Harold 'Hal' Lister papers

Scope and Content

Professional papers of Dr. Harold 'Hal' Lister including Arctic, Antarctic and Afghanistan expedition correspondence, data and reports; general research notes and lab work; drafts of academic publications - journal articles and textbooks; teaching notes and lectures; personal papers found with collection

Administrative / Biographical History

Hal Lister was a Glaciologist, Geographer and Explorer. He served in both the Merchant Navy and Royal Navy during World War II before going on to study pure Science at King's College, Durham University. During this time he organised summer field trips to Iceland, Norway and Sweden. He moved to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 1950 to undertake PhD research in the Department of Geography. This was interupted by his participation in the British North Greenland Expedition 1952-54, during which he spent an isolated winter in the middle of the Greenland icecap at 'North Ice'. Hal's PhD - Regime of a High Arctic Glacier - was awarded in 1956 and soon after he joined the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-58 as glaciologist, leading the party which over-wintered at South Ice in 1957, 300 miles inland from Shackleton Base, and crossing the continent with the main expedition party.

He spent the rest of his career as a lecturer and subsequently Reader in Geography at Newcastle University, conducting research, teaching and leading field trips locally and to the Arctic, Afghanistan and Iran. He pioneered research into the recession of glaciers in both polar regions as well as at high altitudes in low latitudes. Hal retired in 1986/87 but remained an active member of the academic community for many years. He was involved with the International Glaciological Society and various charities which organised expeditions for young people including the British Schools Exploration Society and the Young Explorers Trust.


The papers are arranged into Expedition files (MS 2234/1-8); Research files - general and specific projects (MS 2234/9-12); Publishing files - articles, textbooks and chapters (MS 2234/13-14); Teaching files (MS 2234/15); Personal papers (MS 2234/16). Each set of files is broadly chronological and papers within each file retain their original order

Access Information

Access to our collections is by prior appointment. See our web site for details https://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/archives/


Not expected