Port Lockroy: A Brief History

For more than a century Port Lockroy has been a home for explorers, whalers, scientists, and sailors who have made vital contributions to Antarctic history and the harbour has become the most popular visitor destination in Antarctica today. Port Lockroy is a sheltered harbour off the coast of Wiencke Island at the meeting point of three seaways which offer some of the most dramatic mountain and glacier scenery on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Base A

Base A which stands on Goudier Island (64º49’S, 63º30’W) in the east of the harbour was the first permanent British base to be established on the Antarctic Peninsula (and so given the first letter of the alphabet). It was built in February 1944 as part of a wartime mission code-named Operation Tabarin. After the Second World War it continued as a science base operated by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) the predecessor to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). It became the first of many British science bases around Antarctica. Base A continued to contribute to science until 1962 when it closed permanently when research began to move to larger and more modern bases.

1994: Historical Recognition

Following a comprehensive conservation survey in 1994, Port Lockroy was recognised for its historical importance and designated as Historic Site and Monument No. 61 under the Antarctic Treaty. In 1996 we supported the British Antarctic Survey and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to restore the base to its working condition.

Post 2006

In 2006 the responsibility of managing Port Lockroy was passed to the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. Since then, we have been opening it each summer season as a living museum welcoming visitors from around the world. Using the proceeds from the gift shop and post office we are able to continue the operation of Port Lockroy as well as safeguarding other British historic sites on the continent.

Port Lockroy Team

Each year we recruit a team of four people to work at Port Lockroy for the summer season to promote the legacy of British scientists and explorers. It is a varied and challenging job suited only to a select few. Our Port Lockroy team carry out important maintenance work on the historic huts, operate a successful gift shop, and a British Antarctic Territory post office. They carry out important artefact conservation, audit work, wildlife monitoring and data collection on behalf of BAS. As well as this they give lectures on ships and work to ensure that all visitors adhere to strict Antarctic Treaty guidelines.

Visiting Port Lockroy

If you are coming to visit us at Port Lockroy then we have some useful information about the site itself, such as its layout and dos and don'ts when on the island.

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Press Enquiries

We are very keen to promote the important heritage work that we do, telling the story of life in Antarctica both past and present. If you are interested in running a story about us, using our images or films or want to discuss an interview or potential collaboration opportunity we would love to hear from you.  Please contact either Sarah or Lewis at Limewash to discuss your requirements sarah@limewash.co.uk or +44 (0)1223 813 557.