✓ 1. London
✓ 2. Athy
✓ 3.Bristol
4. Stanley

Pharos SG transfer: Estimate 6 August 2022

5. Grytviken

The South Georgia Museum: Estimated October 2022

The Quest Crow’s Nest

Frank Wild climbing to the crow’s nest of Quest
Image courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

In 1921, Sir Ernest Shackleton made another voyage to the Antarctic on the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition. More commonly known as the Quest Expedition, it was to be Shackleton’s fourth and final Antarctic expedition.

The ship Quest was launched in 1917 in Norway and originally named Foca I. She was a small, two-masted wooden schooner of 205 tons, purchased by Shackleton for the expedition and renamed Quest at the suggestion of Lady Shackleton. 

Built for Arctic waters, she had a 125-horsepower steam engine and a reinforced bow sheathed in steel but needed extensive refitting for the Antarctic. Modifications included adding a new crow’s nest, a lookout high on the front mast to aid navigation through the ice packs of the Weddell Sea.

‘Apart from her white crow’s nest and exceptionally large bridge, there is little to distinguish the vessel… but the romance of her mission and the fame of her chief Sir Ernest Shackleton, invested the Quest with a glory of her own.’

Leeds Mercury, 17 August 1921

This year, the crow’s nest is travelling back to South Georgia to feature in a very special exhibition, Shackleton’s Last Quest. The exhibition marks the centenary of the launch of the Quest voyage and the event that is considered the end of the heroic era of exploration, the death of Shackleton.

Follow the crows nest journey as it travels across the globe.

Quest undergoing preparations for the expedition. You can see the addition of the white crow’s nest on the front mast
Image courtesy of State Library of New South Wales
Quest powering through pack ice in the Weddell Sea
Image courtesy of State Library of New South Wales
LONDON: All Hallows Church
All Hallows by the Tower, London
LONDON: Crow’s nest in situ, close up
Brass plaque giving a short account of its past
LONDON: Crow's nest with staff and Jayne
Conservator Sven Habermann, Curator Jayne Pierce and Education Officer Adey Grummet with the crow's nest in the crypt at All Hallows by the Tower
LONDON: Crow’s nest in situ
Crow’s nest in situ in the crypt of All Hallows by the Tower
LONDON: Crow's nest packing
Packing the crow's nest ready for the journey to Athy, Ireland
LONDON: Crow's nest moving
The crow's nest leaves All Hallows by the Tower, on its first step on the journey to Athy, Ireland
ATHY: Athy Heritage Centre
Athy Heritage Centre
ATHY: The crow’s nest with staff
Sven Habermann delivers the crow’s nest to staff at the Athy Heritage Centre
ATHY: Crow’s nest in situ
Crow’s nest on display at the Shackleton Museum
ATHY: Model of Endurance
Model of Endurance on display at the Shackleton Museum

Final Farewells in Athy and trip to Bristol

Members of Athy Sing and Sign Club pictured with the crow's nest before it leaves on the journey South
Image courtesy of Shackleton Museum
The Athy Sing and Sign Club with historical object conservator Sven Habermann and the crow's nest
Image courtesy of Shackleton Museum
The Crow's nest being taken off display in Athy
Image courtesy of Shackleton Museum
The crow's nest is carefully and securely packed into a crate in preparation for the sea journey
Image courtesy of Sven Habermann
A final toast in Athy
Image courtesy of Shackleton Museum
Sven Habermann on the crate containing the crow's nest at the shipping depot in Bristol