Menu

Everest centenary exhibition co-designed by UCLan historian to explore hidden Sherpa stories

Posted on - 3rd June, 2024 - 6:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Preston News, UCLan, What's On in Preston

Team members including Mallory and Sherpas at a rest stop on Everest in 1922 Pic: J.B. Noel courtesy of the RGS-IBG
Team members including Mallory and Sherpas at a rest stop on Everest in 1922 Pic: J.B. Noel courtesy of the RGS-IBG

A free exhibition co-designed by a University of Central Lancashire historian is taking place to mark the centenary of the first expedition to Mount Everest.

Dr Jonathan Westaway has worked with National Trust heritage curator Harvey Wilkinson to create Other Everests: One Mountain, Many Worlds.

Timed to coincide with the centenary of the 1924 Mount Everest Expedition, the display will open at the National Trust’s Wray Castle on the shores of Lake Windermere this June.

The free exhibition uses stunning photographs from the Royal Geographical Society archives to tell the almost forgotten story of the Sherpas who worked on the mountain, highlighting their contribution to the 1920s expeditions to Everest. 

Large format photography will be combined with displays from the Mountain Heritage Trust, including the now famous recreation of George Mallory’s climbing outfit found on his body, discovered on the mountain in 1999, as well as more modern clothing worn on later key expeditions, including Sir Chris Bonington’s expedition in 1975.

Read more: Brush up on your dental knowledge at free talk in Preston 

Dr Westaway, a Senior Research Fellow, said: “This summer marks the centenary of the deaths of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine on Everest.  Whilst most people know this story, very few people know about the lives of the Sherpa porters who accompanied Mallory and Irvine high on the mountain.

“With funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council we have been researching the hidden histories of Indigenous high-altitude workers on Everest.  These expeditions relied on a huge army of indigenous labourers working in a range of roles like interpreters, porters, high-altitude climbers, cooks, mail runners, photographic and collection assistants.

“It is so fantastic to be able to share these photographs with visitors to Wray Castle, and to be able to begin to tell the story of these early Sherpa mountaineers and workers for the first time.”

The exhibition forms part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council project led by Dr Westaway entitled Other Everests: Commemoration, Memory and Meaning and the British Everest Expedition Centenaries, 2021-2024.

The international research network is exploring the legacy of these Everest expeditions and re-evaluating the symbolic, political and cultural status of Everest in the contemporary world, with a focus on researching the lives and careers of the indigenous workforce on these expeditions.  

The Other Everests research network has been working with project partners in India and Nepal and a state-of-the-art 3D digital version of the exhibition at Wray Castle will enable communities in the Himalaya region to see and interact with the exhibition.  

Review: The Himalayan eatery making Mountains out of Momo-hills in Preston City Centre

He commented: “Our goal is to share these images as widely as possible with communities from the Himalaya region. The Wray Castle exhibition will be in dialogue with other exhibitions, both digital and physical, put on in India and Nepal by our project partners.”

Co-curator Harvey Wilkinson added: “This exhibition takes a step back from the usual narratives around the 1924 expedition, setting it in a wider context of the people and places that surrounded the mountain, and the transforming effects of mountain tourism. 

“It includes some historic climbing ephemera and apparel, with early versions of fibre pile and plastic boots, in contrast to Mallory’s sporting Burberry outfit, based on shooting attire of the period. A display of abandoned and mangled modern tents – recovered from above 7,000 meters by Tibetan climbers – is a stark reminder of how the material culture of mountaineering is permanently changing mountains here and around the world, in a way that Mallory could not have imagined.”

Other Everests: One Mountain, Many Worlds will be running from Saturday 8 June to Saturday 30 November at the National Trust’s Wray Castle, Low Wray, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0JA.

Subscribe: Keep in touch directly with the latest headlines from Blog Preston, join our WhatsApp channel and subscribe for our twice-a-week email newsletter. Both free and direct to your phone and inbox.

Read more: See more of what’s on in Preston

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

This story was made possible by support from you, our readers, and a host of organisations in the city, through our Crowdfund Lancashire appeal, which unlocked support from the Lancashire Culture and Sport Fund provided by Lancashire County Council. You can see all our coverage and, if you know of an arts project or event in the city we should be covering, send details to contactus@blogpreston.co.uk.

Share
Preston in pictures Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024 View more
Advertisement
Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's email newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday and Wednesday rounding up our top stories and more.

Advertisement
News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

The Preston Guide

Discover local businesses and services near you.

Advertisement
Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Blog Preston email updates

Receive our digest of the biggest and best stories every Sunday to your email inbox

We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time from our emails