Captain Scott, the South Pole and a Cooke
Most people know of the story of Captain Scott and his expedition trying to become the first people to reach the south pole on Antarctica during the summer of 1911/1912. Unfortunately when he arrived he discovered that he had been beaten by the Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen. Amundsen reached the south pole on the 14th December 1911, while Scott reached the south pole on January 17th 1912. Sadly on the return journey Scott and his team perished in the very cold conditions.
However what is perhaps less well know is that Captain Scott and his team took a light weight theodolite specially made by Thomas Cooke of York with him the mark the position of the south pole. It was one of only 6 of these special theodolites made by Cooke’s for the expedition.
When the rescue team found the bodies of Scott and his team in their tent they also found the Cooke theodolite that was used by Scott to mark the south pole.
This instrument was on display at the physics department at the University of York, however I cannot say if it is still there today.