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Stonington Island - Antarctic Historic Site and Monument

Stonington, Marguerite Bay, West Graham Land (68°11'S, 67°00'W)

Designated under the Antarctic Treaty System as Historic Site and Monument No. 64.

Stonington Island - Base E - is of historic significance as the base used by British sledging parties to explore and map much of the Antarctic Peninsula, and the remaining buildings are important as an example of British Antarctic Survey (BAS) history of the 1960s and 1970s.

Stonington Island was established in February 1946 as Base E by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) and closed in February 1950. It was reoccupied briefly in March 1958 for a year. The station was reopened in 1960, rebuilt in 1961 by BAS and then occupied permanently until its final closure in February 1975.

Initially, the most important scientific research carried out at the station was topographic survey and geology. Epic and historic survey journeys lasting several months and covering hundreds of miles were made using dog sledges between 1947-50. The famous polar explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs was the Base Commander of the station during 1948 and 1949. Later research focused on geology, glaciology and meteorology. The normal occupancy of the station was 6 to 17 people.

The original station hut built in 1946 was constructed on a concrete and brick foundation with wood taken from Deception Island whaling station. A pre-fabricated aircraft hangar was also built. None of the original station buildings survive today as they were used as a source of materials for later buildings, and what was left was destroyed by fire sometime after 1971. However, the floor of the hangar still exists as the base of the dog pens.

A new two-storey base building was built in 1961 and extended in 1965. A new generator was built in 1967. The main base building was enlarged further in 1972.

Stonington Island is also the location of the US East Base which is the earliest remaining United States station in Antarctica. East Base was established in March 1940 by the US Antarctic Service Expedition (1939-41). Later, the station was used by the privately funded Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition (1947/48). Much still remains of East Base and it is designated as Historic Site and Monument No. 55 under the Antarctic Treaty System.

The clean-up and repair of the buildings on Stonington Island began in 1992 when a joint US/UK party visited both stations. The British station was designated as Historic Site and Monument No. 64 in 1995. The site was inspected by a conservation architect commissioned to study historic buildings in January 2007.