The Halley Underground sign: Provenance of Memorabilia

Phil Anderson

One balmy evening in August 1994, I joined a couple of chums for a jar or two in the Salisbury Arms, a fine establishment just off Mill Rd in Cambridge. The occasion being my birthday, it soon became apparent that a session had been organised without my knowing, which explained the rather early start to the evening, and the fact that a fair number of people who I recognised 'popped in' by chance. By 10:30 I was a little tired and emotional at so many chance meetings, and each one involving a generous additional jar or nip. Hence my recollection may be a little vague, but I remember there being a sudden loud rapping of the table, and a speech ensued, fortunately not mine. Something about Halley, something about bulldozers and screwdrivers in the nick of time. And then from behind the bar appeared the old Underground Sign from Halley 4. Rather emotional moment, that.

The sign had been "rescued" from the closure of the base in the summer of 1992/3, and I admit not knowing the exact details of daring-do here. The Sign Post had been saved and re-instated at Halley 5, where it still resides, but the Underground Sign was obviously not needed, Z V being above ground (well, most of it). You can see the sign on the 1991 Halley 4 base photo (attached to the lift shaft), but its first photographic appearance is on Chris Johnson's picture of Halley 3 from 1979, "...the Underground sign which was there for many years".

How many years though? And who painted it? If anyone has any recollections of the sign preceding 1979, let us know.

The Underground Sign now hangs proudly in my kitchen, sun bleached and blizzard polished, and with an air of age in its various nail and screw holes. Perhaps one day, perhaps quite soon, it will be needed again...

24 February 2004

This query has been definitively answered by John Flick. The sign was made by Tony Jackson in 1972. Andy, 1 Mar 2004

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