Edward Logan Johnston Potts was born near Edinburgh on 22 January 1915, the son of Samuel Potts, a mining engineer. He was one of four brothers who all worked in mines, including Samuel who also served as a NEIMME President.
Edward Potts (more usually known as Ted Potts) started work as an apprentice surveyor with the Hazelrigg and Burradon Coal Co., where his father was mechanical engineer, and later was at the Charlaw and Sacriston Coal Co. while studying at Sunderland Technical College for his surveyor’s qualification. In 1937 he received a Miners Welfare National Scholarship to attend Armstrong College, University of Durham, gaining a First Class degree in mining engineering. He became a temporary lecturer at what had now become King’s College and after various promotions in 1951 became Milburn Professor of Mining Engineering. His research work concentrated on rock mechanics, strata control, coal ploughing and mine ventilation and these received international acclaim. He also carried out consultancy in many parts of the world. Despite the decline of the coal industry from the 1950s he managed to expand the activities of his department, overseeing major developments of research facilities and securing a purpose built building to accommodate these. He retired from what was now the University of Newcastle in 1980, continuing with his consultancy work until his death.
Potts was a student member of the Institution of Mining Engineers in 1941 and became a full member in 1951. He was President of NEIMME in 1957-58. He received the NEIMME G.C.Greenwell Bronze medal in 1946 for a paper on ventilation surveying techniques and the NEIMME Buddle medal in 1980 for services to mining research and education. He was also awarded the Thornton Medal by the Institution of Mining Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
Edward Potts died on 29 March 1984.
Fritzsche, C.H. & Potts, Edward L.J. Horizon mining London: Allen & Unwin, 1954
Potts, E.L.J. & Binns, P.D. The Establishment of a ploughability index for seams in Durham. Transactions – Institution of Mining Engineers 116 1956-57, 97-111.
Potts, E.L.J. Scientific approach to strata control Transactions – Institution of Mining Engineers 116 1956-57 113-129
Potts, Edward L.J. Presidential Address [NEIMME]: An unsolved problem in mining engineering
Transactions – Institution of Mining Engineers 118 1957-8 20-22
Potts, E.L.J. Investigation into the design of room and pillar working in rock salt Transactions – Institution of Mining Engineers 124 1964-65, 27-47
Potts, E.L.J. Production research and development: a university contribution Mining engineer 129 1969-70, 139-156
(These notes are based mainly on a biographical piece in Mining engineer 140 1980-81, 218 and the memoir in Mining engineer 144 1984-85, 137.)