Scott's party at the South Pole
Scott's party at the South Pole

Cardiff and Captain Scott

They were beaten to the Pole by the Norwegians, and died on the way back – and still Cardiff places the Scott memorial outside the Norwegian church.

Jonathan Williams’ Scott Memorial commemorates the centenary anniversary of the “Age of Antarctic Discovery”. Jonathan Williams is a Cardiff-based sculptor and artist, designed the 3-metre tall mosaic after being inspired by Barcelona’s modernist architect Gaudi. Gaudi made innovative use of ceramics in many of his works, and Jonathan’s Scott sculpture is also made up of hundreds of tiny pieces of ceramic tiles.

The snow-white abstract piece shows Scott man-hauling south towards the pole with the faces of his co-explorers ice-bound – Welshman Edgar Evan, who was in charge of sledging equipment, is the one in the sunglasses! There is a gap in the middle of the structure – the ice cave from expedition photos. Look through now to see a glimpse of the sea beyond the barrage, a view almost the same today as it was in Scott’s day. It rests on a compass between the Norwegian Church and the lock where the Terra Nova started its journey. The northern end of the piece shows the front point of the ship.

The icy-looking sculpture now sits outside the entrance to the Norwegian Church, a poignant reminder that Scott was beaten to the Pole by Norwegian, Roald Amundsen. The memorial was formally unveiled by her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, on June 6th 2003.

The Terra Nova expedition ship moved from London to Cardiff before leaving for the Antarctic, to load provisions and coal for her journey south.  The sculpture is now lit up at night, as a landmark for sailors entering Cardiff Bay through the Cardiff Barrage locks.

Scott Memorial, Roath Park

On the 15th June 1910, Captain Robert Falcon Scott set sail from Cardiff in the S.S. Terra Nova, to conquer the South Pole. Before leaving Scott pledged – “I will reach the South Pole or I will never come back again.” The rest is history. In memory of the ill-fated expedition lead by Captain Scott and accompanied by his companions, Captain L.E.G. Oates, Lieutenant H.R. Bowers, Dr. E.A. Wilson and Petty Officer Edgar Evans, a clock tower in the form of a lighthouse was erected at the south end of Roath Park Lake. Surmounted by a model of Terra Nova, the tower was erected and presented to the city of Cardiff by F.C. Bowring, J.P. in 1915. The clock tower has since been one of Cardiff’s most familiar landmarks.