The story of the men of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship S.Y. Endurance

George Edward Marston

(19/03/1882 – 22/11/1940)
BORN : SOUTHSEA. ENGLAND
DIED : TAUNTON. SOMERSET. ENGLAND
NICKNAME : PUTTY
DUTY : EXPEDITION ARTIST

Marston

Marston in his studio early 1930’s
Awarded Silver Polar Medal

George Marston was the official artist on two of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expeditions. The 1907-09 “Nimrod” and the 1914-16 “Endurance” expeditions.

During the Nimrod expedition Marston, using the printing press which Shackleton had had brought along, designed and produced the title pages and illustrations for the “Aurora Australis”, a publication that was produced during 1908 whilst the men were laid up for the winter at Hut Point.

 Marston

One of a series of drawings that Marston did for the Illustrated London News in 1914, based on his experiences gained on Shackleton’s 1907-09 expedition.

Born in Southsea, Portsmouth, England in 1882 Marston’s father was a coach builder. He left home in his early teens for London and attended Regent Street Polytechnic to study art. In 1901, it is recorded that he was living at 51 Allfarthing Lane, Wandsworth, Surrey, and worked as a School Board Art Teacher.

He had been born with a natural talent for drawing and “Fisher” in his book ”Shackleton “ describes him as:

“A large brawny man, good with his hands, and with a sense of the ridiculous and a love of practical jokes “

George married one Hazel Roberts in 1913 and in October of that year, their daughter Heather was born. His son Bevis was born in 1917. Marston was one of the first people Shackleton signed up for the “Endurance “expedition promising him a salary of £350 per year.

George Marston, taken circa 1907

 George Marston, taken circa 1907

After returning home from the expedition, Marston eventually gained a position as a teacher in Arts & Crafts at a private school in Petersfield, which he held between 1918 and 1922. He had always been a lover of the countryside and all things rural, and he eventually gave up his teaching job to join the Rural Industries Bureau (RIB).

R.I.B. was an organisation set up to promote rural industries and assist those who provided employment in the rural areas. He held the position of Handicrafts Advisor and in 1931 was promoted to Assistant Director. It is recorded that in 1933 his salary was £566:10s.

Marston’s job involved much travel around the countryside of England, Wales and Scotland. The administration of the R.I.B. was based in both London and Taunton. Somerset. When working in London, he resided at 33A Oxford Road. Putney. In Taunton he lodged at a local pub, the Rose & Crown Hotel, East Lyng, some miles from Taunton.

The Rose & Crown

The Rose & Crown. East Lyng. Somerset.

Marston often stayed here when working in nearby Taunton.

(photo permission of Derek Mason.)

 

 

Eventually his marriage with Hazel broke down. He and Hazel split up and lead separate lives; although they never actually divorced.

He died on 22nd November.1940 in the Taunton & Somerset Hospital from a Coronary Thrombosis aged 58. His death certificate shows his occupation as Company Director.

George Marston is buried in the village churchyard at East Lyng, ear Taunton. Somerset.

George Marston’s grave

George Marston’s grave. St.Bartholomews , the parish church of East Lyng. Somerset. (photo courtesy of David H. Smith)

George Marston’s grave

Look closely, and you will see a ship at the head of his grave, thought to almost certainly be the Endurance.

(photo courtesy of David H. Smith)

 

 

With thanks to Veronica Marston ( daughter-in- law of G.Marston), Lynn Miller and Stephen Locke.

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