Dr Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer born in 1861. In 1893-96, he led his most famous expedition, aboard the Fram, bound for the North Pole. In addition to his polar exploration, he was a scientist, diplomat and humanist, and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on behalf of prisoners of war and starving people.

RSGS Talks, February 1897

In February 1897, Nansen visited Scotland to address various RSGS audiences about his recent polar expedition, and to receive the Society’s Gold Medal. Two of Nansen’s companions – Captain Otto N Sverdrup, and Lieutenant FH Johansen (who accompanied Nansen on foot to the furthest point north) – were awarded the Society’s Bronze Medal. Nansen spoke to RSGS audiences in Edinburgh on Friday 12 February (the Society’s Anniversary Address), in Glasgow on Monday 15 February, in Dundee on Wednesday 17 February, and in Aberdeen on Thursday 18 February 1897.

Advertising flier for Dr Nansen’s RSGS talks, February 1897.

Advertising flier for Dr Nansen’s RSGS talks, February 1897.

Ticket for Dr Nansen’s talk in the Synod Hall, Edinburgh, 12th February 1897.

Ticket for Dr Nansen’s talk in the Synod Hall, Edinburgh, 12th February 1897.

 

RSGS 13th Anniversary Banquet, 13 February 1897

On 13 February 1897, Dr Nansen attended a banquet in the Waterloo Rooms, Edinburgh, to celebrate both his voyage on the Fram and the RSGS’s 13th anniversary. There were 260 guests present, one of the largest groups ever assembled in the Waterloo banqueting hall. The group assembled in the Victoria Hall and viewed an obelisk with a portrait of the explorer on the front. Dr Nansen was the guest of honour and wore his Norwegian Order of St Olaf, with the Norwegian flag on display in the gallery opposite the Chairman’s table. The Marquis of Tweeddale was in the Chair, with Dr Nansen on his right, and the Lord Provost McDonald on his left. After dinner, the gallery was occupied by a number of ladies, including Mrs Nansen.

Seating plan for RSGS’s 13th anniversary banquet with Dr Nansen.

Seating plan for RSGS’s 13th anniversary banquet with Dr Nansen.

Menu for RSGS’s 13th anniversary banquet with Dr Nansen.

Menu for RSGS’s 13th anniversary banquet with Dr Nansen.