Throughout the 19th century, Carlisle newspapers made frequent references to polar exploration, and towards the end of that century, on those who came to Cumberland to lecture on the subject.

One of the earliest was Commander Cheyne, in 1895, who spoke of attempts to reach the North Pole by balloon.

An editorial in the Carlisle Journal stated in 1902 that there was “never a greater interest in polar exploration than today”.

It was reported in January, 1910, that “Lieutenant Sir Ernest Shackleton, the famous explorer who penetrated within 100 miles of the South Pole, will give a lecture in the Drill Hall on Friday, 25 February”.

He was to stay in Carlisle as a guest of Dr Barker, the Dean, who had married the only daughter of Sir James Ross, a famous Arctic explorer.

When film was shown of Captain Scott’s Antarctic expedition at the Public Hall in January 1912, the Journal reported that Herbert Ponting, a former Carlisle Grammar School pupil, was the official photographer to the expedition and this was film shot by him.

Similar footage was show at The Star in Denton Holme in June.

Second in command on Scott’s expedition, Commander Evans, came to lecture at the Drill Hall on 21 January, 1914, on ‘The Antarctic Expedition’.

There were 100 tickets at five shillings, 150 at half-a-crown, 200 at two shillings with some at one shilling on the door. Carlisle was lucky to secure his services as he had refused 160 other towns. In the lecture, Evans mentioned Ponting’s link with the city, a reason he had come.

Evans returned to speak to the Carlisle Lecture Guild in November, 1927, with a lecture “on his experiences with Captain Scott in the Antarctic to a large audience in the Aglionby Street Baptist Church.” The newspaper reported, “the lecture was illustrated with an excellent collection of lantern slides which enabled the audience to realise more closely the hardships encountered by the expedition.”

At the Church of Scotland, Dr C W Donald of Portland Square, spoke to the Literary and Debating Society in November 1920 on “Polar exploration since its beginning.” He had first-hand experience as he was on an 1892 expedition to the South Polar region and in his well-illustrated talk he emphasised “the superiority of dog and sledge transit over any other method.” This was a subject he returned to in a 1930 talk to the Carlisle Scientific and Literary Society when he pointed out that Antarctic exploration “was a stimulus to the whole nation”.

Another to come was Professor A Stevens, of Glasgow University, in 1928. A large audience was welcomed by Walter Eite at the Carlisle Branch of the Geographical Association, where the Professor spoke of his experiences on Shackleton’s expedition, illustrated with maps and slides.

The Arctic explorer, F Gisbert, came to speak at the Friends’ Meeting House at Wigton in 1929. Newspaper reports stated that he had made 25 visits to the region and “was in charge of a search party after the disaster of the Nobile Expedition”.

He said aeroplanes were not of much practical use in such weather conditions.