The collection comprises of material relating to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton), the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), The Royal cruise of 1956-1957 and the United States Antarctic Expedition, 1958-1959 (operation Deep Freeze IV), correspondence by Priestley, collected papers including lecture notes and scientific papers and diaries from his time as vice-chancellor at Melbourne University.
Sir Raymond Priestley collection
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 15 Sir Raymond Priestley
- Dates of Creation1907-1974
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical DescriptionExpedition material (54 volumes, circa 300 leaves, 3 maps, 1 microfilm), correspondence (162 leaves), personal papers (14 volumes, 4 maps, circa 2,383 leaves) and diaries (2 volumes)
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Raymond Edward Priestley was born in 1886. He was educated at Tewkesbury Grammar School and read botany and geology at Bristol University College. He joined the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton) as a geologist. He took part in the sledging programme, working under Professor Edgeworth David of Sydney University, and then continued his studies at Cambridge and Sydney universities.
In 1910, he joined the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), as geologist to the Northern Party. This group left Cape Evans on 5 January 1911 to carry out the exploration of the coast west and south of Cape Adare. The party was to have been brought back by ship to the main base before the winter of 1912 set in, but gales and ice prevented the ship from reaching them. Priestley and five companions wintered in a snow cave on Inexpressible Island on very few rations. On 30 September 1912 they set out on the 200-mile sledge journey to Cape Evans, arriving there on 7 November. Priestley described his experiences on that journey in Antarctic Adventure.
He served with distinction as a signals officer in the Second World War, then returned to Cambridge as Fellow of Clare College to write a history of the Signal Service and complete his Antarctic reports. From Cambridge, he was appointed vice-chancellor of Melbourne University (1935-1938), and vice-chancellor of Birmingham University (1938-1952). Knighted in 1949, he became acting-director of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey from 1955 to 1959, and president of the Royal Geographical Society from 1961 to 1968. He died on 24 June 1972.
Published work, Antarctic adventure, Scott's northern party, with a new foreword by Sir Vivian Fuchs, by Sir Raymond Edward Priestley, C. Hurst & Co. London (1974) SPRI Library Shelf (7) 91(08)[1910-1913 Scott]
The collection is split into seven sub-fonds covering the four expeditions, correspondence, collected papers and the Melbourne diaries respectively.
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Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Scott of the Antarctic by Elspeth Huxley, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London (1977) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Scott, R.F.] and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Antarctic Adventure, Scott's Northern Party by Raymond Priestley, C Hurst & Co. London (1974) SPRI Library shelf (7)91(08) [1910-1913 Scott] 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.
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