David Lyall collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854 (leader Edward Belcher) and papers relating to Lyall's naval career.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Lyall was born on 1 June 1817 at Kinkairdineshire, Scotland. He studied medicine at Aberdeen and was admitted a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons at Edinburgh. In 1839, he joined the Royal Navy as a medical officer and naturalist, serving as assistant surgeon in HMS Terror on the British Naval Expedition, 1839-1843 (leader James Clark Ross), organized primarily to conduct a series of magnetic observations in the Southern Hemisphere. During this voyage, Lyall, Joseph Dalton Hooker and Robert McCormick made a worldwide collection of botanical specimens, including many from southern oceanic islands. On his return, Lyall served as assistant surgeon in several commissions in the Mediterranean until 1847, when he was promoted and selected as surgeon and naturalist in HMS Acheron on the survey of the coast of New Zealand.

In 1852, Lyall was appointed surgeon in HMS Assistance on the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854 (leader Sir Edward Belcher), sailing on a voyage to the regions of Wellington Channel and Melville Island in search of Sir John Franklin's missing Northwest Passage expedition. During the expedition, he made a valuable collection of Arctic flora in the Wellington Channel area.

On his return, Lyall was appointed to HMS Pembroke, serving throughout the Crimean War of 1855. After a short period of home service at Devonport, he was commissioned as surgeon and naturalist to HMS Plumper and later to HMS Hecate, employed in a survey in the Pacific Ocean. In 1858, he transferred to the Land Boundary Commission, participating in its survey of the boundary line between British Columbia and the United States. During this expedition, Lyall collected an important herbarium, and on his return was appointed staff surgeon in HMS Fisguard at Woolwich in order to arrange his collections at nearby Kew. He was later appointed surgeon to Pembroke Dockyard, and served in HMS Trincomalee and HMS Daedalus until 1873, when he retired from the Navy. In 1874, he was appointed to assist the Arctic Committee in provisioning the British Arctic Expedition, 1875-1876 (leader George Strong Nares). He died on 2 March 1895 at Cheltenham with the rank of deputy inspector-general of hospitals and fleets.

Arrangement

The collection is split into two sub-fonds comprising of expedition material and papers respectively

Conditions Governing Access

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.

Note

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 Royal engineers and British polar exploration and research a historical and medallic record with biographies 1818-1999 by Lieutenant Colonel Neville W Poulsom and Rear Admiral John A L Myres, Savannah Publications London (2000) SPRI Library Shelf 737.2

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

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Accruals

Further accessions possible