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Birkenhead remembers Mallory and Irvine on centenary of Everest climb

A series of special events are taking place in Wirral this month to mark the centenary of the ascent of Everest by George Mallory and Sandy Irvine.

The British mountaineers disappeared after heading for the summit of the world’s tallest peak on June 8, 1924. It is still unknown whether they made it to the peak or not.

Mallory’s body, which had injuries consistent with a fall while roped to someone or something, was discovered during the 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition. Irvine remains unfound.

Alexander ‘Sandy’ Irvine was born in Birkenhead in 1902 and lived with his family in a Victorian villa on the edge of Birkenhead Park.

Meanwhile Mallory was born in the Cheshire village of Mobberley, and moved with his family to Birkenhead when he was 16, living at St John’s Vicarage in Slatey Road.

The two men set sail from Liverpool in February 1924 at the start of their expedition to try and become the first people to conquer Everest.

As part of the commemorations, which are themselves part of Wirral’s Borough of Culture year, plaques are set to be unveiled on both the men’s former family homes.

Meanwhile a photographic exhibition titled Sandy Irvine, from Birkenhead to Everest, is on display at the Birkenhead Park visitor centre until August 18.

And on Thursday, June 6, Julie Summers, historian and great niece of Sandy Irvine, is due to give a sold out talk at the Williamson Art Gallery.

Summers said: “I’ve long been fascinated by the story of my great uncle, Sandy Irvine, as have many Everest enthusiasts the world over.

“So I’m thrilled to take part in Wirral’s celebratory events, during this centenary year of one of mountaineering's most enduring mysteries. I am looking forward to delivering a talk at the Williamson Art Gallery with my own insights as a historian into Sandy Irvine. I would like to thank the people of Wirral for celebrating this piece of local history 100 years on.”

Jason Gooding, Director of Neighbourhood Services at Wirral Council, added: “One hundred years ago George Mallory and Sandy Irvine became pioneers in their attempt to climb Mt Everest. Sadly, both disappeared and much debate continues to this day as to whether they made the summit or not before they perished.

“We’re really proud to recognise their achievements as part of Wirral’s year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture, which is well underway with local arts and heritage organisations stepping up to get involved. I hope the people of Wirral can be inspired by the daring story of these two local men, during these special events.”


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