Harrogate woman: Scott of Antarctic was my great-grandfather

Harrogate Museums and Arts' new operations manager Lucy Scott. (1802191AM4)
Harrogate Museums and Arts' new operations manager Lucy Scott. (1802191AM4)

Harrogate museums' new operations manager has an amazing historical connection of her own - to legendary explorer Scott of the Antarctic.

Lucy Scott first joined the team as a casual museum assistant in 2008 when she was studying first at Harrogate College of Art and then taking a degree in Fine Art and History of Art at Leeds University.

Scott of the Antarctic, left, who died at the South Polc in 1912, with, right,  his great Norwegian rival, Roald Edmundsen.

Scott of the Antarctic, left, who died at the South Polc in 1912, with, right, his great Norwegian rival, Roald Edmundsen.

Haven risen through the ranks after ten years working for the publicly-owned Harrogate Museums and Arts,she will now take a full time management position organising the everyday running of some of the region's most popular heritage sites.

If anyone is qualifed to take up such a role, it's Lucy.

Scott of the Antarctic - family ties

As her surname suggests, she is descended from British legend, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, otherwise known as Scott of the Antarctic.

In fact, the brave Scott, who famously died in an ill-fated expedition at the South Pole in 1912, is Lucy's great grandfather.

Lucy said: "Scott’s expeditions to the Antarctic weren’t just about a race to the South pole with his Norwegian rival, Roald Amundsen.

"What many people don’t know about my great grandfather is the extensive scientific research conducted on the Terra Nova expedition – much of the data produced is still used by scientists today – particularly in climate science.

"Fossil samples that were found alongside Scott and his team mates in their tent, provided the missing piece of evidence to the theory of an ancient super continent named Gondwana which included Australia, Africa and South America. It helped to change our geological understanding of the planet."

Lucy said was proud of the work to make culture and history part of people’s lives at the likes of Mercer Art Gallery, Royal Pump Room Museum and Knaresborough Castle and the Courthouse Museum.

Lucy explores her own family past

Having explored her own family's past as a museum intern at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, as well as visiting Antarctica herself with her family, Lucy's connections to Scott have also given her an insight into art and wildlife conservation, all handy skills to have in her line of work.

Lucy said: "People may not known that Scott’s wife Kathleen was a renowned sculptor who trained at the Slade School of Art and under the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin in Paris.

"Kathleen’s sculptures are in a few national museum collections. She was one of the first women to fly a plane while her husband was away exploring Antarctica.

"My grandfather, Sir Peter Scott, Captain Scott’s only child, was a leader in worldwide nature conservation and artist who founded the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust and co-founded the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

"One of my grandfather Peter’s most visible legacies is WWF’s familiar panda logo, which he originally designed back in 1961.

"Peter led the way in nature conservation and also in televised natural history and mentored the likes of David Attenborough.”

Trip of a lifetime to Antarctic

Lucy's investigations into her own family history have taken her far and wide and, occasionally, put her in the spotlight.

She said: “In 2014, I travelled on a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica, to the Antarctic Peninsula with my family.

"It was fantastic to see the wonderful wildlife – and unbelievable landscapes and even to see a mountain named after my great grandfather – Mount Scott.

"A few years ago, I was one of the subjects of a television documentary Find my Past where I researched my family history.”

New role at Harrogate museums

Lucy's 'boss', Jane Sellars, Harrogate Borough Council's curator of cultural services, said that staff felt that Lucy had grown up with them.

Lucy herself is delighted at the prospect of her new role.

She said: "“I’m happy and excited to take on my new role and looking forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to bring the museums and their collections to a wider audience.

"It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside the wonderful exhibitions put on by our fabulous curators during my time here.”