Yorkshire connections to Antarctic brought to life

Heritage centre president Martin Johnson is pictured next to Ernest Shackeltons grave in South Georgia.
Heritage centre president Martin Johnson is pictured next to Ernest Shackeltons grave in South Georgia.

A new exhibition at the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre is revealing three interesting links between Yorkshire and the Antarctic.

Firstly, 2017 marks the centenary of the return to Britain of Ernest Shackleton after his traumatic escape from disaster in Antarctica.

A replica of the James Caird boat that explorer Ernest Shackleton used to reach help.

A replica of the James Caird boat that explorer Ernest Shackleton used to reach help.

Six of the 28 man crew aboard the expedition ship Endurance fished, worked or lived in Yorkshire.

They survived the sub-zero temperatures and months of hardship in the Antarctic region.

Ernest Shackleton also travelled with Captain Scott whose wife had supplied the team with ganseys. One of these 100-year-old ganseys will be on show in the exhibition.

The second link with Antarctica is that the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre’s president, Martin Johnson, travelled to South Georgia and Elephant Island in 2012, retracing Shackleton’s footsteps.

Martin’s amazing photographs taken on the trip will be on show, bringing to life the beauty and harshness of the region.

The third connection with Yorkshire is that a steam trawler, the Viola-Dias, built in Beverley in 1906, lies abandoned in South Georgia. She was a typical steam trawler used on the Yorkshire Coast and most likely visited Scarborough. She was requisitioned by the Admiralty as a minesweeper in World War One but ended up in Antarctic waters on sealing trips.

A group in Hull is hoping to bring her back home and restore her for Hull’s City of Culture 2017.

The Maritime Centre’s exhibition runs until April and is open from 11am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. Entrance to the exhibition at the Eastborough venue is free.