BMC helps fund Mountain Heritage move to secure our history

Posted by Peter Burnside on 29/03/2017
Blencathra with a dusting of snow: the new home of mountain heritage.
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Mountain Heritage Trust moves into stunning new base at Blencathra – with help from the BMC.

The Mountain Heritage Trust (MHT) officially opened its new premises at the stunning Blencathra Field Studies Centre on Friday 24 March.

MHT, established in 2000, is the heritage arm of the BMC. It aims to document Britain’s vibrant climbing and mountaineering history and encourages access to its own collections, provides curatorial support, sources artefacts for new exhibitions and sets up gallery exhibitions. The current collection includes many items from famous mountaineers Joe Tasker and Sir Chris Bonington.

The BMC contributes £30,000 per year to the running of MHT (which includes the employment of full-time archivist Kelda Roe) and, through a legacy donation, was very pleased to contribute a further £25,000 in 2016/17 to enable the move from Penrith to Blencathra.

The Blencathra Centre will now be the main location for MHT’s collection of mountaineering history items in the UK. Sharing the Field Studies Council site will offer exciting new opportunities to bring mountain heritage alive to young people visiting the centre.

With such prestigious new premises in such a stunning setting, MHT supporters were roused with eloquent speeches from Doug Scott CBE, professor Tim Burt (president of the Field Studies Council), Tim Foster (head of Blencathra Centre), Nick Colton (BMC deputy CEO), and Jeff Ford (MHT chair), while Cumbrian poet Phil Houghton read a specially-commissioned poem for the opening.

Rehan Siddiqui, president of the BMC, said:

“It’s great news that MHT will be joining the Field Studies Council in such an iconic location. The Blencathra Centre will provide crucial opportunities to connect with young people and impress upon them the importance of preserving our mountain environment and rich heritage in mountaineering. This partnership promises a bright future.”

Sir Chris Bonington, patron of MHT, said:

“I am delighted with MHT’s move to the Blencathra; it’s the perfect home for our mountaineering heritage and in a wonderful mountain environment.”

Tim Foster, head of Blencathra Field Studies Centre, said:

“The most natural place in Britain to locate the MHT collections are with us on the slopes of the much loved Blencathra. Many of the students taking part in activities here will be able to look at the items, which they were not able to do when it was in Penrith. We are delighted to have them with us.”

Jeff Ford, chair of the MHT, said:

“It is a relief to be able to put such a valuable set of items into wonderful new premises at Blencathra. This will mean that many more people will be able to access the documents, photos, films and objects. We hope to see many people visiting the collection in the future.”

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Phil Houghton reading his poem flanked by MHT supporters, L-R: Tim Foster, Doug Scott, Nick Colton & Jeff Ford.

More about the Mountain Heritage Trust

MHT was founded in 2000 to record and preserve Britain’s rich heritage in the fields of climbing, mountaineering and mountain culture. Second to none in terms of breadth, Britain has a proud legacy in the Alps, the Himalaya and the other great mountain ranges, as well as closer to home on British rock. MHT preserves and encourages access to its own collections, provides curatorial support, sources artefacts for new exhibitions and sets up gallery exhibitions. Among its early successes was the establishment of the National Mountaineering Exhibition at the Rheged Centre near Penrith.

More recently, the Trust has formed partnerships with the National Trust, and Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. The last year has seen the Trust working on a Heritage Lottery Fund project on mountaineer Joe Tasker. The Blencathra Centre will include a more accessible office space to welcome visitors and researchers, along with a custom-converted building to house the Trust’s historic collections in a safe and secure environment.

MORE: Read about the BMC Gallery of Mountaineering

VISIT: The Mountain Heritage Trust site

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