Perce Blackborow collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of a lecture given by Blackborow regarding Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, [Weddell Sea party] 1914-1916. The collection also contains photographs and certificates relating to Blackborow.

Administrative / Biographical History

Perce Blackborow was born in Newport, Wales in 1894. Eager to return home from Buenos Aires, he applied to join the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton) but was turned down. He came aboard Endurance as a stowaway and was discovered shortly after the ship left South Georgia, when he signed on as a steward.

After Endurance was crushed in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, the crew lived for six months on drifting ice until this broke up north-east of the Antarctic Peninsula. Proceeding in three open boats, the party of twenty-eight men reached Elephant Island on 15 April 1916. Blackborow sustained severe frostbite in his left foot during the journey and the surgeons Alexander Macklin and James McIlroy amputated his toes in June 1916. He and his companions were eventually rescued from the island on 30 August 1916.

Returning to Wales after the expedition, Blackborow was rejected by the Royal Navy on medical grounds, serving instead with the Merchant Navy until 1919, after which he worked as a dock boatman in the Alexandra Docks in Newport. He died in 1949 at Newport.


The collection is arranged in the order it was deposited at the Institute.

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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 Visit and learn and 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

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.