Thomas Tizard collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Tizard to the polar explorers William Speirs Bruce and Robert Falcon Scott.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Henry Tizard was born in Weymouth in 1839. He was educated at the Royal Hospital School in Greenwich, entering the Royal Navy as master's assistant in 1854 and serving with the Baltic fleet during the Crimean War between 1854 and 1856. He gained his first experience of surveying on the Newfoundland coast and, after advancing to second master in 1860, was appointed to a surveying vessel on the China station. Promoted master in 1864, he served as navigating lieutenant and senior assistant surveyor in the Mediterranean and Red Sea from 1868 until 1871, when he conducted an important series of observations on the surface and undercurrents in the Straits of Gibraltar.

In 1872, he joined the British naval voyage, 1872-1876 (Chief Scientist Charles Wyville Thomson) as navigating officer in HMS Challenger, collaborating closely with George Strong Nares and the expedition's scientific staff. After the expedition, Tizard spent three years at the Admiralty writing the narrative of the voyage in association with John Murray.

In 1879, Tizard resumed surveying duties, taking charge of the Home Survey in the following year. In 1889, he was promoted to staff captain and two years later, was appointed Assistant Hydrographer of the Navy. In 1896, he was placed on the retired list with the rank of captain, but continued to serve at the Admiralty until 1907. He died in Kingston-on-Thames in 1924.

Published work Report on the scientific results of the exploring voyage of HMS Challenger 1873-1876, under the command of Captain George Strong Nares, R.N., F.R.S., and the late Captain Frank Tourle Thomson, R.N. volume 1, Parts 1 and 2, Narrative of the cruise volume 2, by Thomas H. Tizard, Henry Nottidge Moseley, John Young Buchanan and John Murray, Her Majesty's Stationery Office London (1885) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1872-1876]


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 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, 1922-1930, with an index covering the years 1901-1930 in one alphabetical series, Oxford University Press, London (1937)

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

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Further accessions possible.