York Castle Museum - Shackleton's Cocoa

Shackleton’s Cocoa

This Rowntree’s cocoa tin was taken to the Antarctic by explorer Ernest Shackleton in 1909.

The York-made cocoa was one of the unused goods brought back by Shackleton after his failed attempt to reach the South Pole in 1908-9. As leader of the Nimrod expedition, he and three colleagues got to within 97 geographical miles of the South Pole before having to turn back.

Shackleton’s most famous expedition was in 1914 -16, when he led his team of men through a harrowing ordeal after their ship sank, keeping morale high with his optimism, and ensuring no lives were lost.

The cocoa tin was donated to the museum by a woman from Sydenham. Her family had known Shackleton’s family and were given the tin by one of his sisters. It bears a handwritten label which reads “This tin of cocoa is one of the unused stores brought back by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition from the Antarctic.”

Find out more about the tin on the BBC’s History of the World website here.

Please note: York Castle Museum is home to an extensive and varied collection of items and artefacts. Whilst we make every effort to display a broad spectrum of our collections it is not always possible for all our collections to be on display at once. Please check the latest exhibitions to find out what collections are currently on display or contact us on  01904 687687.