May 2010

Robert Stephenson is leading a campaign to get a Blue Plaque for Clements Markham’s London house at 21 Eccleston Square. Sir Clements Robert Markham KCB FRS (1830 –1916) was one of the paramount figures of British geography and the quintessential promoter of Antarctic exploration. As the Royal Geographical Society's president during the last 12 years of the 19th century, he was mainly responsible for organising the National Antarctic Expedition of 1901–04, and for launching the polar career of Robert Falcon Scott. The main achievement of Markham's RGS presidency was the revival at the end of the 19th century of British interest in Antarctic exploration. He had served as a midshipman on one of the many searches for the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin 50-years previously and forms the link between Britain’s interest in Antarctic exploration and the obsession with the Arctic. He had strong and determined ideas about how the National Antarctic Expedition should be organised, and fought hard to ensure that it was run primarily as a naval enterprise, under Captain Scott's command. To do this he overcame hostility and opposition from much of the scientific community. In the years following the expedition he continued to champion Scott's career, to the extent of disregarding or disparaging the achievements of other contemporary explorers. Mount Markham was named for him by Scott in 1902.pan Add your support with a letter/e-mail. Find out how