The Endurance became available for Shackleton's Antarctic expedition when the Arctic tour scheme she had been built for collapsed as Adrien de Gerlache was unable to pay his share on the completion of the ship in summer 1913. She had 10 cabins, a darkroom for amateur photographers and no cargo space. She was useless as a sealer and not sufficiently luxurious for use as a yacht.
Buyers were not easy to find until Shackleton informed de Gerlache in January 1914 that he was in search of an expedition ship for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The Polaris was purchased for £11,600 (225,000 Kroner). She was reckoned to be one of the strongest ships ever built for ice work.
Shackleton had wanted to name the ship in his previous expedition "Endurance", but had not been able to so that ship remained the Nimrod and this latest instead was to bear the name taken from the Shackleton family motto, Fortitudine Vincimus "By endurance we conquer".
Photograph of the floor plan from the family's collection.