Shackleton : The James Caird Society



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The James Caird Society, established in l994 and a registered charity, is the only institution that exists to preserve the memory, honour the remarkable feats of discovery in the Antarctic and commend the outstanding qualities of leadership associated with the name of Sir Ernest Shackleton, KCVO (l874-l922), especially during the ill-fated but glorious Endurance expedition.

How Shackleton maintained his men's morale while stranded for months on the ice and when there seemed no hope of rescue, eventually bringing all of them home safe and sound, is now seen as an achievement unique in the history of exploration.

The James Caird is the 23 foot-(8m-)long whaler in which Sir Ernest Shackleton and five companions made the epic open boat voyage of 800m (l,300 km) from Elephant Island, 500 miles (800 km) south of Cape Horn, to South Georgia during the Antarctic winter of l9l6.

She is now preserved at Dulwich College, Shackleton's old school in south London, as a memorial to an illustrious son.

Viewing Boat: 2015 update. Dulwich College has recently stipulated the following restricted visiting times: To arrange a visit to see the James Caird please contact Reception at Dulwich College.

Visits can be booked on TUESDAYS between 9:30 and 11:30am (last admittance 11am) or 2 and 4pm (last admittance 3:30pm).

There will be no visits on Public Holidays or outside these Tuesday times. All visits must be pre-booked by emailing or telephoning 0208 693 3601

Shackleton's boat was named after Sir James Key Caird (1837-1916), a wealthy Scottish jute manufacturer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, whose generous gift helped finance Shackleton's Endurance expedition of 1914-16. Sir James made a substantial fortune by introducing new technology into his jute mills in Ashton and Craigie, near Dundee. His other gifts included the Caird Hall, which now stands on Dundee's City Square. Caird Park is named after him.

The James Caird was brought back from the Antarctic to England in 1919. In 1922 she was presented to Dulwich College by John Quiller Rowett, OA, a school friend of Shackleton and sponsor of his last expedition aboard the Quest, who, like the explorer, was an old boy of the College.

The James Caird is normally displayed in the North Cloister at Dulwich College, Dulwich Common, London SE21, UK. Trains run regularly from London Victoria to West Dulwich station, which is close to the College gates. Visitors are welcome to view the boat on weekdays during school term, 9-4 (closed at weekends). During school holidays it is advisable to contact the College (+44 (0)20 8693 3601) to fix an appointment before making a visit. The James Caird is also sometimes away from Dulwich on display at major exhibitions. Brief up to date details can be checked at the bottom of the James Caird page on the on the College website.

The Society was founded immediately after the James Caird was displayed at the London International Boat Show in 1994. The Caird has since been displayed at the Endurance exhibition curated by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, also seen in Washington DC, at the Arktis-Antarktis exhibition in the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, Germany, at the Exhibition of Ships and the Sea in Portsmouth, at the exhibition South - The Race to the Pole at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, South London, and at the Endurance and Survival exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, Falmouth, Cornwall from February 2006 to January 2007.

The James Caird Society can be contacted via the Hon. Secretary, Mrs. Pippa Hare, Fig Tree Cottage, High St., Cranbrook, Kent TN17 3EN, Tel/Fax +44 (0)1580 714944, email For historical enquiries regarding Shackleton, his ships and crews, and the James Caird please contact Stephen Scott-Fawcett on



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