Happy birthday Captain Scott!

Published

5th June 2018

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's birth, a very special photograph has been put on permanent display at Discovery Point in Dundee.


The photograph, showing the famous explorer celebrating his final birthday in the Antarctic, was taken on June 6, 1911 by expedition photographer Herbert Ponting. It was Captain Scott's 43rd birthday and the image depicts Scott and his crew in the Terra Nova hut on Ross Island at Cape Evans.


They are tucking into a hearty birthday feast of seal soup, roast mutton and red currant jelly, fruit salad, asparagus and chocolate. To wash the food down, the men drank cider, sherry and finished off with a liqueur. The hut was decorated with sledging flags, portraits of King George V and Queen Mary. The table was adorned with a Union Jack flag and the men used the very best china and cutlery.


The photograph is now owned by Dundee Heritage Trust, which operates RRS Discovery, the ship which took Scott on his first trip to the Antarctic and now a popular visitor attraction in Dundee.


The permanent display of the photograph in one of the galleries of the award-winning Discovery Point marks the beginning of a series of events Dundee Heritage Trust has planned to commemorate Scott's 150th year. Discovery Point, located on Dundee's waterfront next door to the new V&A Dundee, has recently completed a £500,000 refurbishment of its visitor centre and conference facilities in anticipation of a bumper visitor year.


Ali Gellatly, Education Officer with Dundee Heritage Trust, said:


"Captain Scott wrote about this birthday meal in his diary, describing it as "a sumptuous spread". It would have been an incredible dinner for the men to enjoy in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable. I'm sure it gave them all a much-needed morale boost having delicious food and full stomachs."


It was later in 1911 when Scott set off with four others to reach the South Pole. They succeeded, arriving at the South Pole in January 1912, a month after a Norwegian party led by Roald Amundsen who were the first to ever reach the elusive destination. It was on their ill-fated return journey that all five men, including Captain Scott, perished. His last diary entry was March 19, 1912.


For more information visit www.rrsdiscovery.com

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