Charles Forsyth collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Franklin Search Expedition, 1850 (led by Forsyth) and correspondence from Forsyth to Jane, Lady Franklin

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Codrington Forsyth was born circa 1810. In 1826, he entered the Navy, serving on anti-slavery operations on the African coast before transferring to HMS Beagle (Captain Fitzroy) on the South Atlantic Station. After serving in Burma, he was employed on surveying duties in Australia, where he met John Franklin who was governor of Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania]. Advancing to the rank of lieutenant in 1843, he participated in further anti-slavery operations and saw active service on the South African coast.

Promoted commander in 1849, Forsyth was appointed leader and commander of the schooner Prince Albert on the British Franklin Search Expedition in 1850, sponsored by Jane, Lady Franklin and by public subscription to search for the missing northwest passage expedition in the region of Boothia Peninsula and Prince Regent Inlet. Setting out from Aberdeen in June 1850, the expedition landed at Port Leopold to examine the site of Sir James Ross's wintering. Heavy ice hampered their progress through the inlet and they were unable to pass beyond Fury Point, turning back and crossing Barrow Strait to Cape Riley on Devon Island. There, he learned of the discovery of relics of the Franklin expedition at Cape Riley and of the discovery of Franklin's winter quarters on nearby Beechey Island. Cutting short the expedition, he returned to Britain to convey the news to Lady Franklin and the Admiralty.

After the expedition, Forsyth was appointed inspecting commander of the Coastguard at Berwick-on-Tweed and Brighton before commanding the steam vessel HMS Hornet in the Far East where he participated in the Crimean War between 1854 and 1855 and the China War from 1856 to 1857. Following his promotion to the rank of captain in 1857, Forsyth was placed in charge of HMS Valorous on the Cape Station, later commanding coastguard vessels on the Humber. Retiring in 1870, he died in 1873.

Arrangement

The collection is split into two sub-fonds comprising of expedition material and correspondence 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 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 and 'Charles Codrington Forsyth (ca. 1810-1873)' by Ian R Stone in Arctic volume 38 number 4 December 1985 p340-341

Other Finding Aids

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.

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.

Accruals

Further accessions possible