Our Discovering Franklin project to catalogue and preserve the archives relating to Sir John Franklin is nearly finished. Within the next couple of months we will be publishing the brand new and very detailed catalogue of the collection. We will also be launching online exhibitions and images for people to explore through an exciting new venture which we are tantalisingly keeping under wraps until we have a definite launch date.
Whilst you’ll have to wait a little longer for our Franklin material, do take a look at an amazing video which Parks Canada have just released giving an underwater tour of H.M.S. Terror, one of Franklin’s ships which disappeared in the Canadian Arctic nearly 175 years ago and was rediscovered in 2016.
Excitingly, their latest exploration shows that records of the expedition are likely to be sitting in the ships, waiting to be recovered. Just imagine being the archivist who gets to catalogue that material!
You may have seen in the news that a team from Canada believe they have discovered one of the ships from the lost Franklin expedition – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-29131757
Franklin was one of the outstanding explorers of the early 19th century, but it was the Admiral’s tragic end that earned him iconic status. As a young midshipman, Franklin served at Trafalgar. He then commanded a frigate in the seas around Greece between 1830 and 1833. Four years later, in 1837 Franklin was appointed Governor of Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), a post he held until 1843. His lasting reputation derives from his major expeditions to the Canadian Arctic in search of the North West Passage. He embarked on the third in May 1845. The last sighting of his ships was in July 1845. Relief expeditions were mounted, but by 1850 it was clear to everyone except his second wife Lady (Jane) Franklin (1792-1875) that the expedition was lost. She continued to raise funds to send out search parties until 1859 when proof was found of the deaths of Franklin and his party.
Derbyshire Record Office holds a good range of records relating to Franklin and his various expeditions, including papers relating to the many searches for the final expedition after 1845. The papers have come to the Record Office through Franklin’s daughter, Eleanor Isabella. Eleanor was the daughter of Franklin’s first wife Eleanor Anne Porden (died 1825), and the wife of Rev. John Philip Gell, of the Gell’s of Hopton Hall, near Wirksworth and Carsington.
D3311/112/2 Lady Franklin’s Final Search p1
D3311/112/2 Lady Franklin’s Final Search p2
D3311/219 Copies of Instructions to Captain Sir John Franklin in reference to the Arctic Expedition of 1845, 1848
D3311/95 ‘ Echo from the deep’ – Newspaper cutting from the Daily Express 14 Apr 1965 regarding discovery of Erebus or Terror – although it transpired that this was not one of the lost ships
Also in the collection;-
D3311/81 – An Account of a clairvoyant describing where to find Sir John Franklin and his ships, copied by E.J. Gell, 1849
D3311/51/1-4 Extract from Capt. Fitzjames’ letter to Mr Barrow regarding Sir John Franklin 1845; Extract from a letter from a Canadian missionary, Rev Father Tacke describing an expedition setting off to find Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition 1848
2 Notices of the expedition’s discovery and search 1849