Heritage venues mark centenary of Captain Scott as expedition team recreates his spirit

By Culture24 Reporter | 17 January 2012
A photo of a group of explorers in the Antarctic
The British Services Antarctic Expedition are flying the flag to honour Captain Scott
A century after Captain Scott reached the South Pole, his achievements remain enshrined in the history of heroism.

A photo of a woman laying a wreath at the foot of a statue of a male explorer
A wreath was laid at Porter's Lodge, at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where a statue of Captain Scott is positioned
A major exhibition telling some of the tales behind his team’s fateful journey, Scott's Last Expedition, is taking place in Edinburgh, and hundreds of miles south, at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, a wreath has been laid at his statue as organisers remembered men who "embodied the human spirit".

At the hugely popular Polar Research Institute named after him, in Cambridge, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced an award of more than £700,000 to save 109 photos taken by Scott, glaciers, ponies, sledges and all.

But the Pole itself is playing host to perhaps the most extraordinary recognition for the Terra Nova explorers.

The British Services Antarctic Expedition 2012 – an Armed Services team pursuing "the bounds of human exploration and knowledge" in remote areas of the Antarctic – have split into three groups of eight to sail from Chile to the frozen Peninsula in a 75-foot yacht.

A photo of two people standing either side of a statue of a male explorer
The sculpture was created by Scott's widow
Twenty-four fearless followers are treading carefully in a campaign dubbed Scott's Spirit, researching the Peninsula Arm of Antarctica, where the surrounding area is warming faster than anywhere else on earth.

"It is worth remembering that 100 years ago, Scott was approaching the South Pole and was surely in a state of excitement and trepidation," said Lieutenant Commander Paul Hart, one of the leaders preparing the group for a three-week mission to haul scientific equipment across the region.

"Whatever his reaction to arriving at the Pole after [Norweigan explorer Roald] Amundsen, he must have been proud of his team and his achievements in terms of their science work.

"I think that we are in exactly the same state of tension between excitement and trepidation."

Backed by the Dockyard, the expedition is expected to raise more than £20,000 for charity Help for Heroes, echoing the public support given to the families of Scott’s men after they died during their attempt to return home.

More on the Scott Polar Research Institute photos:

A black and white photo of an Antarctic explorer sitting outside his tent
Captain Scott was taught photography by the official expedition photographer, Herbert Ponting, and the collection charts his first attempts through to the remarkable images he captured on the first part of the Polar journey
A photo of a group of snow ponies standing next to sledges in the Antarctic
Scott's subjects include his companions, the ponies and sledges, the scientific work they were undertaking and the breathtaking Antarctic landscape. The photos were thought to have been lost for decades
A photo of explorers with sledges in the snowy Antarctic. Snow poles are in the foreground
The photographs themselves were printed in the Antarctic by members of the expedition team as they waited for his return from the Pole. Scott was never to see the images he had taken
A photo of explorers pulling a sledge on Antarctic snow
The British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition was led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN with the twin objectives of being the first to reach the geographical South Pole and to undertake scientific research on the Antarctic environment
A photo of explorers sitting by their tents on snow under Antarctic mountains
The shots were developed in the Antarctic by the geologist, Frank Debenham, who later became the founding Director of the Institute. Difficulties with establishing copyright meant that only a handful were ever used
A photo of an explorer sitting outside his tent in the snowy Antarctic
The negatives which survived World War I were passed given to Ponting. After his death, in 1935, the prints were sold to agency Popperfoto, who sold them at auction in New York in 2001
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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