8 June 2024 - 24 November 2024 | Public Event, Event

The Other Everests: One Mountain, Many Worlds Exhibit at Wray Castle

Lake District exhibition explores the hidden histories of the 1924 Mount Everest expedition in its centenary year.

A new exhibition – Other Everests: One Mountain, Many Worlds – opens on 8 June in the castle at the National Trust’s Wray, on the shores of Windermere. The free exhibition marks the centenary of the 1924 Mount Everest expedition.

Wray Castle was an important location to Beatrix Potter and her family. In 1882, a young Beatrix Potter holidayed in the Lake District for the first time as her parents had rented out Wray Castle.

Wray Castle is the perfect setting for this Mount Everest exhibit, with mountains in the Lake District the birthplace of modern mountaineering.

National Trust Cultural Heritage Curator, Harvey Wilkinson, has worked with historian, Dr Jonathan Westaway from UCLAN, to tell the almost forgotten story of the Sherpas who worked on the mountain, highlighting their contribution to the 1920s expeditions to Everest.

Using stunning photographs presented in large-format vivid lightboxes, combined with displays of artefacts, including the now famous recreation of George Mallory’s climbing outfit found when his body was finally discovered on Everest in 1999, the exhibition shares fascinating archives from the Royal Geographical Society and the Mountain Heritage Trust.

Dr Westaway said: “This summer marks the centenary of the deaths of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine on Everest.  Whilst many 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, and to be able to begin to tell the story of these early Sherpa mountaineers and workers for the first time.”

Co-curator Harvey Wilkinson added: This exhibition takes a step back from the usual narratives around the 1924 expedition, setting them 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. The display includes abandoned and mangled modern tents recovered from above 7,000 meters by Tibetan climbers, 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.”

The exhibition offers interactive family activities too along with a small traversing climbing wall.

Other Everests: One Mountain, Many Worlds, will run in the castle from 8 June to 24 November at the National Trust’s Wray, Low Wray, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0JA and is free to enter.

Learn more about this exhibit here: https://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/24297963.lake-district-exhibition-explores-1924-mount-everest-expedition/

Learn more about Beatrix Potter’s connection to Wray Castle here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/lake-district/wray/history-of-wray-castle

Image Credit: Mount Everest from Base Camp ©Royal Geographical Society with IBG

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