JR-image-1'If the myth gets bigger than the man, print the myth...'

And so, the man who failed, regrettably with a considerable loss of life, has gone down in history as a hero, while the astonishing achievements of an unassuming Orkney doctor remain unknown.

That's why, in 2013, The John Rae Society was formed.READ MORE



ArcticReturn CTV

Watch the video from CTV about the newly finished and sucsessful Acrtic Return expedition.


 Read more about this historic expedition on their web site




We have bought the Hall of Clestrain! The final funds were raised at the 2018 Birthday weekend read the full report here


Help us raise the funds to build a temporary visitor centre




Vistor Centre arrives!

Flags from Arctic Return come home

Scouts Investiture at the Hall

Project Manager appointed


Join us and ORCA for a day of researching the history and archaeology of the Hall of Clestrain and surrounding area in the Archive Room, Orkney Library and Archivefor a day of researching the history and archaeology of the Hall of Clestrain and surrounding area in the Archive Room, Orkney Library and Archive


Follow the Arctic Return team live with Hi Tech mapping

 and their daily Blog


Scottish Government organise 'Arctic Day'


Are you a Coop member?
If so you can choose for 1% of the money you spend to go to the John Rae Society.
Just register at https://www.coop.co.uk/membership


Next stage completed !

Video of Arctic Return preparations

Report of the first ORCA Archaeology survey of the Hall

Can you send an email of support please?

A chance to buy Michael Palin's new book 'Erebus'

Donation from Adventure Canada

Review of talk on Scottish Doctors and Explorers in Search of Franklin

2018 John Rae Festival Report

Review of the Tom Muir talk April 2nd

Video appeal from our President about the current state of the Hall
Winter Newsletter published


Incredible news just announced !

arctic logo

Arctic Expedition planned for 2019 in commemoration of John Rae

AGM 2017 12th November - Minutes and President's Report

Report on 2017 Birthday Weekend

John Rae given the Freedom of Orkney

Michael Palin agrees to become a Patron

Council will be presenting John Rae the Freedom of Stromness


Our JustGiving page has been set up if you would like to donate to help retore the Hall of Clestrain please click here

 Don't forget to get your JRS Lottery tickets, we are drawing the prizes on the 30th September so time is running out! See a list of the prizes here

 2017 5th - 8th May was our First Festival and book launch!Read More

Hall Planning MeetingRead more

Survey of The HallRead more

AGM & Other Minutes PublishedRead more

President's 2016 report Read more


HudsonTedHudson's Bay Company - 2016 Christmas Bear is named after John Rae

Only normally available in Canada and USA but we have a few for sale in the UK - Now back in stock!


John Rae Society is mentioned in the Scottish Parliament

Read more


John Rae Society acquires the Hall of Clestrain!


Thanks to everyone who attended our Party for John Rae's 2016 birthday. A great evening was had by all, full report and photos will follow. Thanks again to Fiona Driver who stood in at the last moment because of Jo Philby's illness. Full report of a great evening here

Want to read more about John Rae and the society? Download our excellent newsletters.

Stone and plaque unveiled at the Hall of ClestrainReport

News: Personal memorial flowers at the Hall Details here.

News: Display board and donation box at the HallDetails here.

News: Urgent repairs to the Hall of Clestrain Details here.

Update: Member John Snoad has compiled an updated Book List here

News:  On 30 September 2014,  a plaque was erected in Westminster Abbey, London, recognising John Rae as an Arctic Explorer. READ MORE

Help: Click to find out how you can help us.

Sad News

The John Rae Society was very saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of one of its Trustees, Xandra Shearer.
Xandra had been a loyal supporter of the Society since its formation in 2013 and was an active Trustee, taking on the specific task of Chair of the Events Committee. Despite some disability she carried this through with what can only be described as verve and vigour, turning up at every event, usually with a selection of very popular home-bakes.
Xandra had a wicked sense of humour and always had a twinkle in her eye, which endeared her to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed by all her colleagues and friends and the  Trustees would like to offer their sincere and heartfelt condolences to her husband and our chairman, Norman, as well as to her family.

Andrew Appleby - President John Rae Society 


Arctic Return Flags come home

Stromness Primary On Wednesday morning 5th June, I had the most delightful visit to Stromness primary School where I presented the flag that the youngsters designed. Pictured here are Kitty Grey,


Investiture at the Hall

On Wednesday 5th June Isaac, here, was invested into the John Rae Explorer Scouts. This was a great honour for him as he’d expressly requested to have his investiture at


Our New Project Manager

“I am delighted to be part of this project and can fully envisage the restored building, as a premier exhibition and conference centre. One, which I know would be welcomed



2018 AGM dates announced

Our next AGM will be at the Pomona inn Finstown on Sunday 4th November at 7.30pm All are welcome


Talk by Tom Muir

In the Wake of John Rae A review of the talk by Tom Muir at Stromness Town Hall Monday 2nd April 2018, 7.30pm An audience of around fifty enjoyed a talk by


TALK: - Sir John Richardson and Dr John Rae: Scottish Doctors and Explorers in Search of Franklin

A talk by Adam Doskey, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignRoyal Hotel, Stromness Wednesday 11th July 2018, 7.30pm We were pleased to welcome Adam Doskey to


Support Us


Membership is open to any person, or corporate body, who has an interest in the life of John Rae and supports the aims and objectives of The John Rae Society

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As a Registered Charity we are always needing funding for many projects within a variety of time frames. We are grateful for anything you can afford and you can donate by PayPal, cheque or BACS.

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John Rae