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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0402 AA
Held at: Royal Geographical Society
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Date(s): 1894-1905
Level of description: Collection level
Extent: 28 boxes
Name of creator(s): National Antarctic Expedition | 1901-1904


Administrative/Biographical history:

The British National Antarctic or Discovery Expedition of 1901-1904 was the first official British exploration of the Antarctic regions since James Clark Ross's voyage, 1839-1843. It was organised by a joint committee of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and it aimed to carry out scientific research and geographical exploration. Its scientific results covered extensive ground in biology, zoology, geology, meteorology and magnetism and King Edward VII Land, and the Polar Plateau via the western mountains route were discovered. The expedition did not make a serious attempt on the South Pole, its principal southern journey reaching a Furthest South at 8217'S.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904, including drafts of letters written by Sir Clements Markham and Cyril Longhurst; incoming correspondence relating to all aspects of the expedition, Markham's own notes summarising events of the expedition and its administration, Captain Scott's summaries of proceedings, deck logs of the DISCOVERY, letter books and minute books of the Antarctic Committee; papers realting to the MORNING and the TERRA NOVA relief ships and correspondence relating to the winding up of the expedition's affairs. The Archive also holds Louis C Bernacchi's private diary on board the DISCOVERY, 14 Feb 1904-5 Nov 1904, and George Murray's journal on board the DISCOVERY from Cowes, 6 Aug 1901 to within sight of Cape Town, where he left the expedition. Papers generated by the Royal Geographical Society related to the expedition are also filed with this collection.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Sir Clements Markham arranged his part of the collection into 25 categories as follows: plan of opertion and instructions x2; raising the funds; accounts; appeals to Australia; officers and men x2; Greogory and Murray; ship x2; stores and provisions; bad provisions; sledge equipment; balloon; instruments; magnetism; meteorology; Capt Scott's reports; collections; Morning x2; subscriptions; Morning officers and men; conduct of the Treasury, demand for the Morning and items from 1905. Papers from the second accession have been numbered to mirror Markham's arrangement.

Conditions governing access:

Accessible via The Foyle Reading Room. Free of charge for Fellows, Members and those with valid academic identification. All other users pay a charge and must bring identification in order to register on arrival.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist and subject to completion of 'application for copies' form. No reproduction or publication without permission of the RGS-IBG Archivist.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue available in the Foyle Reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

First accession received from Sir Clements Markham, 1919; second accession was given to the PRO by Cyril Longhurst (secretary to the Antarctic Committee), and forwarded to the RGS, 1966.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

The library holds three volumes of news cuttings and magazine pictures of the expedition collected by Major General H R Lambert, and original typed copies of the South Polar Times. The Map Room (Museum) has a scale model of the DISCOVERY and various relics from the expedition.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Prepared by Archives volunteer using existing finding aids. Revised by Sarah Drewery.
Sources: The administrative history was compiled using a Google search and is not authoritative.

Rules or conventions:
ISAD(G) ed.2, name authority NRA.

Date(s) of descriptions:
25 October 2001; Oct 2008.

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