[Journeys logo]

Halley Glossary


[ Caboose ]Introduction >> Halley >> Halley Glossary ]

Sailing South
First Winter
Second Winter
Final Summer
The Falklands
Halley Glossary
Halley Album
South America
North America
Turkey 2003
Mount Cameroon 2005
Technical notes

The site is a work in progress, the 'Album' page in each section contains some photos but only some sections have much text.

Contact me

The British Antarctic Survey began as a naval operation, immediately giving it some very peculiar traditions and vocabulary. These mutated over the years to suit the conditions, with the addition of new words and (in recent years) the disappearance of some of the stranger ones ('degomble' as a verb for removing outdoor clothing was one of my favourites).

A gomble is actually an accretion of ice on facial hair. So to de-gomble was to melt the ice so you could remove clothing!
Email from Ken Lax (ex-Halley Bay winterer), 7 January 2006

Of course as there was no official dictionary of Halley English many of these words and phrases are spelled and understood differently by different people.

The Ernest Shackleton diaries have a list of a few useful terms here.


In some cases nicknames are essential, for example when you have a surplus of Daves on base. Others are calculated to annoy the person. Some are traditional and attached to a job, some are unique to one person.


This was a cause of trouble at some points. Each building at Halley 5 originally had a name based on its purpose. These were then replaced with the names of various people considered by the BAS directorate to merit having a building named after them. The winterers continued to use the old names, BAS kept trying to enforce the use of the new ones.

Old name New name  
ACB Laws Accomodation building, named after a former director of BAS.
ICB Simpson Ice and Climate building, named after a famous meteorologist.
SAB Drewry Summer Accomodation building, named after a former director of BAS.
Also known as Sarajevo and Dreary.
SSB Piggott Space Science building, named after a reknowned British upper atmospheric physicist.

[WebMake logo]