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Oral History Collection

Oral History Collection

The Polar Library ran an Oral History Programme between 1992-2004.

Twenty-four interviews were conducted by volunteers on an ad-hoc basis with various members of the Polar community who have connections to the Institute.

The original recordings were made on Video tape (AV01-20) and MiniDisc (RS2007). The video recordings have been summarised and transferred to an accessible digital format (MP4). The audio recordings have been transferred from MiniDisc to CDs.

Please contact us for further information about access to the collection.

Name Interview date Ref.
Dr Ray Adie 2000 Geologist with the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey from 1947; Editor of the Journal of Glaciology; subsequently Deputy Director of British Antarctic Survey AV18
Dr Terence Armstrong 1993 Academic with expertise on the Russian Arctic; worked at SPRI 1950-1996 AV03
Dr Colin Bertram 2000 Polar biologist; member of the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37; Director of SPRI 1949-1956 AV14
Ken Blaiklock 2000 Surveyor; leader of the advanced party and dog driver on the 1955-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition AV12
Robert (Bob) Burton 2003 Explorer, naturalist and historian; Director of the South Georgia Museum, 1994-98 RS2007/12
Barbara Debenham 2003 Daughter of Frank Debenham who was the first director of SPRI RS2007/06
Rev. Harold Duncan 1992 Anglican Missionary; worked at Pond Inlet, Baffin Island 1929-1934 AV01
Evelyn Forbes 1993 Daughter of Hartley Ferrar who was on Scott's 1901-04 Antarctic Expedition AV02
Sir Vivian (Bunny) Fuchs 1998 Geologist and explorer; went to Greenland in 1929; Director of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey in 1946 and of the British Antarctic Survey 1958-1973. Leader of the 1955-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition AV08
Sir Alexander (Sandy) Glen 1999 Geographer; leader of the Oxford University Arctic Expedition, 1935-36; spent part of WWII in Svalbard AV09
Dr John Heap 2000 Glaciologist (sea ice); Head of Polar Section in the UK Foreign Office; Director of SPRI 1992-1998. AV17
Sir Martin Holdgate 2000 Member of the Gough Island Scientific Survey, 1955-56; on the staff of SPRI 1960-1963. AV15
Dr Andrei Kapitsa 2000 Russian glaciologist and geomorphologist; on the Soviet Antarctic Expedition, 1949; much further Arctic and Antarctic research. AV07
Harry King 2000 Antarctic historian; Librarian at SPRI from 1955-1983 AV16
Dr Joseph MacDowall 2001 Joint leader of the Royal Society Expedition to Halley Bay, Antarctica, 1955-59 AV19
Lieut. Commander Robert Moss, R.N. 2003 Physicist; Oxford University Arctic Expedition to North East Land, 1935-36 AV20
Simon Ommanney 2003 Glaciologist; Secretary General of the International Glaciological Society, 1993-2003 RS2007/04
Elizabeth Peake (nee Rought) 2003 Cambridge graduate, 1945; Assistant to Frank Debenham, 1945-1953 RS2007/05
Dr Bernard Stonehouse 2000 Polar biologist; has worked in the Antarctic since 1947. Former Editor of Polar Record AV13
Dr Charles Swithinbank 1996 Glaciologist who has worked in many countries, especially in the Antarctic, since 1949 AV05
Mary Swithinbank 1998 Librarian to Vilhjalmur Stefansson at Dartmouth College, USA; born and brought up in Alaska AV06
Kevin Walton 2000 Engineer; author of the book "Two Years in Antarctica" AV11
Dr Ian Whitaker 1996 Saami specialist and ethnographer from Simon Fraser University in Canada AV04
John Wright 2000 Surveyor in many Arctic countries including Iceland, Svalbard and Ellesmere Island AV10

The work of interviewing and filming has been done by volunteers from within and outside the Institute, all trained by Christopher Warren. The Institute thanks Christopher for this invaluable contribution to the programme.

Thanks are also due to The Thriplow and Brian Roberts trusts for help with travelling, filming and other expenses.