2016 was a busy year for the Mountain Heritage Trust with a range of heritage activities, events and acquisitions, and planning and building work begun to facilitate the Trust’s relocation to the Blencathra Centre.
Activities based around the Joe Tasker Collection as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund funded project to preserve and make this collection accessible continued in 2016. A catalogue for the collection was completed and a touring exhibition launched. The exhibition was displayed at Ushaw College near Durham from June-September 2016 and will now remain on display at Keswick Museum and Art Gallery until September 2017. A pop-up touring version of the exhibition has been displayed in non-heritage venues including Rheged, near Penrith, for the Mountain Arts Festival in October 2016; and launched at the Eden Rock bouldering centre in Carlisle in January 2017. An online exhibition for the Joe Tasker Collection was launched on the Trust’s website in November 2016 where it will remain available for long term access. Cataloguing, the touring exhibition and the online exhibition were supported by five volunteers recruited to the project.
The Trust attended a number of events including Keswick and Kendal Mountain Festivals. Additionally the Trust ran two fundraising lectures in 2016. The first was hosted by the Chairman in the north of the Lake District in August 2016 and featured a lecture from John Porter. The second, in November 2016, was a joint fundraiser with Community Action Nepal and was held at the Law Society in London; this included lectures from Sir Chris Bonington and Ian Parnell about their experiences of climbing the Eiger, an auction and raffle, and a formal dinner.
The Trust continued to collaborate with the National Trust at Allan Bank, Grasmere, where an intern has curated an exhibition of mountaineering photographs from the 1970s and 80s to run alongside the Chorley Hopkinson Mountaineering Library. Discussions around collaboration at the National Trust’s Sticklebarn property in Langdale have also continued, with events planned for 2017.
The Trust received 46 new acquisitions in 2016. Significant collections included: records relating to mountain guide JEB Wright; the Jim Curran Collection; the BMC reference and expedition report library; additions to Joe Tasker Collection (including the manuscript for Savage Arena); and Jack Longland’s records relating to the development of mountain training in the UK.
In August 2016 the Trust began negotiations to relocate their office and primary archive store to the Blencathra Centre near Keswick, Cumbria. Work began to convert a building on the site to a custom archive store in September 2016 and is due for completion in February 2017; this was funded through a bequest received via the British Mountaineering Council. In December 2016 the Trust was awarded a grant of £16,757 by The Mercers’ Company to fund the installation of archival standard shelving in the new archive store and additional resources to support preservation of collections.