George Levick collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material written during the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) including journals written as a member of the northern party and correspondence by Levick.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Murray Levick was born in 1877. He studied medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, and on qualifying in 1902 joined the Royal Navy, where he became a specialist in physical and recreational training.

He was appointed as Surgeon on the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott). He served with the Northern Party under Victor Campbell, spending the first year at Cape Adare and the second year exploring and sledging along the Victoria Land coast. The party wintered for seven months in a snow cave on Inexpressible Island without adequate supplies before returning safely to the base at Cape Evans. While at Cape Adare, he studied the behaviour and breeding biology of Adelie penguins, which became the material for a scientific report and popular book on their natural history.

Levick remained in the navy throughout the First World War, and was promoted to Fleet Surgeon. For twenty years between the two wars, Levick was at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital in Shepherds Bush, London, concerned particularly with physiotherapy and rehabilitation medicine.

In 1932 he founded and developed the Public Schools Exploring Society, which gave schoolboys opportunities to experience camping in the wilds of Scandinavia and Canada. He rejoined the Navy in the Second World War, much of his time being given to training Commandos for survival in extreme conditions. He died on 30 May 1956.

Published work, Antarctic penguins, a study of their social habits George Murray Levick, William Heinemann, London (1914) SPRI Library Shelf 598.45


The collection is split into two sub-fonds covering the expedition and general correspondence 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 The Polar Record, (September 1956) volume 8, number 54, p279 and 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 Polar portraits, collected papers A.G.E. Jones, Caedmon of Whitby (1992) SPRI Library Shelf (2)91(091) and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Scott of the Antarctic Elspeth Huxley, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London (1977) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Scott, R.F.]

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.