Position: Lat. 64° 49′ S, Long. 63° 30′ W
The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is a Cambridge based organisation committed to preserving and promoting British Antarctic Heritage. As our neighbours in Cambridge, we were very excited when they contacted us about selling our satchels in a very cool, very unexpected place. Read on to find out more!
Last September, some very important CSC satchels and accessories left their home in Cambridge and embarked on a very exciting expedition. First they flew to Argentina, then hopped on a ferry to the Falkland Islands then set off on a three day cruise.
The destination was Base A, Port Lockroy: a museum and Post Office in the coldest, windiest and driest place on earth – Antarctica!
Base A was built in 1944, on Goudier Island, and was the first permanent British military base to be established on the Antarctic Peninsula. After the Second World War it became a science base ran by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survery. Many amazing scientific revelations were made at Base A; it was there that scientists first made observations that led to the discovery that there was a hole in the ozone layer. The station closed in 1962 when research moved to larger, more modern bases. When the base was abandoned after The Cold War, Port Lockroy became home, in the summer months, to a colony of Gentoo penguins.
In 1994 Port Lockroy was recognised for its historical importance and designated and deemed an official Historic Site under the Antartic Treaty. In 1996 the site was restored to its working condition through the support of the British Antarctic Survery and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
UKAHT & PORT LOCKROY TODAY
In 2006, Port Lockroy was given over to the UK Antartic Heritage Trust to manage and maintain the site. For the past eleven years it has opened each summer season as a living museum, working post office and gift shop, welcoming 18,000 visitors every season from all over the globe. And the best news? The Gentoo penguins are still there too. Every summer, along with the team of four who run Port Lockroy, they inhabit the land around the base.
It was recently voted one of the coolest (in both senses of the word!) places in the world to get a passport stamp and was the focus of a BBC 2 Natural World episode back in 2014 entitled The Penguin Post Office.
In the shop explorers can buy food supplies, gifts to take home and now – a bespoke range of The Cambridge Satchel Company bags and accessories, embossed with the iconic co-ordinates of Base A, as a fitting reminder of their incredible expedition. Ours are the only leather satchels you’ll find on the Antarctic and not only that, but we’re now the only satchel company to sell our bags on every continent in the world.
The proceeds from the gift shop and Post Office are used to maintain this important historic site. We’re really excited to be part of this preservation project and to say ours are the only leather satchels you can buy in Antarctica. That and we love hearing all the stories from the team at Port Lockroy from their daily penguin encounter to the incredible people they’ve met.