Exploring the untold stories
In the Himalayas of southern Tibet, porters take a rest in the
late afternoon sunshine at Camp II on the East Rongbuk Glacier.
This photo was taken by Hugh Ruttledge on the Mount Everest
expedition he led in 1936.
Yet despite not reaching the summit (that was not achieved until
17 years later by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay), Hugh’s name
is easily found on Wikipedia, unlike the names of the local guides
whose knowledge and understanding of the landscape was so essential
to the safety of the crew.
However, they are finally getting the recognition
they deserve in a new exhibition focusing on the work of these
local guides and interpreters, who have so often been
Hidden Histories of Exploration was put together by the Royal
Geographical Society, highlighting the role of local inhabitants
and intermediaries in the history of exploration.
Throughout the displays, the stories are told of people with
exotic names like Juan Tepano, Mohammed Jen Jamain, Sidi Mubarak
Bombay, Nain Singh and Pedro Caripoco. Yet here, they are not left
in obscurity but brought to the fore.
It runs at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham and is
supported by items from its own collection, including pieces from
one of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s expeditions to the
The exhibition runs until Sunday, March 31. It is closed on
Mondays. Admission £8, concessions £5.50, families £21.50, under
fives free. Call 01634 822839.
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