'Lost' Captain Scott photos go on display

Edgar Evans with the pony Snatcher, Cape Evans, October 1911 Photo: University of Cambridge

The ‘lost photos’ of Captain Scott have gone on display for the first time at Cambridge University's Polar Museum.

The photographs were taken in 1912 by the polar explorer Robert Scott during the Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic. Scott perished on the expedition shortly after he reached the South Pole. He died knowing that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had got to the Pole before him.

Ponies on the march, Great Ice Barrier, 2 December 1911 Credit: University of Cambridge

The photos were thought missing for most of the 20th century and will be displayed ten at a time and changed fortnightly throughout the exhibition to avoid light damage.

The staff of the Polar Museum wanted to end this centenary year by bringing Captain’s Scott’s story right up to date. We hope that the exhibition will let visitors get a real sense of Scott’s impact on British culture and the ways in which his reputation has changed over the past century.

We have been very excited to acquire Scott’s own photographs from the Terra Nova expedition and this seemed an ideal opportunity to put them on public display for the first time.

– Heather Lane, Keeper of Collections at the Institute

The pictures were returned to the UK by members of the expedition in 1913 and they were meant to be used to illustrate books, reports and lectures.

However, difficulties with establishing the copyright meant that only a handful were ever used, while the remaining negatives were lost and the prints passed into private hands.

Pony camp, Great Ice Barrier, 1 December 1911 Credit: University of Cambridge

Guest contibutors to the exhibition include Sir David Attenborough, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Falcon Scott (grandson of Captain Scott), David Wilson (great nephew of Dr Edward Wilson) and Professor Susan Solomon.