Back On the Rediscovery of Shackleton's 'Endurance'

On the Rediscovery of Shackleton's 'Endurance'

At long last, the news that many marine archaeologists have waited over a century for has finally come: Ernest Shackelton's beloved barquentine, Endurance, has lived up to her name, and finally been seen by man once more. One hundred years to the day of Shackleton's funeral, scientists were able to take footage of the remarkably preserved wooden vessel, which sank in 1915 on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The boat rests upright on the sea bed and has fortunately not fallen victim to wood-eating worms, and so the photographs of the ship are truly glorious. Excellent news in a world that fills to be rather barren of it at times!

Endurance was a victim of pack ice in the Weddell Sea, which caused her to drift for months and months before finally conceding to icy depths. Fortunately, the entire crew of the expedition, including Sir Ernest Shackleton, survived by camping on a floe and hoping that it would drift to safety, before taking lifeboats to Elephant Island. A tale of such fortitude and courage, it is no wonder that the exploits of Shackleton and his crews have thrived over the last century - with this physical testament to his bravery only furthering his legacy.

Although works relating to and written by Ernest Shackleton fly from our shelves notoriously fast, here, we have compiled a list of works which relate to the Endurance and Ernest Shackleton, including a prized first French edition of Shackleton's description of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which has the now world-famous ship beautifully illustrated to its spine.

Frank Wild

A fascinating biography of Ernest Shackleton's right-hand man, who served as second-in-command during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition which doomed the Endurance, as well as serving with the Nimrod Expedition, with Robert Falcon Scott aboard the Discovery and in the Shackleton-Rowett expedition, during which Ernest Shackleton passed away dur to coronary thrombosis - leaving Wild in charge of the voyage. Presented in an excellent dust wrapper, this work provides a wonderful insight into the man considered to be Shackleton's closest confidante during his voyages.

Among the Eskimos of Labrador

This is a first edition relating to the people of Labrador as described by S. K. Hutton. A fascinating work of anthropology, it hails from the library of Sir Philip Lee Brocklehurst, a member of the Nimrod Expedition to Antarctica led by Ernest Shackleton. A boxer primarily, Shackleton was impressed by his achievements in the sports, and he served as a member of the shore party of the expedition, suffering frostbite that resulted in the amputation of his big toe. Brocklehurst was awarded the Silver Polar Medal for his work with Shackleton, and had planned to join him for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914, but instead sailed to serve at Flanders. This is a lovely work relating to the peoples dwelling in Arctic regions, from the library of one of Shackleton's team members.

Heroes of the Farthest North and Farthest South

A wonderful history of various heroic journeys undertaken through polar regions, this work is adapted from John Kennedy Macleans 'Heroes of the Polar Seas', and includes a chapter dedicated to Shackleton. More interestingly still, it is from the library of Sir Peter Markham Scott, the son of Robert Falcon Scott, who features heavily in the work and is presented on a frontispiece portrait. Himself the co-founder of the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau, Markham Scott was a prominent animal conservationist and naval officer. This is a delightful work relating to the most significant heroes of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, even more excitingly from the work of Robert Falcon Scott's son.

Mon Expedition au Sud Polaire

The first French translation of Shackleton's important recollection of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, this work hails from the library of Kenn Back, a meteorologist who worked with the British Antarctic Survey and spent eight winters in the Antarctic; he also served as base commander at numerous stations. The beauty of this work, however, is in its gorgeous decorative spine, which depicts the Endurance as she sails her last across the icy water, with seabirds flying overhead. This work is richly illustrated, with many photographs of the Endurance throughout, and one we will be sorry to see go!

Our other polar works can be found here; and some of our other works from the library of Kenn Back have been previously showcased in a blog post. In the meantime, we shall look forward to hearing more news regarding the Endurance and her future in the Arctic.