The Scott Polar Research Institute
The Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, UK, was founded in
1920 as a memorial to Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his four colleagues
who died in 1912 on return from the South Pole during the ill-fated
Terra Nova Expedition.
The Institute is the oldest international centre for polar research
within a university. Its work has been devoted to scientific exploration
and the collection, recording and interpretation of results. In providing
a centre of resource for many polar expeditions, including the armed
forces, and working together with other universities, it has become
and Archives hold an unequalled collection of both published and
unpublished polar material. The Library is open to the general public.
An appointment is necessary to consult the Archives.
Other important organisations have been attracted to Cambridge by the
presence of the Institute, namely: The British
Antarctic Survey; the Scientific
Committee on Antarctic Research; the Cambridge
Arctic Shelf Project; the World
Data Centre for Glaciology; the International
Glaciological Society; and the International
A unique Masters course in Polar
Studies is offered, through which many graduates have become internationally
acknowledged leaders in their fields.
Public lectures are held on Saturday evenings in SPRI's own lecture
theatre, free of charge. There are four lectures each during the Michaelmas
and Lent terms, and details will be posted on this site nearer the time.
The small Museum
(open Tuesday to Friday 11.00-13.00, 14.00-16.00 and Saturday 12.00-16.00)
is well worth a visit. Items are on display include artifacts, paintings,
drawings, photographs and other materials from a wide variety of expeditions,
all well labelled. The ceiling of the main room is adorned with a twin
frieze depicting Arctic and Antarctic maps encircled with the names
of famous explorers, painted by Macdonald Gill in 1934.
The museum shop sells a variety of tasteful T-shirts, mugs, postcards,
prints and of course some very interesting books.
Scott Polar Research Institute
Tel: 01223 336540
Fax: 01223 336549
SPRI Picture Library
The SPRI Picture Library has an incredible collection of archival photography
and art covering the history of British exploration in both the Arctic
and Antarctic. Copies are available for loan; there are over 80,000
images to chose from, in various formats.
In addition to the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton, those of the
British Graham Land Expedition, the Franklin Search Expeditions and
the British Arctic Air Route Expedition and the Norwegian-British-Swedish
Antarctic Expedition are represented.
The Picture Library's unique art collection includes work by Edward
Wilson, George Marston, John Ross and Edward Moss.
The collection provides a documentary image of all aspects of life
in the polar regions and the Russian Far East. Subjects range through
fauna and flora, transport, science, scientific stations, glaciology,
scenery and ethnography. The material in the collection dates from the
earliest days of polar exploration right up to the present.
As well as providing images on loan for reproduction, black and white
or colour photographic prints may be hand printed to order. This service
normally takes ten working days. Visitors are welcome, by appointment,
to make their own selection.
Picture Library Manager
Scott Polar Research Institute
Tel: 01223 336547
Fax: 01223 336547
Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute
Anyone with a serious interest in polar matters really should join
of the Scott Polar Research Institute. Not only will they benefit
personally, they will also make a real contribution to the Institute's
The association of Friends was established in 1946 in order to provide
individuals with a means by which they could support the work of the
Institute, and to keep members in touch with the Institute and other
Over the years the Friends have provided valuable funding to the Institute,
assisting in the acquisition and preservations of archive materials.
Most recently they made a significant contribution to the Shackleton
Memorial Library, in which the Friends Room provides a social and exhibition
space, computer terminals and reference books.
Today the Friends are possibly more active than ever before. News and
information is circulated through Polar Bytes, their regular
newsletter. A luncheon is held each summer, giving individuals the opportunity
to meet socially with other Friends and members of the Institute. The
AGM is usually held on a Saturday in November, followed by a buffet
giving further opportunities for Friends to meet.
To join contact Mrs Ann Bean, Secretary, on Tel: 01895 271141 and she
will send you all the relevant details.
Do it now - you won't regret it!