Nelson, British Antarctic Expedition

Scope and Content

  • MS 1338/1-3;ER Rough Sounding books, 1910-1913 [By Lille] 3 volumes
  • MS 1338/4-5;ER Sea temperatures and water samples, 1910-1913 [By Lille] 2 volumes
  • MS 1338/6-7;ER Water samples [By Nelson] 2 volumes
  • MS 1338/8-9;ER Water samples, winter quarters, 1911-1912 [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/10;ER Bottom samples and current measurements, winter quarters, undated [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/11;ER Current direction, winter quarters, undated [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/12;ER Current meter, rough log [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/13;ER Thermometer calibrations, winter quarters, 1911-1912 [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/14;ER Chronometer rates, undated [By Nelson]
  • MS 133815;ER Thermometer records, 1912 [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/16;ER Work book, undated [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/17-19;ER Navigation notebooks [By Nelson] 3 volumes
  • MS 1338/20;ER Current measurements, 1913 [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/21;ER Star sights, 1911-1913 [By Nelson]
  • MS 1338/22;ER Notebook of salinity titration, undated [By Mathews]
  • MS 1338/23;ER Notebook of thermometer calibrations, 1921
  • MS 24-25;ER Unidentified notebooks (2) [By Mathews possibly irrelevant]
  • MS 1338/26;ER Sledging table [Used by Nelson] 1 printed volume
  • MS 1338/27;ER Currents and tidal measurements, 1910-1913, 1 file, unbound
  • MS 1338/28;ER Records of soundings, 1 file, unbound
  • MS 1338/29;ER Certificates of examination of thermometers, 1 file, unbound
  • MS 1338/30;ER Correspondence regarding the oceanographical results, 1911-1943 [Lille, Mathews, Pennell, Lyons, Wright and others]
  • MS 1338/31;ER Miscellaneous observations and notes, 1 file, unbound
  • MS 1338/32;ER Glass negatives (3) [Showing sledging tools, sledge with hauling gear, indicator and oilier of sounding gear]

Administrative / Biographical History

The British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) spent two winters at Cape Evans on Ross Island. Extensive scientific investigations and exploration was conducted along the coast of Victoria Land and on the Ross Ice Shelf. A party led by Griffith Taylor spent three months exploring the western mountains and this work was continued after the departure of the polar party in 1911. A northern party led by Victor Campbell established a base at Cape Adare from where they conducted scientific programmes. After moving camp the party were forced to spend the winter of 1912 in ice caves before walking back to the Cape Evans camp. The first cin documentary film of an Antarctic expedition, 90° South was made during the expedition. After successfully reaching the South Pole on 17 January 1912 Scott and his companions (Henry Bowers, Edgar Evans, Lawrence Oates and Edward Wilson) perished during the return journey.

The scientific programme included an extensive oceanographical survey. Nelson took part in these observations. The collection comprises of material created by him and fellow expedition member Denis Lillie (serving on board the Terra Nova as biologist). D J Mathews was appointed to analyse the observations on the expedition's return in 1913.


The collection is arranged under the heading Nelson Edward W and others MS 1338/1-32;ER.

Related Material

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, some of which covers this expedition. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.

The Institute holds over a hundred archival collections containing material relating to this expedition see SPRI collection GB 15 British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 for more information.