Brighton and Hove Commemorates Antarctic Pioneer

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The City of Brighton and Hove is to commemorate Edward Bransfield R.N. (1785-1852), the navigator and explorer who discovered Antarctica in 1820, by erecting a Blue Plaque on his former home in Brighton.  The ceremony will take place at 11 Clifton Road on Thursday 30th January 11.30am for 11.45am 2020 to mark the 200th anniversary, to the day, of Bransfield’s pioneering discovery which began the celebrated era of Antarctic exploration and later featured Captain Robert Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. Everyone welcome.

Edward Bransfield lived in Clifton Road from 1847 to early 1851 and later moved to 61 London Road where he died on October 30, 1852 at the age of 67. He is buried in the Extra-Mural Cemetery, Brighton.

The Brighton and Hove Commemorative Plaque Panel has approved the Blue Plaque with the support of the Remembering Edward Bransfield Committee. The unveiling ceremony will be performed by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Alan Robins, with Rear Admiral Richard John Lippiett CB. CBE. DL in attendance.

Bransfield was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1785 and press-ganged into the Royal Navy in 1803 at the start of the Napoleonic Wars. Despite this modest start to his naval career, Bransfield rose through the ranks and became an accomplished Ship’s Master with special responsibility for navigation.

In 1819, while stationed in Valparaiso, Chile, Bransfield was ordered to investigate reports of uncharted islands seen by the merchant vessel, Williams. Under Bransfield’s command, Williams sailed alone into unknown waters and on January 30, 1820 made the first-ever sighting of the Antarctic mainland. The land forms part of the Antarctic Peninsula and was named Trinity Land. The waters he crossed now carry thousands of tourists to Antarctica and are known as the Bransfield Strait.

The Plaque Panel set up by Brighton & Hove City Council VisitBrighton in 2005 is the successor to schemes run originally by Brighton and Hove Corporations and the Regency Society. The first plaques in Brighton appeared in 1925 and the scheme is now believed one of the oldest initiatives for plaque installations in the world, apart from that in London.

The Remembering Edward Bransfield Committee is a voluntary group established to commemorate Bransfield and to erect a monument in his birthplace of Ballinacurra, Cork. After arranging support from international and Irish sources, the monument was unveiled on January 25, 2020.