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Albert Ludford 1913-2016

Committed and an enthusiastic teacher, with a phenomenal memory for palaeontological locations, who became a Fellow of the Society in 1945.

gyhkBorn in Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, he attended Wednesbury Boys High School. Although chemistry was his initially preference he graduated in 1934 with a good honours B.Sc. in Geology & Geography from Birmingham University, having been awarded the Panton Geological Prize. He taught at a local primary school following completion of a teaching diploma. A strong mutual interest in geology developed with Ellen Seagar (Nellie), whom he married in 1940, continued through the Midland Group of the Geologists’ Association, which he joined in 1938. Albert carried out researches in his spare time; firstly into local industrial mineral deposits and then into the Carboniferous stratigraphy of the Pennines in Staffordshire and south-west Derbyshire. Both involved a lot of walking and bicycling.

In 1940, he was commissioned in the Royal Artillery and initially served as a battery commander in England, Orkney and Nigeria. Then Albert was seconded as a geologist to the Inter-Services Topographical Department and was involved in the preparation of overlays for soil types in north Germany for tank runs and made visits to Norway, Sweden, Thailand, Singapore and Burma for other projects [detailed in the publications of Ted Rose & co-authors]. He was demobbed in 1947 with the rank of Captain.

Albert transferred to the Wolverhampton Municipal High School where he taught geography but introduced geology. Also, he was a geology lecturer for the extra-mural department of Birmingham University. He was awarded the MSc in 1945 for his work on the Carboniferous stratigraphy of the Weaver Hills, which was subsequently published in QJGS. Two fossils are named after him as a consequence of his researches, viz. a Ludlovian Leptaenid brachiopod Ludfordina pixis and a Carboniferous goniatite Pronorites ludfordi. His Carboniferous researches were extended into Dovedale for the award of a London University PhD in 1972.

In 1955 he was appointed a Lecturer at Luton & South Bedfordshire College of Further Education (now the University of Bedfordshire). Geological resources at Luton for the External London B.Sc. were considerably enhanced through the advent of Norman D’Cruz in 1960. Later with a rapid increase in undergraduates further staff appointments were made. At his retirement in 1976, Albert was Principal Lecturer in charge of five geology staff and Deputy Head of the Science Department. Additionally he was a member of the Geology Board of the Council for National Academic Awards and an Examiner for London University External BSc. Nellie and he retired to Malvern where he continued his interests through the local RIGS group. In 2013 he was awarded a University of Bedfordshire honorary DSc.

Encouraged by Albert and Norman the Luton geology section maintained high standards of degree level teaching that provided a good foundation for the establishment of a university. Albert will be best remembered for championing the interests of students and as a stimulating teacher with great thoughtfulness, consideration and patience.

By Gordon Taylor with help from Norman D’Cruz and Ian Ludford.