Ref NoLDGSL/1022
TitleTwo albums of photographs of the Swiss Alps
Date NoteBased on obit in QJGS
Extent2 volumes
DescriptionTwo albums containing 73 black and white photographs of the Swiss Alps, taken by Frederick Noel ASHCROFT. The photographs are not dated, but are likely to be part of the series of images taken by Ashcroft during his mineral collecting in the region between 1921-1938. The captions are quoted as written by Ashcroft.
Administrative HistoryFriedrich Noel Ashcroft Fleischmann was born in Wavetree, Liverpool on 28 August 1878. He was educated at Rugby School between 1892-1897, then Magdalen College, Oxford where he took a first in Chemistry in 1901. Before gaining his MA in 1904, Fleischmann also studied at Tubingen in 1901 and undertook some research in organic chemistry. However his schoolboy interest in mineralogy was encouraged under Sir Henry Miers, Professor of Mineralogy at Oxford, with whom he accompanied on various student excursions to British mineral localities. Also at Oxford was Harold B Hartley (later Sir Harold B Hartley), with whom he joined the Mineralogical Society in 1900 and on a mineral collecting visit to the Seiser Alpe in the Tyrol in 1901. Fleischmann was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society in 1910.

Between 1901-1914, Fleischmann specialised in collecting zeolites mainly from Europe and America. The collection, when it was presented to the British Museum in 1914, consisted of around 2,000 specimens from 80 different localities.

After the end of the First World War, Frederick Noel Ashcroft (he anglicised his name in November 1914) began undertaking yearly visits to Switzerland, making the acquaintance of leading and local mineralogists many of whom were expert Alpine guides and from whom he would purchase specimens. He made it a condition, however, that he should be not only able to ascertain the exact locality of every specimen but also preferably inspect the area himself. Ashcroft’s principal collecting areas were centred around Disentis and Sedrun in the Vorder Rhein Valley and about Andermatt and Amsteg. From the latter two places he could also reach the mineral localities of the Reuss Valley, St Gotthard, Urseren Thal, Göschenen Thal and Maderaner Thal. Two of his most useful local mineral contacts were Adolf Caveng, the postmaster at Sedrun, and his son Ambrosi to whom he would send maps onto which they would mark the localities of interesting finds. In the following summer Ashcroft could then visit the localities himself and photograph the sites with his half-plate stand camera. Prints from photographs were used to pin-point the finds more precisely and to record any further finds that were made.

Ashcroft’s Swiss mineral collection of over 6000 specimens was donated to the British Museum between 1921-1938, along with the photographs connected to their collection. Although he did not write any papers on his Swiss collection, he collaborated in the two volume work 'Die Mineralien der Schweizeralpen' (1940) by Niggli, P, et al, and in which a number of his photographs appear.

Outside of mineralogical studies, Ashcroft served as Treasurer not only to the Geological Society (1929-1947), but also to the Mineralogical Society (1924-1942) and also to the XVIII Session of the International Geological Congress (1938-1949). After the Congress he was planning a further visit to Switzerland but died suddenly at his home in London on 4 April 1949.
ProvenanceThe provenance is unclear, but the album may have accompanied Ashcroft's donation of the book Niggli, P, et al 'Die Mineralien der Schweizeralpen', Basel: B Wepf (1940) [accessioned 26 June 1941] or was part of the bequest of 50 volumes on his decease.
Access ConditionsAccess is by appointment only. Please contact the Archivist for further information.
Publication NoteSome photographs and Ashcroft's mineral finds are published in Niggli, P, et al 'Die Mineralien der Schweizeralpen', Basel: B Wepf (1940).
ArchNoteSource: obituaries published in 'Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society', vol 105 (1950), pplxix-lxxii & 'Mineralogical Magazine, vol XXXI (1956), pp195-199; Description by John Thackray; revised and fully catalogued by Caroline Lam
CreatorNameASHCROFT | Frederick Noel | 1878-1949 | mineralogist and photographer
SubjectGlacial geology
DS/UK/851ASHCROFT; Frederick Noel (1878-1949); mineralogist and photographer1878-1949
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