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Polar Bytes - No. 6, September 1997

Polar Bytes - No. 6, September 1997

A word from our chairman Philippa Foster Back

Our informal Friends' luncheon, held in July at Hughes Hall, was great fun. Many Friends commented on how enjoyable it was to have a smaller get together and become better acquainted. The new T-shirt sold very well as did the raffle tickets for Peter Coker's etching. We shall schedule a similar event in future - perhaps London?

The really ground breaking news is the start of our new Shackleton Memorial Library! On Monday 1 September, Haymills Company was seen setting up their offices, roaming the library with architectural plans, and warning staff to buy earplugs. (For more details read below.) Your tremendous support has made this dream a reality. Engravers and artists are being consulted about the new doors. I will update you with more `door' news in future.

Shackleton Memorial Library Groundbreaking News!

Captain Joe (Wubbold), once an Icebreaker captain with the US Coast Guard is the `groundbreaking' captain of the new library. He reports:

The official start date was 1 September 1997, and the span of the contract is 44 weeks, with an official completion date of 4 July 1998. Most of the Friends will know that I am American, so the significance of that date will not escape any of you, even though I did not plan it that way. Indeed I had hoped for a much earlier start date, and why we were not able to begin much earlier is both an interesting story, and a tale too long for this paper. In any case, what we are all interested in is an actual start, and that we have.

The first step is to construct the temporary bulkheads, which establish the boundaries between the contractor's (Haymills) area. The Institute will continue to teach, research, operate the library and the archives - in fact all of our activities with the exception of the Museum. A great deal of moving, storing and general disruption has already taken place .... You will be amazed, aghast, and probably appalled at what we have to do. Please bear with me - it is all a part of a carefully worked out plan.

The next big job is to build a temporary roof over the link building to protect everything underneath while we build another deck (storey to us landlubbers (LL)).

You are all part of what we are doing. I will send information to you via this newsletter. However, if you are interested in a particular aspect of the construction or where we are in the overall plan, please call me at (01223) 336545. This direct line is connected to an unseamanlike answering machine, and if I am not there - I am often out and about in the building someplace as we locate old wiring, piping, and other relics from the past - please leave me a message with your question, and where I can reach you. In the meantime, we are preserving our traditions: Captain Scott's bell rings at 5 bells of the forenoon watch (10:30 for LL) for coffee, and at 8 bells (4:00 pm for LL) of the afternoon watch for teatime. And no matter how much disruption there is, that bell will continue to ring.

Upcoming events and lectures

RGS - These Rough Notes: Princess Royal to attend

On 15 October, Princess Anne will attend the performance of These Rough Notes at the Royal Geographical Society. The evening will include a viewing of Herbert Ponting's South, recently refurbished by the British Film Institute. A selection of Ponting's photographs will also be on display and are available as limited edition prints. Lady Philippa Scott has graciously agreed to read for Kathleen Scott as has Keith Shackleton for Robert Scott. Mr Peter Speak from SPRI will read for Cherry-Garrard and Dr David Wynn Williams for Bowers. We are fortunate to also have David Wilson read for his great-uncle.

Tickets are £10 and are available through Jonathan Jeffes, Discovery Limited Editions, Grasmere House, 17 Merton Hall Road, London SW 19 3PP, telephone 0181543 4236. Proceeds of the event will benefit both the Shackleton Memorial Library and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. Please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope indicating the number of tickets you would like to order.

SPRI Michaelmas Lectures

Beginning with the 1 November Saturday evening lectures, coffee and a biscuit will be available, for a nominal fee, prior to the lecture. We are interested in making the events not only an intellectually stimulating event, but a social gathering as well.

Lecture Time/date change?

William Mills, Librarian and Keeper of the Collections, is interested in feedback about a possible change in the time or even date for the traditional 8:30 pm Saturday lectures. Any comments on an earlier time, later time, or even a different day would be most welcome. He is most concerned that those core people who have been coming to the lectures make their voices heard.

Picture library

Philippa Hogg, in her new capacity as Manager of the Photo Library (01223 336547), can make available a number of Arctic and Antarctic photographs. Although a catalogue has not yet been assembled, she is happy to discuss with any Friend the possibility of having a photograph reprinted for you. She is particularly keen that this editor point out the CHRISTMAS GIFT POTENTIAL of such a scheme. She has really done a tremendous job. Any one wishing to pursue their desire for a photograph from the SPRI Picture Library should call Philippa soon.

Raffle News

Immediately after the summer Friends Luncheon, £50 worth of Raffle tickets were sold! Peter Coker's etching has proved to be a popular prize with many people buying multiple tickets. Tickets will be available prior to all lectures. Additional tickets (£1.00 per ticket) can be purchased by sending a SAE to Dr Pamela Davis, SPRI.

Volunteers Needed!

We are interested in anyone who will attend the Saturday night lecture(s) and help us set up, sell T-shirts, raffle tickets, pour coffee, and welcome the Friends. We are an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.

Shop Catalogue

SPRI and Friends have joined forces and produced a Shop Catalogue. All of the existing publications, T-shirts, prints and maps are included as well as the 1997 Christmas card (Hurley's Ship at Midwinter). An order form appears in the back. This catalogue helps us keep the shop open during construction, and we hope to expand the items available when the building is reopened.

A big thanks to Philippa Foster Back for her recent contribution to the building fund. We all appreciate it.