South Polar Times
This month's items were chosen by Jan Turner, Deputy Librarian.
'Official' South Polar Times crest
Title page of South Polar Times,
'The Tobaggan race'
Detail from article 'The King's Birthday,
Why did you choose this item?
The South Polar Times has long been a particular favourite of mine as it illustrates the human side of expedition life and comradeship, as well as the scientific nature of their day-to-day work.
The British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-4 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) was sponsored jointly by the RGS-IBG, the Royal Society and the British Government. The South Polar Times was an in-house magazine, produced over the winters of 1902-3, when their ship Discovery remained ice-bound in
The series provides a unique insight into the activities and personalities of the Expedition members. Content varies from amusing poetry and puzzles to highly detailed zoological diagrams, charts, maps and accounts of scientific methodology. It includes watercolours, sketches, silhouettes and caricatures produced by, amongst others, Edward Wilson, the Expedition doctor and zoologist. Explaining the difficulties of artistic endeavour en route to the Antarctic,
What is your role in the Collections?
I am currently Deputy Librarian, though staff roles are about to undergo some changes due to the Unlocking the Archives project, involving mergers of both stock and Collections staff.
In addition to a share in general Library tasks, such as enquiry work and stock processing, I have a particular interest in, and responsibility for, the long-term preservation of the Collections. This involves organising conservation work on fine bindings, regular binding of journal runs, teaching correct handling techniques to staff and users and advising on security issues.