Neville Chamberlain, polar correspondence

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Chamberlain to the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton.

Administrative / Biographical History

(Arthur) Neville Chamberlain was born on 18 March 1869 at Edgbaston, Birmingham. He was educated at Rugby School and at Mason College, Birmingham, and in 1890 went to the Bahamas to manage his father's plantation. Returning to Britain in 1897, he began his business career and became involved in local politics, serving as Lord Mayor of Birmingham from 1915 to 1916.

In 1918, he was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for the Ladywood division of Birmingham, holding the offices of Postmaster-General, Paymaster-General, Minister of Health and Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1937, Chamberlain replaced Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister but was criticised for his policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany during the late 1930s. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Chamberlain declared war on Germany and the following year resigned as Prime Minister. He was appointed Lord President of the Council in the government of Winston Churchill, but ill health forced him to leave office in October 1940, and he died soon afterwards on 9 November 1940 at Highfield Park, near Reading.


The correspondence 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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 Dictionary of National Biography, 1931-1940, Oxford University Press, London (1950) and Spartacus and Who was who, 1929-1940, Adam & Charles Black, London (1947)

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.

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Further accessions possible.