Edward Griffiths collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence and suggestions by Griffiths regarding the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1847 (leader Sir John Franklin)

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Griffiths was born in July 1792 at Plymouth. In April 1803, he entered the Royal Navy, later participating in the capture of Copenhagen in 1807 and of Samana in 1808. Promoted lieutenant in 1815, he subsequently served in the Transport Service. In 1845, he was appointed to command Barretto Junior on the British Naval Supply Expedition, instructed by the Admiralty to accompany the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (leader Sir John Franklin), as far north as possible, then to transfer stores and provisions to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Sailing from London in May 1845, Barretto Junior arrived with Erebus and Terror at Kronprinsens Ejland group (Whalefish Islands) where the stores were transferred before Griffiths set sail for England in July.

On his return, Griffiths resumed employment with the Transport Service until 1847 when he was given command of HMS Morayshire, transporting liberated Africans from Sierra Leone to Jamaica. He was later appointed superintendent of liberated Africans at St Helena before returning to England in 1851. In 1854, he briefly rejoined the Transport Service, earning the Crimean medal for his services in the Black Sea. Retiring with the rank of commander in 1854, he died on 30 December 1883 at Landport.


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Holland Garland Publishing, London (1994) and Exploring Polar Frontiers, a historical encyclopaedia by William Mills San Diego and Oxford, 2003 and 'Lieutenant Edward Griffiths and the Franklin expedition' by A G E Jones and Richard Julius Cyriax in The Mariner's Mirror volume 39 number 3 August 1953 SPRI Library Shelf 91(08)(3)[1845 Franklin]

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

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Further accessions possible