John Quiller Rowett collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Rowett regarding the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton).

Administrative / Biographical History

John Quiller Rowett was born on 19 September 1876 into a wealthy family from Polperro, Cornwall. He was educated at Mannamead School in Plymouth and Dulwich College in London, where he met Ernest Henry Shackleton. Rowett became a wealthy businessman, serving as managing director of Rowett Leaky & Co. Ltd of London, and as chairman of Jude, Hanbury & Co. of Wateringbury. In 1920, he supplied the money to purchase land and build laboratories in Aberdeen for the Rowett Institute of Research in Animal Nutrition, established in connection with Aberdeen University and the North of Scotland College of Agriculture.

In 1921, after the Canadian government withdrew funding for Shackleton's proposed expedition to the Canadian Arctic, Rowett provided financial support to Shackleton for a voyage instead to the Southern Ocean. Setting out from London on 17 September 1921 in the wooden sealer Quest, the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922, reached South Georgia where Shackleton suffered a heart attack and died on 5 January 1922. John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild took command and the expedition continued, briefly exploring the South Sandwich Islands and the Weddell Sea before returning to Britain. Rowett died on 2 October 1924.


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient.

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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 and Rowett Research Institute and Who was who, 1916-1928, Adam & Charles Black, London (1947)

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.