Sheffield exhibition reveals never before seen photographs of 1930s mountain climbers

Keen climbers have been given a unique glimpse in the lives of campers almost 90 years ago, thanks to a new exhibition.

By Rochelle Barrand
Tuesday, 30 July, 2019, 14:56
A Club member climbs Arolla, 1937. Copyright The Camping and Caravanning Club.jpg

The mountaineering exhibition by The Camping and Caravanning Club features never before seen photographs from the 1930s.

The exhibition – called ‘Climbing, Camping and the Club’ – features 35 black and white photographs taken by members of the Club’s Mountaineering Section, as it was then known, which was formed in the Peak District.

In total, the collection consists of 18 albums spanning 1932 to 1984, containing 2,196 photographs, most of which include captions detailing the location, year and often the people featured in them.

Simon McGrath, of The Camping and Caravanning Club, said: “The albums were recently ‘rediscovered’ in the Club’s archives and we wanted to share these wonderful photographs for the first time publicly because they give us a fascinating insight into the lives of early recreational climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers.

“The photographs show us how and where they camped, and what equipment they used. They also give us a glimpse into the camaraderie of the campsite for these early members of the Club.”

The Club’s Mountaineering Section was formed in 1932 at its inaugural meeting in Edale.

It later changed its name to the Mountain Activity Section in 1987 and is still an active group today, whose members enjoy walking and cycling.

Terry Tasker, Chair of the Mountain Heritage Trust, said: “A different aspect to British mountaineering has been shown through newly discovered historic photograph albums, which re-live the memories and authenticate the past, embodying the wider focus of what the Mountain Heritage Trust is about.

“They depict a different facet of climbing that was parallel to the early pioneer Alpine and Himalayan climbers from the 1930s through to 1984 and particularly demonstrate some early women climbers.

“We have been given a wonderful chance to examine never before seen photographs of these climbs by The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Mountaineering Section members.”

The exhibition ran from June 25 to July 9 at Castleton Visitor Centre in the Peak District National Park, but can still be seen at Plas y Brenin in Snowdonia National Park, until August 8.