Arthur Horner collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Northwest Passage Expedition, 1875 (leader Allan Young)

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur Claypon Horner studied medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, and qualified as MRCS in 1872 and LRCP in 1876. He later served as assistant surgeon in the Fifth French Ambulance Corps during the Franco-Prussian War. In 1875, he was appointed surgeon and naturalist in Pandora on the British Northwest Passage Expedition (leader Allen Young), a private venture with the object of reaching the magnetic pole by way of Baffin Bay and Lancaster Sound, then navigating the Northwest Passage in one season. Setting out from Southampton in June 1875, the expedition entered Lancaster Sound in August, later reaching Beechey Island where they examined relics of the Franklin search expeditions. Continuing into Peel Sound, Pandora was beset by heavy ice in Franklin Strait with no hope of further progress.

Horner returned to the Canadian Arctic the following year in Pandora on the British Relief Expedition (leader Allen Young), landing dispatches for George Strong Nares of the British Arctic Expedition, 1875-1876. On his return, Horner published his experiences in Notes on Arctic Natural History.

He served as house surgeon at Kidderminster Infirmary, resident obstetric assistant at Westminster Hospital, and assistant medical officer to the Central London Sick Association. In 1879, he moved to Tonbridge in Kent, where he started a local branch of the St John's Ambulance. He died in August 1893 at Tonbridge.


The collection is arranged chronologically

Conditions Governing Access

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 The Coleopterist and 'Arthur Claypon Horner' by G W Chalkin in Mid-Victorian Tonbridge, Kent Education Committee Maidstone England (1993) SPRI Library Shelf Pam 92[Horner]

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