Objects Database


Accession Number


Object Name





Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

Single ski with metal binding fitted through sole of ski with leather straps attached. The ski is hand made from ash, steamed and bent in a milk churn by Dr. Thom in 1938


leather, metal


225(l) cms At widest part 9.5(w)cms

Number Of Objects



light brown


Dr. Thom


W.A.S. Thom, one time owner of this single ski, seems to have been a rather adventurous character which prompted us to do a little research. As a result (in 2010) we found his daughter, Elspeth Waddington, who penned the following, rather brief, biography of his life.

W.A.S.Thom B,Sc., A.I.C., M.B., Ch.B. 1900-61
My father became an analytical chemist with Lever Brothers and it was in Liverpool that he joined the crew, as chemist and Second Officer, of an expedition in 1926 bound for the Arctic, under the leadership of Grettir Algarsson and Commander Frank Worsley.
The ship they eventually acquired was a brigantine called 'Island’, the last ship under sail to force its way through the Arctic pack-ice.
Their departure was delayed by Roald Amundsen, who having deserted his skis, endeavoured to reach the North Pole by plane. Algarsson and Worsley initially decided to use the expedition's resources in the search for him. However, he turned up safely and the 'Island' finally set sail, eventually reaching Franz Josef Land (Worsley named a small island there after my father- now Ostrova Toma).
Skis were very much part of the equipment carried. It would seem they were purchased in Christiania (Oslo), as the skis belonging to my father and the SMHC bear witness to.
Much later, after qualifying in medicine and setting up a practice in Peebles, at the first sign of snow (scarcely covering the grass very often), my father would be out on the beloved skis of his Arctic days, along with some local enthusiasts, encouraging interest in a sport far removed from Amundsen's day.
On the walls of his surgery he had a photograph of the leader sledge dog on the 'Island,' called Prince, whose grandfather was with Amundsen on his race to the South Pole: a fitting link with the master of the snow.
"Under Sail in the Frozen North; the log of the 1926 British Arctic Expedition", by F.W. Worsley, first published in 1927, is still in print.

Acquisition Method

Part of collection passed on from Scottish Ski Club

Acquisition Date



SSC ref 17

Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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