The centenary anniversary of the expedition of Andrew Irvine and his partner George Mallory has left many with a reignited curiosity with respect to their expedition, a sentiment especially true in Shrewsbury, the town that moulded Irvine.


Andrew Irvine was a Shrewsbury School student, he was well respected by his peers and his teachers, performing well academically, and going on to study at Oxford. He was also a keen rower, a hobby he would develop on our very own River Severn as a member of the Royal Shrewsbury School Boat Club.


Irvine would show an affinity for climbing, participating in the Merton College Arctic Expedition. However, this would be surpassed in scale by his Everest expedition. In 1924, Irvine, his mountaineering accomplice, George Mallory attempted an historic task, making a consorted effort to reach the highest peak in the world, Everest standing at 8,849m. This was an historic event and should be a proud one for the local populous in Shrewsbury who set him on his path.


However, Irvine and Mallory’s 1924 expedition can be considered a tragedy as well as title of daring adventure. Sadly, the two mountaineers would never make back to the surface, and there is debate as to whether or not they achieved their aim of reaching the summit before their death. Mallory’s body was discovered in 1999, having last been seen alive 240m below the summit.


The mystery has restricted the plaudits that the two explorers are qualified for; because of the uncertainty it is impossible to say if the two explorers were in fact the first to ever summit the highest mountain on earth.


Unfortunately, Irvine’s body, unlike his partner’s, was never found and is likely still preserved by the cold of his mountain coffin. Notwithstanding this, Irvine has left a tremendous legacy. He can be seen as a source of inspiration, showcasing how even the most tremendous or lofty of ambitions can be achieved – coming within touching distance of his own, if not completing it. His legacy is so great, that his former school, Shrewsbury School, has commemorated this centenary anniversary with a wonderful and comprehensive collection of artefacts, showcased in an exhibition, one set up by the archive team and a student, demonstrating his inspirational influence on his successors.