AT THE BUDONGO LECTURE THEATRE, EDINBURGH ZOO, SATURDAY 31 OCTOBER 2015
This past weekend – Saturday 31 October – saw Dr. Graeme D. Eddie of the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) participate in the Penguin City Meeting of the South Georgia Association (SGA), held at the Budongo Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh Zoo. The SGA is a non-profit organisation formed to give voice to those who care for South Georgia, a remote mountainous island in the South Atlantic.
The SGA meeting had been organised and chaired by Dr. Bruce F. Mair, geologist. Also present among the geologists, glaciologists, botanists, ecologists, and former whalers, were Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) and current President of the James Caird Society, descendants of Carl Anton Larsen (1860-1924) the Norwegian-British Antarctic explorer, and descendants of Sir James Mann Wordie (1889-1962) the Scottish Polar explorer and geologist.
Presentations on the day covered ‘Accessible Archives and the Industrial Past’, ‘Science and Field Work’ and ‘South Georgia 2015 and Beyond’ and, represented as an accessible archive, the CRC presentation was given in the first section of the Meeting.
Profiling the Salvesen Archive, it offered a brief history of the firm of Christian Salvesen & Co. Ltd., and a look at the transfer in three stages of the archive of the company’s whaling business to Edinburgh University Library starting in 1969.
The content of the Salvesen Archive was described with illustrations showing its variety. The talk looked at some of the conservation needs of the material, the use of the collection by researchers, and offered glimpses of the lives of personnel at the South Georgia stations.
The transport of live penguins by the company to Europe – not least to Edinburgh Zoo – was also briefly explored through images from the Salvesen Archive.
The SGA meeting also saw presentations from the National Library of Scotland with the title ‘South Georgia on the Shelf’ and looking at the Map and Wordie collections, and from the South Georgia Heritage Trust & the National Museums of Scotland about a project to highlight the location of South Georgia related objects around the world. John Alexander who had spent winter seasons in the whaling industry gave a talk on ‘Sailing in the Antarctic with Salvesen’.
There were also presentations on tussock grass on South Georgia, the geology of the island, sustainable South Georgia fisheries management, and the rat eradication programme. The day was concluded with a visit to the penguin enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.
The host for SGA Meeting, Dr. Bruce F. Mair had been a geologist with the British Antarctic Survey and had carried out extensive mapping in an area of South Georgia around Brandt Cove, Larsen Harbour and Drygalski Fjord in the 1974-75 and 1976-77 field seasons. The region’s Mt. Mair is named after him!
Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library, 2 November 2015