Scott Memorial Clock

Cardiff, Wales | C.1914

Photo Credit: Stephen Hall

Captain Robert Falcon Scott was a British Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions. In June 1910, Scott’s Terra Nova expedition, his second in Antarctica, launched which would also be his last. Scott hoped to be the first in history to reach the South Pole. He and his crew reached the South Pole, but died on the journey back to their ship.

Scott died having achieved his goal, but he was not the first to reach the South Pole. That honor belongs to Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer to achieved the feat 34 days prior. Despite the current controversy that surrounds his exact cause of death, a memorial was erected in Scott’s honor for his services to the Royal Navy.

The Scott Memorial, also known as the Lighthouse and the Clock Tower, was built in 1914 and is located in the lake of Roath Park in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The lake was emptied in 1914 in order to build foundations for the tower. The work was completed in early 1915 but it was not until 1918 that the clock tower was officially presented to the City.

The clock tower has three levels including the ground floor with a small concrete landing separating the two upper levels which are connected by ladders. The original clock mechanism was wound from the third level landing and needed to be wound weekly. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the clock mechanism was replaced by an electrical mechanism.

A plaque on the side of the tower states that it is dedicated to the memory of Captain Scott and his companions who sailed from Cardiff in 1910 and died in the Antarctic in 1912, noting that they were “britons all, and very gallant gentlemen.” The wooden figurehead from Scott’s ship, the S.S. Terra Nova, was presented to the City of Cardiff by the ship owner F.C. Bowring of Liverpool at a ceremony which took place at the southern end of Roath Park Lake on December 8th, 1913.

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