09 / 07 / 2024

Pupils of Clytha Primary School recently shared the story behind their street name selections for our Royal Victoria Court development in Newport, inspired by the Newport-born historical figure, Perce Blackborow.

Year 5 pupils gave a presentation to us and our partner Tirion, where they told the incredible story of Perce Blackborow, who inspired the name ideas they had come up with.

Perce Blackborow, born in 1894, was a sailor and stowaway on the historic Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 to 1917, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. At the age of 19, Perce snuck onto the Endurance ship by hiding in the crew’s lockers, before being discovered on the third day at sea. Perce was eventually signed on as a steward and proved to be a valuable asset.

In 1915, Endurance sank after becoming trapped in pack ice. The crew moved to the remote Elephant Island, and on arrival Shackleton gave Perce the honour of being first to step foot on the land. During the journey to the island, however, Perce’s toes became severely frostbitten and ended up needing to be amputated.

Four and a half months later the crew were rescued, and Perce arrived in England in 1917. He was awarded the Bronze Polar Medal and returned to live in Newport, where he stayed until his death in 1949.

To honour Perce’s story, the children of Clytha Primary School devised ‘Cape Yelcho Road’, ‘Cape Lindsey Road’, ‘Walker Point Way’ and ‘Sultan Glacier Close’ as street names, all of which relate to landmarks found on Elephant Island.

Catherine Dacey, Deputy Headteacher at Clytha Primary School, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our children to be part of the legacy of remembering Perce Blackborow and his incredible story. Since learning about Perce themselves through books and speaking with his grandson John several months ago, they were so captivated by everything Perce and the crew of the expedition endured. It really is a remarkable story, and one which many local people unfortunately do not know, and so the class were really keen for it to be shared. The entrance to the development is actually opposite Lime Close (previously Lime Street) where Perce grew up, and so it will be wonderful to honour and remember him in this way, so close to his home.”

Gemma Clissett, regional partnerships director at Lovell, said: “The children gave a fantastic presentation, and we were amazed by their storytelling and passion. Learning all about Perce Blackborow as a figure who is so important to Newport’s history has been a wonderful experience and one that we will treasure for years to come. We take a lot of care at Lovell to invest in our local communities and leave behind a lasting legacy at our developments, so we are very proud to be honouring Perce in this way.  

“We would like to thank the children for their hard work on this project, and we are delighted that their street names are now in place at Royal Victoria Court.”

Mark Howells, group housing director for Tirion Homes, added: “Perce Blackborow's story is one of perseverance, of endurance and inspiration. It is why we are delighted that alongside the pupils of Clytha Primary School, we have been able to honour Perce at Royal Victoria Court with street names, and that this is another chapter to his incredible story. Thank you to the children of Clytha Primary School for their enthusiasm and passion in helping us to build the community at Royal Victoria Court.”

Royal Victoria Court, located off Cardiff Road, comprises a stunning collection of 264 two, three and four-bedroom houses and one and two-bedroom apartments. The development is open seven days a week, 10am to 5pm. To find out more, visit https://www.lovell.co.uk/developments/royal-victoria-court-newport/ or call 01633 928 856.

Royal Victoria Court is being delivered in partnership with Tirion Homes and with support from Welsh Government. The development will consist of 528 properties, including 264 open market sale homes and 234 affordable homes for rent with Tirion Homes, alongside an additional 30 properties for low-cost home ownership through Melin Homes.

To read more about Perce Blackborow, visit https://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/museum/shackleton/biographies/Blackborow,_Perce/.