The James Caird was brought back from the Antarctic to England in 1919, aboard the whaler Woodville, and was originally displayed in the gardens of the Middlesex Hospital and then the roof of Selfridges department store. In 1922 she was presented to Dulwich College by John Quiller Rowett, a school friend of Shackleton and sponsor of his last expedition aboard the Quest. Both men were old boys of Dulwich College.
The Caird was subsequently (in 1967) loaned to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich where she remained until 1986, when she was returned with some ceremony to Dulwich College. In 1989 she was installed in the North Cloister in Dulwich College and in 1994 was loaned to the International Boat Show in earls Court London, where she attracted a great deal of interest.
Apart from occasional outings to maritime exhibitions and displays, the Caird remained on permanent display in the North Cloister at Dulwich College until 2015. In that year the College completed its new science block, known as The Laboratory. The boat brings an incredible resonance to The Laboratory, sitting in its own James Caird Hall. The design of the building and placement of the boat mean that she can now be seen from every angle at ground level and for the first time from above, allowing every visitor to reflect on, and be inspired by, the achievement of Shackleton and his crew.
How to Visit
The James Caird is now on display in the Laboratory at Dulwich College, Dulwich Common, London SE21 7LD. Trains run regularly from London Victoria to West Dulwich station, which is close to the College gates.
Please note – all general public visits must be pre-arranged and booked by emailing
Visits are only available on Fridays at 11.30am. Please wear a mask and bring along evidence of a recent negative Lateral Flow Test for Covid-19.
School Tours: these can be booked on Tuesdays and Thursdays in College term time; the tour is from 11.15 to 12.15.