John Quiller Rowett was born on 19 September 1876 into a wealthy family from Polperro, Cornwall. He was educated at Mannamead School in Plymouth and Dulwich College in London, where he met Ernest Henry Shackleton. Rowett became a wealthy businessman, serving as managing director of Rowett Leaky & Co. Ltd of London, and as chairman of Jude, Hanbury & Co. of Wateringbury. In 1920, he supplied the money to purchase land and build laboratories in Aberdeen for the Rowett Institute of Research in Animal Nutrition, established in connection with Aberdeen University and the North of Scotland College of Agriculture.
In 1921, after the Canadian government withdrew funding for Shackleton's proposed expedition to the Canadian Arctic, Rowett provided financial support to Shackleton for a voyage instead to the Southern Ocean. Setting out from London on 17 September 1921 in the wooden sealer Quest, the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922, reached South Georgia where Shackleton suffered a heart attack and died on 5 January 1922. John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild took command and the expedition continued, briefly exploring the South Sandwich Islands and the Weddell Sea before returning to Britain. Rowett died on 2 October 1924.
From the guide to the John Quiller Rowett collection, 1922-1923, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)