Lonely Planet Writer

Shackleton's epic Antarctic trip marked in stamps

A set of stamps is being launched to mark the epic expedition of explorer Ernest Shackleton 100 years ago.

Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Ernest Shackleton with an enlarged stamp from their set of Special Stamps to mark the story of survival of Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance.
Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Ernest Shackleton with an enlarged stamp from their set of Special Stamps to mark the story of survival of Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance. Image by Royal Mail/PA Wire

Images from the Antarctic voyage, recorded by Shackleton’s official photographer, Frank Hurley, on large format glass negatives, are featured on the eight-stamp series.

new stamp showing the Endurance trapped in a pressure crack in the ice, before it is crushed, October 1915.
New stamp showing the Endurance trapped in a pressure crack in the ice, before it is crushed, October 1915. Image by Royal Mail/PA Wire

Royal Mail worked with the Royal Geographical Society and the Scott Polar Research Institute to select the images, which include photographs of Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, which became stuck in sea ice.

The stamps also feature members of the crew, who were rescued in August 1916.

New stamp showing camping on the sea ice with photographer Frank Hurley (left) and Ernest Shackleton, part of their set of Special Stamps to mark the story of survival of Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance.
New stamp showing camping on the sea ice with photographer Frank Hurley (left) and Ernest Shackleton, part of their set of Special Stamps to mark the story of survival of Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance. Image by Royal Mail/PA Wire

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s granddaughter, Alexandra Shackleton, described the stamps as “beautiful”, adding: “Royal Mail is to be congratulated – I think my grandfather would have been pleased.”

The rescue of the Endurance crew on Elephant Island, August 1916, part of their set of Special Stamps to mark the story of survival of Ernest Shackleton.
The rescue of the Endurance crew on Elephant Island, August 1916, part of their set of Special Stamps to mark the story of survival of Ernest Shackleton. Image by Royal Mail/PA Wire

Dr Rita Gardner, Director of the Royal Geographical Society, said: “Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition is not just an incredible story of leadership and survival, it is a key part of the UK’s history of scientific exploration.

“We are delighted that the Royal Mail has chosen to mark the centenary of the expedition by issuing this set of stamps, featuring a number of the incredible Hurley images held in our collections and currently on display in our Enduring Eye exhibition. These stamps and the exhibition will engage everyone with the UK’s Antarctic heritage.”

Ernest Shackleton and five crew set out for South Georgia in the modified lifeboat James Card, April 1916, part of their set of Special Stamps to mark the story of survival of Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance.
Ernest Shackleton and five crew set out for South Georgia in the modified lifeboat James Card, April 1916, part of their set of Special Stamps to mark the story of survival of Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance. Image by Royal Mail/PA Wire

Stephen Agar of Royal Mail, said: “This set of stamps starkly shows the challenges endured by the 28-man crew of Endurance. Their bravery and determination have been an inspiration to generations, and are rightly honoured with a set of Special Stamps.”

(Press Association)

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