Rob Randall

Following the sad news of the sudden death of BRLSI Director and long-time volunteer Rob Randall (1948-2024) please find below a short tribute and funeral arrangements for the many people who have requested details.

A kind, gentle, and quiet man, Rob was greatly loved and admired by those that knew him, but as he was also deeply private and humble, few may have realised the extent of his contribution.

For 27 years Rob played a central role in caring for the BRLSI’s museum, library and archive. Regularly devoting five days a week, he catalogued and researched and also helped others in the Collections team.

Few in BRLSI’s history have done as much for the Collections. He was first involved during the 1980s, when he conducted research into Christopher Edmund Broome’s herbarium. In later years, he built and managed the BRLSI Collections Database catalogues that have been a vital tool for the Collections team and external researchers; these catalogues comprise many hundreds of thousands of data points across almost 100 linked tables, with much of the data having been input by Rob himself.

Rob came to Bath as a student in 1967, studying computing, and moved into a career as a data analyst at the South West Gas Board, then at Sydney Wharf. The privatisation of British Gas in the latter part of the 1980s gave Rob the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy and he retired early, choosing to pursue his deep passion for natural history.

Rob became one of the UK’s foremost ‘batologists’, that is an expert in the genus Rubus, commonly known as brambles and their kin. He was a recorder and the Rubus referee for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. He was also intimately involved with Bath Natural History Society over many years, as a leader of field trips, a lecturer, a council member, and, up to his death, President.

Funeral Arrangements

The funeral will take place on Friday 19 April at 10.45am at Haycombe Crematorium, 209 Whiteway Road, Bath, BA2 2RQ. The family have requested no flowers. Dress should be casual. The funeral service will be ‘livestreamed’ and we will broadcast it in the Elwin Room at BRLSI, 16 Queen Square.

To watch the service online please click here and enter the username beto9955 and password 060404.  An online recording will be available for four weeks afterwards.

At the family’s request, the hearse will drive by the front door of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution on the day of the funeral, at approximately 10am.

A wake will be hosted by the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queen Square between 12pm and 2pm. All are welcome. If you are planning to attend, please email

Donations in Rob’s memory  will be shared between the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution and the Bath Natural History Society. Donations will be collected during the funeral and wake and can also be made by clicking above.