"Because it is there." George Leigh-Mallory told a New York Times reporter, when asked why he was trying to climb Everest.
In the centenary year of the 1921 British Everest expedition, an audience of pupils and staff listened to Mr Bill Norton (Trant's, 1947-51) host a question and answer session about the remarkable life of his father, Edward Norton (1884-1954).
Edward Norton led the 1924 Everest summit attempt, and was on the 1922 expedition. Snow blindness and exhaustion prevented him from summiting, but Edward set an altitude record that lasted 28 years, and an altitude-without-supplementary-oxygen record that lasted 54 years, until Reinhold Messner climbed Everest without oxygen in May 1978. So damaging was the effect of the sun, Edward was left blind for 60 hours, during which time Mallory and Irvine made their fatal attempt on June 8th 1924.
Bill’s recollections were fascinating. They brought personal colour and insight to the story: in particular the arguments that his father had with Mallory about the likely best route to the summit. Bill is probably the only living first-generation descendant of one of the British Everest mountaineers of 1921-4. Listening to him, we were transported back to the world of those early Everest pioneers, their extraordinary moral and physical courage.
Afterwards, pupils compared the weight of oxygen tanks of the early 1920s compared with those of today.
Bill’s talk anticipates a new Everest exhibition opening in Treasury next term: a commemoration of the three OW climbers who played leading roles in the three Everest expeditions. Guy Bullock, George Mallory and Henry Morshead were attempting more than to climb the world’s highest mountain – they played significant roles in a geological, geographical and natural historical survey of South Tibet and the Himalaya. The exhibition will focus on these aspects of the expeditions, as well as the effort to summit.
The Everest exhibition ‘More than just a mountain’ opens in Cloisters on 16th September to coincide with Winchester College’s participation in Heritage Open Days.
9th August 2022
Each year Winchester College welcomes hundreds of visitors to events, art exhibitions and specialist tours of the school and its collections for Heritage Open Days. This year, in-person events will return to the College with bookings now open.
3rd July 2023
The school celebrated those leaving us, as pupils, dons and families gathered for Medal Speaking and Domum on 1 July 2023.
2nd May 2023
In honour of the forthcoming King's Coronation, the College held a special May Day concert and celebratory lunch for all pupils and staff.
20th April 2023
A new exhibition in Treasury explores the College’s important collection of silver and includes many items on public display for the first time.
10th January 2023
A new Treasury exhibition features highlights from the College's extensive collection of watercolours and drawings, spanning four centuries of art.
22nd November 2022
Year 6 primary school pupils were invited to take over our museum, Treasury, and create their own pop-up art exhibition.