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NZ Antarctic Heritage Trust Completes the Conservation of Scott's and Shackleton's Huts

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust has announced that it has completed its conservation of the three historic huts used by Captain Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton at Cape Evans, Hut Point and Cape Royds. The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is proud to have been a major supporter of this conservation project, having helped generate £3.5 million for the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project and more recently given £100,000 (part of which was donated from the Barbara Debenham legacy) for the conservation of Scott’s Discovery Hut and Carsten Borchgrevink’s hut at Cape Adare.

Sixty-two specialists from eleven countries contributed to the conservation of these buildings and their related artefacts over the life of the project, and uncovered previously undiscovered artefacts such as the famous crates of Scotch whisky and brandy at Shackleton’s historic base, and the photographs and notebook recovered from Scott’s hut at Cape Evans.

Maintenance of the three bases and their artefacts will be ongoing, but the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust now plans to begin conservation work at Borchgrevink’s hut at Cape Adare and Hillary’s Hut at Scott Base. To read more about the work of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust and watch the video 'Saving Scott's and Shackleton's Huts', visit

To read the full press release click here.

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Antarctic British Base 'A' star of PBS Natural World Series Documentary

The Penguin Post Office – Bransfield House (Base ‘A’) is a little bit of Britain in the heart of Antarctica. Inside the British Base ‘A’, run by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), the Post Office has everything you’d expect: a postbox, stamps, postcards and four dedicated UKAHT staff. Outside, things are a little bit different, living alongside the Post Office are 2,000 gentoo penguins. They’re here for one reason, to raise a family, but their lives are far from picture postcard - adultery and robbery are rife, as the program makes clear.

A new film made by AGB Films for THIRTEEN’s ‘Nature’ to be broadcast on January, 28 2015 chronicles life at Antarctica’s Penguin Post Office and follows the lives of the UKAHT staff and a colony of gentoo penguins as they survive around Bransfield House, a British Antarctic Territory Post Office in the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Every summer the gentoo penguins return to the location of the world’s most southerly public Post Office, and it is here viewers find out that as the penguins nest, they share their home with four newly arrived UKAHT staff, who run the Post Office for visiting tourists, proudly flying the Union flag and cleaning up the penguin mess around the base. We soon learn, however, that there is more to these adorable little penguins than comical waddling. We also take a look around the Post Office and learn about its history in the 1940’s and 50’s. We meet Base Leader Helen Annan, and Post Mistresses Kristy Leissle and Jane Cooper, who live alongside the penguins for the austral summer. They, and some of the visitors to the Island, share their thoughts on their experience of Antarctica, these special animals and what they are writing on their postcards home.

“We were drawn to Penguin Post Office because of its unique story,” said Nature Executive Producer Fred Kaufman, “and were intrigued by the incongruous juxtaposition of a penguin rookery and a working post office in the middle of the Antarctic.”

Nature is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Penguin Post Office is a production of AGB Films for THIRTEEN Productions LLC and BBC for WNET. The program airs Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). After broadcast, the episode will be available in U.S. & territories for online streaming at

To read the full press release click here

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The Enduring Eye: a centenary exhibition to celebrate Frank Hurley’s photographs of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) today, 20 November 2014, announces ambitious plans to celebrate the centenary of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-17) led by Sir Ernest Shackleton and better known today as the Endurance expedition.

The Society owns 68 glass plate negatives of the expedition, selected and saved from the ice by Frank Hurley and Sir Ernest Shackleton, and never previously seen by the public. These fragile glass plates, which vividly capture the feelings of men in extreme circumstances, will be used in an innovative new exhibition that tells Shackleton and his team’s story of extreme adventure, team spirit, trust, difficult judgements and an audacious plan to sail 800 miles in little more than a rowing boat as the only possible chance of rescue.

Opening on 20 November 2015 to mark the centenary of the crushed Endurance sinking below the sea ice of Antarctica on Sunday 21 November 1915, the exhibition will inspire, engage and inform visitors with UK Antarctic heritage, Shackleton’s extraordinary leadership and Hurley’s photographic achievements in such uncompromising landscapes.

Curated by Meredith Hooper, the exhibition will also conserve the fragile glass plate negatives, and enable public access, by taking the first digital copies of the plates and making replica plates.

Dr Rita Gardner, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Director, said: “The centenary of the Endurance expedition and the evocative images from it provide a unique opportunity to generate a wider understanding and appreciation of the Antarctic legacy of Shackleton and Hurley on photography, science and heritage. We plan to combine technology and theatrical design to produce a public ‘Shackleton’ exhibition unlike any previously seen.”

