Relics of History: Shackleton’s Balaclava

Produced in collaboration with Silversea’s partner, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), ‘Relics of History’ delves deep into the annals of exploration. It showcases the most fascinating artifacts from the Society’s expansive and unique collection, which comprises approximately two million items, tracing 500 years of geographical discovery and research.

Using the iconic Burberry balaclava owned by Ernest Shackleton, Principal Librarian of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Eugene Rae delves into the ‘Race to the South Pole.’

Identifying the key characters, the main expeditions and remarkable scientific achievements across Antarctica, this whistle-stop tour details a remarkable continent and the courageous figures whose bravery and dogged determination led to remarkable scientific discoveries which pushed human endurance to its limit.

The inscription on Ernest Shackleton’s balaclava reads:

“To Frank Thornton:
I give this helmet though it is not of any use In his combat in ‘When Knights were bold’ it may be liked as it was worn ‘When Nights were Cold’ when the most Southerly point in this world was reached by man,

With kindest wishes
from E.H Shackleton 19/01/1907”

Ernest Shackleton's Endurance ship
Endurance in full sail, in the ice, 1914 © Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

About Silversea’s Collaboration with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Since 2013, Silversea and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) have joined forces to spread knowledge collated from centuries of scientific exploration. Through this partnership the Society has enriched Silversea guests’ expeditions with over 500 years of travel and discovery.

Founded in 1830 the Royal Geographical Society is a world centre for geography: supporting research, education, expeditions and travel. As a charity whose patron is Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, it serves an exceptionally wide range of public with 16,500 global members. The Society has a historical legacy for supporting expeditions and innovation in scientific research and discovery.

About Eugene Rae

Eugene Rae, Principal Librarian at the RGS

Eugene Rae is the Principal Librarian of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He has worked at the RGS-IBG for twenty years and is part of a team that looks after the two million items contained within the Society’s Collections. He has a particular interest in the history of exploration and in the scientific instruments used by explorers.

This article has been produced in collaboration with Silversea’s Corporate Business Partner, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), which enriches guests’ expeditions with over 500 years of geographical travel and discovery. Find out more here.