Historic images from Captain Scott’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition are among more than 20,000 negatives of polar exploration dating back to 1845 which have been saved thanks to digital technology.

The Freeze Frame project includes 1,700 glass plate negatives, many captured by photographer Herbert Ponting, from the 1910-13 South Pole trek led by Captain Robert Scott.

Many of the photographs have not been seen in public since 1912, confirmed a spokesman for the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge which said it cost £422,000 to digitise them.

‘Metadata-rich catalogue records will be produced for each digital image by specialist cataloguers,’ say archivists.

And related documents, such as the explorers’ personal journals and official reports, have also been digitised to provide ‘historical and cultural context’ to the images.

The project, which started in 2007, is due to be completed by next month.

An online database is expected to be available for public viewing from 4 March.

Picture: Courtesy Joint Information Systems Committee

Scott photos saved