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Polar Bytes - No. 1, January 1996

Polar Bytes - No. 1, January 1996

A word from our new Chairman Philippa Foster Back

Welcome. Your Committee felt that in commemoration of the founding of SPRI by my grandfather, Professor Frank Debenham, and Sir Raymond Priestley, that we should be more communicative! I have taken over the Chair following the retirement of Dr Ray Adie, who so ably has managed the Friends for the last ten years. As you will see below, the Friends are busy and we have much to do. I will be writing to you with further news of the fund-raising for the new library, but in the meantime please take to heart a new slogan Friends, please find a friend, two or three or more, to help us to play a more active role in supporting our very special, world renowned SPRI.

SPRI celebrates its 75th Anniversary

On 25 November 1995, nearly 400 guests filled the Scott Polar Research Institute to celebrate the Institute's founding 75 years ago.

If you missed the event, we are sorry. It truly was a great polar party starting with Sir Raymond Priestley's lantern-slide show of Scott's last expedition and moving onto the Institute for an appropriately bubbly wine, light refreshments, and finally ending with four birthday cakes!

To organise the cutting of so many cakes, the bell from Scott's ship, the Terra Nova, was rung at 6:15 pin to announce the cutting ceremony. The first cake, on display in the museum, was cut by. Miss Barbara Debenham, Lady Philippa Scott, and Alexandra Bergel, granddaughter of Sir Ernest Shackleton. In the lecture theatre, Falcon Scott and his sister Dr Dafila Scott, the grand-children of Robert Falcon Scott and children of Sir Peter and Lady Scott, did the honours. The third cake was cut by representatives of the Edward Wilson family -- Dr David Wilson, Dr Timothy and Brenda Wilson, their children Briony, Robin, and Frederick, and Mr Mark and Caroline Wilson and their children Alastair and Beverley. The fourth cake, a beautiful cutting cake, was baked by the mother of our library assistant Shirley Sawtell, who saved the day when we realised three cakes were not enough!

It should also be noted that Sea Ice PhD students, Finlo Cottier and Mark Tadross were in charge of the two bars as it was thought they had the academic and practical knowledge of keeping drinks cold. Captains Joe Wubbold, III and Lawson Brigham of the US Coast Guard commanded the .coat detail -- and did so without the loss or misappropriation of a coat!

A tremendous thanks to all who helped (Sally Stonehouse who boiled and peeled 3-4 dozen eggs!) and above all to everyone who was able to come and make such a memorable evening.

Planning for the Future: The Shackleton Memorial Library

On 6 December 1995, Earl Jellicoe, President of the Royal Geographical Society, announced the Scott Polar Research Institute's plans to build an extension of the existing library. This planned extension will be named the Shackleton Memorial Library in honour of the contributions made to polar research and political affairs by Sir Ernest Shackleton and his son, Lord Shackleton.

The new library will accomplish more than providing space for the expanding collection. Through the use of digital scanning and remote access technology, researchers and the public - on-site or via computer links - will have access to library databases, a data bank of polar images and artefacts, and the text of many manuscripts including the journals and correspondence of noted explorers.

Lent Term Events

During the Lent term, two fund-raising events are being held. The first of these is a lecture given by Geoff Selley about Shackleton's 1914-1917 Expedition. Using Dr Leonard Hussey's notes and the photographs of Frank Hurley, Selley will recreate Hussey's original lantern-slide show. If you missed this event at the Royal Geographical Society on 6 December (and many did since it sold out in about 2 hours!), you have a chance to remedy this disappointment. This is suitable for children of about 10 and over who are interested in this topic. After each performance, one lucky individual will win a Hurley print, courtesy of Altas Limited Editions (See below). There will be two performances of this event on 10 February 1996 at 4:45 pin and 8:30 pin in the Department of Chemistry's main lecture theatre. For ticket information see below.

The second fundraising event is two performances of These Rough Notes, a dramatic reading from the diaries of Scott, his wife Kathleen, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Edward Wilson and Birdie Bowers. This reading is accompanied by slides of Herbert Pointing's photographs and Edward Wilson's watercolours. Sir Vivian Fuchs has agreed to read for Scott and David Wilson has agreed to read for his great-uncle Edward. This is not a dry rehash of a familiar story: it is an extremely moving performance that is probably not suitable for those under 12 years of age. This event also will be held in the Department of Chemistry's main lecture theatre on 8 and 9 March at 8:30 pin.

You can obtain tickets for both events from Dr Pamela Davis, SPRI, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 IER (01223 336547) or the Cambridge Arts Box Office 01223 352001/504444.

Become a Friend ... or renew your Friendship!.

The Anniversary party made us realise how many people were friends but not official 'Friends' -- this sometimes made finding them more difficult! By joining Friends you not only support the Institute and its projects but we know where to find you and keep you in touch about our special events.

If you would like to support the work of the Institute, please do complete the enclosed form and send it back to us. If you want more forms, let us know.

The Worst Journey in the World

Chris Crooks, a professional actor, was conversing in a pub with playwright John Gardiner about Apsley Cherry-Garrard's book The Worst Journey in the World. As a result of this conversation, a play based on Cherry-Garrard's work was born. The Scott Polar Research Institute was the venue for this play in 1994 and may schedule it again in the foreseeable future. Mr Crooks has recently performed this one-man play in a private home and would be glad to do so for other individuals or groups. Please call him on 01462 438757 for more information.

Win a free Hurley print!

An opportunity to win a hand-finished photographic print from Frank Hurley's original negatives will be offered through a prize draw after each performance of the Shackleton 1914-17 lecture (10 February, see above). Everyone who has purchased a ticket for either of the 4:45 pin and 8:30 pin performance will automatically be entered in the draw. Two lucky people will be able to choose their print from a selection of Hurley prints.(See February's Geographical Magazine for an article about the prints.)

Atlas Limited Editions: Helping SPRI

Jonathan Jeffes and Ben Burdette of Atlas Limited Editions, who have published the Hurley prints on an exclusive basis with the Royal Geographical Society, have offered to donate a portion of their profits on any 'Friends of SPRI' print sales. They are also responsible for donating two prints for our prize draw! If you would like more information write to Dr Pamela Davis at SPRI and ask for a brochure or call them at 0171 486 4195 and tell them SPRI sent you!

SPRI Alumni

During the year, Teresa Clarke and Jennifer Dale, the new membership secretary, have undertaken an incredible journey through the records of Friends and the University financial office. They have put our 'house in order' and, as a result, have sorted out a few very confusing situations! Jennifer has brought us into 21st Century record keeping and insists that we continue to improve our system! We hope that things are now much more efficient, friendly, and better organised. Henceforth, if you have a query about membership please call Jennifer Dale or Dr Pamela Davis at 01223 336540.

There is a rumour that a special SPRI Alumni group is being formed! If you would like this rumour to be a reality, please send a note back to Dr Pamela Davis, the Institute's Development and Public Relations Coordinator, indicating where you are and what you are doing along with your membership. All sorts of things can come out of this -- a special newsletter, a directory, a special issue - you decide. All comments welcome.

Coming up next....

The Committee and its work!