Born in a distant part of Europe, he was naturally surrounded by family interest in foreign lands and geography, and, as it happened prophetically, had a Philip’s globe for a ninth birthday present. At university he read Geography, Geology and Anthropology with a view to entering the Colonial Service but when entry to that Service was restricted, he turned to research in Anthropology, and then, in 1938, to Cartography when the firm of George Philip & Son in London required a Geographical Assistant to their Cartographic Editor.
The war years inevitably interrupted this activity. He served in the Royal Artillery in 1940, in the Royal Engineers (Field) in 1941–42 and in the Royal Engineers (Survey) 1942–1946. He was engaged in the mapping of Normandy from November 1942 to March 1944 using air photographs, in mapping and survey in Normandy, Belgium and Holland in 1944–45 and in air survey revision of German maps 1944–45. He was posted to India, then Ceylon and Singapore, for mapping of parts of S.E. Asia in 1945–46. He considers that he was indeed fortunate to have been in the R.E. Survey and to have worked, both during the war and since, with such skilled professional and practical men.
He returned to Philip in 1946 as Assistant Cartographic Editor, was made Cartographic Editor in 1955, and Director and Cartographic Editor in 1965 of both the publishing and printing companies of the Group. In 1969, he helped to establish Mitchell Beazley Ltd as a new and innovative publishing house in London, and, in 1970, to found and become a director of George Philip O’Neil Pty. in Melbourne. He retired officially in January 1980 and has continued to serve the firm as a consultant cartographer.
In the course of some forty years he edited for the firm, and through them for several other publishers throughout the world, educational atlases and maps, globes and relief models at all levels from primary to university. He also edited thematic atlases and maps of many kinds: geological, vegetation, climate, economic, historical, transport and navigational, and the Geographical Digest annually from its start in 1963 to 1980.
The Royal Geographical Society presented him with the Murchison Award in 1976 for contributions to educational cartography.
Throughout his busy career, he still made time for contributions to cartography in general. He was a founder member of the British Cartographic Society, was Treasurer and member of Council from 1963–1968, Vice-President in 1969, President in 1970, and was made Honorary Member of the Society in 1981. He attended the first general assembly of the ICA in Paris in 1962, lectured at the first technical meeting of the ICA in Frankfurt in 1967 and has participated in every biennial meeting since then. He has been a member of the Publications Committee of the ICA since its inception in 1974, and its chairman since 1976.
The ICA presented Harold Fullard with the Honorary Fellowship for his valuable contribution over the years, particulary in the capacity of chairman of the Publications Committee, during the Seventh General Assembly in Perth, Australia, 1984. On this occasion he was addressed by President Ormeling in the following way:
“There is one in our midst whose merits and achievements deserve special attention. When we established the Publications Committee in the early Seventies we had to find a capable chairman with experience in mapping and publishing who was also willing to undertake ICA duties. We found one in Britain in the person of Harold Fullard. By that time Fullard had been in mapping and publishing since 1938. As a young geographer he entered into the service of publishers Philip and Son, London, where he specialised in atlas cartography and climbed the ladder from geographical assistant to Director and Cartographic Editor in Chief. Since 1938, he prepared, edited and supervised the production of over 130 atlases, covering many countries and most of them excelling in clarity and legibility, used by millions of people in schools, libraries and offices all over the world. In doing so he became a man of international repute, whether he liked it or not. It is not ICA’s custom to advertise, not even to mention, names of commercial publishers but the combination of Philip-Fullard is so unusual that an exception to this rule seems to be justified.
We caught Fullard on the summit of his career, a happy state of affairs which continued to be effective for a long time. He was familiar with ICA as a participant of what is called in ICA history, the Chicago conference in 1958. He attended the birth of ICA and with his experience in international cartography he further served it in an excellent way. I even venture to say that if the experiment of the Publications Committee was successful, it was due to his effort. He moulded it into shape, drafted and revised its guidelines, chaired its meetings in his modest but efficient way, and reported to Executive Committee meetings and General Assemblies. Moreover he corresponded with authors with diverging backgrounds and experience in cartography; not always easy, as became obvious during the preparation of the publication Basic Cartography for Technicians and Students (1984), which, without Fullard’s assistance would not have appeared.
As a token of gratitude and respect, the Executive Committee upon recommendation of the Committee for the Selection of Award Recipients, has decided to confer the Honorary Fellowship of the Association to Harold Fullard and I am honoured to present him with the accompanying diploma which once more reflects our appreciation.
Speaking of evolution Fullard once said that specialisation leads to increasing lack of adaptability to changing circumstances and those unsuitable forms are doomed to be succeeded by simpler and more adaptable ones. “A bony fish” he said “can never evolve into any other form than bonier fishes”. The statement does not apply to the distinguished Fullard himself, as during his specialisation or perhaps better “bonification”, he never lost his range of vision and mental attitude which characterises the generalist. It was this combination that made him irreplaceable!”
Further reading: Obituary for Harold Fullard