George Deacon collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Deacon to the geographer and meteorologist Hugh Robert Mill and geographer and botanist Robert Neal Rudmose Brown

Administrative / Biographical History

George Edward Raven Deacon was born on 21 March 1906 at Leicester. He was educated at King's College, London, graduating with a degree in chemistry in 1926 and a diploma in education in 1927. After a brief spell of teaching chemistry and mathematics at Rochdale Technical School, he was appointed Hydrographer to the Discovery Investigations to examine the chemistry of sea water. He served both at the South Georgia marine laboratory and in the ships William Scoresby (1927-1929) and Discovery II (1929-1931, 1931-1933, 1935-1937), identifying water masses of the Southern Ocean from their temperature and chemical composition, and tracking their movements and dynamics. In 1937, he was awarded a doctorate by London University for his Discovery report.

During the Second World War, Deacon was involved in research on submarine detection and wave patterns. In 1947, he took up a post at the Royal Naval Scientific Service and two years later became the first director of the National Institute of Oceanography, where he remained until his retirement in 1971. He received many honours, including a Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1969 and a Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1971, the year in which he was knighted. He died on 16 November 1984 at Guildford, shortly after the publication of his book reviewing the oceanography of the Southern Ocean.

Published work The Antarctic circumpolar ocean by George Edward Raven Deacon, Cambridge University Press Cambridge (1984) SPRI Library Shelf (80)[1984]


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Dictionary of National Biography, 1981-1985 University Press Oxford (1990)

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible