Gifts from Wales for Scott's Polar Trip - Goodwill and Bags of Cash; TODAY MARKS 100 YEARS SINCE CAPTAIN SCOTT'S TERRA NOVA DEPARTED FOR THE ANTARCTIC FROM CARDIFF BAY, LEAVING A LEGACY OF HEROISM, TRAGEDY AND SELF-SACRIFICE. HERE, MIKE BROWN LOOKS BACK AT THE CITY'S ROLE IN THE VOYAGE - AND HOW THE WESTERN MAIL COVERED THE ILL-FATED POLAR EXHIBITION

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 15, 2010 | Go to article overview

Gifts from Wales for Scott's Polar Trip - Goodwill and Bags of Cash; TODAY MARKS 100 YEARS SINCE CAPTAIN SCOTT'S TERRA NOVA DEPARTED FOR THE ANTARCTIC FROM CARDIFF BAY, LEAVING A LEGACY OF HEROISM, TRAGEDY AND SELF-SACRIFICE. HERE, MIKE BROWN LOOKS BACK AT THE CITY'S ROLE IN THE VOYAGE - AND HOW THE WESTERN MAIL COVERED THE ILL-FATED POLAR EXHIBITION


A CENTURY on, its story is as inspiring and poignant as any in the history of British exploration.

Embodying the pioneering spirit still alive and well at the start of the 20th century, it made legends of Captains Robert Falcon Scott and Lawrence Oates, whose dying quote is among the most enduring ever spoken.

Exactly 100 years ago today, Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole captured the hearts and minds of a nation.

It was one of the last great adventures of colonial Britain before the outbreak of World War I, striking a chord with the British public and sealing Capt Scott's fate as a national icon.

On Wednesday, June 15, 1910, the Terra Nova, with Capt Scott temporarily onboard, set sail from Cardiff on the first leg of its journey to Antarctica and the South Pole.

As a thank-you to the people of South Wales for their generosity, the expedition used Cardiff docks as their final port of call in the UK.

But the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910's connection to Cardiff was established more than a year before the historic event at the now redeveloped Cardiff Bay.

That link was primarily down to Lieutenant Edward Evans.

Lt Evans was a Welshman with tenuous links to Cardiff, who in 1909 was busy planning his own Welsh expedition to the South Pole.

During this time, Lt Evans had sounded out WE (William) Davies, then editor of the Western Mail, and secured the support and influence of the newspaper.

But in a conversation later that year between Lt Evans and Sir Clement Markham, the influential former president of the Royal Geographical Society, it was suggested that Lt Evans meet Capt Scott.

At that meeting went the two men agreed to combine their efforts, with Evans becoming Scott's second in command.

On September 13, 1909, the Western Mail announced the expedition and on September 20, a picture of Lt Evans was printed, described as "a former Cardiff man".

It was estimated the expedition would cost about pounds 50,000, the equivalent of more than pounds 4m today.

As reported in the Western Mail on November 1, 1909, Lt Evans launched his fundraising campaign with a lecture at Cardiff's City Hall. Alongside the article, WE Davies wrote an editorial emphasising the importance of the expedition and urging Wales to get behind the venture.

The paper also reported how Cardiff businessman James Howell agreed to produce a large Welsh flag for t he Terra Nova. The next day, it reported that Lt Evans' first fundraising visit had raised pounds 545.

When Lt Evans returned to Cardiff some weeks later, more than pounds 1,000 had been raised in the city, much of it down to the influence of Davies and ship owner Daniel Radcliffe.

On November 24, 1909, the paper announced the Terra Nova would be coming to Cardiff.

"Cardiff people will be glad to learn that they will have an opportunity of seeing the Terra Nova before she leaves for the Antarctic regions next summer," it reported. "Captain Scott is so delighted with the support which the expedition has received and is receiving in Cardiff and the district that he has decided that instead of sending the coal by train to London, he will send the Terra Nova to [collect] coal in Cardiff.

"Lieutenant Evans will, therefore, bring her round from London at the right time, and there is little doubt that the famous ship - once a Scottish trawler - will be the object of the greatest interest during her stay in the port.

"Lieutenant Evans, by the way, has returned to Cardiff, and is meeting with the same gratifying support which was accorded to him on his first visit a few weeks ago.

"In Cardiff and the immediate district he has received subscription amounting to pounds 1,130 and several other substantial sums have been promised. The total fund now stands at about pounds 9,000 out of the pounds 40,000 required. …

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Gifts from Wales for Scott's Polar Trip - Goodwill and Bags of Cash; TODAY MARKS 100 YEARS SINCE CAPTAIN SCOTT'S TERRA NOVA DEPARTED FOR THE ANTARCTIC FROM CARDIFF BAY, LEAVING A LEGACY OF HEROISM, TRAGEDY AND SELF-SACRIFICE. HERE, MIKE BROWN LOOKS BACK AT THE CITY'S ROLE IN THE VOYAGE - AND HOW THE WESTERN MAIL COVERED THE ILL-FATED POLAR EXHIBITION
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