Port Lockroy is a natural harbour on the Antarctic Peninsula of the British Antarctic Territory. After its discovery in 1903 it was used for whaling and as ‘Base A’.
‘ Base A’ was built in February 1944 for British military operations (Operation Tabarin ) during World War II and then continued to operate as a British research station until 1962.
It is now one of the most visited tourist sites in Antarctica.
Port Lockroy was recognised for its historical importance and designated as Historic Site and Monument No. 61 under the Antarctic Treaty.
The buildings were renovated in 1996 by a team from the British Antarctic Survey and since then opened to visitors during the Antarctic summer.
The Trust operates the site as a ‘living museum’, by the proceeds of a small gift shop.
Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, Britain has declared four abandoned bases on the Antarctic Peninsula, as Historic Monuments.
These are Port Lockroy , Wordie House , Horseshoe Island and Stonington Island .
Of these, Port Lockroy , situated on Goudier Island has been fully restored to its 1962 condition when it was closed.
Approaching the boathouse in Port Lockroy.
The restored Base’s two buildings – The boathouse , close to the moorings, and Bransfield House (crew accomodation, post and shop)
The main base building, Bransfield House , was the first permanent British government building on the Peninsula.
A boathouse was built in 1956 and a generator building erected in 1958.
The boathouse (1956)
Bransfield house (1944)
The main base building, Bransfield House , has been much modified over the years.
Inside, a souvenir shop, a post office and museum. Mail is picked up by a passing ship and delivered to the Falkland Islands, where it is transported to England, and so on.
Portrait of Marilyn Monroe painted on the back of the old generator door, now in the gift shop, reminding of the loneliness of the all-male crew of 9.
Around 70 000 cards are posted each year for over 100 countries. Mail usually takes 2-6 weeks to arrive. l
Clandestine Radio station (1944)
The museum itself was pretty small. It used to be a research station that housed a maximum of 9 people. A plaque explained that when the site was fully inhabited, they took turns chopping ice off the nearest glacier for the station's water supply.
The Science Research base .
The base's research activities included surveying, geology, meteorology, botany and ionospherics.
Photos of Queen and Prince over a windup HMV phonograph.
Kitchen and shelves with goods.
Well stocked bar.
Something about the old cans …
Wooden skis from Grytviken whaling station, in South Georgia Island.
A Nissen hut , which will replicate the pre-fabricated steel structures used as airbases during World War II, will replace a previous hut that had fallen into a state of disrepair and had to be demolished in 1996.
The new hut is being designed and built to the same specification as the old Nissen hut and will be located on exactly the same site, helping to preserve the heritage of the area.
Outside, whale bones also many years old.
A study is running on how human presence affects local penguins. On a part of the island, approaching and interacting is allowed; elsewhere, humans are forbidden. So far, nothing indicates nuisance of humans on penguins. .
Nature is the really issue here.
The Nordnorge at Port Lockroy. Tourist visits have been increasing rapidly.
South Georgia is another Antarctic island that people rushed to abandon. At least seven whaling communities existed there during the first half of the 20th century. When all were up and running the island was estimated to have 2,000 people living on it. Most of the towns are in the process of returning to a state of wilderness but some buildings – notably in the town of Grytviken – have been kept up and are also becoming an antarctic destination.