Polar Exploration in the United Kingdom

I learned so much!

Founded in 1920, the Scott Polar Research Institute houses a polar museum, a vast library of resources about the Antarctic and the Arctic, and is home to some of the U.K.'s most active environmental researchers. The polar museum has amazing resources from past expeditions led by Shackleton and Scott, including a life-sized replica of Shackleton's lifeboat, the James Caird! There were exhibits about more recent scientific research at the poles led by SPRI scholars, too. I also visited the library and the Friends' Room, where I saw an actual spar (a wooden pole that supports a ship's sail) from Endurance, the only existing piece of the sunken ship! The spar made its way back to Cambridge after Shackleton and his crew were rescued from Elephant Island in 1917.

Tributes to polar exploration are also commonplace in everyday life in England. Popular English beer company Greene King has a beer called Ice Breaker Pale Ale. While shopping in London, I also found a chocolate from Fortnum and Mason called "The Icebreaker," which has a picture of an icebreaker ship charting a course through sea ice on its packaging.

After personally experiencing the deep. historic ties between English culture and polar exploration, I'm more excited than ever for the Endurance22 Expedition to begin! With luck, the Agulhas II icebreaker will soon chart its own course through Antarctic sea ice to find Shackleton's Endurance, a symbol of perhaps the most famous of many legendary U.K.-linked expeditions to Antarctica.

London, United Kingdom