Objects Database

Vivian Fuchs - P11 Sledging Compass

Accession Number


Object Name

Vivian Fuchs - P11 Sledging Compass




Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

Metal aircraft compass in hinged box




Box-18(l) x18(w) x11.5(H) cms Compass diameter 14.5 cms

Number Of Objects


Inscription Description

On lid "GLASS WITH CARE" and " TYPE P 11" " VIV FUCHS" HANDWRITTEN ON SIDE OF BOX. On compass "NO. 1872 K"




One time owner of the Nevisport group of mountaineering shops, Ian Sykes, gave us this interesting compass which once belonged to the Antarctic explorer, Vivian Fuchs. Both Ian and Vivian worked for the British Antartic Survey back in the 1950's which at that time was called the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) and unsurprisingly, anyone who worked there at the time acquired the nickname 'Fid'. They were a close knit band and had a sale back in the 1970's to raise money for some of their 'fellow fids' who had fallen on hard times - Vivian's son acquired his dad's old sledging compass, put it up for sale and Ian Sykes bought it for around £100 - we now have it in the collection!
From what we have been told Vivian used this compass in the Antarctic when working with dog sledges - the compass sitting at the back(driver's) end where it could be easily seen. This P11 compass is actually of WW2 origin and was originally used in small to medium sized aircraft and as Fuchs was a military man this seems rather logical. Unfortunately, the compass is in a pretty bad state of repair, but is still an interesting link with days gone by. The wooden box is the original transit container and it seems logical that Fuchs would have kept the compass in there, when sledging, with the lid open.

Acquisition Method

Donated by Ian Sykes

Acquisition Date


Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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