John Philip Gell collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Gell to his mother-in-law Jane, Lady Franklin regarding the search for the missing British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (leader Sir John Franklin) with particular mention of the United States Franklin Search Expedition, 1864-1869 (leader Charles Hall)

Administrative / Biographical History

John Philip Gell was born in 1816. He was educated at Rugby School and Trinity College, Cambridge, and was later ordained. In 1840, he was invited to take up a post as a principal of a college in Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania], Australia, where he met Sir John Franklin, who was serving as Lieutenant Governor. In 1846, Gell became the first Warden of Christ College in Hobart, a post he held until 1849, the year in which he married Eleanor Franklin, daughter of Sir John Franklin, and his first wife, Eleanor Anne Porden. On his return to England, Gell served as a curate in several parishes. He was widowed in 1860 and died in 1898.


The correspondence is arranged chronologically

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.


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 Christ College and The Welcome Trust and The fate of Franklin, the life and mysterious death of the most heroic of Arctic explorers by Roderic Owen, Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers) Ltd. London (1978) SRPI Library Shelf 92[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.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible