Frank Plumley Collection

  • Purchase of 35 objects relating to Frank Plumley
  • Grant Awarded: £10,000
  • Board approved: April 2016

To purchase, via private sale, a collection of 35 objects relating to Frank Plumley (1876-1971), one of the stokers on the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904. These comprise of personal possessions, archives and photographs from his time on board Discovery as well as newspaper clippings relating to his later life.


Frank Plumley Collection

In 1901, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott on board the SY Discovery, the British National Antarctic Expedition spent four years in pursuit of scientific and geographic discovery. At Discovery Point Museum, Dundee they aim to tell the story of this voyage along with the 48 men on board. However, due to the nature of collecting, their narrative can often focus on just 11- the officers and scientists as much more material relating to these higher ranked men has been recorded and preserved.

With the support of the UKAHT Dundee Heritage Trust, have been able to somewhat readdress this by securing a collection of 35 pieces belonging to Frank Plumley, one of the five stokers. Material include personal notebooks, poems and letters, service and polar medals, photographs and personal items, such as an Expedition Royal Doulton mug, snow goggles and pipe. The collection, preserved by his grandson, also includes many newspaper cuttings and articles relating to Frank’s later life allowing Dundee Heritage Trust to build up a fascinating history.

Born in 1876 Frank joined the Royal Navy at the age of 20, joining Discovery 5 years later from H.M.S. Gibraltar at Capetown, South Africa. During the expedition he was part of Lieutenant Barne’s first attempt to reach Cape Crozier in March 1902, this journey struck trouble when a blizzard swept over the Hut Point Peninsula sending George Vince to his death. He later played a part in Captain Scott’s Western Attempt in October 1903. After Discovery Plumley served on a number of ships and saw active service with the Navy during World War I. He returned to civilian life in 1919 where he was employed as a blacksmith at Gun Wharf in Portsmouth. Frank died in 1971, aged 95, in Newport on the Isle of Wight.

For more details on these objects or to see other highlights of their fantastic collection please visit Collections Online


We support UK and overseas polar institutions and individuals with grant aid towards outreach and education projects that fulfil the mission of the Trust.

Subscribe to our newsletter


Press Enquiries

We are very keen to promote the important heritage work that we do, telling the story of life in Antarctica both past and present. If you are interested in running a story about us, using our images or films or want to discuss an interview or potential collaboration opportunity we would love to hear from you.  Please contact either Sarah or Lewis at Limewash to discuss your requirements or +44 (0)1223 813 557.