March 1st, 2012

Franklin Relics

Hi Guys: There is a blog that I visit now and then. it is called 'Visions of the North.' It is written by a Franklin expert. Often he talks about other arctic expeditions, but he sometimes has Franklin news.

I went there today, and he had something exciting. I do not know how long it has been up, maybe you all know it already, but i thought to pass it on.

The National Maritime Museum (British) has digitized a whole slew of photos of Franklin expedition relics. They had been in storage before, but they are all up now. We can zoom on them, and really get a good look. Some are very touching. There is a spoon which had been from Franklin's silver set. It has WW carved on the back. Mister WW was an able seaman who would not have ordinarily had such a spoon. It appears that Franklin handed his silver out to everyone rather than leave it behind. WW carried that spoon a long way.

Also notable are a crumpled ships ensign, (too fragile to unfold they said) and a 'housewife.' (Which made me think of Horatio, of course,) and which I had never seen a picture of. It looks like one of those shoe organizers, where you put all the shoes in little pockets. It is embroidered. 

Also there are bits of rope, and bits of metal, and broken pocket knives-- things like that. I thought, at first, why did they drag all this junk with them, but of course they did not know what they might need. They did not want to be stuck without the ability to make repairs, or shelters.

Also you can see things that were re purposed by the local people, knives in particular. Some may have been traded by the Franklin group. Many were probably retrieved later too.

Anyway-- really cool, informative, and pitifully moving.