The John Rae Society which is hoping to establish a visitor centre at the Hall of Clestrain, childhood home of Dr John Rae, has recently been gifted a fabulous collection of polar exploration books.
The books are the entire collection of Mr John Bramwell, a life member of the society. They include signed first edition copies, which are out of print and extremely difficult to find on the open market.
John Ramwell a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and life member of the John Rae Society was born in South Africa and when it was time to return to Britain the ship landed in Scapa. John and family then moved to live with an aunt on Rothesay who was the sister of Henry Robertson Bowers, a member of the Scott Discovery Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole.
This sparked a lifelong interest in polar exploration and not just in reading about them. He also personally led expeditions for both the British Schools Exploring Society and Raleigh International.
You can read more about Dr John Rae and his exploration of the Arctic regions of Canada in several articles in The Orkney News, for example: Dr John Rae: Arctic Explorer
The collection of books are being cared for at the offices of EMEC, Stromness, where they can be stored safely until ready to be installed at the Hall of Clestrain once it is fully restored.
The intention is to have a reference library at the proposed Arctic Centre, at the Hall of Clestrain. What a marvellous asset this will be.
You can find out more about the John Rae Society and the ongoing restoration work at the Hall of Clestrain by clicking on this link: The John Rae Society