EVEREST RECONNAISANCE EXPEDITION 1951 SUPPLEMENT + YETIS

Everest pictures and Yetis, what more could you want from a post! Some two years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first (confirmed for all you Mallory enthusiasts) climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, a small team including Hillary in the party made a Reconnaisance Expedition to Everest. Captured here in this recent find from a Times Special Supplement in 1951 we thought we should share…

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Autumn 1951, The Himalayan Committee of The Royal Geographical Society and the Alpine Club sent a small party to investigate the south-western aspect of Mount Everest. As a side of the mountains that can only be approached through Nepal, this had meant rare privilege for the team to be granted access by the government.

Whilst the idea of looking for a way to approach to south-western face was not new, how far it had been entertained by the earlier expeditions of the 1920s is unclear but after the discovery in 1921 by Mallory and his companions of what appeared to be a relatively straight forward route to the summit from the East Rongbuk glacier, little serious thought seems to have been recorded in finding another line of approach. Step by step, as the Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition thrust and cut it its way towards the ramparts of the most impregnable fortress on earth, Mr Eric Shipton, the leader, sent back his progress reports for publication in The Times.

It was never the intention of Shipton’s party, of four English climbers and two New Zealanders, to attempt to climb the great peak itself. Everest is the ‘inner keep’, or donjon, of a gigantic system of fortifications, in which each ward beyond ward, has to be successfully overcome. Even the outermost ramparts have to be approached through many miles of rugged and trackless country, so that any attack must be planned with strategic elaboration parallel to a great  military operation – and with the same impossibility of precision since the opponents dispositions are imperfectly unknown. Victory cannot be expected in a single campaign…

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KNOW YOUR MARKS #2 – C.H. MASLAND & CO. / WOOD + STREAM

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Established in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1866 by Civil War veteren Charles Masland – the business was making carpets, including, throughout the 1920s, carpets for the groundbraking Model T Ford cars. Carpeting remained the primary business until 1940, a year before the US joined WWII, when its mills were turned over to the war effort and the production of various canvases and foul weather gear for military use. For this, it even scooped the Board of the Army and Navy’s Excellence Award.

MOUNTAIN RESEARCH

Rockall is an extremely small, uninhabited and remote rocky islet in the North Atlantic Ocean of which we had never heard. Until, that is, a little spot of research into a recently found climbing smock and mountaineering boots led us to this interesting rock known possibly only now to sailors, Scottish Nationalists and fans of the shipping forecast. Though still proudly standing some 240 miles off the Orkneys, this 25 meter, at its widest point, rock was once the inspiration for a sailing cum climbing brand which now appears to be sadly lost.

ROYAL FLYING CORPS

This classic knee length mid tan leather coat with its wrap over style asymmetric front and its distinctive angled map pocket (some 50 years before Belstaff and Barbour et al) is a highly prized new addition to our archive.

ALIEN SPACE INVADERS

Or, the funny little patterns that emerge in old Indian blankets if you stare at them long enough. A colourful cornucopia of squares, crosses, zig-zags, and triangles in bold graduated colourways that make these so graphically appealing, and sometimes mesmeric.

Virtually a Ralph trademark for years, others are now latching on to their beauty, and they still provide inspiration for many designers, even Dr Martens have recently collaborated with Pendleton Woolen Mills.

SEALED PATTERN

Here’s a nice Sealed Pattern Royal navy jumper, smock, crackerjack top dating from the First World War, or to give it it’s proper name ‘Jumper, Duck’, referring to the heavy linen sail cloth it is made from. This is the garment template, the quality standard from which issued items had to adhere to, and seems to originate from ‘Experimental Establishments, Woolwich and Shoeburyness’. It bears the large linen labels and wax seals of the Clothing Inspection Department and judging by the dates it stayed in War Department stores from 1920 to 1961.

ATP / SEDITIONARIES

Jacket's, Jungle 1945. This British Army womens WWII jungle shirt is eerily reminiscent of the McLaren Westwood 'Seditionaries' parachute shirt, even down to the rubber buttons. The belt looped through the epaulette, the removable sleeves, and the stamped 'GAS FLAP' all add to it's Punk...

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PHOTOS OF OUR BOOK BY THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF OUR BOOK

Here are a few snaps of our limited edition cover edition book by photographer Nic Shonfeld, whom we commissioned to shoot the book for us. Nic has been working closely with us for over a couple of years now and we think the images in the publication are a credit to his understanding of ‘us’ and what we ‘do’ within our industry. You can see more of Nic’s photos on his website here: nicshonfeld.com

HERN THE HUNTER

The Seventies weren’t all bad taste. Even Savile Row had to move with the times, grudgingly I’m sure, whilst still employing the techniques of tailoring and cutting, and hand finishing that exemplify this bastion of a bygone age in a small corner of London’s West End.

This Huntsman suit from 1972 is a prime example, still displaying impeccable cut and fine tailoring, whilst also exuding a little of the elegance and panache of the era. One button single breasted jacket with side vents and functioning cuffs, flapless hip pockets, bottle green silk lining, and hand stitched buttonholes of course. The trousers are flat fronted with cavalry pockets, a belt tab, and a slight almost imperceptible flare to the leg.