Robert Allan collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Allen regarding the voyage of HMS Resolute, British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851 (leader Horatio Austin)

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Calder Allen was born on 8 August 1812. He entered the Royal Navy in 1827 and was promoted to second master in 1838 and master in 1841, later serving in China and Borneo. He joined the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851 (leader Horatio Austin), as master in HMS Resolute, sent by the Admiralty to search for Sir John Franklin's missing Northwest Passage expedition. During the expedition, Allen led a party to explore Lowther and Garrett Islands in the Barrow Strait.

After the expedition, Allen served in Hogue in the Baltic between 1854 and 1855, advancing to staff commander in 1864 and staff captain in 1867. Retiring in 1870, he was awarded the CB in 1877. He died on 28 January 1903.


The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

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 Who was who, 1897-1916, Adam & Charles Black, London (1920) 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 and 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

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