Friday, 16 March 2012

Event - Antarctic explorer’s watch to go on show (Upton)

A pocket watch used by Antarctic explorer Robert Scott on his doomed expedition to the South Pole will be on show at the British Horological Institute, Upton, to mark 100 years since his death.
The curator at the British Horological Institute, Mr Alan Midleton, with the display about Scott of the Antarctic featuring his pocket watch.

It is believed the watch, which has an alarm, was used by Scott during expeditions to wake him at two-hourly intervals to ensure he moved his hands and feet to reduce the risk of frostbite.

It features in a picture of Scott in his cabin in the Antarctic in 1911.

Scott and his team died of cold and hunger on the return trip from the South Pole having unsuccessfully tried to be the first to reach it. They were beaten by Roald Amundsen and his team from Norway.

The watch is believed to have been donated to the institute in 1947 by Scott’s family although official records of its handover have been lost.

The watch will be part of a specially-made display replicating the inside of Scott’s hut.

Visitors can see it during an open day, from 10am to 4pm, on Sunday, March 25 — the day the clocks go forward — and during a talk by the museum curator, Mr Alan Midleton, on Wednesday, March 28, at 7.30pm.

He said although the watch had been at the institute for some time they decided to display it because of the increased interest in Scott on the 100th anniversary of his death, believed to be March 29.

Mr Midleton said: “The watch would have been critically important and it would have left the hut and gone out on expeditions.”

Mr Midleton said some people had expressed doubt over whether the watch was genuine, but it had a bootlace and safety pin still attached that Scott would have used to pin it to his clothes.

He said: “People have said, quite rightly, that it is not an explorer’s watch, which it isn’t, but it would have been used for a different purpose.”

A chronometer clock, an extremely precise and accurate clock, similar to one Scott would have used, which had been used by other explorers, is also on display.

For tickets for the explorer talk by Mr Midleton, email

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