Sunday, 27 January 2008

Antarctic Explorer

Doctor Edward Wilson was the Cheltenham born explorer and is commemorated with this statue, in the Long Garden in front of the Municipal Offices. He was born in Cheltenham on 23rd July 1872 and from a young age showed an interest in natural history. He studied at Cambridge University for a degree in Zoology, gained in 1894, and then qualified in medicine, also at Cambridge, in 1900. After working abroad he took part in several Arctic explorations, writing up his findings and contributing watercolour illustrations to other peoples works. In 1910 he joined the famous Captain Scott on his National Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole, but tragically both men died in March 1912 on the return journey.

News of Wilsons death reached Cheltenham in February 1913 and a fund was set up to create a memorial to the explorer. The original plan was for two plaques to be hung in the Town Hall but Wilsons widow suggested that as Edward loved the outdoors a more suitable memorial should be erected. The bronze statue shown was modelled by Scotts widow and was unveiled on 9th July 1914 by Arctic explorer Sir Clarence Markham. A display of Wilsons Arctic clothing and kit, as well as some of his artwork, can be found at the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum.

The inscription on the plinth of the statue reads - "He died as he lived, A brave true man. The best of comrades and the staunchest of friends."


Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

I'm glad his widow intervened; the statue is beautiful.
Here's another view of it and a link to his watercolors.

brian stout said...

i really love the color or 'patina' the metal takes after a while... he looks very serious =)

Kate said...

His wife was wise to suggest this memorial instead because it certainly is more fitting. Very nice!

Ming the Merciless said...

How interesting!?!?!

It jolts me back to reality that not everyone has digital cameras for their pictures, esp. pre-1990.

I bet the water colors are fascinating.

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