The Shackleton Evening

21st April 2016

Alexandra Shackleton tells us about the epic small boat journey undertaken by her grandfather.

It was almost exactly 100 years ago when Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail from Elephant Island to South Georgia. As an excuse to hold an event on a convenient Wednesday, Ian from the Shackleton Company decided that the 21st April was the exact day that Shackleton announced the departure to his crew. Alexandra Shackleton, who is a stickler for facts, gave Ian a bit of a ticking off for his creative imagination. However we do know for certain that Ernest Shackleton and his selected team did set sail on 24th April 1916 in the little James Caird lifeboat with the aim for finding the tiny speck of South Georgia and gathering help for the remaining crew. It was one of the greatest sea voyages in a small boat.

A few months ago it was suggested that I should contact the Shackleton Company. Arthur Beale supplied Ernest Shackleton with pulleys, rope and ice axes so there is a great connection. The Shackleton Company are a company which design clothing and accessories inspired by Shackleton's heroic journeys. Their products are virtually all made in Britain to very high standards of workmanship. We decided a range of their woollens and jackets would fit nicely into our range.
The event we held was to showcase the whole range of products made by the company. In the future Arthur Beale hopes to find space to stock a wider range – including some very fine leather boots!
The evening was a hoot. We supplied some wine, cheese and ships' biscuits and the Shackleton Company supplied some excellent branded beers. Mike King came along to play the banjo (another Shackleton Company product!). Snow was sprinkled around the shop to add to the atmosphere.
After I waffled on for a bit Ian Holdcroft from The Shackleton Company introduced the product range and the company’s aims.
We were then really pleased that the Hon Alexandra Shackleton was able to attend to deliver a great short talk to remind us all of the remarkable journey across the Southern Ocean.
We then took a short break to browse the products listen to Mike on the banjo and fill our glasses.
Upstairs we were able to show some fascinating slides taken by Sue Basset of the artefacts from the Shackleton Hut. We had the film South showing on the office wall and the original signed Shackleton invoice on display.
Once refreshed we were treated to Seb Coulthard telling us about his adventure as crew in the recent recreation of the James Caird trip. My turn for a ticking off this time as I had forgotten the boat used for the recreation was actually called The Alexandra Shackleton! Seb then introduced Rob Small who is a burns survivor about to embark on a Polar Expedition to carry out medical research. A fascinating story -
There was still some time to have another drink, chat with all the explorers and sailors and buy some great clothing.
After that it was all a blurr!

Ian Holdcroft from the Shacklton Company talks about their products

Mike King chats with Andrew Ross and Dougal Goodman upstairs in "The Office"

Seb Coulthard talks about sailing The Alexandra Shackleton across the Southern Ocean.

Rob Small talk about the Fire to Ice Expedition.

The popular Arthur Beale Bar in the Bilges. What a great range of Shackleton Ales!

Snowy shop!