Oral History

The UKAHT, in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), BAS Club and the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), with the financial assistance of Capital Group is underpinning an ambitious oral history project which aims to capture the recollections of those extraordinary, dedicated and often heroic individuals who have worked in the polar regions.

Although the official History of BAS, its predecessors (Operation Tabarin, the Falkland Island Dependencies Survey) and SPRI is well documented, it rarely provides an insight into relationships, culture, decisions and policy that first hand accounts of activities and events do.  By recording the reminiscences of these polar people, a fascinating history will be preserved and made accessible for generations to come.

You can see more on the British Antarctic Survey oral history pages and listen to clips of some of the interviews.

A team of volunteers assemble background material at BAS archives about each interviewee in order that the experienced interviewers may prepare adequately.  Interviews are conducted either at home or at Antarctic reunions using a voice recorder and/or film.  Completed interviews are currently stored at BAS archives.

Contrary to popular belief, interviewees don’t need to be as old as Port Lockroy either!  Individuals who have been involved relatively recently are also invited to participate.  Around 200 people have already been interviewed, with service dates ranging from the early 1940’s to the present day.

A complementary oral history project launched in April 2010 is the British Library's Life Stories of Contemporary British Scientists which will include 50 in-depth interviews with scientists under the theme 'The changing planet'. In addition the South Georgia Museum and the South Georgia Heritage Trust have project interviewing ex-whalers.

Many thanks to those interviewed, our interviewers Chris Eldon-Lee and Jack Tolson, coordinators Joanna Rae (BAS) Allan Wearden (BAS Club), Naomi Boneham (SPRI), Amanda Lynnes, and to our team of fantastic volunteers.  We always require transcribers.  If you are interested contact:

Allan on 01254 247541, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Port Lockroy image