Lewis Beaumont collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Arctic Expedition, 1875-1876 (leader George Strong Nares), correspondence and material from the Royal Geographical Society.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lewis Anthony Beaumont was born on 19 May 1847. In 1860, he entered the Royal Navy and seven years later was promoted lieutenant, serving on the Australian Station from 1868 to 1871. After qualifying as gunnery lieutenant, he was appointed instructor during the torpedo experiments. He served as senior lieutenant in HMS Discovery on the British Arctic Expedition, 1875-1876 (leader George Strong Nares), sent by the Admiralty to attempt to reach the North Pole and to explore the coasts of Greenland and adjacent lands. Setting out from Discovery Harbour on 6 April 1876, Beaumont led a major sledging journey eastward to explore the northwest coast of Greenland, reaching Sherard Osborn Fjord before turning back on 22 May 1876.

After the expedition, Beaumont was promoted commander and in 1882, served as the Naval Attach for Europe. Between 1882 and 1885, he served as private secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, and from 1894 to 1897 as director of Naval Intelligence. He was promoted rear admiral in 1897, serving as commander-in-chief of the Pacific Station between 1899 and 1900, and of the Australian Station from 1901 to 1903. He was knighted in 1901 and promoted admiral in 1906. In 1905, Beaumont was appointed commander-in-chief at Devonport, a post he held until 1908. He retired from the Navy in 1912 and died on 19 June 1922.


The collection is arranged into three sub-fonds covering the expedition, correspondence and Royal Geographical Society 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 Arctic exploration and development C 500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Anthony Holland, Garland Publishing Inc. New York (1994) and British polar exploration and research, a historical and medallic record with biographies 1818-1999 by Lieutenant Colonel Neville W. Poulsom and Rear Admiral John A.L. Myres, Savannah Publications London (2000) SPRI Library Shelf 737.2 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 are possible.