George Binney collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Binney to George Summers regarding the Oxford University Arctic Expedition, 1924

Administrative / Biographical History

(Frederick) George Binney was born on 23 September 1900 at Great Bookham, Surrey. He was educated at Eton and Merton College, Oxford, where he was invited to become organizing secretary of the Oxford University Spitsbergen Expedition (leader Francis Charles Robert Jourdain) in 1921. In 1923, he led the Merton College (Oxford) Arctic Expedition, organized to continue previous work in Spitsbergen and to make a reconnaissance of Nordaustlandet. Sailing in Terningen around the north coast of Spitsbergen, the expedition failed to circumnavigate Nordaustlandet. He returned to the Arctic the following year when he led the Oxford University Arctic expedition, organized to make a further attempt to survey Nordaustlandet. He decided to use a seaplane for the survey work, recording his experiences in his book With seaplane and sledge in the Arctic in 1925. He was awarded the gold medal of the Geographical Society of Paris and the Back award and Founder's gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his achievements.

In 1926, Binney joined the Hudson's Bay Company, recruiting and training apprentices to place on trading stations in northern Canada. He left the Hudson's Bay Company in 1931 to join the United Steel Companies Ltd., later becoming the company's export manager in 1933. During the Second World War, he was seconded for service with the Ministry of Supply, skillfully leading a fleet carrying war supplies through the German blockade of Swedish ports to a rendezvous with the Royal Navy off the Norwegian coast. He was knighted in 1941 and appointed to the DSO in 1944 for his war service. After the war, Binney returned to United Steel Companies Ltd. as export director, leaving briefly to lead the United Kingdom Trade and Industrial Mission to Ghana in 1959. Retiring in 1966, he died on 27 September 1972 at St. Lawrence in Jersey.

Published works The Eskimo book of knowledge... by George Binney, W W Perrett and Samuel King Hutton, Hudson's Bay Company London (1931) SPRI Library Shelf 809.475:82


The correspondence to Summers 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 Polar Record volume 16 number 104 May 1973 p754-755 and Dictionary of National Biography, 1971-1980, Oxford University Press Oxford (1986) and Who was who, 1971-1980, Adam and Charles Black London (1989)

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