Francis Davies collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott)

Administrative / Biographical History

Francis Edward Charles Davies was appointed leading shipwright on the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), with responsibility for fitting out the expedition ship Terra Nova and designing and building the expedition's prefabricated winter quarters. A member of the search party sent to look for Scott and those missing with him in 1912, Davies constructed the memorial cross which was erected over the cairn containing the bodies of Scott, Edward Adrian Wilson and Henry Robertson Bowers.

After returning from the Antarctic, he served with the Grand Fleet and on mine-laying operations during the First World War. In 1919, he travelled to Archangel in Russia where he was placed in charge of docking and repairs to all shipping operating in the White Sea and Dvina River.

Between 1919 and 1920, he served in HMS Sandhurst during operations in the Baltic, after which he took voluntary retirement. From 1927 to 1934, he served on the Discovery Investigations in the Royal Research Ships Discovery II and William Scoresby, which were engaged in scientific work in connection with the management of the Southern Ocean whaling industry. In Discovery II, Davies rose from the rank of fourth officer to navigator and, in 1931, served as master during a Hydrographic survey off Peru and Chile, before passing his master's certificate in 1932. During the Second World War, he served as lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.


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 British polar exploration and research, a historical and medallic record with biographies 1818-1999 by Lieutenant Colonel Neville W. Poulsom and Rear Admiral John A.L. Myres, Savannah Publications, London (2000) SPRI Library Shelf 737.2 and SPRI Library Antarctic Biographies Card Index and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and 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

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.