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Captain Joe's 4th Progress Report

Captain Joe's 4th Progress Report

Captain Joe wrote, on May 14 1998:

I have just looked at the photographs of the building site, and am happy to report that all of the blockwork for the entire structure is now in place. What is even more heartening is that the brickwork is now climbing up the sides of the rotunda and the new library. The bricks were carefully selected to match the shade of the original building, which is now a Grade II listed building. When the sun hits the new brickwork, it shows off the beautiful color to best advantage. The frames for the rotunda windows have just been delivered, and will be installed shortly. Then the skylight on top of the rotunda will be installed, thus closing in the structure.

Those of you who did the M.Phil in Polar Studies will be interested to know that student carrels are being built in one of the new library levels. Further, the wooden bookcases that we saved for reinstallation are being put back in. As we do the finish work in some of the spaces - for that is where we are right now - the whole Institute is beginning to show what it will look like. It will provide the special level of facility that the finest collection of polar materials deserves.

One of the new additions, now under construction, is a photographic archive. The photographs themselves will be stowed in a climate-controlled compartment, and just outside that space will be work stations that will make the study of photographs from many polar expeditions a pleasant activity. Many of the photographs are fragile, and must be handled as little as possible. Having the capability to extract the photos from safe stowage just before they are needed will allow them to be studied as long as a researcher may need them.

It may not be exciting to you, but today we are cutting the new boilers into the piping in the 1934 building. We have taken our heat from a complicated system which we share with the Department of Chemistry. We seized on the construction of the Shackleton Memorial Library as a Golden Opportunity Not To Be Missed to rationalize the heating of the entire complex on the same system, and today is the day when we start to come on line. The system being replaced has been very troublesome, and I will be happy to see the stern of it.

This is a good time and place to recognize the patience and forbearance of the members of the Institute, including all students and staff. A number of Ph.D. candidates have completed dissertations and been admitted to their degrees in the midst of the construction. Further, this year's M.Phil candidates are writing up now, with an 11 June submission date.

There are 7.5 weeks remaining on the contract, and then we have an additional 8 weeks to get everything settled down before I leave for America, which is set for 1 September. The official opening of the Shackleton Memorial Library will be over the weekend of 20 November, but we will continue to provide all services as we have during the construction period. So if you are planning to come here to do a degree, to do some research, or just to learn more about the Scott and Shackleton stories, make your arrangements and forge on.

If you cannot come to Cambridge, but would be interested in learning what is available from the Institute Shop, click this link, then send an e-mail to Irene Burns. You will see a catalog of all that we have, including items relating to the polar world that are available no place else.

Finally, we have the definitive collection of paintings and drawings by David Smith, with specialization in polar scenes.

Written at 7 bells of the afternoon watch, with the contract expected to complete on time, and under budget.

Captain Joe
14 May 1998