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Polar Bytes - No. 8, July 1998

Polar Bytes - No. 8, July 1998

A word from our Chairman Philippa Foster Back

I begin with the sad news of the recent death of Col. Andrew Croft, DSO, OBE, who was not only a great supporter of the Friends but served on the Gino Watkins Memorial and Edward Wilson Fund Committees. On your behalf our sympathies have been expressed to his family.

Since our last Newsletter the Centenary Committee has met to discuss the Friends' role in the upcoming centenaries of the Heroic Age. You will see we are starting with Borchgrevink's Southern Cross. Further details will follow.

Our congratulations and thanks are due firstly to Dr David Drewry, who this year was awarded the RGS's Patron's Medal and secondly to Miss Barbara Peyton, who has most generously donated to the Institute several paintings by Marston, which we look forward to viewing when all is shipshape again.

Membership Matters from Jennifer Dale Membership Secretary

Our Membership seems to remain constant at 395. Since January we have 19 new members and we welcome them most warmly to the Friends. I would like to thank everyone for sending in their subscriptions promptly. I am also glad that many members realise how beneficial that a banker's order together with a covenant is to our total income each year and have contacted me to renew theirs.

Sadly we have lost two members, Mr G Creswick, from Frome, a founder member who supported the Institute over many years and Col Croft, mentioned above.

Please let me know if you change your address and if you have any queries about membership matters. I am available 9am until noon Monday to Friday on Tel: 01223 336562.

Members Summer Luncheon May 1998

The Friends Luncheon was held at Hughes Hall on 30 May. It proved to be very popular - all 40 tickets were sold and guests included Professor Keith Richards who gave an outline of his role as the Director of the Institute. His wife Susan also attended. Captain Joe Wubbold spoke to the gathering updating the Friends on the progress of the Shackleton Memorial Library. It is hoped that this most sucessful and enjoyable annual event continues to be supported in the future

Lecture Success and other Matters by Anne Millar, Secretary of the Friends

During the Michaelmas `97 term and the Lent `98 term, I and several volunteer helpers, (who are much appreciated), served coffee, sold T-shirts and other "polar paraphernalia" to those who attended the lectures. Over the 7 evenings sales of over £1000 were

achieved and the final evening after the Mike Stroud lecture over £400 of goods were sold! The support from the Friends, visitors and helpers is very much appreciated. Any volunteers should contact me on Tel: 01638 780587 if they wish to help serve coffee etc.

It is hoped that a new publication will boost funds by the issue of a calendar. This is a joint venture between the Friends and Philippa Smith, Picture Library Manager of SPRI. It will be available in the autumn mailing and shows the 1898 "Southern Cross" Expedition Borchgrevink. This is a very special edition in that the original old glass slides have been used. I am sure it will generate a great deal of interest and benefit us financially.

I look forward to seeing some of you at the Michaelmas lectures.

Shackleton Memorial Library Update on Progress by Capt Joe Wubbold

We were still optimistic that we would come in on time and under budget, at the Friends' Luncheon in May. We are still under budget, by about 5 pence, but I have had to accept an extension to the contract. The extra heavy rains in the Fenlands flooded not only the Fens, but our new basement. That is now all under control, the idea of having water inside the watertight envelope being unacceptable to your old sea captain, but it also delayed the laying of brickwork and blockwork. However, if you go past the Institute in Lensfield Road, you will see both brickwork and blockwork completed and the curved glass installed. The scaffolding will be coming down shortly.

In other work, the Friends' doors of Sir Ernest and Lord Shackleton are completed, and stored in a safe place in the Institute awaiting installation, one of the last things to be done. They are most handsome and are under my personal protection and guardianship until they are installed. The hardwood decks are going down and finishing work is going on all over the complex.

One of the most satisfying activities to me is that as we finish parts of the construction that have required the onsite stowage of materials, the debris and extra materials that accompanied that activity are being removed from the site. So I am beginning to see the Institute environs as they were when I first came here three years ago. There is still a lot to do in this regard - cleaning up and making good the grounds, will be going on for some time.

I have started moving people and things into the spaces that they will occupy in the new areas. Books will follow soon behind. In particular, the Friends' Room is getting back together in a smart and seaman like fashion. Although nothing is moved back into that room yet, the new lighting and decoration are already showing the beginnings of what will be one of the high points of the whole Shackleton Memorial Library.

Finally, the engraved stone that goes over the door to the Library is completed and will be installed at about the same time as the doors, so that there will be no damage from further construction. Written at four bells of the forenoon watch.

Forthcoming Events

The Lecture List for next term is enclosed in this mailing but please especially note Saturday 21 November. The events, as detailed, will be followed by the Friends AGM and finger food supper. Tickets for the supper including wine, at £6.50, will be available from Jennifer Dale in due course.

Antarctic Tour

It is time to start saving your pennies, as we are hoping to arrange a Friends cruise (together with other like minded souls) to the Antarctic in the 1999/2000 season. Watch this space....