Stonington Island, HSM no. 64
Base E, Marguerite Bay

Stonington (68°11'S, 67°00'W) was established in February 1946 and operated from 1946–50 and then again from 1960–75 after which the base permanently closed. This building is the second British hut built on the island and was originally used as a base for sledging operations in the area.

1948 - 1949: Sir Vivian Fuchs

The famous polar explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs was the Base Commander in 1948 and 1949. During this time, epic and historic journeys lasting several months and covering hundreds of miles were made using dog sledges. As a result, much of the mapping of the Antarctic Peninsula was completed by the men operating from here. The base closed in 1950 due to continuing difficulties in relief by ship, caused by bad sea ice conditions. Vivian Fuchs went on to lead the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition alongside Sir Edmund Hillary and became director of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey. 

1939: US ‘East’ base established

Stonington Island is also the location of the US ‘East’ base. The neighbouring American base was established in 1939 by the US Antarctic Service Expedition and then later reoccupied in 1947–48 by the private American Finn Ronne Antarctic Expedition. This marked a period of cooperation between the two stations and between the UK and USA. The well trained British sledging teams provided ground control for the American aircraft carrying out aerial photography. The data was shared and made available to both expeditions. 

1960: Base re-opens

In 1960, after 10 years, the base reopened and a new hut was erected (still standing) as the centre for fieldwork in the southern Antarctic Peninsula. The research in these later years focused on geology, glaciology and meteorology and continued until the station finally closed in February 1975.

Today

The British hut currently standing at Stonington, is a steel-framed hut and the first two-storey building to be erected by the British Antarctic Survey. It marked the beginning of modern construction techniques. As well as the main building the station also comprises of a number of other structures: the generator shed, pup pens, emergency store, radio mast, water tank and the collapsed anemometer tower. The buildings remain in relatively good condition but only a few of the original artefacts remain on site.  

British Base E, Stonington Island, was designated HSM No. 64 in 1995 and has been under our management since 2014.

Read more information about Stonington on the British Antarctic Survey Archives website

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