Blueprints of Scott’s Discovery found after more than a century

A set of original blueprints of Scott’s Polar exploration ship Discovery have turned up more than a century after the vessel set sail.

Thought to be one of only two sets still surviving, the blueprints, which recall the golden age of polar exploration, were rescued by draughtsman Harry Smith when Goole Shipyard closed in the 1980s.

The documents, which measure around a yard across, were kept in the attic of his home in Goole until his death, when they passed to his daughter Jean Cannon.

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She inherited her father’s love of history and decided to show them to her lecturer, maritime expert Dr Robb Robinson, after starting a course in regional and local history at the University of Hull.

Dr Robinson said experts he had spoken to had never seen any others, adding: “They really are beautiful. There may be a set in the National Maritime Museum but I haven’t heard of any other set.”

Jean said: “I am incredibly proud that my family have been the guardians of something of such historical importance. We always knew they were special, but it is fascinating to know more about the links between Scott and the polar expeditions, and this region.”

She and her family are now deciding what to do with the documents in the long term, but there has been interest from the Discovery visitor attraction in Dundee.

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The Discovery expedition of 1902 was the first official British exploration of the Antarctic since James Clark Ross’s voyage 60 years earlier.

Organized on a large scale under a joint committee of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society, it launched the Antarctic careers of Scott and Ernest Shackleton.

There are strong links with Hull – much of the money to build Discovery came from Llewellyn Longstaff, the owner of Blundells Paints. It was rescued from the ice in 1904 by Captain Colbeck of Hull and a crew including 16 recruits from the Wilson Line.

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