Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Margaret Cardwell

(published in The Guardian, London)

My husband's aunt Margaret Cardwell, who has died aged 88, was a reader in English at Queen's University Belfast. She was perhaps best known for her work with Oxford University Press on the novels of Charles Dickens. She edited the Clarendon editions of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Martin Chuzzlewit and Great Expectations. For the latter, she was awarded the Rose Mary Crawshay prize from the British Academy. Margaret spent many long hours in the British Museum reading room where she became a friend of the journalist Jean Rook, who frequented the same corner of the library.

She was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, and was educated at Fleetwood grammar school before achieving a first-class degree in English from Leeds University in 1943. She taught for a time in Blackpool before moving to Manchester, then on to London, where she studied for her MA at Westfield College (now Queen Mary, University of London).

She worked at the Froebel Institute College in Roehampton while studying for her doctorate, which she was awarded in 1969 from Bedford College. In 1967 Margaret accepted a post as a lecturer at Queen's University Belfast, where she rose to become a reader and remained until her retirement to Wellington, Somerset, in 1987.

She then spent many happy years, enjoying a daily swim in an outdoor pool from May to September until well into her 80s. Swimming was very much a part of her life. In 1954 she had been awarded a testimonial on behalf of the Royal Humane Society, for helping to save the life of a boy who was "in imminent danger of drowning in the sea at Fleetwood".

She loved watching sport, especially tennis and snooker, and we all knew better than to telephone her during play at Wimbledon or the Crucible. An animal lover all her life, she was especially fond of dogs and horses.
Margaret never married but was a beloved aunt to Valery, Richard and Peter, and her many great-nieces and nephews, who survive her. She taught most of them to swim and introduced them to the best new children's literature. She had a huge sense of fun and silliness, never forgot a birthday, and was well known for her generosity and perhaps her unusual dress sense.



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