The Memorial Orchard at the BAS Headquarters
The Memorial Orchard has been constructed as a memorial to all those people who have worked for FIDS/BAS in the Antarctic since 1948 and have not returned. Initially a consultant was commissioned to design an orchard of 34 fruit trees and to recommend those varieties that had been grown commercially in East Anglia but were now no longer permitted by the EU to be sold. The BAS Club was invited to be a partner with the BAS Office in developing this orchard. The Club also offered to make their own contributions to the project.
The area to be used was a piece of waste ground between the BAS Headquarters Building and the M11 motorway. As the area was infested with rabbits, before any planting work could be done, a rabbit/deer resistant metal fence had to be constructed and two gates installed. There had been a hedge around the area, but this was in a poor state so it was cleared of weeds and dead plants, then the area feed and numerous new striplings planted to produce a new and thicker hedge.
On entering the orchard by the single gate there is a monolith of Honister green slate with ‘Memorial Orchard’ hand-carved in the face. A gravel path leads around the area containing the 34 fruit trees together with three mature trees that had been planted many years ago. At two places along the path are two unique special commemorative oak garden benches made by Simon Almond, a cabinet maker who wintered with BAS.
In the grass area is a circle of blue stone blocks edgings containing white Skye marble chips. A solid oak pedestal, also made by Simon Almond, has been placed at the centre and mounted on top is a brass polar sun-dial together with a brass plate containing the inscription:
In Memory of those Colleagues who have explored Antarctica and did not return
Time passes but They have not been Forgotten
Finally, there is a Book of Remembrance that records on separate pages the names of all who have been lost under the year and Base at which they served. This will be kept in the BAS Office and will be available on request.
Directions to the Memorial Orchard can be obtained from BAS Office Reception.