Camilla Nichol, Chief Executive of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, said: “We are delighted to be the headline supporter of this landmark exhibition. It is a unique opportunity to create a legacy which uses state-of-the-art technology to preserve for the future these precious photographic plates. The exhibition will allow a new generation to be inspired by the story of Endurance and to experience for themselves these extraordinary images, which survived against all the odds”

The exhibition is being made possible through the generous support of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, the Governments of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, Rolex and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.

The Society is working on plans to tour the exhibition in the UK and beyond.

To read the full press release click here.

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Cheveley School tell UKAHT about their Penguin Project

The Trust was thrilled to receive photos from the Penguin Project that the pupils of Maple Class, Cheveley CE Primary School, had created as part of their Antarctic lessons this term. As part of our education programme, the Trust was delighted to be able to help the pupils by sending information and some souvenirs to support the programme. We wish them all the best with their ongoing studies.

Please see below for their letter of thanks and photos.




Cheveley School thank you

New films for Port Lockroy and Deception Island

The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is pleased to announce the release of two new films introducing two of the most important and charismatic sites in Antarctica; Port Lockroy and Deception Island.

Port Lockroy filmPort Lockroy sml
Filmed by AGB films, who also made the BBC Natural World’s ‘Penguin Post Office’ documentary, Port Lockroy ‘Base A’, Antarctica introduces the history of Port Lockroy as well as offering a taster of what visitors to the historic site can see today. Featuring footage shot from the 2013/14 season, as well as archival images, this introduction to Port Lockroy gives an insight into why Base ‘A’ remains the most visited historic site in Antarctica.


Whaler’s Bay Deception Island filmDeception Island TM small
The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust has also produced a film for Whaler’s Bay in Deception Island. With its varied history and remains this site is notoriously challenging for visitors to interpret. The film ‘Whalers Bay Deception Island: A Brief History’ provides an overview of this fascinating and historically important part of Antarctica and provides a useful means of interpretation of the site. Created by Kirk Watson, the film uses rare archival footage as well as more recent images to bring the story of Whalers Bay to life.


The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust has produced these films as informative guides to be screened to cruise-ship passengers before they visit Port Lockroy and Deception Island. As a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), UKAHT uses these films as part of its commitment to promoting responsible tourism in Antarctica.

Both of these films are now available on YouTube through the links found on our website here, with additional subtitled versions of the Deception Island briefing film in English, French, German, Mandarin, Norwegian and Spanish.

New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust find Antarctic explorer's notebook after a century

A photographer’s notebook left behind a century George-Murray-Levick-note-010ago at Captain Scott’s last expedition base at Cape Evans, Antarctica, has been discovered and conserved by New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZAHT).

NZAHT’s conservation specialists found the notebook outside Scott’s 1911 Terra Nova base. Each year the summer snow melt around the building causes variations in run off patterns, exposing the notebook for the first time in more than 100 years.

The notebook is a “Wellcome Photographic Exposure Record and Dairy 1910”. It belonged to George Murray Levick (1876-1956), surgeon, zoologist and photographer, his name clearly written in the opening pages.

Levick was a part of Scott’s 1910-1913 expedition and a member of the Northern Party. The notebook contains his pencil notes detailing the date, subjects and exposure details for the photographs he took during 1911 while at Cape Adare before undergoing a harsh winter in an ice cave on Inexpressible Island.

“It’s an exciting find. The notebook is a missing part of the official expedition record. After spending seven years conserving Scott’s last expedition building and collection, we are delighted to still be finding new artefacts,” said Nigel Watson, NZAHT’s Executive Director.

The notebook’s binding had been dissolved by 100 years of ice and water damage allowing the pages to be separated and digitised before repair. Close examination reveals links between the notations in the notebook and photographs held by the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge and attributed to Levick.

Each page of the notebook has been conserved by the NZAHT back in New Zealand before being rebuilt back into sections and sewn back together. The cover has been reconstructed.

The notebook has been returned to Antarctica; one of 11,000 artefacts at Cape Evans.

Background to the conservation process:
George Murray Levick’s notebook required specialist conservation treatment. The NZAHT engaged French Paper Conservator Aline Leclercq to undertake the meticulous task of conserving the notebook. This involved separating each individual page, stabilising and cleaning the pages, rebuilding the notebook into sections before sewing the book back together and reconstructing the cover remnants. Conservation treatment provided the opportunity to digitise each page of the notebook. This allows for a more comprehensive study without risking the fragile object.

Levick was a part of Scott’s 1910-1913 expedition and a member of the Northern Party. The Northern Party of six men summered (1911-1912) at Cape Adare.

To view a short video of the conservation process that was shot click here

Please visit New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust's website for more photos.

