Ships, Terra Nova

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of plans and certificates for Terra Nova .

Administrative / Biographical History

Terra Nova was a whaling barque of 744 tons built in 1884 by Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd. of Dundee. Fitted with an auxiliary steam engine and with a reinforced hull, the three-masted barque was ideally suited for voyages to the polar regions. In 1903, she was purchased from the sealing firm, Bowring Brothers Ltd., to assist the return of the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), sailing under the command of Henry Duncan Mackay in company with the Dundee whaler Morning .

After the expedition, she returned to sealing with Bowring Brothers Ltd., and in 1909 was sold to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), sailing from London in June 1910 under the command of Henry Lewin Lee Pennell.

After the expedition, Terra Nova resumed work with her former owners in the Newfoundland seal fishery and in coastal trading. Her end came in September 1943, when she sprang a leak and sank without loss of life off south-west Greenland. Her bell is preserved in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, where it is rung twice daily.


The collection is arranged in the order in which it was deposited at the Institute.

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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events , (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 Antarctic circle and The Oxford companion to ships and the sea , ed. Peter Kemp, Oxford University Press, London (1976) SPRI Library Shelf 629.12 and Ships of discovery and exploration by Lincoln P. Paine, Mariner Books, Boston (2000) SPRI Library Shelf 629.12[2000]

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.