Travel and exploration

Among Murray's most numerous and popular works were travel accounts. These were captivating tales of intrepid explorers and travellers who journeyed through exotic and distant lands encountering new peoples and cultures, and enduring hardships and danger.

Many people travelled for a variety of reasons. There were explorers whose heroic adventures inspired generations, like the African missionary David Livingstone or Sir John Franklin, who lost his life in the harsh and brutal conditions of the Arctic.

Shared experiences through writing

Some travelled just for the joy and experience of new landscapes and cultures like adventurous Isabella Bird. Others were fascinated by foreign culture, like the archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard, whose Middle Eastern excavations rediscovered lost societies and cultures.

All of these travellers had one thing in common: they shared their experiences of the world through the writings and books that John Murray published.

The John Murray Archive has preserved these travellers' papers. Their letters from abroad, passports, photographs, journals and manuscripts capture the timeless excitement, wonder and dangers of travel.

Who's who in travel and exploration

portrait image Isabella Bird
Traveller and photographer
portrait image Richard Ford
Spanish enthusiast
portrait image John Franklin
Tragic arctic explorer

portrait image Austen Layard
Discoverer of lost cities
portrait image David Livingstone
Missionary and explorer
portrait image Heinrich Schliemann

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Topics in the archive

Murray also helped those who wished to travel themselves, with their famous Murray's Handbooks for Travellers. These guidebooks covered Britain, the continent and more distant places like Syria, India, New Zealand and Japan.