UKAHT hosts special Penguin Post Office screening

UKAHT were delighted to host a special screening of the BBC’s Natural World film, Penguin Post Office and an exclusive advance preview of CBBC’s ‘my life’ programme on Friday 10 October at the Arnolfini in Bristol.

The audience were treated to watching the film (originally broadcast on the BBC) on a large screen, which enhanced the spectacular scenery photography at Port Lockroy and also the antics of the resident gentoo penguins.

Port Lockroy and the UKAHT featured throughout the BBC film and it was a delight to see and hear the small team, who are based at Port Lockroy over the austral summer months, meeting and greeting the visiting tourists. The visitors’ clear delight at being able to mail a post card from the world’s most southerly public post office, purchase souvenirs, visit a museum and stand so close to photograph the small, noisy, smelly and characterful penguins was brilliantly captured.

The CBBC production featured film director and cameraman Andrew Graham-Brown’s children, Amy and Daisy, spending a ‘day in the life’ of their father and also being given the opportunity of working in the Post Office. The whole family celebrated Christmas on board the yacht Palegic, a once in a lifetime experience. If there had been any children in the audience, no doubt there would be some interesting and tricky questions with parents as to why they couldn’t easily go there for their holidays as well!

Ruth Peacey, assistant producer, Doug Allen, underwater cameraman, Rachel Morgan, Director UKAHT, and Jane Cooper who was part of the Port Lockroy team that season, took questions from the audience following the film. People were interested in how the idea to film penguins at Port Lockroy was first conceived, as well as the actual experiences the team faced trying to film in such adverse conditions.PPO from behind lecturn adj web

Ruth said, “The original idea came from Matt Fletcher from the BBC’s Natural History Unit, who had heard about a colony of penguins in Antarctica that lived alongside a British Post Office. The idea evolved as we spoke with Tudor Morgan and the UKAHT.

“That was a few years ago now and it's hard to believe that this amazing journey with the UKAHT has nearly come to an end. We've still got to see the children's programme through to transmission in the New Year though!"

Tudor expressed, “It still brings a tear to my eye watching Penguin Post Office. It has just been the most amazing experience, which has seen the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust thrust into the public domain, offering an insight to not only the wildlife on the tiny island, but an understanding that Base ‘A’ is an important part of our British heritage.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg. It is still hoped that the Penguin Post Office will be broadcast again over the Christmas period, prior to being released by PBS in the USA. The American version is scheduled for broadcast early in the New Year. BBC Worldwide are also selling Penguin Post Office worldwide, so when you’re on your travels and get stuck in a hotel room, you might be lucky enough to see Penguin Post Office again.”

The evening came to a close with the guests mingling with amateur film makers, past and future Port Lockroy team members, friends of Antarctica and the UKAHT team over tea and coffee. Everyone agreed that the film was fantastic!

Whilst all the filming was taking place, Tudor, Doug, Andrew and Ruth recorded a five part series for Radio 4, which was broadcast early September. To listen to the five programmes, click here.

The legacy of the BBC Natural Worldwide programme Penguin Post Office is set to continue for years to come.

UK Antarctic Heritage Trust announces the appointment of a Chief Executive

The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is pleased to announce the Camilla Nichol Head Shot lo resappointment of Camilla Nichol as its new Chief Executive. The appointment follows the decision of the Director, Rachel Morgan, to step down after fourteen years with the Trust.

Camilla Nichol joins the Trust from Leeds Museums and Galleries, where she has been Head of Collections since 2008. In Leeds she was responsible for the care, conservation and development of the 1.3 million-strong collections across nine museum sites. Leading on the strategic development of the service she secured in excess of £13m of external funding, including achieving Arts Council England Major Partner Museum status for Leeds. She also was responsible for the award-winning community engagement programme, an innovative digital media department, an active research strategy, as well as strategic partnership development.

Camilla studied Geology at the University of Edinburgh followed by Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. Previously she led the science team at York Museums Trust and worked at the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University, during which time the first rocks collected on the Antarctic mainland by Carsten Borchgrevink were uncovered in the collection.

“I am delighted to be joining the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust at such an exciting time. Port Lockroy has never been so popular with visitors, plus we are in the middle of the centenary of the heroic age which has inspired so many. I am looking forward to sharing my passion for the Antarctic with a wider public” said Camilla.

“I'm looking forward to working with the Trustees and the team in Cambridge in continuing the Trust’s excellent work in preserving this important heritage, as well as developing new and innovative ways for us to reach new audiences with our Antarctic story.”

