17 April 2011
Last updated at 01:29
Captain Robert Falcon Scott's hut has survived almost untouched - except by the occasional passing explorer - for 100 years. It still houses 10,000 items left behind by the ill-fated 1910-12 expedition, many of them in remarkable condition. It has effectively been frozen in time.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust is mid-way through a six-year project to conserve the hut and all of its contents. The building itself, once at risk of collapse, has been conserved and weatherproofed, and experts are now cleaning and repairing each item inside it.
Apart from Scott himself, the only member of the 25-man team with his own space was expedition photographer Herbert Ponting, whose darkroom-cum-bedroom is still intact. Scott was the first explorer to realise the importance of photography in wooing the newly emerging newspaper industry.
Scott also pioneered the idea of expedition sponsorship. Many companies, such as Bovril and Huntley & Palmers, made special supplies for the expedition, providing them free in exchange for publicity.
The food included the finer things that the gentlemen of the expedition would have been used to. However, cook Thomas Clissold occasionally improvised with seals and penguins.
Meals served in the hut were substantial, and could run to several courses. Scott believed that the men needed good meals to help them cope with the hardships. However, when they went on trips off-base they burned more calories than they consumed - the need for extra nutrition at high altitude was not understood.
A wall of boxes stands 6ft (1.8m) high and runs along the width of the hut. "I found Barrows making cubicles, so instructed him to build a bulkhead of cases which shuts off the officers' space from the men's. I am quite sure to the satisfaction of both," Scott wrote in his diary.
Medicine bottles can be seen on a shelf above one of the beds. Liquorice Compound Powder (far right) was used to soothe upset stomachs.
Newspapers and books are still scattered around the hut. Based in the hut for two years, the men treasured anything they could read.
The expedition also boasted the most comprehensive Antarctic scientific study of its day. Eleven scientists measured the landscape, mapped skies, studied the climate and returned discoveries for analysis at home... including the eggs of the Emperor Penguin.
Scott sat at a desk in front of his bed to record the daily events of the British Antarctic Expedition. He kept a detailed diary right up to his last day in a frozen tent on the ice shelf where he died, aged 43, from a combination of starvation, exhaustion and extreme weather conditions.
The Secrets of Scott's Hut will be broadcast on Sunday 17 April at 2000 BST on BBC Two.