Edgar Evans collection

Scope and Content

The collection covers material created during the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott).

Administrative / Biographical History

Edgar Evans was born in Rhossili, Wales in 1876. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1891 and became a petty officer in HMS Majestic. Ten years later, he joined the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), as petty officer. He took part in many of the sledging operations, including the party led by Scott to explore further routes through the western mountains. Along with Scott and William Lashley, Evans climbed a staircase of glaciers to stand on the polar plateau. They then marched many miles across the bleak plain, turning back on 30 November, and returning to Discovery just in time to celebrate Christmas 1903.

After this expedition, Evans became a naval physical training and gunnery instructor, winning the Royal Tattoo competitions for field gunnery in 1906 and 1907. Impressed by his strength and intelligence in the previous expedition, Scott invited him to join the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913.

Evans again proved a strong sledger and subsequently was included in the main polar party of five selected by Scott for the long sledging journey to the South Pole.

On 17 January 1912, Evans, along with Scott, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edward Wilson, reached the South Pole only to find that Roald Amundsen had arrived before them on 14 December 1911 (Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1912).

On the return journey, the weakened party faced exceptionally unfavourable weather and sledging conditions. While descending the lower slopes of the Beardmore Glacier, Evans fell, suffered concussion and died on 18 February 1912.


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 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Scott of the Antarctic by Elspeth Huxley, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London (1977) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Scott, R.F.]

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 the Antarctic expedition's Evans was a member of. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.

The Institute holds over seventy archival collections containing material relating to the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 on which Evans served.