British Historic Huts


British Historic Huts

Set: Part No: ST011666
CTO Part No: ST011667
FDC: Part No: ST011668
An Historic Site and Monument (HSM) is a protected location of historic interest on the continent of Antarctica, or on its adjacent islands. The list of historic sites was first drawn up in 1972 and was most recently updated in 2013 to include 85 sites. HSM’s are protected under the Antarctic Treaty System, as one of three classes of Antarctic Protected Areas.

All of the huts included in this stamp issue were formerly British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research huts that are now under the care and management of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT).

Weddell Seals, Damoy Hut, Dorian Bay:
The site consists of a well-preserved hut with scientific equipment and other artefacts. The hut was established by BAS in November 1973 and was used as a transit station for BAS staff and stores to be flown south from the skiway on the glacier above the hut to Rothera Research Station when sea ice prevented access by ship. It was last occupied by BAS in 1993.
It was designated as HSM No. 84 in 2009.

Adélie Penguins, Base W, Detaille Island:
It was established in 1956 as a British science base primarily for survey, geology and meteorology and to contribute to the International Geophysical Year in 1957.

The base closed in March 1959 when solid sea ice prevented the base from being restocked for the season. The ship was unable to break through the sea ice and reach the island so the men secured the buildings for winter and sledged over 25 miles across the sea ice in order to reach the ship, taking with them only the minimum of their belongings and scientific records.

As a relatively unaltered base from the late 1950s it provides an important reminder of the science and living conditions that existed when the Antarctic Treaty was signed over 50 years ago. The completeness of both the buildings and artefacts (there are an estimated 5,000 on site) provide an evocative insight into the way the base was occupied during this period.

It was designated HSM No. 83 in 2009 and was made structurally secure and weather tight by a UKAHT work party in the 2010–11 and 2012-13 seasons.

Skua, Base Y, Horseshoe Island:
It was established in March 1955 and closed in August 1960. The scientific research carried out at the station included topographic survey, geology and meteorology. Extensive survey trips, often covering hundreds of miles and lasting several months, were undertaken from the station using dog sledges.

The excellent condition and completeness of both the buildings and artefacts are of considerable historical significance; together they provide a very special time-capsule of British life and science in the Antarctic during the late 1950s. There are an estimated 10,000 artefacts on site and the nearby 'Blaiklock' refuge hut is considered an integral part of the site.

It was designated HSM No. 63 in 1995. Conservation work is scheduled to start during the 2016/17 season by the UKAHT.

Blue-eyed Shag, Base E, Stonington Island:
Base E is of historical importance in the early period of exploration and later British Antarctic Survey (BAS) history of the 1960s and 1970s. It was established in February 1946 and had two periods of operation from 1946–50 and 1960–75 when the base permanently closed. The famous polar explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs was the Base Commander in 1948 and 1949. The station closed in 1950 due to continuing difficulties in relief by ship, caused by bad sea ice conditions but reopened again in 1960 when a new hut was erected. The research in these later years focused on geology, glaciology and meteorology.

Stonington Island is also the location of the US ‘East’ base established in 1939 by the US Antarctic Service Expedition and then later reoccupied in 1947–48 by the private Finn Ronne Antarctic Expedition. This marked a period of cooperation between the two stations. The well trained British sledging teams provided ground control for the American aircraft carrying out aerial photography. The data was made available to both expeditions.

The site was designated HSM No. 64 in 1995. Conservation work is scheduled to start during the 2017/18 season by the UKAHT. There are an estimated 500 artefacts on site.

Orca, Base F, Wordie House, Winter Island:
Base F (Wordie House) is of historic importance as an example of an early British scientific research station. It was established in January 1947 and the main hut, ‘Wordie House’, was named after the chief scientist on Ernest Shackleton’s epic 1914–17 expedition. This hut also stands on the foundations of an earlier building, used by the British Graham Land Expedition [1934–37], which was destroyed (possibly by a tsunami) in 1946.

The most important scientific research carried out here was in meteorology. Recording instruments were housed in meteorological screens, one of which can still be seen today a short distance to the east of the hut. The meteorological recording programme transferred to the larger base on Galindez Island, when Wordie House closed in 1954, where it continues to this day. This work has produced one of the longest and most important continuous scientific datasets from the Antarctic.

It was designated HSM No. 62 in 1995. The base was made structurally secure and weather tight by a UKAHT work party in the 2009/2010 season. There are an estimated 500 artefacts on site.

Gentoo Penguin, Base A, Port Lockroy (FDC):
Base A at Port Lockroy is of historic importance as an Operation Tabarin base from 1944 and for scientific research, including the first measurements of the ionosphere, and the first recording of an atmospheric whistler, from Antarctica. Port Lockroy was a key monitoring site during the International Geophysical Year of 1957/58.

Following a conservation survey in 1994, British Base A - Port Lockroy was recognised for its historical importance and designated as HSM No. 61. The buildings were renovated in 1996 by a team from BAS and are opened seasonally by the UKAHT to visitors during the Antarctic summer. This is made possible only by the proceeds of the small gift shop which all go towards conservation of historic sites in Antarctica.

Port Lockroy is not only an important natural and historic environment, but also a destination for many from around the world who want to come and learn more about the Antarctic. One role of UKAHT in this is both as monitor and regulator. UKAHT consistently monitor through a long-term environmental study, now running for more than a decade, the impact of visitors to the site; and, in conjunction with that study, regulate the number of visitors and ships visiting the area, as well as, in accordance with the Antarctic Treaty, imposing strict site guidelines to ensure the environment is properly cared for.

The UKAHT also runs the Post Office at Port Lockroy on behalf of the Government of the British Antarctic Territory which donates a proportion of the Post Office revenue to the UKAHT. Around 70,000 cards are posted each year for over 100 countries. Mail usually takes 2-6 weeks to arrive. There is no express service available!

Technical details:
Artist: Robin Carter
Printer: BDT International Security Printing Ltd
Process: Lithography
Perforation: 14 per 2cms
Stamp size: 28.45 x 42.58mm
Sheet Layout: 10
Release date: 17 November, 2015
Production Co-ordination: Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd