The National Maritime Museum and the Scott Polar Research Institute have acquired the two items after they were barred from export earlier this year.
They had sold for hammer prices of £1 15,000 and £60,000 in Bonhams’ Travel and Exploration sale on February 6, 2019, and the buyer applied to export them overseas.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) issued a temporary export bar in February 2020 and the National Heritage Memorial Fund facilitated the purchase which totals £204,700 (including fees).
The sledge and flag from the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-09 had been consigned to auction by Monkton Combe School, the alma mater of Eric Marshall (1879-1963) who was surgeon, cartographer and photographer on the expedition ship, Nimrod.
Marshall, a medic, rower and rugby player, met Shackleton at a party in 1906, and volunteered for the expedition on the spot.
Charlotte Connelly, museum curator of the Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Inst itute in Cambridge, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to reunite Eric Marshall’s sledging flag with Ernest Shackleton’s flag from their march towards the South Pole. Although the sledging party fell short of their goal, by coming within 100 miles of the Pole they showed that it was achievable. The f lag is an important witness to the hardship and successes of that expedition.”
The 11ft sledge will go to the National Maritime Museum. Jeremy Michell, senior curator: maritime technologies, said it would act as “a stimulus to remind audiences that Shackleton’s most successful expedition is the one for which he is least famous”.