British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913
Messrs. Huntley & Palmers (suppliers). A rectangular sledging biscuit, . 7.5 x 9 x 1cm. Stamped in blind H. & P.
(Lower right hand corner broken away.) Loosely wrapped in grease-proof paper, titled in early hand in ink on outer layer "Antarctic Biscuit Captain Scott's Expedition 1910", all contained within a 1937 Player's Navy Cut cigarette tin.
Provenance: Sir Peter Markham Scott (1909-1989); by descent.
Biscuits were a key element of the sledging diet and Commander Evans listed 'Messrs. Huntley and Palmer: Ship's biscuit, fancy biscuit and cakes, and all the sledging biscuit which stood us so well and was so conveniently packed for travelling' in his chapter on 'Outfit and Preparation' published in Scott's Last Expedition, London, 1914, II, pp.490-91. A photograph of 'Polar Party's Sledging ration' by Ponting shows the daily ration, 8 biscuits, along with pemmican, butter, cocoa, sugar and tea (op. cit., I, opposite p.382). The biscuit was 'made to a special recipe developed by Huntley and Palmers Ltd., and Dr Edward Wilson' (SPRI) and is discussed in the expedition surgeon, Dr. G. Murray-Levick's 'Notes on the rationing of sledging parties' in The Polar Book which accompanied the British Polar Exhibition at Central Hall, Westminster, in 1930: 'Scott's rations consisted of pemmican (40 dried and powdered beef mixed with 60 beef fat) and wholemeal (wheat) biscuits plus an addition of sugar, raisins, chocolate and tea...' (op. cit., p.94). 'Scott's sledging ration from the Beardmore Glacier onwards, per man and day, was 20gm. (0.7oz.) tea, 454gm. (1lb.) biscuits, 24gm.(0.86oz.) cocoa, 340gm.(12oz.) pemmican, 56.75gm. (2oz.) butter, and 85.13gm. (3oz.) sugar, a total of 980gm. (2lb.3oz.)...On the return, Scott's rations decreased, because of failing supplies...' (R. Huntford, 'Note on diet' in Scott and Amundsen, London, 1993, p.581.)
'These biscuits were specially made for us by Huntley and Palmer: their composition was worked out by Wilson and that firm's chemist, and is a secret. But they are probably the most satisfying biscuits ever made, and I doubt whether they can be improved on. There were two kinds, called Emergency and Antarctic, but there was I think little difference between them except in the baking.' (A.G.B. Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, London, , p.262.) (2)