The James Caird

The two words that perhaps best sum up both the College and its boys are ‘adventure’ and ‘integrity’. Integrity is the principal value that underpins everything that we do. It means honesty, courtesy, fair-play, responsibility and mutual respect. All of these qualities are evident in the boys, old and new. The Adventure comes from our founder, a man of the theatre at one of the most innovative periods in English literary history. Dulwich boys have always welcomed adventure and challenge be it academic, sporting or in the arts. It is one of the reasons why Old Alleynians have excelled in every walk of life.

Adventure and Integrity are surely demonstrated most vividly by one of our most famous Old Alleynians, Sir Ernest Shackleton. It was in the James Caird, a 23 foot whaler, that he and five companions made the epic open boat voyage of 800 miles (1,300 km) from Elephant Island, 500 miles (800 km) south of Cape Horn, to South Georgia during the Antarctic winter of 1916. It is fitting that the James Caird now rests in the College as a permanent celebration of one our most illustrious alumni and of the values for which we stand.

The James Caird Society, a registered charity, was established in 1994 to preserve the memory and honour the remarkable feats and leadership of Shackleton.

Lord Shackleton, son of the explorer, was the Society's Life President until his death in 1994. His daughter, the Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, has been President since l995. It was founded by Harding Dunnett and the current Chairman is Rear Admiral Nick Lambert, former commander of the Antarctic ice patrol ship HMS ENDURANCE, and current Chairman of the Committee of the Friends of The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) in Cambridge.

The Society now has a membership of over 600 worldwide, including over 120 in North America and others in Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Zambia.

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Visiting the James Caird

Regrettably, visits to the James Caird are suspended until further notice because of the current pandemic; this will be reviewed in relation to the College re-opening later in the year.