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Scott’s Hut and the Explorers’ Heritage of Antarctica

Scott’s Hut and the Explorers’ Heritage of Antarctica

  • Author: sarsur
  • Date Posted: Jun 4, 2013
  • Category:
  • Address: Antarctica, Scott’s Hut

There is a special building set on the north coast of Cape Evans on the Ross Island in Antarctica. This is an ancient and historically rich site with a story and it is called Scott’s Hut. The British Antarctic Expedition (1910–1913) built it in the early 20th century. This was also referred as Terra Nova Expedition. Robert Falcon Scott was the leader. They needed to choose a base for the operations of the 1910–1913 Expedition. Scott was not in favor of reoccupying this hut. The initial place where this hut was situated was at Hut Point that was a good 20 km to the south of the Cape Evans. The one reason was that it was really cold for use as living quarters whereas the other was Discovery – the ship of Scott had once been shut in by sea at this location of Hut Point. This is why this time Scott wished to start a base more on the northern side.

outside the hut
Scott’s Hutsandwichgirl / / CC BY-NC-ND


Scott’s Hut was assembled in Britain and then ferried across to the south with the help of a ship. It was in the shape of a rectangle.  It was padded by seaweed that was sewn into a quilt and stuffed between double-planked walls. The roof is a 3-layered sandwich made of two layers of rubber ply. Acetylene gas provided light inside and a kitchen with a stove that used coal fuel served to heat up the place. This hut had dedicated rooms to sleep in and to work in as well. It even accommodated a building that could hold up to 19 ponies! In addition to this, there was a utility room. A huge effort went into the designing of this hut and especially to protect it from the severe cold. Terra Nova expedition members are known to have mentioned that this hut was quite comfortably warm. A cross is established on the hill just behind this hut but this one has no relation to Captain Scott. This was built to remember 3 members of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party who had perished nearby. Another cross is visible in memory of the Captain Scott himself as well as his companions – this is on the top of Observation Hill.

Captain Scott, Scott’s Hut sandwichgirl / / CC BY-NC-ND

How Scott’s Hut was utilized:

It was during the freezing winter of 1911 that 25 of the Terra Nova men actually lived here. It is from this point that Scott and his companions left for a trek to the South Pole. They never returned! This was the reason many of the men stayed on in this hut for another full year trying to find their friends’ bodies. Yet again after a few years, others found this hut useful when a whole lot of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Ross Sea party stayed here. Their vessel called Aurora broke loose and floated off in the spring and was ultimately lost. This hut thus happened to become a permanent shelter for a lot of such shipwreck victims. However, this hut was abandoned in 1917 but the structure and everything that there was in it have since remained extraordinarily well maintained until today thanks to the constant sub-zero temperature conditions which act as a preservative.

Antarctica, Scott’s Hut sandwichgirl / / CC BY-NC-ND

Decay and Preservation at Scott’s Hut:

Scott’s Hut remained exactly as it was for as long as up until 1956. This was when some expeditioners from the US extracted it out from beneath the thick snow cover! It was like a miracle how well preserved the hut had remained. Countries such as New Zealand and the UK have been regularly attempting at restoring both Scott’s Hut as well as the Discovery Hut. It’s amazing how some of the food items have remained fine though some extent of bacterial decay is apparent. Visitors who see this say that the seal preserved at Discovery Hut now smells rancid, that there is fungal decay seen in the hut’s fabric. Both the Scott’s Hut and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Hut have thus been included in the List of the world’s 100 Most Endangered Sites. These were once again listed in 2006 and 2008 where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut was included in a combined proposal along with Scott’s Hut on Cape Evans together called Scott’s Hut and the Explorers’ Heritage of Antarctica.

Discovery Hut
Scott’s Hut – the Explorers’ Heritage of AntarcticaBlue~Canoe / / CC BY-NC-ND
Author: Teresa Jens lives in Denmark. She works as a travel agent for one of the leading European travel companies. In her spare time she likes writing about her trips (or like they say in Danish rejser) on her travel blog.

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