A gift for our Patron

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British heroism and humour in The London Library’s Diamond Jubilee gift

We’ve chosen an original and suitably bookish gift for our Patron, Her Majesty the Queen, in honour of her Diamond Jubilee.

In addition to being the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, 2012 marks the centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s team from the British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition reaching the South Pole. While the outcome of Scott’s expedition was ultimately tragic, the story of his endeavour resonates still as an exemplar of British vision, courage and heroism.

A little-known aspect of the Scott polar story is that he and his men produced a magazine, the South Polar Times, to entertain themselves through the Antarctic winter, until warmer weather made further exploration possible. Typed and illustrated with paintings, sketches and photographs, just one copy of each issue was produced before being passed from hand to hand and read aloud. With content ranging from weather reports to cartoons and songs, the South Polar Times gives an extraordinarily moving sense of the community created among expedition members during these dark winter months.

The Library has chosen to present to Her Majesty a copy of The Folio Society’s facsimile edition of the South Polar Times: a Diamond Jubilee gift encapsulating British patriotism, heritage and character, and the importance of the year 2012. Limited to 1,000 copies, this first ever complete facsimile edition adheres to the handmade nature of the originals, with each South Polar Times issue bound separately. The volumes will be presented to Her Majesty with a specially designed London Library book plate.

We are very grateful to The Folio Society for helping to arrange this special gift. If you’d like to read more about the South Polar Times please visit The Folio Society’s website.