Baron Desborough of Taplow collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Lord Desborough to the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Henry Grenfell was born on 30 October 1855 in London. He was educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford, where he excelled at sports. In 1880, he was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Salisbury, and again in 1885, losing his seat the following year after a general election. In 1892, he won the seat for Hereford City but resigned in the same year in protest against William Gladstone's second Home Rule bill. Grenfell did not stand again until he won the Wycombe division of Buckinghamshire as a Conservative in 1900, a seat he held until 1905. He sat on numerous committees, including the London Chamber of Commerce, and served as president of the Olympic Games held in London in 1908. In 1905, he was created first Baron Desborough of Taplow and was knighted in 1908. From 1924 to 1929, he was captain of the Yeomen of the Guard. He died on 9 January 1945 at Panshanger, Hertford.


The correspondence 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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 Dictionary of National Biography, 1941-1950, Oxford University Press, London (1967) and Who was who, 1941-1950, Adam & Charles Black, London (1952)

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.