National Maritime Museum secures Scott/Shackleton relics

The National Maritime Museum has been successful in securing further relics connected with two of Britain's greatest Antarctic explorers.

HMS Discovery forcing a passage through the iceHMS Discovery forcing a passage through the ice, by William Frederick Mitchell, c.1901. Repro ID: PU9501 ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, LondonThe Polar Exploration sale at Christie's was held on 17 September 1999 and the National Maritime Museum was successful in securing further relics from the famous Antarctic expedition of Captain Robert Scott. Captain Scott's sledging goggles, his green canvas sledging satchel and expedition watch were all acquired successfully by the Museum. These artefacts will join Scott's silk Sledging Flag and Shackleton's Liquid Boat Compass, which were acquired by the Museum (with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund) prior to the auction. The artefacts will go on public display at Greenwich early next week.

Scott's Sledging SatchelCaptain Scott's sledging satchel, c. 1910. Repro ID: E0579 ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, LondonThe Museum secured the artefacts with the generous financial support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Friends of the National Maritime Museum, the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and other supporters. The Museum is extremely grateful for this support and for the many pledges of support from members of the public received at the time of the auction.

Museum Director, Richard Ormond, said

'We are delighted to have secured such a fantastic collection of artefacts connected with two of Britain's greatest Antarctic explorers. We are grateful to the Scott and Shackleton families and all of our supporters who have played important roles in our success today.'

Relics acquired on 17 September 1999

Captain Scott's green glass, stitched leather and rope sledging goggles

Scott's Pocket  Watch - BackFront of Captain Scott's 30-hour pocket watch. Supplied by S. Smiths & Sons Ltd, Strand, London, c. 1899. Repro ID: E0577 ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, LondonScott can be seen wearing these goggles in Bowers's and Wilson's photographs of the Party posing at the South Pole. On the outward journey, at One Ton Camp, Scott remarks: 'Most of us are using goggles with glass of light green tint. We find this colour very grateful to the eyes, and as a rule it is possible to see everything through them even more clearly than with naked vision.' (RF Scott, Journal, Wednesday November 15).

Captain Scott's green canvas sledging satchel

Similar to Scott's Journal 'wallet made of green Willesden canvas' (Cherry-Garrard) which was fastened with a lanyard and is shown in Ponting's portraits of Scott in sledging kit.

A 30-hour "RGS" Explorers' and Travellers' Watertight Watch

Captain R. F. Scott's sledge flagCaptain R. F. Scott's sledge flag, flown at the South Pole during Scott's 1910–13 expedition, during which Scott and his companions died in March 1912. Repro ID: E0580 ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, LondonThis was taken by Scott on his voyage on the Discovery, 1901–05.

Relics secured on 16 September 1999

Robert F. Scott's silk sledging flag

Flown at the South Pole on 17–18 January 1912, after Scott's expedition team had realised that they had been beaten to the Pole by Amundsen's Norwegian team. The flag was recovered from Scott's tent by Surgeon Atkinson's Search Party in November 1912 near Scott's body.

The Liquid Boat Compass

Taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–17, which aimed to cross the continent via the South Pole. It would have been used on one of the three expedition lifeboats: James Caird, Dudley Docker and Stancombe Wills, which played a key role in the men's survival after their ship Endurance was crushed in pack ice. The compass was made by Kelvin and James White Ltd. Glasgow and London.