Scott's Hut

Coordinates: 77°38′10″S 166°25′04″E / 77.636051°S 166.417646°E / -77.636051; 166.417646
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Scott's Hut
Antarctica Delta Trip to Cape Evans Scott's Hut
Antarctica Delta Trip to Cape Evans Scott's Hut
Location of Scott's Hut in Antarctica
Location of Scott's Hut in Antarctica
Scott's Hut
Location of Scott's Hut in Antarctica
Coordinates: 77°38′10″S 166°25′04″E / 77.636051°S 166.417646°E / -77.636051; 166.417646
Country New Zealand
Location in AntarcticaCape Evans
Ross Island
Administered byTerra Nova Expedition
Established18 January 1918; 105 years ago (1918-01-18)
Named forCaptain Robert Falcon Scott
 • Total
  • Up to 25
TypeAll year-round
StatusRestored and preserved

Scott's Hut is a building located on the north shore of Cape Evans on Ross Island in Antarctica. It was erected in 1911 by the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910–1913 (also known as the Terra Nova Expedition) led by Robert Falcon Scott.

In selecting a base of operations for the 1910–1913 Expedition, Scott rejected the notion of reoccupying the hut he had built by McMurdo Sound during the Discovery Expedition of 1901–1904. This first hut was located at Hut Point, 20 km south of Cape Evans. Two factors influenced this decision. One was that the hut was extremely cold for living quarters and the other was that Scott's ship, the Discovery, had been trapped by sea ice at Hut Point, a problem he hoped to avoid by establishing his new base farther north.

Some confusion arises because Discovery Hut can technically be referred to as Scott's hut, in that his expedition built it, and it was his base ashore during the 1901–1904 expedition, but the title Scott's Hut popularly belongs to the building erected in 1911 at Cape Evans.


Interior showing beds

Scott's Hut was prefabricated in England before being brought south by ship. It is rectangular, 50 feet (15 m) long and 25 feet (7.6 m) wide. Insulation was provided by seaweed sewn into a quilt, placed between double-planked inner and outer walls. The roof was a sandwich of three layers of plank and two layers of rubber ply enclosing more quilted seaweed. Lighting was provided by acetylene gas, and heating came from the kitchen and a supplementary stove using coal as fuel.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard wrote that the hut was divided into separate areas for sleeping and working by a bulkhead made of boxes of stores. A stables building (for nineteen Siberian ponies), approximately 50 by 16 feet (15.2 by 4.9 m), was subsequently attached to the north wall of the main building. A utility room, approximately 40 by 12 feet (12.2 by 3.7 m), was also added later, built around the original small porch at the southwest end of the main building.

Considerable effort was made to insulate the building, and to extract the maximum amount of heat from the flues from the stove and the heater, based on lessons learned from the Discovery Hut. Terra Nova expeditioners described the hut as being warm to the point of being uncomfortable.[citation needed]

A cross is erected on a hill behind Scott's Hut at Cape Evans, but this is not connected to Captain Scott, having been erected in memory of the three members of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party, who died nearby. The cross erected in memory of Captain Scott and his polar companions is to be found atop Observation Hill.[citation needed]

Use of Scott's Hut[edit]

During the winter of 1911, 25 men of the Terra Nova shore party lived in the hut. From here Scott and his men set out on the ultimately fatal trek to the South Pole. Following the failure of Scott's southern party to return, several men remained behind for a further winter (1912) in order to search for the bodies the next spring. In 1913, the Terra Nova expedition over, it was left well supplied with stores in the way of food and oil, and a certain amount of coal.

The hut was reused from 1915 to 1917 by several of Shackleton's Ross Sea party after the Aurora, which was to have been the permanent winter quarters, broke adrift in May 1915, and went north with the ice, unable to return. The hut became the permanent living quarters for the ten marooned men, and thanks to the stores, they were able to sustain life in comparative comfort, supplementing these stores from Shackleton's Hut at Cape Royds. In January 1917, after Shackleton had rescued the survivors, he had the hut put in order and locked up.[1]

Although abandoned from 1917, the hut and its contents are remarkably well preserved today due to the consistently sub-freezing conditions.

Preservation and decay at Scott's Hut[edit]

Scientific instruments located inside the hut, as they appeared in 2013.

After 1917, the hut remained untouched until 1956, when US expeditioners dug it out of the snow and ice. It was found to be in a remarkable state of preservation, and included many artifacts from both the earlier expeditions. While some artifacts were taken as souvenirs at the time (and since), this hut has remained largely as it was in 1917.[2]

New Zealand and the UK have undertaken responsibility at various times since the 1970s to restore (largely by removing snow and ice) both Scott's hut and Discovery Hut.[3][4]

While the preservation of food in the freezing temperatures and dry climate has been noted, bacterial decay still occurs. Visitors describe the seal meat preserved at the Discovery Hut as smelling 'quite rancid', and some have expressed concerns that the fabric of these huts are being affected by fungal decay.[5][6]

In 2016 there was a preservation project, by photographic and laser measurements for the entire house and the surrounding area. Then this data became a 3D model, and open for public virtual tour. [7][8]

Historic site[edit]

Both Scott's Hut and Shackleton's Hut have been included on the World Monuments Watch. Shackleton's was included in 2004 and 2006, and Scott's in 2008.[9]

The hut has been designated an Antarctic Historic Site or Monument (HSM 16), following a proposal by New Zealand and the United Kingdom to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ernest Shackelton. "South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917".
  2. ^ Bickersteth, Julian (1 June 2011). "Interpreting the Heroic Era through its artefacts". The Polar Journal. 1 (1): 101–107. doi:10.1080/2154896X.2011.568794. ISSN 2154-896X.
  3. ^ "About the Antarctic Heritage Trust | Natural History Museum". Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Antarctic Explorers & Heritage Preservation | Antarctic Heritage Trust". Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  5. ^ Niiler, Eric (2 January 2012). "He lost the race to South Pole but made discoveries for science". Washington Post.
  6. ^ Blanchette, Robert (2004). Research at the Historic Expedition Huts of Antarctica. Retrieved from "Research on the historic expedition huts of Antarctica Discovery hut Cape Royds hut cape Evans hut". Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2015..
  7. ^ Stange, Rolf. "Cape Evans | Virtual tour generated by Panotour". Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Scott's last hut at Cape Evans: Virtual tour".
  9. ^ "Scott's Hut and the Explorers' Heritage of Antarctica | World Monuments Fund". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  10. ^ "List of Historic Sites and Monuments approved by the ATCM (2012)" (PDF). Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013.

External links[edit]