British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material created for or during the expedition.

Administrative / Biographical History

The British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) 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. The expedition ship Terra Nova carried out Hydrographic work during her voyages.

A winter sledging journey was undertaken by Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers and Apsley Cherry-Garrard to the emperor penguin rookery at Cape Crozier to obtain specimens, a party 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 (comprising of Abbot, Browning, Dickason, Levick, and Priestley) established a base at Cape Adare from where they conducted scientific programmes. After moving camp the party were forced to spend the winter of 1912 in ice caves on Inexpressible Island before walking back to the Cape Evans camp.

Herbert Ponting acting as camera artist during the first year made a cin documentary film of an Antarctic expedition, 90° South.

Depot laying sledging journeys were sent south ready for the pole attempt which commenced in 1911. After successfully reaching the South Pole on 17 January 1912 Scott and his companions (Henry Bowers, Edgar Evans, Lawrence Oates and Edward Wilson) perished during the return journey. Search parties found the bodies of Scott, Bowers and Wilson in November 1912.

Pole Party, Robert Falcon Scott, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates, Edward Wilson, Edgar Evans

, Northern party, Victor Campbell, George Abbott, Frank Browning, George Levick, Raymond Priestley, Harry Dickason,

Shore party, Edward RGR Evans, Edward Atkinson, George Simpson (meteorologist), Thomas Griffith Taylor (geologist), Edward Nelson (biologist), Frank Debenham (geologist), Charles Wright (physicist), Herbert Ponting (Camera artist) Cecil Meares (in charge of dogs), Bernard Day (motor engineer), Apsley Cherry-Garrard (assistant zoologist), Tryggve Gran, (ski expert), William Lashly (chief stoker), W W Archer (chief steward), Thomas Clissold (chef), Robert Forde, Thomas Crean, Thomas Williamson, Patrick Keohane, (all petty officers), F J Hooper (steward) Anton Omelchenko (groom) Dmitriy Girev (dog driver)

Terra Nova party, Harry Pennell (lieutenant), Arthur Bailey, Albert Balson, Robert Brissenden, Wilfred Bruce, William Burton, Alfred Cheetham, Francis Davis, James Denniston, Francis Drake, William Heald, William Horton, William Knowles, Charles Lammas Joseph Leese, Dennis Lillie (biologist), John Mather, W H Neal.Robert Oliphant, Frederick Parsons, James Patton, Mortimer McCarthy, Angus McDonald, William McDonald, Edward McKenzie, Thomas McGillson, Thomas McLeon, Henry Rennick, Bernard Stone, William Williams and Charles Williamson


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 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 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and The worst journey in the world; Antarctic 1910-1913 by Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard, Constable London (1922) SPRI Library Shelf Special Collection (7)91(08)[1910-1913 Scott] and Hell with a capital H Katherine Lambert, Pimlico, London 2002 SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08) and Scott's last Expedition Carroll and Graf publishers, New York, 1996 SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1910-1913]

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 Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, some of which covers this expedition. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link. These collections include work by Ponting, Priestley, Debenham, Levick, Bowers (including photographs taken at the South Pole), Wright and Wilson.


Scott's last expedition Robert Falcon Scott recounts the expedition, copies are available at the Institutes Library (7)91(08)[1910-1913]