George Seaver collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to personnel of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott)

This expedition, spent two winters at Cape Evans on Ross Island. Extensive scientific investigations and exploration was conducted along the coast of Victoria Land and on the Ross Ice Shelf. A second group led by Griffith Taylor spent three months exploring the western mountains and this work was continued after the departure of the polar party in 1911. A northern party led by Victor Campbell established a base at Cape Adare from whence they conducted scientific programmes. After moving camp the party were forced to spend the winter of 1912 in ice caves before walking back to the Cape Evans camp. The first cin documentary film of an Antarctic expedition, 90° South was made during the expedition. After successfully reaching the South Pole on 17 January 1912 Scott and his four companions (Henry Robertson Bowers, Edgar Evans, Lawrence Edward Grace Oates and Edward Adrian Wilson) perished during the return journey.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Seaver was born in Cheltenham in 1890. He was educated at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, and was ordained in 1925. His association with Cheltenham brought him into contact with Edward Adrian Wilson's sister, Ida, and wife, Oriana, who put at Seaver's disposal the primary source material for his three character studies of Wilson, published between 1933 and 1948. His other publications include a biography of Henry Robertson Bowers published in 1938, and a character study of Robert Falcon Scott published in 1940.

In 1946, Seaver was appointed bishop's vicar of Kilkenny Cathedral in Ireland, subsequently becoming dean of Ossory and rector of Kilkenny from 1950 to 1957. From 1951 until his retirement from the ministry in 1957, he served as canon of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. After his retirement, he continued to write biographies and retained a keen interest in polar affairs. He died in Ireland in 1976.

Published work Edward Wilson of the Antarctic, naturalist and friend by George Seaver with an introduction by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, John Murray, London (1933) SPRI Library Shelf Special Collection 92[Wilson, E.A.] Edward Wilson, nature-lover by George Seaver, George Murray, London (1937) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Wilson, E.A.] The faith of Edward Wilson by George Seaver, John Murray, London (1948) SPRI Library Shelf [Wilson, E.A.] Birdie Bowers of the Antarctic by George Seaver with an introduction by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, John Murray, London (1938) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Bowers, H.R.] Scott of the Antarctic, a study in character by George Seaver, John Murray, London (1940) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Scott, R.F.]


The collection is split into two sub-fonds comprising of material regarding Lawrence Edward Grace Oates (1880-1912) and correspondence.

Conditions Governing Access

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 Very Reverend George Seaver' by Harold Godfrey Rudolf King in The Polar Record (May 1977) volume 18 number 116 and Who was who, 1971-1980 (1989) volume 7 A & C Black, London 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.


Further accessions possible.