The Trust is thrilled to announce that Capital Group has awarded the British Antarctic Oral History Project a further £4000 this year. We also wish to thank the British Antarctic Survey Club (BASC) for their £1400 donation and the South Georgia Association who will fund one interview. Thanks also go to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Archives Service who catalogue and store the interviews and offer expert advice. Volunteers are an essential part of the project and without them our work would be greatly diminished.
The project preserves the memories of those extraordinary, dedicated and often heroic individuals involved in British endeavour in Antarctica. Its main focus is from the first continuous British presence in Antarctica during Operation Tabarin (1944) to the 1960’s but recordings from more recent times are also included (such as the first women to go south or the discovery of the ozone hole).
One concern is that there are many people overseas who had an important role in British Antarctic history but have not been possible to interview due to distance. Skype was recently trialled with good results so the awards will enable us to capture these overseas candidates and make the collection more complete.
The recollections offer us a unique, often entertaining insight into personal, social, political and scientific interactions and varied perspectives on the challenges and eccentricities of living in one of the world’s most hostile environments. This is a public collection that will inspire people for generations to come.
Our long term goal is to make the interviews easily accessible to everyone (it is possible to listen to them through the BAS Archives Service on request). In 2013/2014 we will be exploring the best ways to do this online. A selection of extracts can be listened to on the project’s webpage http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/oralhistory.
The project is a collaboration between the UKAHT, BAS, BAS Club, the Scott Polar Research Institute and the British Museum.