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Author: John Kemister, Antarctic Heritage Trust NZ Conservator

These two interesting objects from Scott’s Terra Nova base at Cape Evans have been conserved at the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s conservation lab at New Zealand’s Scott Base ready for return to the hut in the summer.

The first is a well made double sheave pulley block that could have been utilised either on the ship Terra Nova, or in other situations where additional lifting or pulling force was required. The assembly consists of two galvanized pulley wheels mounted in a wooden block. A spliced steel wire bridle, wrapped with tarred rope, supports the block and connects it via a steel thimble to the hook. This bridle is held tightly around the block and thimble with tarred choker wrapping.

Double sheave pulley block

Double sheave pulley block. Photo: John/

The second object is a remnant from an identical block, consisting only of the wrapped steel wire bridle, a distorted thimble and the remains of a fractured hook.

Damaged pulley block remnants

Damaged pulley block remnants. Photo: John/

While working on conserving these it was interesting to conjecture (and unless historic records provide a clue it will only be conjecture) what task Scott’s men were performing when this damage occurred.

If only it could talk. 

About John
John is Australian and is currently working as a Conservator over summer for the Antarctic Heritage Trust. To follow what he and the rest of the team are working on to conserve Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s heroic era base at Cape Evans, and to experience a slice of life on the Ice, visit the conservators’ permanent blog on the Natural History Museum website.

Read more guest blog posts from the Antarctic Heritage Trust:
Conservation in Antarctica
Antarctica’s first bicycle

The Australian National Maritime Museum thanks Antarctic Heritage Trust NZ and Natural History Museum London for their recent guest blog posts in celebration of Scott’s Last Expedition, here at the museum until 16 October 2011.


ANMM Guest

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Posted in: Conservation , Exhibitions