100-year-old Antarctic chocolate at the National Maritime Museum

Chocolate taken to Antarctica by Captain Scott's Expedition and brought back by Shackleton's goes on display in South: the Race to the Pole Exhibition

Two squares of Cadbury's chocolate, part of the supplies on Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery expedition to Antarctica (1901–04), go on display today in the National Maritime Museum's South: the race to the Pole exhibition (running until 30 September 2001).

Cadbury's supplied 3500 lbs of free, expertly packed chocolate and cocoa for Scott's Discovery expedition. Some of this chocolate was among supplies left behind by Scott's team in its camp at Hut Point on Ross Island, when the expedition team left the camp for the last time on his first Antarctic expedition. Several years later, Sir Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod expedition (1907–09), which was attempting to reach the South Pole for the first time, used Scott's old hut as a supply depot. At this point, the chocolate was recovered and eventually brought back to England.

In England, the chocolate was given to Mr Alfred Barratt (founder of Barratt's Photo Press, then in Fleet Street) and has been donated to the National Maritime Museum by his daughter Miss Joan Barratt. Miss Barratt (83) of Middlesex recalls the chocolate being in her house for the whole of her life and is pleased to be giving it 'a good home, as we have for 83 years'.

Exhibition curator Sian Flynn said

As the head of a major London picture agency, Mr Barratt mixed with politicians and other notable members of society and it is likely that a member of Shackleton's expedition team gave him the chocolate during that time. We are extremely grateful to Miss Barratt for donating this intriguing item to the Museum. It will go on immediate display.

Notes to EditorsSouth: the race to the Pole (until 30 September 2001) brings to life the 'heroic age' of Antarctic exploration. It features the race to the South Pole and the epic expeditions of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Captain Roald Amundsen. South captures the personalities of the explorers, the drama and extreme hardships encountered, the incredible landscape and the elemental struggle against nature. The exhibition features 180 objects including the Union flag placed at the Pole by Scott alongside the Norwegian flag taken by Amundsen and Shackleton's boat compass from the James Caird. South runs in the Canadian Pacific Special Exhibitions Gallery at the National Maritime Museum and is sponsored by A. T. Kearney and supported by the Corporation of Trinity House, Orient Lines and Burberry.