Eternal Ascent: Bentley Beetham and the 1924 Mount Everest Expedition

Mon – Sun, 10am – 5pm

Oriental Museum

This exhibition marks the centenary of the 1924 Mount Everest Expedition, the first Western, and ultimately tragic, attempt to climb the highest mountain in the world.

The story is told from the perspective of one man, Bentley Beetham, using pictures selected from his large collection of photographs and glass lantern slides taken during the course of the expedition.

Bentley Beetham was born in Darlington and attended Barnard Castle School, later returning to the school as a biology teacher. He learned to climb first in the Lake District and then the Alps but had never climbed in Asia before joining the expedition.  With fellow expedition members George Mallory and Andrew Irvine he set out on an adventure of a lifetime. What he lacked in experience Beetham amply made up for in enthusiasm and his skill as a photographer would prove invaluable.

Artist Stephen Livingstone has worked with members of the Bentley Beetham Trust to select and interpret 200 of Beetham’s images, recreating the journey of the expedition team around the museum’s walls. 

Situated at the heart of the Himalayan mountain range Everest straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet. The mountain is sacred to all the peoples of the region. An audio commentary created by members of the regional Nepali community sits alongside the images, adding a Himalayan perspective to these powerful photographs.  

The Bentley Beetham Collection is available for study as part of the Archives and Special Collections at Palace Green Library.

Elvet Hill Road South Road Durham DH1 3TH

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Until 15 September 2024


  • Tue 10am – 5pm
  • Wed 10am – 5pm
  • Thu 10am – 5pm
  • Fri 10am – 5pm
  • Sat 12 – 5pm
  • Sun 12 – 5pm
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