SHACKLETON NEWS ARCHIVE
For some time the Committee has been discussing the possibility of establishing a 'Junior Membership'. It is valuable and important to encourage younger persons to join - not only to safeguard the future of the Society, but also to meet the obvious interest in 'things polar' within the youth community: this is particularly demonstrated by the high volume of enquiries and 'hits' received through the James Caird Society website, as well as the keen response met when some of our members talk at schools and youth clubs around the country.
JCS Committee member Stephen Scott-Fawcett has investigated the various possibilities. He has met with some Dulwich College pupils to discuss ways in which the Society might provide activities of interest to them. Mr. Nick Hewlett, who teaches Geography, and three pupils were invited to attend the JCS Tenth Anniversary Dinner held on 14th May 2004 at the Scott-Polar Research Institute and Graduate Institute in Cambridge. Stephen also arranged for some students to attend lectures held by the JCS in Cambridge and Dulwich, respectively, and gave a short illustrated talk to the Middle & Upper Schools, and a lunch-time talk to Sixth Formers at Shackleton's old school. Meetings have been held with the Dulwich College Geography Society to explore the optimum way forward, with the intention of creating a formal link between the pupils and the James Caird Society. It is envisaged that the James Cairders could form an integral part of The James Caird Society and be under the same constitution. It is also proposed that there would be a separate (and distinctive) Notice Board erected at the College for pupils to be kept informed of membership issues, events etc.
Good progress has already been made and in 2004 a new membership for younger people was established. Two Dulwich College students, Simon Glasson, the inaugural Chairman of the James Cairders, and web designer Christopher McMeekin have set in motion a new James Cairders website, which can be found at www.jamescairders.org.uk. Stephen Scott-Fawcett is the Honorary Chairman.
The James Cairders share the aims of the James Caird Society: 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 (l874-l922), especially during the ill-fated but glorious Endurance expedition.
The natural contact the Society has with Dulwich College, which Shacklelton attended from 1887-1890, makes it possible to 'test' the idea of Junior Membership on home territory first. The intention is, however, to offer membership of The Cairders to other educational establishments, as well as private individuals, as soon as is practicable. One possibility might be for schools and colleges to become affiliated members.
All this remains for future discussion by the James Caird Society Committee. No final decisions have been made. Nevertheless, these are exciting times for the Society and, without question, it is important that we strive to promote the outstanding polar endeavours of Sir Ernest Shackleton to all generations, particularly the rising.
Those interested in Shackleton's early years might like to visit the Antarctic Circle site, an interesting and detailed source of varied Polar information, which notes: 'The Shackleton family moved to 12, Westwood Hill, Sydenham, London [SE26] in 1885; and from here young Ernest went each day to Dulwich College, a fairly distant walk away (I know because I've walked it!) The house now has a Greater London Council "blue plaque," installed in 1928 (by the then London County Council), that reads "Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922), Antarctic Explorer, lived here." Dr. Shackleton, Ernest's father, and the family remained at this address for 32 years. Back then the house was called 'Aberdeen House'; it's now called 'St. Davids'. Next door is St. Bartholomew's Church where the Shackleton family may have worshipped.'
It is hoped that, in time, The Cairders will expand into other schools in the UK and beyond.
- Stephen Scott-Fawcett, MA, FRGS, Honorary Chairman.