Alfred Harrison collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of material relating to the British Exploring Expedition, 1905-1907 (led by Harrison) to the Mackenzie District of Canada

Administrative / Biographical History

Alfred Henry Harrison was born in 1865 in Enfield, the eldest son of Daniel Alfred Harrison who had worked briefly as chief factor at Fort Good Hope for the Hudson's Bay Company during the 1850s. He was educated at St. Charles's School, Bayswater, and Stonyhurst College, Lancashire. He first travelled to Canada in 1889 on a hunting expedition in the Canadian Rockies. Harrison returned to Canada as leader of the British Exploring Expedition, 1905-1907, a private expedition with the objective of discovering a 'polar continent' or any unknown land in the Arctic Ocean. During 1906, he conducted a survey of Herschel Island, later charting Baillie Island and sailing to Banks Island, and travelled to Mackenzie River delta. The following year, he began a triangulation survey of Eskimo Lakes, reaching the coast at Warren Point from where he travelled west to the Mackenzie delta before returning to Eskimo Lakes. His account of the expedition In search of a polar continent, 1905-1907 was published in 1908, although his attempts to raise funds for a further expedition to reach the North Pole proved fruitless. He served as a J.P. for Suffolk in his later years and died on 29 August 1933.


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 Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Holland, Garland Publishing, London (1994) and Exploring Polar Frontiers, a historical encyclopaedia by William Mills, San Diego and Oxford, 2003 and 'In Memoriam Alfred Henry Harrison' in The Stonyhurst Magazine number 308 December 1933 SPRI Library Shelf Pam 92[Harrison, A.H.] and 'Shaking all over' by Randy Freeman in Up here volume 16 number 5 July 2000 p49-50

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