SHACKLETON NEWS ARCHIVE
LEYLAND, LANCASHIRE DRAWS RECORD NUMBERS TO VIEW ENDURANCE PICTURES
The recent great success of the Endurance exhibition at Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, which ran till February 2011, brings to mind another modest but successful exhibition at nearby Leyland, in Lancashire, under the auspices of the South Ribble District Council.
It was a testament to the energies and vision of museum curator David Hunt that the collection of Frank Hurley photographs exhibited in New York, Colorado, Texas and Sydney, on loan from the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington, London, were proudly displayed in south Lancashire from June to September 2006 in the building, built around 1580-1620, that housed the historic Free Grammar School.
The Shackleton exhibition had a magnetic effect, attracting record numbers of visitors from all over Lancashire and beyond to the small museum, the South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre, all drawn by the remarkable story of he Endurance, the James Caird, the South Georgia mountain crossing and the remarkable rescue.
In particular, it led to connections of considerable interest. As part of a finale event, more than 60 people, many with Antarctic connections, joined the Mayor of South Ribble to listen intently as the museum received a call from Pauline Carr, one of the curators of the whaling museum on South Georgia. Pauline, who had ventured to a nearby building by skis to make the call, revealed to the assembled crowd what life is like on icy South Georgia, where there are more penguins than people.
Not content with linking up with South Georgia, the small Leyland museum then made a further call to New South Wales in Australia, where 86 year old identical twins Toni and Adelie Hurley were waiting to talk about the breathtaking collection of photographs their father Frank Hurley took during his time spent as one of Shackleton's brave crew.
Adelie (who sadly died aged 91 on 4 March 2010) said: "We are very proud of our dad. If it weren't for his photos, we'd have no idea what these men went through during the expedition. Diaries can only tell us so much, but a picture paints a thousand words and these pictures are truly spectacular. We're delighted that so many people have taken the opportunity to come and look at them while they were in Leyland."
"My dad proved that if you work hard enough you can go anywhere you want to go, and be anything you want to be. We are so pleased to have a chance to tell you a little about him, and I hope everyone who sees the exhibition this summer will be as excited about it as we are."
The Mayor, Clrr. Dave Watts, said: "The Shackleton exhibition was a tremendous success. It attracted record numbers to the museum, and boosted its profile across the North West and beyond. The difficulty we now face is trying to top it in the future!"
Following the finale event at the weekend, the exhibition was carefully packed away and returned to the Royal Geographic Society in London.
Prior to that, the museum hosted yet another exhibition loaned by the RGS. 'Imaging Everest: The Sherpa's Tale' provided a unique insight into the lives of the Sherpa communities in Nepal, their unrivalled knowledge of the mountains, renowned climbing skills and loyalty to visiting climbers during many attempts at scaling the world's biggest mountain. The images depicted what life was like around Everest during the 30 years leading up to its conquest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.