Mess Deck: General Section > Full Scale Ships

Shackleton's Endurance

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Sorry to come late to the party. One of few tangible links we have today with the ships of Craddock's squadron is the superb builders model of Good Hope, shown here in store at the IWM in 2007. I don't know if this model, which was instrumental in my building of Niobe, is on display or ever likely to be.

Colin Bishop:
It is still listed in the IWM catalogue but may have been moved to the No. 1 Smithery model repository at Chatham along with many ohter models from the IWM and National Maritime Museum.


I remember many years ago, as part of I introduction to H.M.Dkyd Chatham as a new apprentice, being guided around No 1 Blacksmiths shop. Built in 1765, with earth floor and two massive steam hammers, in a side room they were making by hand the quick release gear including the chain, then shown a bolt making machine of 1895 still in use and was still making all the bolts for the R.N. yards and the guy boasted the only wear was one set of dies, round the back was two iron peg boards with ovens where all the frames for all submarine's built in the yard were made up to the yard closure, also the frame for beating/ shaping plates for hull plating. One of the first things English Estates did was demolish this building with its contents. The blacksmiths there forged the twenty to hook for the Nuclear departments new 100 to crane, only after the M.o.D. offered the contract to most companies in Europe declined the contract and as last resort the yards blacksmiths made it on an ancient steam hammer. The yard went on Thatchers direct orders to save money, also the yard was the only one to refit Nuc subs within time frame and to necessary standards and budget, but that's progress!!

Hello Colin. Is there a catalogue of the models that have been moved to the Smithery?

Regarding Endurance, Iíve seen it said that there are boxes of glass plate negatives on board. I wonder if the emulsion could survive 100 years in the sea? Further to Endurance, I once spent a couple of days fogged in on the Fair Isle in the company of the  Islandís meteorologist, who had previously been meteorologist in South Georgia. He said that, as a fit and well nourished young man, heíd tried to repeat Shackletonís exploit of crossing the mountains alone and unsupported from where the James Caird had landed to the settlement on the other side of the Island. He found it very challenging indeed!

Colin Bishop:
There doesn't appear to be an online catalogue of which models were moved to Chatham. The original idea was that it would be relatively easy to see them by prior arrangment for research purposes but things subsequently went very quiet. However this link gives and email address for making enquiries about the IWM & NMM model collections at Chatham:

When the Science Museum Shipping gallery closed in 2012 the models were put into temporary storage facilities by the museum. Since then there have been suggestions that they will eventually be transferred to the new Wiltshire general storage facility due to open in 2024. The Science Museum was originally part of the Chatham initiatitve but pulled out.

When Endurance was found there was some discussion about what happened to the glass negatives left behind. There are reports that Shackleton ordered them destroyed but  there is also speculation that some may have gone down with the ship intact. We shall probably never know.



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