Apsley Cherry-Garrard collection

Scope and Content

The collection covers Cherry-Garrard's involvement in the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), his subsequent book on the expedition (The worst journey in the world, correspondence and miscellaneous documents.

Administrative / Biographical History

Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard was born in Bedford on 2 January 1886. He was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford. Despite being hampered by poor eyesight he was, on Edward Adrian Wilson's recommendation selected as assistant zoologist for the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott). Spending two years at Cape Evans, he edited the expedition newspaper The South Polar Times and took part in all the major sledging activities, including the winter journey in 1911, with Wilson and Henry Robertson Bowers, to Cape Crozier to collect emperor penguin embryos. As part of the support team he accompanied Scott and the pole party as far as the upper depot on the Beardmore Glacier in December 1911. In March 1912, he reached One Ton Depot, accompanied by Russian dog-driver, Dmitriy Gerov. This sledging journey was carrying supplies for the returning polar party, but was unable to stay longer than six days due to a lack of dog food and concern for Gerov's deteriorating health. Cherry-Garrard was to regret the decision to return to base for the rest of his life. At the time he turned back, Scott's party was just 60 miles further south, something Cherry-Garrard had no means of knowing. When Scott failed to reach Cape Evans, it was clear that he and all those with him had died. Cherry-Garrard was a member of the search party, led by Edward Atkinson, which found and buried the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers in November 1912.

After serving in the First World War, Cherry-Garrard was invalided out in 1915 and returned to the family home, Lamer Park near Wheathampstead in Hertfordshire. Here he began to write his classic account of the expedition The worst journey in the world, first published in 1922. He took up book collecting and contributed to several publications. In his later years, he suffered from bouts of depression and ill health and in 1947, was forced to sell Lamer Park. He died in London on 18 May 1959.

Published work, The worst journey in the world, Antarctic 1910-1913 by Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard, Constable London (1922) SPRI Library Shelf Special Collection (7)91(08)[1910-1913 Scott] The South Polar Times volume 3, April to October 1911 ed. Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1914) SPRI Library Shelf Special Collection (7)91(08)[1910-1913], Archives


The collection is arranged into four sub-fonds. The British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913, material relating to The worst journey in the world, correspondence and miscellaneous papers.

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 Cherry; a life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard by Sara Wheeler, Jonathan Cape, London (2001) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Cherry-Garrard] and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and 'A Bedford-born polar explorer' by Bernard Verdcourt in Bedfordshire Magazine volume 22 number 171 1989 SPRI Library Shelf Pam 92[Cherry-Garrard] 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

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Further accessions possible.