Levick's Notebook

A fascinating find at Cape Evans

Our conservators discovered a photographer’s notebook left behind a century ago at Captain Scott’s last expedition base, Cape Evans.

The notebook was found outside Scott’s 1911 Terra Nova base. Each year the summer snow melt around the building causes variations in run-off patterns. In 2012 the melt revealed the notebook for the first time in more than 100 years. The notebook is a “Wellcome Photographic Exposure Record and Diary 1910”, which belonged to George Murray Levick - surgeon, zoologist and photographer. His name can be seen written in the opening pages. The Trust has reproduced the notebook in a digital format that can be viewed and downloaded using the link below.

Levick's notebook before its restoration, with his name visible on the front page

Levick was a part of Scott’s 1910-1913 expedition and a member of the Northern Party. The notebook contains his pencil notes detailing the date, subjects and exposure details for the photographs he took during 1911 while at Cape Adare, before undergoing a harsh winter in an ice cave on Inexpressible Island.

A self-portrait of Levick, taken in the hut at Cape Evans

The notebook was an exciting find and a missing part of the official expedition record. Its binding had been dissolved by 100 years of ice and water damage, so the pages had to be separated and were digitised before repair. Close examination revealed links between the notations in the notebook and photographs held by the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge and attributed to Levick.

Conserving Levick’s Notebook: Video Diary

Each page of the notebook has been conserved by the Trust in New Zealand before being rebuilt back into sections and sewn back together. The cover has also been reconstructed. The notebook has been returned to Antarctica - one of 11,500 artefacts at Cape Evans.

Levick's notebook after restoration by the Trust

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