Tom Price (1919 - 2013) had an extraordinary career: he was a mountaineer; an explorer; a teacher and artist. He travelled the world in search of new adventures, even into old age. Luckily Tom documented most of his life through diaries, essays, articles and in his artwork and it is this which forms the body of our exhibition. Covering the themes which dominated his life - climbing, exploring,inspiring others - Tom takes us on an exciting illustrated journey from the whaling ships of South Georgia to the mist-covered slopes of Blencathra. Tom in South Georgia, 1955-6.
The exhibition will tell some of the many exciting stories of Tom’s adventures and exhibit his paintings and personal possessions to illustrate them. He was self-taught but his work beautifully captures the colour and mood of the mountainous landscape in a fresh and bold style. Geoff Somers, Antarctic explorer and Keswick resident, has been helping to source exhibits for the exhibition and will be giving talks for adults and children during the exhibition. There will be Antarctic themed family activities during the Christmas holidays too.Tom’s exploration began in earnest in 1955 when he joined the team which first mapped the island of South Georgia in the Antarctic. The weather and conditions were harsh: hauling sledges over ice and camping in freezing conditions with many days spent in camp waiting for the weather to clear; just the sort of testing conditions Tom thrived in: “..in pursuit of life’s simple satisfactions and the succour that is to be found in the wilderness and the mountains.”
The South Georgia Heritage Trust Museum has loaned Tom’s sleeping bag and primus stove used on the expedition which have travelled 8,000 miles to appear in the exhibition. Tom Price was well known to the people of Threlkeld, with his peaked cap and wiry frame, living in a little old-fashioned cottage up Blease Road. He appeared on Keswick Market Place weekly in the 1980s, rounding up visiting fell-walkers for his Keswick Rambles. Butfrom the late 1930s onwards it was the climbing community in which Tom felt most athome. He began climbing before the war with Liverpool University Mountaineering Club and the very short-lived West Cumbria Climbing Club and went on to join Fell & RockClimbing Club on his return from service in the Navy in WWII. “Climbing, like sex, is fun to do but boring to discuss and the question of why people climb is more of interest to those that don’t than to those that do.” Tom continued climbing, all over the world, throughout his life, celebrating his 90th birthday on Glaramara! Tom was extremely influential in setting the terms of reference for outdoor education in the 1960s. He believed there were few better classrooms than the adventurous outdoor world and his approach was designed to spark enthusiasm and self-reliance. He was warden of the Eskdale Outward Bound School for 7 years, West Yorkshire Schools Inspector for outdoor education and Dean of Students at Bingley College. Wherever he went he inspired a new generation of climbers as students and tutors such as Pete Livesey and Jill Lawrence