British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material created during or immediately after the expedition.

Administrative / Biographical History

The British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton) sailed south on board Nimrod. A shore party of 15 set up base on the Antarctic continent; they discovered nearly 500km of the Transantarctic Mountains flanking the Ross Ice Shelf. A party climbed Mount Erebus (3794 m), Ross Island. A southern party consisting of Shackleton, Jameson Adams, Eric Marshall and Frank Wild found a route up the Beardmore Glacier and sledged to within 180km of the pole.

A second party sledged to he region of the South Magnetic pole and exploration of the area around the Ferrar Glacier was also conducted.

Expedition members, Ernest Henry Shackleton (leader), Tannant William Edgeworth David (director of scientific staff), J B Adams (meteorologist), Sir Philip Brocklehurst (assistant geologist), Bernard Day (motor expert), Ernest Joyce (in charge of dogs), Alistair Forbes Mackay (surgeon), Douglas Mawson (physicist), Bertram Armytage (in charge of ponies), Eric Stuart Marshall (surgeon), G E Marston (artist), J Murray (biologist), Raymond Priestley (geologist) W Roberts (cook), John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild (provisions)

Nimrod party, Rupert England (captain), John King Davis (chief officer/captain), Æeneas Mackintosh (2nd officer), Arthur Harboard (auxiliary 2nd officer), Harry Dunlop (chief engineer), W A R Michell (surgeon) Alfred Cheetham (boatswain), W D Ansell (steward), J Montague (cook), E Ellis, H Bull, S Riches, J Patton and W Williams (able seamen), G Bilsby (carpenter) and Frederick Evans (captain for second voyage to the Antarctic).


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 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, The Heart of the Antarctic Ernest Henry Shackleton, Signet publications, 2000, SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1907-1909] and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7)

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.


Heart of the Antarctic by Ernest Henry Shackleton recounts the expedition, copies are available at the Institutes Library (7)91(08)[1907-1909]