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British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-09
British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-09

A sledging Biscuit from the Nimrod Expedition, 1907-09

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British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-09
A sledging Biscuit from the Nimrod Expedition, 1907-09
inscribed 'this biscuit was part of the food the men had who were out in the Nimrod in 1907 with Sir Ernest Shackleton & Sir Philip Brocklehurst in Search of the "South Pole" 1907 and 1909'
3in. (7.6cm.) square
in a registered letter envelope postmarked 'BARROW IN FURNESS 28 JA 35' and addressed to Mrs G. Clarke, "Belle Vue", Sutton on Sea, Lincs. Sold with an Antarctic Club Christmas Card inscribed 'To Doris' from 'Sir Philip' [Brocklehurst], and illustrated with a photograph of 'Nimrods on the plateau - Christmas 1908.'

Lot Essay

?Particularly in food, Shackleton took care to avoid old mistakes. He had, for example, ordered special biscuits fortified with Plasmon, the concentrated milk protein already tried on Discovery...…Besides 7½oz of pemmican and 16oz of Plasmon biscuits per man each day, there was some cheese, cocoa, pure Plasmon, tea, oats and sugar, making 34oz in all. There was too much carbohydrate, too little fat, and none of the as yet undiscovered vitamin C.' (R. Huntford, Shackleton, London, 1985, p.251)

The biscuit from the Nimrod expedition lives particularly in the memory from Frank Wild's anecdote jotted in his journal as the Polar Party, starving and ill, came back onto the Barrier from the plateau in January 1909: 'They were living off pemmican and pony meat, with only ?our thin biscuits each a day now [having made the food depôt on the Barrier]. Underlining every word, Wild wrote on the last day of January t?at Shackleton "privately forced upon me his one breakfast biscuit, and would have given me another tonight had I allowed him. I do not suppose that anyone else in the world can thoroughly realise how much generosity and sympathy was shown by this; I DO by GOD I shall never forget it. Thousands of pounds would not have bought that biscuit."' (R. Huntford, op. cit., p.280)

Sir Philip Brocklehurst met Shackleton in 1906 and soon after offered to join his expedition: 'Sir Philip...impressed Shackleton by being rich and well connected. Sir Philip, for his part, admired Shackleton because he was "Bohemian", "fond of the ladies", and "extravagant with taxis". He offered to contribute to the expedition funds, or rather, since he was only nineteen, and still a minor, his mother would do so.' (R. Huntford, op. cit.. pp.168-9). Brocklehurst was a contender for the southern party on the expedition, but was rejected after he suffered frostbite on the ascent of Mt. Erebus and had to have one of his big toes amputated by Marshall.
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