In 2012 Mountain Heritage Trust (MHT) appointed its first Patron, Joe Brown. This was a great honour and a delight. Several hundred people were fortunate enough to see Joe in a rare appearance at the RGS later in the year, when he spoke about his first ascent of Kangchenjunga at Doug Scott’s First on Kangchenjunga event in aid of CAN.
MHT has continued to raise its profile during 2012 and bring to a wider audience the value of the work we do. Following the success of the ‘Show us Your Nuts’ event at Kendal Mountain Festival in 2011, we were fortunate to have our display in the Malt Room, which gave us an even better opportunity to show off material from the collections. A high-point for many was the 3-D viewer of slides from the Abrahams’ collection as well as material for handling. As ever, our highly qualified archivist, Maxine Willett was on hand to answer questions. 2012 also marked the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker, their lives were celebrated by a display at Kendal Mountain Festival which was organised in conjunction with the Boardman Tasker families and resulted in further donations of archive material.
Maxine was in action again in January 2013 at the Outdoors Show where MHT had a major exhibition entitled 60 Years on Everest, which showcased not only stunning images from expeditions to the mountain over the last 60 years, but clothing from the 1924, 1975 and 2012 ascents. In addition, the Royal Geographical Society lent the Everest topographical model, which was a stunning centrepiece and talking point. Maxine was present for all four days of the show and received numerous visits, enquiries and positive comments from aficionados and the general public alike.
Prior to that we had the Olympic Games. MHT was represented as one of 24 sports in an exhibition mounted by the Sports Heritage Network, entitled Our Sporting Life. The exhibition was seen in 100 venues by over 1 million people. The exhibition was deemed to have been a great success and there are plans to mount something similar for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. MHT will be involved and we hope to team up with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland on that occasion.
In 2011, Maxine had enquiries at KMF from a student based at Northumbria University and was working on a clothing design project comparing changes in use of fabrics and construction of mountaineering clothing. He continued to consult the MHT archive and in June 2012 he graduated from university with a first class degree. Maxine represented MHT at the graduation exhibition where the ‘Everywhere’ jacket was on display, shown next to the Mallory Replica clothing. It has since featured in Trail Magazine and there are plans for commercial production.
In late 2011 MHT was gifted the mountaineering library belonging to Lord and Lady Chorley. Too large to be housed at Station House, there was immediate concern to find a partner to help us look after this precious collection. Through contacts of MHT Trustee, John Innerdale, we were fortunate enough to build a relationship with the National Trust, represented in Cumbria by Jeremy Barlow, who was an erstwhile employee of the BMC. The MHT Chorley Mountaineering Library will open in the spring of 2013 in the newly refurbished National Trust property of Allan Bank, in Grasmere, and will be open to the public, as stipulated by Lord Chorley. This new relationship is proving to be mutually beneficial, as the Trust has properties in which MHT is being encouraged to mount exhibitions, such as at Stickle Barn in the Langdales ensuring growing exposure to a widening audience.
The work on Keswick Museum and Art Gallery has commenced and we will be opening our Mountain Heritage exhibition room in the newly refurbished gallery in early spring 2014, with an exhibition about Lakeland climbing pre-First World War with a focus on the first ascent of Central Buttress by Siegfried Herford. Thanks to a wonderful long term loan of archive and artefact material belonging to the Abraham Brothers, MHT will be able to showcase their pioneering work on a semi-permanent basis.
On an archival level, Maxine continues to liaise with and advise archivists and librarians from climbing clubs such as the Alpine Club, Climbers Club, Fell and Rock Climbing Club, Pinnacle Club, Polaris Club and Rucksack Club.
The key role of the Mountain Heritage Trust (MHT) is to ensure that British mountaineering’s fascinating heritage is preserved. Under our remit, artefacts, history and traditions are conserved, documented, made accessible and communicated to as wide an audience as possible.
If any clubs require advice and guidance on capturing their history, either orally or in archive form, impartial advice is available from MHT Archivist Maxine Willett who has enormous experience in all aspects of archives, including oral history.
MHT Trustees 2012
Julie Summers (Chair)
Sir Chris Bonington
Professor Terry Gifford
Ron Kenyon (Treasurer)
Dr Jerry Lovatt
Doug Scott CBE (Vice Chair)
Mountain Heritage Trust
Station House, Ullswater Road
Tel: 01768 840911