Antarctic peninsula, Goudier Island, Old British Base at Port Lockroy, Bransfield House

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Bransfield House

Antarctic Peninsula

Britain beautifully restored the original station building, Bransfield House, the main building of Base A, in 1996. Displays on the station’s history hang inside. Artifacts include clothing from Operation Tabarin, a clandestine 1944 radio transmitter, a wind-up HMV gramophone with Noel Coward 78rpm records, and wooden skis purchased from the Grytviken Whaling Station Stores on South Georgia in 1957. A scientific highlight: a restored ‘Beastie’ (an early apparatus for upper-atmospheric research).

Don’t miss the full-length portrait of Marilyn Monroe painted on the back of the generator-shed (gift shop) door, a memory aid for lonely winterers during Antarctica’s all-male era.

Three UKAHT staff members live at Port Lockroy in the summer to maintain the historic site. They also run a busy post office (about 70,000 items are hand-stamped each year; postcards usually take several weeks to arrive) and a well-stocked souvenir shop, with the proceeds funding museum operations. Surplus profits help pay for the conservation of other British historic sites on the Peninsula. The shop accepts US dollars, and in a pinch British pounds and euros, although credit cards are preferred: Visa and MasterCard (no American Express).

To manage the number of visitors, UKAHT allows up to 350 people to visit per day, but no more than 60 are allowed ashore at once. The base is also the staff members’ temporary home; respect their personal areas.