Dr. Edward Wilson (1872-1912) is one of the most famous native sons of Cheltenham. He was an influential figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, being chiefly remembered today as the artistic scientist who died with Captain Scott.

Dr. Edward Adrian Wilson BA, MB (Cantab.), FZS was born in Montpellier Parade, Cheltenham on 23 July 1872. He was educated at Cheltenham College, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and St. George’s Hospital, London, becoming a highly regarded self-taught artist and field naturalist. Contracting tuberculosis from his mission work in London slums, he nevertheless recovered to be appointed as the Assistant Surgeon and Vertebrate Zoologist to the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-1904) aboard Discovery, under Commander Robert Falcon Scott. Upon return he was appointed Field Observer to the Grouse Disease Inquiry and illustrated wildlife books. In 1910 he returned to the Antarctic with Captain Scott aboard Terra Nova as Chief of the Scientific Staff. He died with his comrades on the return from the South Pole in 1912.

Current Events and Exhibitions

  • The Frozen Continent. A special exhibition on Dr Edward A.Wilson at The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum, Cheltenham from 7th October 2023 – 18th February 2024 (see News for details)

  • There are a number of relics and paintings connected to the Antarctic expeditions, including the Pole Journey, on permanent display in The Wilson Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, Clarence Street, Cheltenham. There is a small Wilson Room dedicated to Edward Wilson of the Antarctic and a considerable display of material relating to Edward Wilson and his family in the Paper Store of the new Open Archive. The Paper Store exhibit is changed on a regular basis to give better public access to The Wilson Family Archive.

  • There are a small number of Edward Wilson’s Antarctic relics and artworks connected to the South Pole journey, and other items on permanent display in the Museum of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Lensfield Rd, Cambridge, UK

  • There are a number of relics connected with Edward Wilson and the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904 aboard the S.S. Discovery on permanent display at Discovery Point Dundee, UK