Medical kit used by Ernest Shackleton

1907 in London England and London
Burroughs Wellcome and Company Limited

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Two objects from British expeditions to the Antarctic. Left (A700031): Field medical kit in leather wallet, by
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Field medical kit in leather wallet, by Burroughs Wellcome and Co., English used by Sir Ernest Shackleton, 1907

This kit was used by Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922), a British explorer, during his 1907-1909 expedition to the Antarctic, which was his first attempt to locate the South Pole. Although he was unsuccessful, he did map some of the area extensively. Inside the leather wallet are bandages, a thermometer, plasters, safety pins and medical treatments of the day, including soda mint and cascara sagrada tablets (laxatives). Also paregoric tablets, a pain reliever made from an alcoholic preparation of opium.

Medical equipment, first aid kits and medicine chests like this one were made by Burroughs, Wellcome & Co and given to influential people and explorers in an attempt to advertise the product. It is shown here with a 'Tabloid' medicine chest used on the 1910 British Antarctic Expedition (A700020).


Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Object Number:
medical emergency kit
  • furnishing and equipment
  • furnishing - artefact
  • case furniture
  • chest
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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