Arnold Trevor Tolley

Arnold Trevor Tolley was born in Birmingham England on May 15th 1927 to Arthur William Tolley and Dorothy Letty Tolley (nee Freeman).  He was educated at King Edward’s School, Edgebaston, Birmingham from 1939 to 1946 and at The Queen’s College, Oxford from 1948 to 1951.  With the support of Bishop Michael Parker he registered service  as a conscientious objector and worked at The Birmingham Accident Hospital from 1946 to 1948. After leaving Oxford, he went to work at The National Coal Board as an Administrative Assistant and an Administrative officer.

In 1952 he married Grace Margaret Ronaldson-Swanson of Saskatoon, Sakachewan, who died in 1969.  In 1974 he married Dr. Glenda Mary Patrick, born in Trinidad and Tobago.

In September 1955 he began his academic career as a Lecturer in English at Turun Yliopisto (Turku University) in Turku, Finland.  In 1961 he moved to Monash University in Victoria, Australia as Lecturer and later Senior Lecturer; and in 1965 to Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada where he became Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1969 to 1974.  He retired in 1994.

In 1998 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom in recognition of his writings about British Literature of the twentieth century. His books included The Poetry of the Thirties (1975); The Poetry of the Forties (1985); My Proper Ground (Philip Larkin) (1997); Larkin at Work (1997); and British Literary Periodicals of World War II and Aftermath (2007).  He also edited John Lehmann A Tribute (1987);  Roy Fuller: A Tribute (1993); The Literary Essays of John Heath Stubbs (1998); and Early Published Poems and Juvenilia of Philip Larkin (2005).

From the age of fourteen, one of his principal interests had been jazz music; and he was recognized as an authority on the subject.  From the age of seventeen he had contributed to many of the leading periodicals on Jazz including Discography, Pickup, Jazz Journal, Jazz Monthly, Storyville, The IAJRC Journal, Vintage Jazz Mart, and Canada’s Jazz Magazine Coda. He wrote two books on jazz: Discographical Essays (2009); and Codas to a Life with Jazz (2013).  He was President of the Montreal Vintage Music Society. In 2010, at the request of the Larkin Society he compiled, with John White, a CD Collection, Larkin’s Jazz. He leaves behind his collection of jazz record for the seventy-five year period: a collection of nine thousand 78 rpm records and a large number of LPs and CDs donated to Carleton University, Ottawa.

In 1974, he moved to reside in Williamsburg Ontario, where he made an active contribution to the public life of the area and was elected to the Municipal Council. In 2008 he was  honoured by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association for 20 years of distinguished service, and served for 13 years as Chairman of that Board. He was also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.  By political persuasion he was also a member of The New Democratic Party of Canada; and was a member of the Provincial Executive of the Ontario N.D.P. for two terms.He died in Ottawa at the Ottawa Heart Institute in the Palliative Care unit. At his specific request no funeral service or memorial will take place.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Marsden McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg.  Online condolences may be made at

Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news in your community by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.

Subscribe to Email Alerts

Enter your email address to subscribe to Email Alerts and receive notifications of new posts by email whenever The Leader publishes new content on our website.