George Clarke Simpson collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) and correspondence by Simpson.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Clarke Simpson was born in Derby in 1878. He was educated at the University of Manchester and studied atmospheric physics at the University g Gttingen. After caring out an investigation into the electrical state of the atmosphere in Lapland, he was appointed to a lectureship in meteorology at Manchester University, and in 1906, awarded a doctorate (DSc).

He joined the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), as meteorologist. In September 1911, he took part in a sledging journey to the western mountains with Scott, Edgar Evans and Henry Bowers. He was highly valued member of the scientific staff, producing outstanding reports on the weather and physics of the atmosphere.

After his year in the Antarctic, he resumed his post at the India Meteorological Department, returning to Britain in 1920, when he was appointed Director of the Meteorological Office, a post he held until his retirement in 1938. During these years, he was instrumental in creating a service to meet the rapidly growing needs of civil and military aviation. He was knighted in 1938.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, he returned to service and was superintendent of Kew Observatory, 1939 to 1946. He was also in charge of the observatories at Eskdalemuir, Lerwick and Aberdeen, and of the Meteorological Office, Edinburgh. He died on 1 January 1965.

Published work, 'Meteorological Report' by George Clarke Simpson in Scott's last expedition volume II, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1913) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1910-1913 Scott]


The collection is split into two sub-fonds covering expedition material and correspondence respectively.

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 The Polar Record (May 1965) volume 12, number 80, p632-633 and Scott of the Antarctic Elspeth Huxley, Weidenfield & Nicolson, London (19877) SPRI Library shelf 92 [Scott] and Encyclopaedia of Antarctic and the Southern Oceans ed Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 071986658 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.