Dr. Edward Adrian Wilson

1872 - 1912

Edward Wilson
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Edward Wilson

English explorer and scientist. Born and brought up near Cheltenham, Wilson was the son of a medical practitioner. He was educated at Cheltenham College and then read natural science and medicine at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 1898, he suffered from tuberculosis and an extended convalescence allowed him to become a skilled watercolour artist. Wilson joined the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-4) under Captain Robert Falcon Scott on the RRS Discovery, serving as surgeon and zoologist. He produced a series of illustrations of the wildlife and landscapes of Antarctica. Wilson was invited by Ernest Shackleton to join his expedition of 1907, but declined. Wilson came to Scotland to write a definitive work on the diseases of grouse and lived in Burnside Cottage, near Dykehead (Angus). Here he was visited by Scott and the pair planned the expedition of 1910-2 during which they reached the South Pole but were then both killed on the return leg.

He is remembered by a memorial cairn at the foot of Glen Prosen and a bronze statue in the centre of Cheltenham, which was sculpted by Scott's widow.

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