Harry Pennell collection

Scope and Content

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

Administrative / Biographical History

Harry Lewin Lee Pennell was born in 1882. He was educated at Exeter School and joined the Navy as a cadet in HMS Britannia in 1898. In the following year, he went to sea as midshipman and by 1903, had been promoted to lieutenant.

In 1910, he was appointed to command the Terra Nova on the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott). In addition to his duties as navigator, Pennell was responsible for conducting magnetic observations. An able amateur naturalist, Pennell also assisted Edward Wilson and Dennis Lillie in their studies of birds and whales. On 22 February 1911, Pennell made the first sighting of Oates Land.

Promoted to the rank of commander after the expedition, Pennell undertook the preparation of the material relating to the magnetic work. He also took steps to obtain a full and technical description of the Terra Nova for publication in the account of the expedition.

In the summer of 1914, he was appointed as commander of the battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary, but was lost with his ship at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916.

Published work, 'Voyages of the Terra Nova' by Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans and Harry Lewin Lee Pennell in, Scott's last expedition volume 2, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1913) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1910-1913 Scott]


The collection is split into two sub-fonds covering the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 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 Geographical Journal (August 1916) volume 48 number 2 p177-179 and Scott of the Antarctic by Elspeth Huxley, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London (1977) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Scott, R.F.] 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.