Devon

Shackleton whale bone sold in Devon for £1,200

Whalebone
Image caption The relic was kept for many years in the school's fireplace

A whale bone that once belonged to Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton has been sold for £1,200.

The bone was among the contents of Torbay convent Stoodley Knowle School, which has now closed.

It will stay in Torbay after it was bought by a local man, jeweller Martin Travis.

"There was clapping and cheering in the room," said the Honiton auctioneers Chillcotts who put a guide price of £300 on the whale bone.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Shackleton stayed in Torquay for three months in 1907 when his ship, Nimrod, was moored there

Shackleton, perhaps best known for his expedition aboard the ship Endurance that became trapped in an ice floe for nine months in 1915, gave the unusual item as a gift to his sisters.

They later presented it to the sisters of Les Filles de la Croix who had bought the house owned by the Shackleton family in Anstey's Cove Road, in order to turn it into a school for girls.

The relic was kept for many years in the fireplace with a commemorative plaque stating simply Shackleton's Whale Bone.

Mr Travis said: "I am a Torquay boy and I've always liked natural objects.

"It's nice to keep it in Torquay where it has been for more than 100 years."

Shackleton stayed at the family house for three months in 1907 when his ship, Nimrod, was moored in Torquay harbour before setting out on Antarctic expeditions.

Another ship, Quest, on which Shackleton took his final voyage, was anchored in Anstey's Cove below the school before setting sail for South Georgia in 1921.

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