Conservation efforts underway on Scott Statue
This historic photo from The Weekly Press, from Canterbury Museum's Bishop Collection (ref 1923.53.762), captures the unveiling of the Scott statue in February 1917.
A hundred years on from its unveiling, conservation efforts are underway to repair and reinstate the white marble statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, CVO, RN onto its original stone base.
Unveiled on 9 February 1917, and previously located at the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace, the 2.5 tonne, 2.6 metres high statue was badly damaged in the 22 February 2011 earthquake. It toppled from its plinth and the fall snapped the statue at its most vulnerable part, the ankles.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel says this news has been eagerly awaited by Antarcticans not only in New Zealand but also overseas.
“The Scott Statue is an important monument nationally and internationally. Due to the fragile nature of marble and the angle of the break, risks are associated with any repair. At this stage, we’re confident of a good result with the innovative repair design. If all goes to plan we hope to reinstate the statue in time for the opening of the Antarctic Season 2017, which will be a fitting tribute in its centenary year,” says Mayor Dalziel.
The statue serves as a memorial to Captain Scott, a famous Polar explorer, and those who died along with him in Antarctica on their return journey from the South Pole in 1912. It was sculpted by Captain Scott’s widow Kathleen Scott and has become a symbol of Christchurch's important links to Antarctica and Antarctic exploration.
In 2016 Christchurch City Council established a project team consisting of specialists in their field who, over the past months, have identified and evaluated multiple repair options for the statue. One preferred innovative design has been identified which includes pinning the legs with carbon fibre rods and thread, and a form of base isolation between the statue and the plinth to give it added protection.
Over the coming months the project team will carve a mock-up of the repair of one leg of the statue with Carrara marble (the same as the original marble) from Italy, ensuring the break surface is accurately replicated. This mock-up will then be seismically tested to help confirm the repair strategy or assist the team in making any adjustments required before starting repairs on the statue.
Due to the statue’s heritage listing in the Christchurch City Plan, a resource consent will be applied for. Provided Consent is granted and the seismic testing of the repair mock-up is successful, the project team expect to begin repairs on the statue in May 2017. The statue is anticipated to be back on its plinth in time for the opening of the Antarctic Season in September 2017.