Frank Wild Polar Explorer

Frank Wild Polar Explorer

‘Once you have been to the white unknown you can never escape the call of the little voices’
Frank Wild (1873-1939) 

Frank Wild CBE was one of the greatest Antarctic heroes of all time.  The indomitable Yorkshire born Edwardian traveller tackled the frozen continent with Sir Ernest Shackleton three times during the heroic age of the 1900’s, and is renowned for his roles in the legendary Nimrod and Endurance expeditions. He also joined Cpt Robert Scott on the Discovery 1901 voyage and Sir Douglas Mawson’s Australasian voyage of 1911. He was the only man to have wintered in Antarctica on six occasions.

Born in Skelton, Yorkshire and the second born of 13 children, at the age of 11 the family moved to Eversholt in Bedfordshire where his father was offered the Mastership of the local school.

By the age of 16 Wild joined the merchant navy and spent 10 years in ‘the school of hard knocks’ before joining the Royal Navy and Scott on the Discovery.  It was the start of a glittering career.

Following his final expedition the Quest, In 1922 Wild emigrated to South Africa with his newly wed wife, Vera Altman. The subsequent 16 years were not always easy.  Altman asked for a divorce and his farming venture failed. However, he went on to marry Beatrice Rowbotham and his final happy years were cut short when he died at the age of 66 of pneumonia in the town of Klerksdorp.

It was said that after his Antarctic days Wild became lost in life and then in death.

After a seven year long research journey, South African author Angie Butler, journalist and co-founder of Polar adventure travel company, Ice Tracks Expeditions, announced her breakthrough discovery of Wild’s ashes in Johannesburg. The explorer’s last wish to be buried in South Georgia beside Shackleton, his ‘Boss’ and loyal friend, never materialised due to the outbreak of WWII a week after his death.  Exactly ninety years after their last voyage together, Wild and Shackleton were finally reunited thanks to extraordinary resilience and tenacity of Butler. In 2011 the ashes were  finally carried from South Africa to their final resting place.

Among Wild’s most exciting adventures, was onboard Shackleton’s Endurance ship, which was crushed by ice in 1915.  While Shackleton went for rescue, Wild was put in charge of a 21 man crew who for four horrific months lived in upturned boats on Elephant Island. the book written by Butler The vivid memoirs in The Quest for Frank Wild, bring to life this sympathetic leader’s role during those treacherous months, offering a glimpse of this hero’s fears and thoughts, and a fascinating insight of how blizzards, starvation, boredom and the terror of never being rescued, drove many of the crew close to insanity.

Thank you to Angie Butler from Icetracks for writing this blog.

If you would like more information about Frank Wild, Angie has written a book about this great polar explorer called  ‘ The Quest for Frank Wild ‘ which can be purchased from this link

If you want to go one step further and travel to the polar regions Icetracks are experts in polar travel and expeditions



It’s official, spring has arrived.

The days are drawing out, the lambs are in the fields, the birds are singing and we, at Susan Rose China, have turned our thoughts to spring designs and the garden.

Susan says she always knows it’s the beginning of spring when the snowdrops have finished flowering and she takes time to divide the clumps and plant the new clumps  into the wild places in her garden.

Susan has always loved British flora and fauna and for many years has recorded her wild flowers in various sketch books. Over time these sketches and watercolours have evolved into designs for our English bone china, but in doing new designs with spring flowers we discovered so much more about the history and traditions of these flowers. Her favourite medium is vellum and there was nothing as exciting as visiting William Cowley, The Vellum factory in Newport Pagnell, which was near her childhood home in Bedfordshire.

We did a poll amongst the team and the most popular piece of china reflecting spring is our 2pt jug called ‘A Jug Full of Secrets’. Susan did the original watercolour painting for this jug on paper inherited from a deceased aunt who was a well-known children’s book illustrator (more on this in a future blog…). The jug is personalised but also shows a selection of spring flowers and the sentiments they convey, sometimes called ‘Floriography’.

For thousands of years’ plants have been recognised for their medicinal properties and their perfume, but it wasn’t until the Victorian age that floriography took on a greater significance. Flowers had their own language and could say what was not dared to be spoken. The Victorians would like to give gifts called ‘Tussie-Mussies’ which were small bouquets of flowers wrapped in a lace doily and tied with satin ribbon. The secret message the flowers conveyed was an intriguing puzzle for the recipient. This is why we like to add names and secret words into our designs. For example the jug full of Secrets has a name of choice added into the lettering. Originally all hand drawn by Susan on to paper, but now the words are drawn with the help of an electronic sketch book, a Wacom pad. So now it is really is a jug full of secrets with these hidden words.

When Queen Victoria married she had myrtle in her wedding bouquet signifying love and the emblem of marriage. When Kate Middleton married Prince William, she too had the language of flowers very much in mind. Kate’s bouquet consisted of myrtle taken from the same plant as that in Queen Victoria’s bouquet and Lily of the Valley signifying happiness, sweetness and chastity. On our jug we have snowdrops forhope, daisies for innocence, bluebells for humility, violets for modesty and primroses for young love and we compliment it with a mug in the same design.

Our feature page shows other designs with a spring feel. We have a spring flowers mug complimenting our seasonal plate, a personalised hellebore design and a personalised violet heart wrap, all on our new signature mug which we had made especially for us in Stoke only 6 months ago. All these flowers are from Susan’s garden or the nearby countryside. Of course at one time the hedgerows and meadows would have been full of these much loved flowers, but now we have to look hard to find these beautiful flowers.

Not forgetting the fauna, so necessary for the pollination of our spring flowers, we have new personalised bee and butterfly designs too. Over the years Susan has recorded and painted some of the butterflies from her garden and tried to plant flowers to encourage more butterflies. Her love of painting bumble bees started at art college when she used to make little gifts of watercolour bees for her friends!

Take a look and when we say #Sayitwithchina, with our floral designs, we mean it quite literally.