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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.

Antarctic British Base ‘A’ star of BBC Natural World Documentary

The Penguin Post Office – Bransfield House (Base ‘A’) 0 Front Cover Penguins John Quenbyis 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, neighbouring 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 BBC program makes clear

In October 2013 BBC Natural World with the help of the UKAHT set out to film at Port Lockroy. The program they made, narrated by Juliet Stevenson and filmed and produced by Andrew Graham-Brown, 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 the viewers find out that as the penguins nest, they share their home with four newly recruited 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 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 this year’s Base Leader, Helen Annan, and Post Mistresses, Kristy Leissle and Jane Cooper, who were living alongside the penguins for the austral summer. They, and some of the visitors to the island, share their thoughts direct to camera on these special animals and what they are writing on their postcards home.

As Helen Annan Base Leader said “it’s a dream job and like the penguins I would like to come back here ever year”.



Base Leader - Helen Annan
Helen was Base-Leader at Port Lockroy in Helenthe 2013/14 season. She travelled down ahead of the other Post Office workers, with the Penguin Post Office film crew to get everything set up and organised. Helen spent a season working at Port Lockroy in 2007/8 and loved it so much she returned again! Helen is from the UK and, until last year, worked in the youth hostel industry. She is currently living in Perthshire.


Sarah Auffret
Sarah originates from France, has spent a Sarahfew years living and teaching in Japan and regularly works the summer season in Tromsø, Norway, as a tour guide. This was her first season in the Antarctic, but she is already set to return next year to do another season as Base Leader in Port Lockroy.


Jane Cooper
Jane is from Stroud, UK. She trained Janeand worked as a lawyer before deciding to change career. Prior to the 2013/14 season at Port Lockroy, she worked for Mencap as a trainer. Her hobbies include climbing and travelling. This was her first time to the Antarctic.



Kristy Leissle
Kristy is from New York, USA, Kristybut currently lives in Seattle, where she works as a Professor at the University of Washington. She travelled to the Antarctic as a passenger on a cruise ship and actually visited Port Lockroy in a previous season, deciding then that she wanted to work there. She is also known as the Doctor of Chocolate, having completed a PhD about the cocoa industry in Ghana and the global trade of cocoa and chocolate.

UKAHT's 2015 Special edition 'Penguin Post Office' calendar on sale now!

2015 Special edition 'Penguin Post Office' calendar Calendar front page 2015featuring photographs of gentoo penguins taken at Port Lockroy by UKAHT and printed in the UK








70th Anniversary of Operation Tabarin reception and exhibition at the House of Commons, 16 June 2014

UKAHT marked the 70th anniversary of Operation Tabarin, which laid the foundations for one of the most important and enduring government sponsored programmes of scientific research in the Polar Regions, with a special exhibition and reception in the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons on Monday 16 June 2014. 

The event was organised by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and sponsored by David TC Davies MP and with 200 invited guests in attendance, it proved to be an exciting and informative occasion. 

To see photos click here

To read the press release click here

UK Antarctic Heritage Trust House of Commons Event Monday 16 June 2014

200 invited guests attended a reception and exhibition in the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons on Monday 16 June 2014 organised by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and sponsored by David TC Davies MP. 



George James and David Willetts MP

George James, one of two surviving members of Operation Tabarin with The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science.  The Minister spoke of the Government's commitment for ensuring the continuation of Operation Tabarin's legacy.












L-R: David T C Davies MP, sponsor and David TC Davies Jane Rumble  Rachel Morganhost of the exhibition and reception; Jane Rumble, Head of the Polar regions Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Jane is only the fourth head in its 70 year history; Rachel Morgan, Director of the Trust.








 Donald Lamont and Rachel Morgan, Chairman and Director oDonald Lamont  Rachel Morganf the Trust. 










Alan Carroll, Base Leader at Port Lockroy 1955-6 and Alan Carrollauthor of the book 'Operation Tabarin'.












Father, son, and grandson:  Jonathan and Finn WJonathan  Finn Walton with sledalton are son and grandson of Kevin Walton who was on of the first members of the Falklands Islands Dependencies Survey which replaced Operation Tabarin.  All three have worked in Antarctica.  Jonathan brought for display his father's mukluks as well as a 1/6 scale Nansen sledge and pyramid tent.









Seasoned ice captain 'Captain Jack' with Trust OCaptain Jack  Anna Malaosperations Manager, Anna Malaos.
















Members of IAATO

Members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) without whose help, the Trust could not operate on the Antarctic Peninsula - L-R - Dave Fletcher, Hapag-Lloyd; Karin Strand, Hurtigruten; Lisa Kelley, Lindblad Expeditions; Amanda Lynnes, IAATO; Skip Novak, Pelagic Expeditions; Rachel Morgan, Trust Director; Ulrike Schultzen, Hapag Lloyd.







Ruth Peacey

Ruth Peacey, assistant producer for the BBC Natural World 'Penguin Post Office' film, to be broadcast later this year.









Professor Jane Francis, Director of the British Jane Francis  Tudor MorganAntarctic Survey with Tudor Morgan, Special Project Manager for the Trust.
















Three quarters of next season's Port Lockroy team: Stephen Skinners Pheobe Boag  Sarah AuffretStephen Skinner, Phoebe Boag, and base leader, Sarah Auffret.








UKAHT Commemorates landmark wartime expedition to Antarctica

A charity working to raise awareness of British Antarctic heritage celebrated a landmark anniversary at Westminster this week.
The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) marked the 70th anniversary of Operation Tabarin, which laid the foundations for one of the most important and enduring government sponsored programmes of scientific research in the Polar Regions, with a special exhibition and reception at the House of Commons.
UKAHT conserves early British scientific bases and artefacts in Antarctica and promotes and encourages public interest in Antarctic heritage both at home and abroad.
UKAHT now works to ensure that the legacy from this heroic age of exploration and scientific endeavour remains to inspire current and future generations.
Supporters and MPs from across the UK gathered in the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons on Monday afternoon (16th June) for a special reception to help UKAHT commemorate 70 years of continuous British presence in Antarctica.
Monmouth MP David TC Davies hosted the event and was joined by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science in officially opening the reception.  
Mr Davies said: “I’m especially pleased that Wales has such a strong connection with Antarctica and extremely proud of the fact the Trust Director is based here in Monmouthshire.
“Wales has a very important Antarctic story to tell and this remarkable charity is keeping it alive today.”

Included within the guests was George James one of the last survivors of Operation Tarbarin.  George was a wireless operator on a support vessel, HMS William Scoresby.  Now 90 years of age, George attended with his two sons and grandson.
The reception also introduced the forthcoming BBC Natural World documentary ‘Penguin Post Office’ filmed on the Antarctic Peninsula earlier this year. UKAHT runs the world’s most southerly public post office on behalf of the Government of the British Antarctic Territory at Port Lockroy. Around 70,000 cards are posted each year from the post office by visitors to over 100 countries.
Donald Lamont , Chair of UKAHT, added: “We are proud to celebrate what has been achieved through the restoration of Port Lockroy, one of the stations built during ‘Operation Tabarin’,  instigated by the political decision taken in 1943 to open three stations in the Antarctic Peninsula.  It is now the most visited sites in Antarctica, and will reach an even wider audience through the filming that was carried out this season for broadcast later this year.

For further information, visit