Thomas Wyatt Bagshawe collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Expedition to Graham Land, 1920-1922 (leader John Lachlan Cope) and miscellaneous papers by Bagshawe.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Wyatt Bagshawe was born on 18 April 1901. He went to Rugby school and read geology at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, but abandoned his studies to join the British Expedition to Graham Land, 1920-1922 (leader John Lachlan Cope). Bagshawe and his companion, Maxime Charles Lester, travelled south in a whaling ship to Deception Island ahead of the leader Cope and second-in-command George Hubert Wilkins. The party transferred to Andvord Bay, on the Danco Coast of Graham Land where they intended to set up a base. However, insufficient finance curtailed the expedition, and Cope and Wilkins withdrew. Bagshawe and Lester decided to remain, setting up a base at Waterboat Point on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula between January 1921 and January 1922. Though ill equipped and with few comforts, they carried out scientific observations, including a study of the breeding biology of the neighbouring gentoo penguins.

On his return to Britain, Bagshawe joined the family engineering business in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. From 1924 to 1947, he was honorary curator, and later honorary director of the Luton Museum, and was also honorary curator of the Cambridge Folk Museum from 1940 to 1946. He became involved in local affairs, researching into the early trades and crafts of Bedfordshire and in 1949 was appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire. He died in Worthing on 28 January 1976.

Published work, Two men in the Antarctic. An expedition to Graham Land, 1920-1922 Thomas Wyatt Bagshawe, Cambridge University Press Cambridge (1939) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1920-1922 Bagshawe and Lester]


The collection is split into two sub-fonds, covering expedition material 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 item is signed by the author.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to an obituary by David Matthews in The Polar Record (May 1976) volume 18, number 113, p191-192 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.