Captain Scott and Stanfords
Stanfords has a fascinating history and has been the first port of call for many famous explorers including Captain Robert Scott who was in contact with Edward Stanford himself about maps. Their correspondence consisted of numerous letters regarding map markings as detailed below:
A letter from Edward Stanford to Captain Scott concerning a map drawn in connection with Scott’s last expedition
Scott’s Last Expedition
We feel we cannot let your advertisement in to-day’s “Times” pass without a word of thanks for the mention of our firm as the map-makers for the above book. It is such an unusual thing for co-workers to be mentioned (except in prefaces) that we thank you all the more heartily for the worldwide publicity which you are giving us all to-day. That the book must be a success was undoubted form the first, owing to the heart-rending pathos of the story, and we are all proud to have or names associated with it, however little we may have done to help that success. We should like to congratulate you on the tout ensemble of the book, and to thank Lady Scott for allowing the diaries to be made public.
With renewed thanks,
We are, dear Sirs,
A letter from Captain Scott to Edward Stanfords about his map of the Antarctic
I have just received your map of the Antarctic Regions (London Atlas Series) and I observe that the farthest point south is marked ‘Scott and Shackleton’, an inscription which is not in accordance with any authoritative map published by the Geographical Socierty but which is naturally one of the most interesting in the map.
According to all precedent, this coupling of Mr. Shackelton’s name with mine implies dual leadership, and it is therefore not in accordance with fact.
Mr. Shackleton’s name cannot have been added by you with a wish to note this whole party which reached the farthest point, since the name of Wilson is omitted.
In view of these remarks I wish to ask your authority for the inscription and your purpose in making it.
I remain Yours faithfully,
To which Edward Stanford replied:
Dear Captain Scott,
I have read your letter of the 16th, and I am exceedingly sorry to find you take exception that at the furthest point south your name is coupled with Lieut.Shackleton’s. That wording was inserted in the year 1903, before anything authoritative was issued, and your book was not issued until two years later. My authority for the ‘inscription’ was the then known facts as reported in the press and elsewhere, and I had no special ‘purpose’ in making it. In my opinion, no interference of ‘dual leadership’ should be drawn from the wording. Everybody knew that you were the leader of the Discovery expedition. I had the pleasure of sending you an early proof of this very map in July 1901 when you were starting, and also the pleasure of dining with you after your return. However if you wish, I willomit Lieut. Shackleton’s name in the next printing. I see since 1903 it has been added to the plate at Shackleton Inlet, in the same way that the other officers’ names are perpetuated on the map.
May I say that personally I had no knowledge of the wording on the map, although I am, of course, for it?
To which Scott then replied:
Dear Mr. Stanfords,
I clearly see from your letter how this mistake arose and hasten to express my regret for my last letter… I must thank you for your courteous reply to my hasty letter and apologise unreservedly for suggesting that there might be a purpose in the inscription to which I took exception.…I tried to be impartial in giving credit to my companions who one and all laboured honestly and well as I have endeavoured to record- I grow hot at this idea of one being advertised at the expense of his fellows – I trust you will consider this my excuse for my first letter… …I understand now of course that you had no personal knowledge of the wording and I must express regret that I failed to realise your identity when I first wrote.
Believe me, Yours faithfully
The Robert Scott Exhibition at The Natural History Museum
Scott's Last Expedition goes beyond the familiar tales of the 3-year journey to the South Pole and the death of the Polar Party to explore the Terra Nova expedition from different angles. The exhibition's focus is on the everyday stories and activities of the people who took part, their scientific work and unforgettable human endurance.
Scott stated reaching the South Pole as one of the expedition's main aims, but an ambitious programme of scientific investigation and geographical exploration was also carried out.
Our exhibition features over 200 rare specimens and original artefacts displayed alongside a life-sized representation of Scott's hut. Many items, such as clothing, skis, food, tools and diaries are being shown together for the first time.
Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his team lost the race to the South Pole, but their heroic efforts brought us amazing scientific discoveries. Scott's first expedition party had found the first traces of ancient plant life in Antarctica and during the final weeks of the ill-fated expedition, the team found fossils of huge importance. Join us to discover the story of these historical specimens and what useful information they provide us with.
Image copyright of Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.