Page title goes here - Archives Hub Archives Hub
Archives Hub: Papers of Sir Charles Seymour Wright

Archives Hub homepage

Archives Hub

Papers of Sir Charles Seymour Wright

Reference: GB 0015 Sir Charles Seymour Wright
Title: Papers of Sir Charles Seymour Wright
Dates of creation: 1910 - 1925
Held at: Scott Polar Research Institute
Extent: letters, charts, volumes and loose material
Name of Creator: Sir Charles Seymour Wright
Level of Description: fonds
Language of Material: eng

Administrative/Biographical History

Sir Charles Seymour Wright, KCB, OBE, MC, MA, was born in Canada in 1887. He was educated at Upper Canada College and the University Toronto. He won a scholarship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, England, undertaking research in cosmic rays at the Cavendish Laboratory. It was while studying in Cambridge that he met Douglas Mawson who had been part of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907 - 1908 under Ernest Henry Shackleton. Wright applied to join the forthcoming British Antarctic Expedition, 1910 - 1913 of Robert Falcon Scott. He was accepted as physicist, and along with five other scientists spent the first winter at Cape Evans studying glacier ice, snow and sea ice. Magnetism, gravity and aurora were added to these studies the subsequent winter. Scott appointed Wright to be a member of the first supporting party on the polar journey with Edward Leicester Atkinson, Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Patrick Keohane. Wright was later part of the search party of eight men and seven mules who searched for Scott and the pole party. On 11 November 1912 he discovered the party's tent on the Ross Ice Shelf.

On returning to England, he lectured in cartography and surveying while also writing up his scientific work. In 1914, he joined the Royal Engineers as a second lieutenant and served in France. He rose to the position of General Staff Officer in wireless intelligence and was awarded the MC and OBE. Wright joined the Admiralty Research Department in 1919, becoming superintendent at Teddington ten years later. Between 1934 and 1936 he was director of scientific research at the Admiralty. He played an important part in the early development of radar and detection of magnetic mines and torpedoes. He received the KCB in 1946 and took the post of chief of the Royal Naval Scientific Service. He took up several positions in subsequent years, firstly as scientific advisor to the Admiral at the British Joint Services Mission, Washington DC, then in 1951, director of the Marine Physical Laboratory of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at La Jolla, California. He joined the staff at the Pacific Naval Laboratory at Esquimaault, Canada in 1955.

Wright revisited Antarctica in 1960 and 1965. In 1967, he joined the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of British Columbia and Royal Roads Military College, Victoria, British Columbia. In 1969, he retired to Saltspring Island near Victoria in British Columbia. He died on 1 November 1975

Scope and Content

The collection covers Wright's participation in the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910 - 1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) and general correspondence encompasing both polar and personal material.

System of Arrangement

The material has been agganged under two headings. That relating to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910 - 1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) and general correspondence.

Administrative Information


Further accessions possible

Access Conditions

By appointment


Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning devise by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist


Anyone wishing to consult material in the collections should make a note of the full MS refrence and the name of the originator.

Further Information

Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England a catalogue. (Garland Publishing New York and London 1982) ISBN 0824093941

Archivist's Note

Descriptions compiled by Naomi Boneham, Assistant Archivist with reference to Polar Record, (Volume 18 number 114 pages 313 to 315)