The life and work of natural history broadcasting pioneer Sir Peter Scott will be recognised following new investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT).
Scott, the son of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott, presented the BBC’s first ever natural history programme live from his studio lounge in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire in Mary 1953.
Today Slimbridge is a centre for science and conservation, and was opened to the public by Scott in 1946 to allow people to get closer to nature and promote the conservation of Britain’s wetlands and wildlife.
The £4.4m investment from the HLF will contribute to a £6m WWT project to renovate Sir Peter Scott’s home at Slimbridge and open it to the public. The house will be part of a ‘Scott tour’ through its grounds where visitors will be able to see the Hawaiian goose, which Scott saved from extinction, and more hides overlooking the wild nature reserves.
Scott inspired a generation of broadcasters and conservationists including Sir David Attenborough who said, “Peter is and always will be the patron saint of conservation. Long before words like ‘biodiversity’ were coined, Peter looked out from that huge window in his house at Slimbridge and realised our lives are so linked with our natural world that we have to learn to love it and look after it.”
Scott, the godson of JM Barrie and named after his famous creation Peter Pan, was the first person to be knighted for services to conservation. As well as being a founder of both the WWT and WWF, he also designed their respective swan and panda logos.
Speaking about the new investment at Slimbridge, HLF Trustee Jim Dixon said: "I can’t think of a more fitting way to use National Lottery players’ money than by marking Sir Peter Scott’s global reputation and giving Slimbridge a renewed role to celebrate the work he pioneered and loved.”
In addition to the HLF’s £4.4m grant, the WWT will need to raise a further £1.6m towards the full project cost. Work is due to start in late 2017.