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Discovery Ship Museum Dundee

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The Discovery Ship Museum Dundee is situated close to the City centre by the Train Station.

The Museum can be visited all year with an entrance fee. Postcode: DD1 4XA

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This is the famous ship used in Antarctic expeditions with one being led by Captain Scott in the early 1900s. Discovery was launched at Dundee in 1901 and returned to Dundee in 1986 to serve as a museum.

The image top is of RRS Discovery and the Ship Museum with the new V&A Design Museum to the left. These museums are on the waterfront by the Train Station, where the one mile long Tay Road Bridge crosses into Dundee.

RRS Discovery History

1820 - a number of explorers from around the world sighted Antarctica from their ships.

1821 - the first landing on Antarctica was probably by the American sealer, Captain John Davis.

1840 - Sir James Clark Ross discovered Ross Island in Antarctica, with the Island becoming a base for many explorations in the early 1900s. Ross had led an expedition with two Navy ships to document some of the Antarctic coast.

1892 - four steam-powered wooden whaling ships set out from Dundee to the Antarctic. The Blue Whales of the Antarctic were too large for them to capture, so they collected a large number of seal pelts to fund the voyage. The expedition included polar scientists and they discovered Dundee Island.

1890s late - the British Government began looking for a ship to carry out expeditions to the Antarctic.

Dundee was the largest Whaling port in the UK with a number of Boat Builders constructing wooden Whaling Boats, ideal for the Antarctic ice conditions, easily repaired, and wooden ships were easier to navigate as compasses worked better on them than they did on metal ships.

This was a time when most UK yards had began building metal ships. Dundee was one of only a few places where large wooden ships were still being built.

1901 March - the 172ft, 52m RRS Discovery was launched by the Dundee Shipbuilders Company.

1901 August - Discovery set out from England to New Zealand with Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton in charge, traveling around the African Cape of Good Hope.

1901 December - after minor repairs, Discovery set out from Lyttelton Harbour in New Zealand for the Antarctic. Explorers new little about Antarctica at that time.

1902 January 8th - Discovery reached the Antarctic coast with the explorers charting the coastline.

1902 February - the expedition docked at Ross Island in McMurdo Sound where they built the now famous Discovery Hut.

Discovery was locked in ice for the following two years. During this time, the expedition found Antarctica was a continent, and Scott set a new southern record by walking to latitude 82°S, discovering the Antarctic Plateau.

Rescue ships were sent but could do little to free the ship.

1904 February 16th - with the use of dynamite, Discovery was freed from the pack ice. The ship sailed for home the following day.

1904 September 10th - Discovery arrived back in the UK.

1905 - Discovery was sold to the Hudson's Bay Company to be used as a cargo ship running between London and Hudson Bay in Canada. The ship was also used by the British Government during World War One for transferring munitions.

1910 - Captain Scott departed south Wales on an old converted whaler named Terra Nova for an attempt at being the first person to reach the South Pole.

1912 January 17th - Captain Scott and 5 men reached the South Pole only to discover the Norwegian Roald Amundsen had reached the Pole five weeks earlier.

1912 March 29th? - Captain Scott Died on his 800 mile return journey from the South Pole to the ship docked at Ross Island.

1925 - Discovery was acquired by the British Government to carry out further research in the Southern Seas. The ship was then used to examine captured whales and observe their numbers and movements, as well as making oceanographic surveys of the seas.

1927 - Discovery was used in the Southern Seas again to tag whales and monitor whaling ships.

1929 - Discovery was used by the British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition to explore Antarctica and claim parts of the Continent with its rich seas for the British Empire.

1930 - Discovery was used again to claim more land for the British Empire, even carrying a small plane that flew around the Continent dropping British flags on land hard to reach by ship.

1936 - Discovery was used by the Boy Scouts Association in London as a static training ship.

1954 - Discovery was used as a drill ship for the Royal Navy Auxiliary Reserve and training ship for Sea Cadets.

1979 - Discovery was used as a museum on the River Thames in London.

1985 - Discovery was acquired by the Dundee Heritage Trust.

1986 - Discovery was transported from London aboard the cargo ship Happy Mariner to her new home in Dundee, where she was built.

1992 - Discovery was moved to a purpose built dry dock by the centre of Dundee with a modern visitor centre known as Discovery Point.

2001 - a £1 Billion project began to transform the city of Dundee by connecting the city centre and waterfront with large leisure spaces and new museums.

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