Ireland’s national war memorial, the Ulster Tower at Thiepval.

Ian died suddenly on 9 January leaving his wife, Kerry, and two sisters.

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