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F. H. Stewart Collection

TitleF. H. Stewart Collection
DescriptionThis collection consists of several hundred samples of evaporate minerals. These were collected by Sir Frederick Henry Stewart, mostly from Eskdale in North Yorkshire, while he was based there with chemical giant ICI in 1942. There are also samples from New Mexico and Texas, collected in 1952, and many samples from the north of England, Africa and the Middle East. The museum also has about 200 rock samples from around Scotland, collected by him in the 1930’s and 40’s. Born in 1916 in Aberdeen, Fred Stewart went to Aberdeen University to study Geology. After postgraduate research at Aberdeen and Emmanuel College, Cambridge he was employed as a mineralogist with ICI from 1941-43. There, instructed to examine rock cores after an unsuccessful attempt to drill for oil at Eskdale, Yorkshire, he found mineralogical fascination in the Permian evaporites. This led to the identification of the first significant quantities of K-bearing chlorides in the UK, a discovery of strategic importance in wartime Britain. His meticulous work was recognised by awards from both the Geological Society of London and the Mineralogical Society of America. American geologists were especially intrigued because the Yorkshire salt deposits were very similar to those in Texas and New Mexico. The climax of his research on salt deposits was a major paper published by the U.S. Geological Survey. He later returned to carry out further research on Scottish rocks in the NE of Scotland and the volcanic complexes of the Scottish islands. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1957 and the Royal Society of London in 1964. After lecturing in Geology at Durham University from 1943-56 he became Regius Chair of Geology and Mineralogy in the University of Edinburgh. While there, he tripled the size of the department, and added an experimental petrological unit, a high-temperature and-pressure laboratory capable of examining the behaviour of rocks formed in the earth’s mantle. The laboratory was chosen by NASA for the analysis of lunar samples under vacuum to simulate conditions on the surface of the moon. In 1965 Fred Stewart became Dean of the, University’s Faculty of Science and a member of the Council for Scientific Policy in 1967. He went on to chair both NERC and the Advisory Board of Research Councils. In that capacity he was responsible for advising the Secretary of the Department of Education and Science on science policy including the funding of the NERC, the British Museum (Natural History) and the Royal Society with an annual budget at that time of around £500 million. In 1974 he was knighted, and received five honorary degrees from various universities. He also received many awards during his lifetime, including the Lyell Fund (1951) and Lyell Medal (1971) of the Geological Society of London, the Mineralogical Society of America Award (1952), the Clough Medal of the Edinburgh Geological Society (1971) and the Sorby Medal from the Yorkshire Geological Society (1975). After retiring from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, he served as a Trustee of the British Museum (Natural History) from 1983 until 1987 and as a Member of Council of the Scottish Marine Biological Association from 1983 – 1989. He also found the largest sapphire discovered in Scotland in an igneous dyke on Mull. His mineral and fossil collection was bequeathed to the National Museum of Scotland. Stewart died in Oban in 2001.
CustodianSir Frederick Henry Stewart (1916-2001)
Custodial HistoryCollected by Sir Frederick Henry Stewart, mostly between the 1930s and 1950s, and left to the University.
OriginAfrica; England; Eskdale; Europe; Middle East; New Mexico; North and Central America; North Yorkshire; Scotland; Texas; United Kingdom; United States
Parent Collection Geology Collection

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