Rupert Gould collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Gould the geographer and meteorologist Hugh Robert Mill, correspondence to Gould and articles written by him regarding Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916 (led by Shackleton).

Administrative / Biographical History

Rupert Thomas Gould was born on 16 November 1890. He was educated at Dartmouth Royal Naval College, entering the Royal Navy in 1906. After serving in the Mediterranean, on the Yangtze, and in the Home Fleet, he suffered a mental breakdown and was invalided in 1915. From 1916 until 1927, Gould served as naval assistant in the Hydrographic Department of the Admiralty, promoted in 1919 to the rank of lieutenant commander (retired). While at the Hydrographic Department, he undertook an extensive revision of all the Admiralty charts of the Antarctic and the charts of the Canadian Arctic. Deeply interested in chronometers, he spent many years restoring the chronometers of John Harrison and Captain James Cook, and in 1947 was awarded the gold medal of the British Horological Institute. His book The marine chronometer, its history and development, published in 1923, became the standard work on the subject. Gould had a wide-ranging knowledge of polar history, contributing to several publications on the subject, and his biography of Captain Cook was published in 1935. During the 1930s, his knowledge of the history and rules of tennis led him to umpire on centre court at Wimbledon, and throughout the 1930s and 1940s he worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation, featuring in radio programmes such as Children's Hour and The Brains Trust. He died on 5 October 1948.

Published work, Captain Cook by Rupert Thomas Gould, Duckworth, London (1935) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Cook, J.] The marine chronometer, its history and development by Rupert Thomas Gould, J.D. Potter, London (1923), Oddities, a book of unexplained facts by Rupert Thomas Gould, Philip Allan & Co. London (1928) SPRI Library Shelf (2)91(091), Enigmas, another book of unexplained facts by Rupert Thomas Gould, Philip Allan & Co. London (1929) SPRI Library Shelf (2)91(091)


The collection is split into two sub-fonds comprising of correspondence and articles respectively.

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 'Rupert Thomas Gould' by James Mann Wordie and Brian Birley Roberts in The Polar Record (September 1949) volume 5 number 37 and 38, p365 and Royal Observatory, Greenwich

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.