Author: Gretel Evans
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012
Temperature: -26 deg C
Wind Speed: 12 knots
Temp with wind chill: -45 deg C
Among the utilitarian objects that we conserve there are also many weird and wonderful items. Objects from the expeditions have often been adapted or re-used in another form during their lifetime. I have come across a pair of boot liners with a strange addition. The liners are made of cotton but have pieces of caribou fur sewn on to the heel. This gives them a particularly warm and comfortable look, but I’m not sure about the effectiveness or even purpose of this addition.
Boot liners before conservation Credit: AHT
Boot liners after conservation Credit: AHT
I can only think this would have made them uncomfortable to wear inside a boot - although as a colleague pointed out, they may have prevented rubbing and blisters forming on the heel. The boot liners prompted a story about Thomas Griffith Taylor, Senior Geologist with Scott’s Terra Nova expedition who apparently sewed canvas heel tips to his socks and called them Taylor’s Patent Heel Tips. I wonder what the purpose of the fur heels was and what they may have been called at the time. Answers on a postcard to Antarctica.