Cambridgeshire

Captain Scott's Antarctic expedition artefacts on show

Artefacts from Captain Scott's ill-fated Antarctic expedition are on show together for the first time in the UK.

The Cambridge University Polar Museum exhibition includes Scott's last journal, on loan from the British Library, and many items which have never been on public display.

These include scientist Edward Wilson's sketchbook, a hand-produced newspaper, and a sledge made by Lt Edward Evans.

These Rough Notes: Capt Scott's Last Expedition is on show until 5 May.

Many of the items from the 1910-1913 British Antarctic Expedition, also known as the Terra Nova expedition, are only usually available to researchers.

'Hardihood and endurance'

Capt Robert Falcon Scott's final team included Wilson, Edgar Evans, Henry Robertson Bowers and Lawrence Oates.

The party died as they tried to return to base, after discovering that Norwegian rival Roald Amundsen had beaten them to the South Pole.

One of the items on display is a rarely-seen fragile volume of Bowers' second journal, which has been repaired especially for the exhibition.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott in his Antarctic hut in 1911
Captain Robert Falcon Scott photographed in his Antarctic hut in 1911

Museum curator Kay Smith described the collection as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to view the writings, not only of the expedition leaders, but the "forgotten voices" of other Terra Nova crew and shore party members.

"We're not just talking about the race to the pole here," she said.

"We're talking about an entire crew of men, each telling their own story in their own way, and perhaps a different story from those you're already familiar with.

"Some of [these items] are so fragile and valuable that they probably won't go on display again for another 100 years."

The exhibition takes its title from Scott's message to the public written at the end of his journal, shortly before his death.

On 29 March, 1912, he wrote: "Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman.

"These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale, but surely, surely, a great rich country like ours will see that those who are dependent on us are properly provided for."

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