Skelton, British National Antarctic Expedition

Scope and Content

  • MS 342/5/1-3;D Correspondence and papers regarding the construction and installation of machinery on Discovery, 1900-1901 [Largely correspondence with Gourley Brothers & Co. The Liverpool Engineering and Condenser Co. Clarke, Chapman & Co. Napier Brothers Ltd.] circa 1900 leaves (3 folders) holograph and typescript
  • MS 342/3;BJ Abstract of engineer's log, 31 July 1901 to 4 September 1904 [Includes records of coaling] holograph
  • MS 342/11/1-3;MSM Sketch maps (3), 1901 to 1902 [Rough track chart, 4 to 19 March 1902, track of Discovery, London to Cape Town, August to October 1901, plane table survey south coast of Ross Island, 4 to 25 October 1902] holograph
  • MS 342/12/1-6;D Panoramas (5) [Antarctic scenery] 6 sheets, holograph
  • MS 342/1/1-7BJ Journals (7), 1901 to 1904 [Volume I, 31 July 1901 to 11 January 1902, volume II 12 January to 10 March 1902, volume III 10 March to 30 April 1902, volume IV 1 May to 31 August 1902, volume V 1 September to 29 November 1902, volume VI 19 January to 23 September 1903, volume VII 23 September 1903 to 8 September 1904] 7 volumes, holograph
  • MS 342/2/1-6;BJ Sledging journals (6), 1902 to 1903 [Volume I first journey to Cape Crozier 4 to 19 March 1902, volume II second journey to Cape Crozier 4 to 19 October 1902, volume III 3 to 5 November 1902, volume IV western sledge journey 27 November 1902 to 19 January 1903, volume V western depot sledge journey 9 to 20 September 1903, volume VI western sledge journey 12 to 21 October 1903 and 26 October to 16 December 1903] 6 volumes, holograph
  • MS 366/12;ER Notes and sketches by Skelton and Edward Adrian Wilson , 2 to 5 September 1902 [Showing distance travelled, In Papers of the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904, volume 2 item 20] autograph
  • MS 342/7/1-2;D Journal, October 1902 [Fragments] holograph
  • MS 366/12;ER Report of a journey made to the mail cairn at Cape Crozier, 4 to 25 October 1902 [Latest despatches for the relief ship, the finding of an emperor penguin, a cursory examination of the ice ridges between Mt Terror and the Great Barrier. In Papers of the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904, volume 2 item 25] autograph
  • MS 366/12;ER Log of ship's work, 17 to 19 September 1902 [In Papers of the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904, volume 2 item 22] autograph
  • MS 366/12;ER Expenditure for week ending 8 August 1903 (dated 9 August 1903) [Regarding coal and oil on Discovery In Papers of the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904, volume 2 item 37]
  • MS 342/8;D Miscellaneous papers regarding the expedition, 1901-1904 [Includes fragments of meteorological observations, notes on provisions, telegrams, caricature sketch, requests for photographs] 25 leaves, holograph
  • MS 342/4;BJ Rough book of suggestions and alterations to ships and outfit for polar exploration in general [Contains notes and comments on engineering, sledging, photographic, biological and other equipment, verses of various songs at end of the book] holograph
  • MS 342/9/1-2;D Lectures (2) on the expedition, undated and untitled, 55 leaves, holograph

Administrative / Biographical History

The collection covers the construction of the expedition ship Discovery, the expedition and latter lectures given regarding it.

The British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) undertook the first extensive exploration on land in Antarctica. Funding came from the Government, the Royal Society, the Royal Geographical Society and private donations. The expedition set up base at McMurdo Sound from where sledging parties carried out recognisance and scientific programmes. Scott made the fist balloon ascent on the continent in 1902. A three-man sledge party consisting of Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson achieved a furthest south of 82°17'S. The expedition ship, Discovery, commissioned and built especially for the expedition was beset in McMurdo Sound from 1902-1904.

Skelton was involved in the fitting out of Discovery for the expedition and undertook sledging journeys once in the Antarctic including a visit to Cape Crozier.



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 this expedition, including photographs taken by Skelton. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.

The Institute holds over seventy archival collections containing material relating to this expedition see SPRI collections GB 015 British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 for more information.

The Institutes archival collection for the expedition ship Discovery contains a large amount of correspondence, which was sent to Skelton regarding her construction.

Geographical Names