John was born in Aberdare on 22nd January, 1935 to parents George and Minnie Yockney. He was succeeded by a sister Joan, and brother Richard — Joan died several years ago, and Richard in infancy.
John was brought up in Windsor St., Trecynon, and attended St. Fagan’s Primary School. In 1945 he passed the 11-plus examination to Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School. At GCE A-level in 1953 he passed in Economics, English and Geography, with distinctions in the last two subjects. The quality of his examination results resulted in the award of a State Scholarship — one of three awarded1 to the school in that year. He then went to University College Swansea where he gained a degree in French and Geography.
After university he was appointed to a teaching post in London. There, he met Pauline Clarke whom he was to marry in 1959. John subsequently obtained a post in Luton, and by this time had two children born in the early 1960s— Ruth and Rosalind.
Later he was successful in obtaining a post in Cardiff University as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education, and as a consequence, moved to Caerphilly where his son Jonathan was born. Pauline remained active and was awarded an M.A. entitled Women in Wilde’s Plays from Cardiff University in 1993. Sadly, at the age of just 59, Pauline died in 1996.
John was involved in many aspects of activity at the University, and whilst there he obtained his doctorate. He had a meticulous mind for research, and published in several geography journals. He was also the chief examiner for several Examining Boards. John also authored text books for students. Some of his publications are detailed below.
He was a member of the Tennis and Cricket Clubs, and he was obsessed with fishing, a solitary activity, but he documented every type of fish that he caught, and where it was caught.
He was a family man and kept in touch with his family at Aberdare, and would make visits on a regular basis to his relatives, among whom were Pamela and Roger Jones. He produced his own personal family tree, and as a consequence would later teach Genealogy at Colleges of Further Education in Aberdare and the Rhondda on a night school basis.
As a person, John was extremely generous to his friends, and was warm and caring. He was second to none as an academic. For the last 11 years of John’s life, Marilyn (his friend) cared for him, and nursed him almost on a daily basis., John had seen Marilyn through a difficult period after her husband had died in 2006, and a firm friendship developed between them. John moved to Greenhill Manor Care Home, Merthyr Tydfil in April, 2012, and Marilyn was with him almost every day. The care home staff were very supportive and cared for John as if he was a family member. This care was extended to Marilyn herself, and helped make difficult times bearable.
John was many things to many people, from academic to caring friend, but he always approached matters with humanity and a sense of humour, and will be greatly missed.
John died on 17th November 2017 at Greenhill Manor Nursing Home, Merthyr Tydfil. His Funeral Service took place on 30th November 2017 at Llwydcoed Crematorium.
When John’s death was announced late last year, it prompted these two testimonials, one from a colleague and the second from one of his PGCE students:
David Maddox, OBE
Some of John Yockney’s publications:
The Economic Geography of Aberdare since 1801. (1954).
An Excursion in Historical Geography, (A resource pack comprising details of the industrialisation and consequent evolution of the town, with details of a field study excursion by which most of the important elements of the cultural landscape may be identified and studied. Together with a set of photographic slides with notes, including early ironworks, brickworks and their systems of communications.), Evans, T.J., Maddox, D. & Yockney, J, Fieldworker Magazine, (1968).
Aberdare: a Study in Industrial Geography, Evans, T.J. & Yockney, J., Fieldworker Magazine, (1969).
Modern developments in the ports of eastern England, John Yockney, (1973)
The organisation, supervision and examination of teaching practice: a critical examination of the procedures developed at the Education Department, University College, Cardiff 1968–1975, John Yockney, 1975.
Evaluation of a school tutor scheme, John Yockney, Education + Training, Vol. 18, Issue: 5, pp.138-141, (1976)
The selection and training of graduate teachers, John Yockney, 1978.
The Railways of South East Wales, John Yockney; Neil Sprinks. British Rail and University College Cardiff, 1985.
Environmental studies in the Cynon Valley, [eds. J. Yockney, D. Maddox and T.G.L. Hopkins], Mid Glamorgan Education Dept.; University of Wales, Cardiff. 1984 & 1985.
Coal in South Wales, University College Cardiff, (1987).
The Geography of Tourism — a new Basic test, Yockney, John, Teaching Geography, Vol.13 (2), pp.73–73, April 1988.
Basic tests in geography, John Yockney, OUP (1989), 7 editions published between 1989 and 1996.
Basic Tests in Geography: Teachers’ Edition, John Yockney, OUP, (1991).
Both Pauline and John have articles in The ports of South Wales, University College, Cardiff, (1983).
1. The other State Scholars were Victor Carney and Morton J. Davies. The
short Aberdare Leader article about John Yockney’s State Scholarship can be seen
Victor was brought up in Maes-y-Dre. He became a councillor in the Aberdare, and later became Registrar at University College, Swansea. He was a graduate of U.C.W. Aberystwyth.
Morton was from Broniestyn Terrace. He left for Imperial College, London and eventually became a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at U.C.W. Aberystwyth.
(There was another Morton Davies, but he was Morton Rees Davies. He was from Werfa, Rhigos, and attended ABGS a little later, 1949–57. He went to the universities of Swansea and Oxford and became a senior academic in the Department of Politics, at the University of Liverpool.)
Thanks to David Maddox (ABGS 1954–62), Marilyn Davies, Gwyn Evans (ABGS 1959–1966) and Jocelyn Andrews for their invaluable help in compiling this account of John’s life.
31 March 2018; revised 31 May 2022