Base Y from the 1950s turns into museum | Polarjournal
On the Antarctic Peninsula, a former British research station on remote Horseshoe Island offers a trip back in time. (Photo: AA Photo)

On remote Horseshoe Island on the Antarctic Peninsula stands the former British research station Base Y. Established in 1950, Station Y was used by British scientists for five years from 1955 to 1960 and has now been opened as a museum for tourists and scientists. Base Y is visited by hundreds of tourists every year despite its remote location away from the main travel routes.

The base was occupied from 11 March 1955 until 21 August 1960, when its personnel were transferred to Station E on Stonington Island. In 1969, it was operated again for a short time from March 7 to July 11 to complete local survey work. (Photo: UKAHT)

Part of the effort to establish Base Y was to increase the scientific activities of the United Kingdom during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, during which time a number of bases were opened. This included Anvers Island (Base N), also in Marguerite Bay, which had opened the same year. Horseshoe Island (Base Y) was used primarily for geology and surveying and provided meteorological observations that linked a chain of measurement stations. At that time, extensive survey trips were made over hundreds of kilometers with dog teams and sleds.

Occasionally, Base Y is visited by BAS staff on field trips from Rothera (Station R), in addition to some tourists. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The combined survey task of Horseshoe Island and Detaille Island (Base W) was to establish a ground control network for the aerial surveys conducted by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Aerial Survey Expedition (FIDASE) 1955-57.

In 1969, Base Y was last renovated and cleaned up by the British Antarctic Surey (BAS) in March 1995, and registered as Historic Site No. 63 under the Antarctic Treaty on May 19, 1995.

Further maintenance work on the building was carried out in March 1997. In January 2007, the abandoned station was inspected by a preservation architect for BAS. Base Y has been managed by Antarctic Heritage Trust Foundation (UKAHT) under a Memorandum of Understanding with BAS since October 2014.

The base, last refurbished in 1969, is currently being kept alive as a museum by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. (Photo: UKAHT)

The research station includes a sled workshop, radio room, dormitory, kitchen, study, infirmary, and generator room, all of which offer glimpses into the spartan, rural life of early Antarctic scientists.

Only a limited number of people may visit the base at one time and nothing in the building may be moved or touched. In the main entrance there is a guest book and visitors can sign it or leave a dedication.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

Link: UK Antarctic Heritage Trust

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
error: Content is protected !!
Share This