Allan Crawford collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to Allan's time on Tristan da Cunha, Gough and Marion Islands.

Administrative / Biographical History

Allan Bryant Crawford was born in 1912 in North Wales. After completing his education, he studied engineering at Vickers-Armstrong Ltd. in Barrow-in-Furness. On a journey to South Africa in 1937, he met the Norwegian scientist Erling Christophersen, who invited him to join the Norwegian Scientific Expedition to Tristan da Cunha, 1937-1938, as surveyor, to conduct a topographic survey of the island. After the expedition, Crawford was employed as an engineer for a government steelworks in Pretoria.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Crawford returned to Tristan da Cunha as meteorologist working for the Royal Naval shore establishment, taking over the island's weather station on behalf of the civilian authorities after the war ended. In 1947, he joined the South African naval expedition, 1947-1948, as leader of a party left on Marion Island to establish a permanent meteorological station. During the winter of 1948, Crawford conducted a survey of the eastern half of the island. After the expedition, he was appointed honorary welfare officer for Tristan da Cunha by the Colonial Office and was instrumental in introducing a postal system to the island.

Crawford joined the South African Navy as reserve meteorological officer, making several voyages to sub-Antarctic islands, including the South African naval voyage to Bouvetøya in 1955 (leader Richard Paul Dryden-Dymond), and the British and South African voyage to Bouvetøya in 1964 (Captain Kenneth Thomas McNish). He retired to live in East Sussex.

Published work Penguins, potatoes and postage stamps; a Tristan da Cunha chronicle by Allan B. Crawford, Anthony Nelson Oswestry (2000) SPRI Library Shelf (781.1)656.8 and Tristan da Cunha and the Roaring Forties by Allan B. Crawford, Charles Skilton Ltd. Edinburgh (1982) SPRI Library Shelf (781.1)[pub.1982] I went to Tristan by Allan B. Crawford, Hodder and Stoughton, London (1941) SPRI Library Shelf (781.1)[pub.1941]


The collection is arranged chronologically

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 Penguins, potatoes and postage stamps; a Tristan da Cunha chronicle by Allan B. Crawford, Anthony Nelson Oswestry (2000) SPRI Library Shelf (781.1)656.8

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.

Related Material

The Institute holds a large archival collection for Tristan da Cunha, Bouvetøya, Marion and Gough Islands. Finding aids are available at the Institute (reference MS 1531)