Neil Mackintosh collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the Discovery Investigations, 1925-1955. These include the marine laboratory at King Edward Point, South Georgia and voyages on board Discovery, RRS Discovery II and RRS William Scoresby.

Administrative / Biographical History

Neil Alison Mackintosh was born on 19 August 1900 in Hampstead, London. He was educated at Westminster School and Imperial College, London, and after graduation he acted as demonstrator in zoology. In 1924, he was appointed to the staff of the Discovery Investigations, establishing the Marine Biological Station at Grytviken, South Georgia, where he spent two periods, from 1924 to 1926 and from 1926 to 1927. He served with RRS William Scoresby for part of her first commission, marking whales off the Falkland Islands during April 1927.

Appointed chief scientific officer of the Discovery Investigations in 1929, Mackintosh participated in three oceanographic commissions in RRS Discovery II, from 1929-1931, 1933-1935 and 1937-1939, serving as chief scientist for the last two voyages. In 1949, when Discovery Investigations merged with the newly established National Institute of Oceanography, Mackintosh was appointed deputy director, a post he held until 1961 when he was put in charge of the Institute's Whale Research Unit in London, serving until his retirement in 1968.

From 1936, he edited the long series of Discovery Reports, publishing thirty-six volumes by the time of his death. His publications covered a wide range of topics relating to his central interest in whale biology, including the study of zooplankton and the seasonal distribution of pack ice.

From 1946, he was expert adviser to the newly-founded International Whaling Commission, and between 1952 and 1962 served as chairman of its scientific committee. He was also a member of the small sub-committee that advised the Colonial Office during the early days of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, now called the British Antarctic Survey. Mackintosh was an active member of the Committee of Management of the Scott Polar Research Institute from 1942 until his death on 9 April 1974 in London.

Published work The stocks of whales by Neil Alison Mackintosh, Fishing News (Books) Ltd. London (1965) SPRI Library Shelf 599.5 [pub.1965], Distribution of the pack-ice in the Southern Ocean by Neil Alison Mackintosh and Henry Franceys Porter Herdman Discovery Reports (1940), Life cycle of Antarctic krill in relation to ice and water conditions by Neil Alison Mackintosh Discovery Reports (1972)


The collection is arranged chronologically.

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 Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034 and Neil Alison Mackintosh by Brian Birley Roberts in The Polar Record (January 1975) volume 17 number 109 p422-428 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7)

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.