The idea to produce a weblog of the diary kept by Captain Robert Falcon Scott during the British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition, 1910-12, ninety-nine years on from the date of the original entries was devised by Christopher Hughes.
Beginning with the entry for 26th November 1910, the blog follows Scott’s ill-fated expedition day by day until the famous final entry, probably written on 29th March 1912.
His journal covers the period from November 1910 when the expedition left New Zealand, through the scientific missions of 1911 and the journey to the South Pole, ending with the death of the polar party in 1912, just 11 miles from the next depot of food and fuel.
The transcripts of Scott’s diary entries are taken from the 1913 published version of Scott’s Last Expedition and so reflect how the public would have first read the account. The original manuscript is held at the British Library who have digitised the diaries and produced audio recordings of the entries. Information on the differences between the 1912 manuscript and the 1913 publication are detailed in Max Jones’ edition of Scott’s diaries.
The entries here include links to images from Herbert Ponting’s photographic archive, also held at the Institute. They are linked to an RSS Feed and a Twitter account @scottslastexp which automatically updates when any new blog posts are made.
The staff of the Institute’s Museum, Library and Archive are keen to know if modern communication methods can provide a better understanding of the past. Reading the journals over a few days is a very different experience from following the daily events of the expedition as they happen. It is hoped that the blog will enable readers to gain a deeper appreciation of the challenges faced by the expedition and the sacrifices made by Scott and his men.
This is our first attempt to bring the diaries of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration to a worldwide audience by electronic means. As the centenary of Scott’s last expedition approaches, we intend to put other journals from our archive online, to build up a detailed picture of each day’s events.
Christopher Hughes, who has worked with the Institute to develop the blog, said of his motivation for the project:
“I am excited by the possibility of revisiting a classic work, like Scott’s Journals, with fresh eyes. Technological change means that we are all reading in new ways, and the content is reaching us in many new forms.
“Presenting this great work in a format that people use in their everyday lives should mean that the text comes alive to new readers, and in a short format that blog readers already understand and enjoy. Matching the dates of the text with the historical events also means that those familiar with the story will get a new sense and appreciation of the endurance of the explorers, their true goals, and a deeper understanding of their self-sacrifice. It is a great privilege to be associated with the Scott Polar Research Institute in this project.”
For further information, please email the Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org