Hull’s links to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition researched by Maritime Museum volunteers

A descendant of a crew member from the perilous Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917) has spoken of her pride after researching the epic voyage.

A collection of photographs and items from the expedition, called Enduring Eye: the Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley, will go on display at the Hull Maritime Museum from 3 March to 3 June.

Six men with links to the Hull area signed up for the hazardous journey – more than from any other region.

One man, John Vincent, moved to Hull from Birmingham to work as a fisherman before settling in Bean Street. As the expedition’s strongest man, he was selected by renowned explorer Shackleton for the hazardous open boat journey to find help for the stranded Endurance.

The exhibition features a pair of boots worn by Vincent aboard the vessel.

Vincent’s descendent Hayley Cropp, a volunteer with Hull Museums, said: “Our family has a photograph of John wearing his polar boots and it’s been fantastic to see them up close.

“I’ve always had an interest in family history and this has been a great opportunity to get closer to my ancestor and to imagine what he must have gone through on that expedition.”

Ahead of the exhibition, Hayley and another volunteer researched the connections between the expedition and Hull.

Their research was linked to a Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) project called Shackleton’s Endurance: Discovering our Shared Antarctic Heritage, which was enabled by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to explore local links to the Endurance expedition.

The volunteers selected key items from the collections of Hull Museums for conservation and display alongside the photographs.

The volunteers found that Hull had a long association with Arctic and Antarctic exploration. With Britain’s biggest fishing fleet and, before that, its largest whaling fleet, the city’s seamen were comfortable negotiating the harsh waters of the North Sea and Arctic Ocean.

Volunteer and artist Viv Stamford said: “Six men with local links signed up for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. This is a larger number than from any other city. Three were born here and the others settled in Hull.

“There are still dozens of people around Hull who remember the cook, Charles Green, giving a lantern slide show at their school using slides and a projector that were a gift from Shackleton.”

Councillor Geraghty, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism and Chair of Hull Culture & Leisure Limited, said: “The maritime heritage of Hull is fascinating and the skills and courage of the city’s seafarers played their part on the national and international stage. We celebrate their histories in this exhibition and in the Maritime Museum.”