Captain Scott Sculpture
Harbour Drive
Cardiff CF10 4PA
Cardiff Bay is full of art works commemorating historic events of national importance that took place in the Welsh port of Cardiff.
Beside the Norwegian Church Arts Centre is an historic lock, its gates now wide open. On 15 June 1910, Captain Robert Falcon Scott set sail from this lock 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".
As we all know, Scott was beaten to the Pole by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, and Scott and his companions died in their attempt to get back.
Outside the old wooden church stands an extraordinary sculpture by local artist, Jonathon Williams, commemorating the centenary anniversary of ‘The Age of Antarctic Discovery’. It does not (as one might expect) depict the victorious Norwegians, but Captain Scott and his ill-fated expedition.
The 3-metre high snow-white abstract sculpture is made up of hundreds of tiny ceramic tiles which glisten in the sunlight. At night it is floodlit and acts as a landmark for mariners entering the Inner Harbour.
The art work depicts Captain Scott, bent forward against the wind, man-hauling a heavy sledge, and trudging across the ice. The faces of his doomed companions peer out of the rough ice. A compass is set in the ground below the sculpture showing that Scot is heading south.
There is a gap in the middle of the structure representing the ice cave seen in expedition photos. Through the gap can be glimpsed the sea beyond the Cardiff Barrage. It is a sobering thought that this sea view was the explorers’ last memory of home. The northern end of the sculpture shows the front point of the Terra Nova.
There is another memorial to Captain R F Scott and his companions at the south end of nearby Roath Park Lake. It takes the form of a lighthouse shaped clock tower topped with a model of the Terra Nova.
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