A Previously Unknown Diary From the Doomed Endurance Just Showed Up on Antiques Roadshow

Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1916
Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1916 / Hulton Archive, Getty Images

In 1914, Irish-born explorer Ernest Shackleton set off from the UK on the historic Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, hoping to be the first person to cross Antarctica by land. But the expedition would become famous as a catastrophic failure—Shackleton's ship, the Endurance, became stuck in the ice and was ultimately crushed, stranding him and his men on the ice for months. Miraculously, all of them survived, and apparently, if a new episode of Antiques Roadshow is to be believed, one of them returned with a diary that has remained hidden for decades.

As you can see in the clip from the show below, a woman presents Antiques Roadshow expert Richard Price with pages from a diary that she says has been in her family for decades. The pages were reportedly written by a member of Shackleton's Endurance expedition and runs from the beginning of the trip through the harrowing months the crew spent struggling to survive on the ice up until around when they were finally rescued.

"We have no idea who wrote it," the owner says, "but Dad was given it maybe about 40 years ago, and it's really been living in my mum's attic for the last 40 years.” She later admits that it was stored under her mother's TV for a significant amount of time.

The diary includes a drawing of the ship stuck in the ice, an account of having to eat the expedition's last-surviving dogs ("their flesh—a treat"), and more. "It is a phenomenal record," Price says. "But I don't recognize the handwriting." He can't authenticate it, but suggests the woman visit the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, UK for help identifying the author. If it's truly a diary from the Endurance, he estimates that it could be worth around £30,000 (almost $40,000).

Please, folks, if you have any historic diaries lying around in your house, don't store them under your hot television.