Sir David Attenborough Opens Scott House

Scott House was officially opened today by Sir David Attenborough, alongside Dafila Scott. 

Named in honour of Old Oundelian Sir Peter Scott (School House 1927), Scott House is the new home for Oundle’s junior day pupils.

Together with Sir Peter’s daughter Dafila, her family, and Martin Spray CEO Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Sir David toured the beautifully restored building, which features a listed façade that was originally a folly set within the gardens of The Berrystead. Merging the adjacent buildings with a dramatically glazed atrium, the School adapted the House for pupil use with a café and break-out area, changing rooms and a quiet study room, while retaining original architectural details. Signed art work by Sir Peter and his daughter Dafila are on display throughout the House.

The House emblem bears the image of a shoveler duck drawn by Sir Peter while a pupil at Oundle in the 1920s.

Sir Peter Scott was a legendary global conservationist and one of the founders of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. His early television career brought the natural world directly into homes across the nation, and was an inspiration for many broadcasters who followed. 

Sir David Attenborough has called Sir Peter “the patron saint” of conservation, and was delighted to come to Oundle to honour his friend. The two men met in the 1950s and 1960s when they both worked for the BBC presenting wildlife programmes. During a talk in the Great Hall later in the afternoon, Sir David said that of all those who have worked in the field of conservation, the one name that stands out is that of Sir Peter Scott, calling him one of the greatest citizens.

Fiona Quiddington, Housemistress of Scott House, is keen to ensure the pupils learn and become inspired by the life Sir Peter led. “Scott House represents a new era at Oundle School. To be named after a man who led such a diverse and fascinating life – not only a world-renowned conservationist but a naval officer, painter and Olympic sportsman – Scott House hopes to inspire every child who passes through its doors. Knowledge of the natural world is being lost with every generation, and we will educate and engage our pupils to ensure they take a natural lead in conservation efforts going forward.”   

It was Sir Peter’s father Captain Robert Falcon Scott who, in his last letter from the ill-fated Antarctic expedition, gave the instruction to Sir Peter’s mother, Kathleen, to “make him interested in natural history”. Sir Peter spent his entire life following his parents’ ideals, passing the mantle on to the world through his global and local initiatives to protect wildlife.