THE SCOTT ANTARCTIC MEMORIAL
THE SCOTT ANTARCTIC MEMORIAL
In response to an initiative by the British Antarctic Heritage Trust to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ‘Age of Antarctic Discovery’, the Captain Scott Society, in conjunction with the South Wales Echo, launched a prize for a sculpture to be erected in Cardiff Bay. The winner was Cardiff based sculptor, Jonathan Williams. The monument is surfaced in an irregular mosaic of white and near-white tiles that evoke the desolation and grandeur of the Antarctic ice. The design represents Scott, man-hauling South towards the Pole while the faces of his colleagues can be seen trapped in the snow. The northern end of the statue reveals the foresails of the expedition’s vessel, the Terra Nova. An enigmatic cavern that pierces the structure represents the ice cave so vividly depicted in Ponting’s photographs of the expedition. The monument stands on a compass rose and is located between the Norwegian Church and the lock through which the Terra Nova emerged on its fateful journey South. The proximity to the little Church, originally built for use by Norwegian seamen, is a poignant reminder that Scott was beaten to the Pole by the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen. The church is now deconsecrated and has been a fitting venue for Captain Scott Society functions. It also acts as a reminder that the author Roald Dahl was a native of Cardiff.
The Memorial was formally unveiled by her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, on 6th June 2003.
The structure has now been illuminated at night by embedded up-lighting, thereby fulfilling the vision that the monument will be a conspicuous landmark for sailors as they enter Cardiff Bay through the locks in the recently completed Cardiff barrage. The barrage transforms the bay, from a viciously tidal, double estuary to an attractive, fresh water amenity – the focus for extensive redevelopment of the once bustling coal port into a recreational area offering a wide range of recreational and gastronomic facilities.
Winter 2010/11 – The memorial has recently been suffering damage caused by individuals climbing upon it. This has left jagged protrusions that are likely to cause injury to the public. This was made worse by frost damage that caused several of the tesserae to detach from the structure. We are very pleased to report that the Harbour Authority has agreed to instruct the sculptor to undertake necessary repairs and to place a low chain barrier around the structure.
July 2011 – The Norwegian Church was reopened after a program of refurbishment with the stainless steel plaques that were originally let into the compass rose floor surround of the memorial raised on plinths to make them more easily legible. We extend our sincere thanks to staff of the Cardiff Harbour Authority who arranged for this work to be undertaken.
September 2013 – Completion of repair and improvements including a surrounding low chain fence to deter aspiring mountaineers and vandals.