Port Lockroy | Accidentally Wes Anderson

Port Lockroy

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Goudier Island, Antarctica | C.1944

Photo Credit: Kevin Fohrer

Once a military base for monitoring enemy ships, Port Lockroy now lives a second life as a research station and tourist attraction in Antarctica. Established in 1944, it is the only surviving base from the British WWII mission, Operation Tabarin.

Lockroy Bay was named after Edouard Lockroy, a French politician who assisted polar scientist, Jean-Baptiste Charcot in obtaining government funding for his French Antarctic Expedition. The bay was popular with whalers during the Antarctic whaling boom from 1911-1931, and evidence of the whaling industry can still be found today.

During WWII, British forces set up a series of secret bases along Antarctica to both claim the territory and surveil enemy ships, in what was called, “Operation Tabarin.” Located on Goudier Island, Base A, part of which is pictured here, is the only one that remains. Base A became a scientific research station after the war, and was continually inhabited until 1962. The research crews who lived there primarily studied the physics of the upper atmosphere. 

Since 2006, Port Lockroy has been managed by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. Base A, now completely renovated, is a museum and post office. Every year, a small team runs the gift shop, monitors wildlife, gives lectures, and collects data. The team also processes an average of 70,000 pieces of mail sent by visitors that arrive during the five month Antarctic cruise season. Port Lockroy is a Historic Site or Monument (HSM 61) and visitors to the island also receive a souvenir passport stamp.

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