“The Trustees are delighted that Camilla has accepted the role of Chief Executive of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust,” said UKAHT Chairman, Donald Lamont. “Rachel Morgan leaves a unique legacy of achievement: our operation at Port Lockroy is the most visited location in Antarctica and has become known to a wider public through the outstanding “Penguin Post Office” programme on TV. This forms a platform of excellence on which Camilla and our team in Cambridge can now build”.

A big thank-you to our sponsor Welch's Transport Ltd

Welch's logo

The UKAHT is very lucky to have several incredibly generous sponsors who support our work both in the UK and the Antarctic. Welch's Transport Ltd continue to offer us free warehouse space to store our merchandise throughout the year, as well as allowing us to take over a section of the warehouse for a few months every year as we receive, re-pack and palletise all our goods to go south. 

Despite being incredibly busy they are always helpful and friendly, and even take time out to help us move the larger pallets and pack our container. We can honestly say that despite it being hard work, we really enjoy our 'packing season', not least because we feel so welcome at the Welch's warehouse. At the end of this year Welch's will be moving to a new site but have already confirmed that they will continue to provide storage and packing space for us.

The UKAHT would like to reiterate just how grateful we are to Welch's for this continued support, and we are already looking forward to next year's packing season!

        Anna, Lisa and Helen with Ian Lawton, General Manager of Welch's Stapleford during last year's packing season  Brian of Welch's helping us load the container last year  Loading the container

Another year and a new team

Port Lockroy - another year and a new team! The 2014/15 Port Lockroy is looking forward to another season south. They will be operating Port Lockroy: welcoming visitors from expedition vessels, carrying out maintenance and running the world’s most southerly public post office.

Sarah Auffret, returning for a second year and this season’s Base Leader, Stephen Skinner and Amy Kincaid all took part in the training at Girton College in Cambridge this September. Team member Phoebe Boag had to withdraw from the season ahead due to a health issue and we wish her all the best in her recovery. We are extremely fortunate that Liesl Schernthanner was available and ready to join this year’s team at short notice and cover Phoebe’s place. Liesl has worked for the Trust in previous seasons as part of the conservation team and is very much looking forward to returning to Port Lockroy.

Following three long days of fact-packed intensive training the team are now fully briefed and prepared. Having studied the Antarctic Operations Manual, discussed maintenance tasks, running the shop and post office, penguin counting, risk assessments, island & team living and everything else that is involved in running Port Lockroy the team is finally ready for the Antarctic season. Armed with all this information there is no doubting the excitement and anticipation you can see on each of their faces for what lies ahead.

Flights are now booked, cargo is packed and on its way to Antarctica and cabins on ships secured through generous support from IAATO operators – only a few more weeks until they set off.

Once again, Tog24 and Dickies provided free kit for the team and Jellyegg supplied discounted Crocs. We are very grateful to our generous sponsors and again a huge ‘thank you’.

You can expect to read the first blog from the team in Antarctica by the middle of November. Don’t forget to follow their progress on the UKAHT website, Facebook and Twitter pages!

Good luck!

Sarah Auffret  Liesl Shernthanner w   Amy Kincaid w   Stephen Skinner 2 w      

(L-R: Sarah Auffret, Liesl Schernthanner, Amy Kincaid, Stephen Skinner)

Seasonal cargo packed and en route to Port Lockroy

We are pleased to announce that the container of seasonal cargo has now been packed and begun its journey to Port Lockroy. For the last few months the UK team has been purchasing merchandise for the shop at Port Lockroy, as well as supplies for the team and the maintenance work they will undertake, before waterproofing and reboxing much of it in preparation for it to be shipped. As you can imagine we were pleased and relieved to get the container packed and sent off, especially as we managed it in record time. The container will now make its way to the Falkland Islands where both the Hurtigruten ship Fram, as well as the National Geographic Explorer, will for another year very generously deliver our cargo to Port Lockroy. 

We are immensely grateful to Welch's Transport, who for another year gave us space to work in their warehouse and took the time to pack the container with us despite their busy workload. We would also like to thank Jelly Egg, Dickies and Tog 24, all of whom have provided sponsorship and equipment for the upcoming season.

With the packing now complete we are all looking forward to getting back to the office and concentrating on the Port Lockroy team training next week, as well as on the publication of the next edition of The Antarctic Times and the upcoming members' screening of Penguin Post Office in October.


Anna Brian and Sarah in front of the fully packed container w



Shackleton's Endurance sails from Plymouth

100 years ago today Shackleton's Endurance sailed 200px-Phoenix in Fowey Estuaryfrom Plymouth. Congratulations to the Devon and Cornwall Polar Society for organising a great two days of talks and discussion at the lovely Duke of Cornwall Hotel where Shackleton stayed on the preceding night. The ship Phoenix re-enacts the Endurance's departure from Millbay Dock.