Louis Charles Bernacchi collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the two Antarctic expeditions Bernacchi undertook, the British Antarctic Expedition, 1898-1900 (leader Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink), the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) and correspondence by Bernacchi.

Administrative / Biographical History

Louis Charles Bernacchi was born in Belgium in 1876. He was brought up in England and Tasmania and trained at the Melbourne Observatory, Australia where he studied astronomy, magnetism, meteorology and physics. He joined the British Antarctic Expedition, 1898-1900 (leader Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink) as meteorologist and magnetometry observer, and later joined the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) in a similar capacity. After this expedition, Bernacchi travelled in South America, South Africa and South-East Asia. He served in the Royal Navy during both World Wars, and received a military OBE and the US Navy Cross. He died on 24 April 1942.

Published works, To the south polar regions, expedition of 1898-1900 by L C Bernacchi, Bluntisham Books & Erskine Press, Norfolk (1991) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1898-1900]


The collection is split into three sub-fonds, covering the two expeditions and 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 signs the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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

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.

Related Material

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, some of which covers the two Antarctic expeditions Bernacchi took part on and includes photographs taken by Bernacchi himself. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.

SPRI collection Janet Crawford (MS 1367;D That first Antarctic winter. The story of the Southern Cross expedition of 1898-1900 as told in the diaries of Louis Charles Bernacchi [Typescript of an unpublished narrative of the expedition by Bernacchi's grand daughter. Including biographical information on him] completed circa 1979)

SPRI collection Gerald Doorly includes a letter from Bernacchi (MS 575/6;MJ Journal, 1902 to 1904 volume 2)