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Horseshoe Island and Blaiklock - Antarctic Historic Site and Monument

Horseshoe Island, Marguerite Bay, West Graham Land (67°49'S 67°18'W)


Designated under the Antarctic Treaty System as Historic Site and Monument No. 63

Horseshoe Island (Base Y) is an important example of a relatively unaltered and completely equipped British scientific research station of the 1950s. It was established in March 1955 by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey as Base Y, and was closed in August 1960.

Scientific research carried out at the station was topographic survey, geology and meteorology. Extensive survey trips, often covering hundreds of miles and lasting several months, were undertaken from the station using dog sledges. The normal occupancy of the station was 4 to 10 people.

The site consists of the original main building (which was extended in 1956 to include a sledge workshop and extra bunk space) a balloon shed, dog pens and an emergency store. Inside, the station contains almost all of its original contents, fixtures and fittings, including kitchen utensils, stocks of food and fuel, workshop tools, radio equipment and a diesel generator. The excellent condition and completeness of both the buildings and artefacts are of considerable historical significance as together they provide a very special "time-capsule" of British life and science in the Antarctic during the late 1950s.

On Blaiklock Island, to the north-west of Horseshoe Island, there is a small refuge hut which was built in March 1957 as an outpost of the main station. It is also in good condition and fully equipped.

Horseshoe Island has been maintained and used regularly as a refuge by BAS personnel from Rothera Research Station on nearby Adelaide Island, and in March 1995 a programme of clean-up and urgent repair work was carried out. The base was designated as Historic Site No. 63 in 1995. Further repair work, including refelting of the hut roof was undertaken in 1997. The site was inspected by a conservation architect commissioned to study historic buildings in January 2007.