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Oral History Programme

Oral History Programme

The Library runs a polar Oral History Programme and is digitising its sound archive.

Much of the history of the Great Britain's involvement in the polar regions is preserved only in the memories of those who lived and worked there. Since 1992, the Institute has maintained a small-scale programme of interviews with explorers, scientists, missionaries and others working in the Arctic and Antarctic. Interviews have also been conducted with several people, who have not themselves visited the polar regions but have been closely involved with those who have.

Dr Ray Adie - interviewed on 28 October 2000
Geologist with FIDS from 1947; Editor of the Journal of Glaciology; subsequently Deputy Director of BAS.
Dr Terence Armstrong [1920-1996] - interviewed on 20 October 1993
Terence Armstrong was Britain's leading expert on the Russian Arctic; worked at SPRI 1950-1996.
Dr Colin Bertram [1911-2000] - interviewed on 10 September 2000
Polar biologist; Director of SPRI 1949-1956; member of the 1934-37 British Graham Land Expedition.
Ken Blaiklock - interviewed on 2 September 2000
Surveyor; leader of the advanced party and dog driver on the 1955-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
Rev. Harold Duncan - interviewed on 11 April 1992
Anglican Missionary; worked at Pond Inlet, Baffin Island 1929-1934.
Evelyn Forbes - interviewed on 18 August 1993
Daughter of Hartley Ferrar who was on Scott's 1901-04 Antarctic Expedition.
Sir Vivian (Bunny) Fuchs [1908-1999] - interviewed on 30 July 1998
Geologist and explorer; went to Greenland in 1929; Director of FIDS in 1946 and of BAS 1958-1973. Leader of the 1955-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
Sir Alexander (Sandy) Glen - interviewed on 12 December 1999
Geographer; leader of the 1935-36 Oxford University Arctic Expedition; spent part of WWII in Svalbard.
Dr John Heap [1932-2006] - interviewed on 20 October 2000
Glaciologist (sea ice); Head of Polar Section in the UK Foreign Office; Director of SPRI 1992-1998.
Sir Martin Holdgate - interviewed on 14 October 2000
Member of the 1955-56 Gough Island Scientific Survey; on the staff of SPRI 1960-1963.
Dr Andrei Kapitsa - interviewed on 19 June 1998
Russian glaciologist and geomorphologist; on the 1949 Soviet Antarctic Expedition; much further Arctic and Antarctic research.
Harry King - interviewed on 12 October 2000
Antarctic historian; Librarian at SPRI from 1955-1983.
Dr Joseph MacDowall - interviewed on 4 March 2001
Joint leader of the 1955-59 Royal Society Expedition to Halley Bay, Antarctica.
Robert Moss
Lieut. Commander Robert Moss, R.N.
Physicist; 1935-36 Oxford University Arctic Expedition to North East Land
Dr Bernard Stonehouse - interviewed on 2 September 2000
Polar biologist; has worked in the Antarctic since 1947. Former Editor of Polar Record.
Dr Charles Swithinbank - interviewed on 16 November 1996
Glaciologist who has worked in many countries, especially in the Antarctic, since 1949.
Mary Swithinbank - interviewed on 14 May 1998
Librarian to Vilhjalmur Stefansson at Dartmouth College, USA; born and brought up in Alaska.
Kevin Walton - interviewed on 23 July 2000
Engineer; author of the book "Two Years in Antarctica".
Dr Ian Whitaker - interviewed on 26 June 1996
Saami specialist and ethnographer from Simon Fraser University in Canada.
John Wright - interviewed on 18 March 2000
Surveyor in many Arctic countries including Iceland, Svalbard and Ellesmere Island.

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

Some of the videotapes have been edited and are available for viewing in the Library.

For further information, please contact us via these details.

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