The untold stories of the crew of Captain Scott’s polar exhibition have been found in journals and letters recovered from archives, and are now on display.
New artefacts include the last letter written by Scott’s closest comrade Dr Edward Wilson before he died on the return from the South Pole.
Addressed to publisher Reginald Smith, the letter – which reflects on the crew’s struggle – had remained undiscovered since 1913 until an archivist returned to inspect a box of documents. The story of the Terra Nova expedition is explored in a mixture of newly discovered and rarely seen letters, diaries and photographs of its members, in an exhibition at Cambridge University’s Polar Museum.
Curator Kay Smith said: “This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these manuscripts exhibited together. Some of them are so fragile and valuable that they probably won’t go on display again for another hundred years.
“We’re not just talking about the ‘race to the pole’ here, 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.”
Among items on display is the rarely seen second journal of Henry Robertson “Birdie” Bowers who accompanied Scott to the Pole and died alongside him on the return journey.
The exhibition showcases the “Worst Journey in the World” the trip to collect eggs from a Emperor penguin colony at Cape Crozier.
It also features the largely forgotten Northern Party – six men stranded for 21 months and forced to shelter from the brutal Antarctic winter in a cave dug into the snow. It runs until May 5.