SGA Initiative Funding helps with Westminster Abbey Shackleton Plaque

Shackleton Memorial Stone Dedication, Westminster Abbey, 15th February 2024

by SGA Chair David Drewry

On a surprisingly warm February afternoon the Princess Royal, accompanied by her husband, Admiral Timothy Lawrence, attend the ceremony to unveil the memorial stone in the South Cloister of Westminster Abbey to commemorate the life and deeds of Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO OBE.

The idea to have a plaque installed and for Shackleton to be thus recognised amongst the panoply of Britain’s famous explorers – James Cook, Francis Drake, Francis Chichester and Astronomer Edmond Halley, was the brainchild of Tim Winter RN and supported principally by the James Caird Society. Alexandra Shackleton was intimately involved in this initiative throughout the several years it required to obtain the necessary agreement of the Abbey and permissions.

At an early stage the SGA was invited to give its support and responded readily and positively with a donation £1500 towards the production of the Memorial Stone. This was crafted by Mr Will Davies who incorporated Connemara marble and Kilkenny limestone to reflect Shackleton’s Irish heritage (he was born in Kilkea, Co Kildare, on February 15, 1874). The stone is also inscribed with the names of Shackleton’s expedition ships and his family motto, “fortitudine vincimus” – by endurance we conquer.

The Dedication Ceremony commenced at 5pm in the Abbey with attendance by the Lord Mayor of London and HRH The Princess Royal and her husband. A number of invited guests, representing the family and a wide range of Shackleton interests, were present some having travelled from Ireland and parts of mainland Europe. David Tatham and David Drewry attend on behalf of SGA and Bob Headland was also there is a different capacity. Following the immaculately conducted Evensong, with singing by the choir of extraordinary purity that filled the massive Abbey with otherworldly sound, invited guests made their way to the South Cloister. Here the group gathered around the plaque covered by the Abbey flag. There were several short readings and tributes to Shackleton led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle KCVO, including one read by the Hon. Alexandra ‘Zaz’ Shackleton. Thereafter the Princess Royal stepped forward to unveil the memorial plaque.

After a suitable time admiring this new addition to the Abbey, the guests made their way to the Jerusalem Chamber where at a Reception the HRH was introduced and spoke with them. Zaz Shackleton concluded this element of the Abbey ceremonies with a few words.

Later that evening there was a further and convivial gathering of the guests from the Abbey joined by other supporters, at the Royal Overseas League. It concluded what had been a most memorable and uplifting “polar” occasion.

Click a photo to see a larger version.

Memorial Plaque (courtesy Dean and Chapter of Westminster)
In the Choir prior to Evensong
The hon. Alexandra Shackleton reading prior to the unveiling.
Gathering in the Cloister, Princess Royal (left in light green dress).

SGA Initiative Funding helps with Westminster Abbey Shackleton Plaque Read More »

Albatross Talk is Online

The SGA Online Talk of 28 November 2021, Saving Ocean Wanderers, was attended by about 150 Zoom viewers. If you missed it, you can catch up on our YouTube channel. You can see this, and our previous talks, on the SGA Video Recordings page via the Resources menu on our website.

Albatross Talk is Online Read More »

Pathway to Protection – GSGSSI Announces Terrestrial Protected Area Management.

The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has released details of its strategy for managing the territory under the banner ‘Pathway to Protection’.

This will be a two-phased approach, involving the declaration of Terrestrial Protected Areas, and will treat two areas differently.

South Georgia and its surrounding islands will be managed so as to balance access with protection, very much along the lines of what already happens. The South Sandwich Islands will be closed to visitors, although there are already very few anyway, to preserve its even more unspoilt nature.

The Pathway to protection will be implemented in two phases. In phase I, the South Sandwich Islands will be closed to most visitors, and South Georgia will carry on much in the way it already does. Phase II will consist of information gathering and consultation, to gather the information needed to determine the need for, and the methods of implementing, more localised management plans.

An advisory group will be convened to help with this, including, we hope, representatives of the South Georgia Association.

Pathway to Protection – GSGSSI Announces Terrestrial Protected Area Management. Read More »

Sealing Archaeology talk is online

We recorded the online talk on sealing archaeology by Marcus Britain and Bob Burton that we held on 20 May 2021.

Sealing Archaeology talk is online Read More »

GSGSSI Visitor Briefing Film Updated

Photo – Steve Brown GSGSSI

The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has released an updated visitor briefing film. Twenty minutes long, it is required viewing for all visitors to South Georgia before arrival, including pointers to ensure a low-impact visit. It is narrated by Sir David Attenborough, and contains some stunning film footage from the BBC natural History unit.

GSGSSI Visitor Briefing Film Updated Read More »

Scroll to Top