Charles Phillips collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Phillips regarding the Arctic with particular mention of the search for the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (leader Sir John Franklin)

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Gerrans Phillips joined the Navy in 1820. He served as second lieutenant in HMS Terror on the British Naval Expedition, 1839-1843 (leader James Clark Ross), sailing in company with HMS Erebus to conduct a series of magnetic observations in the southern hemisphere and to locate and reach the South Magnetic Pole. Phillips was appointed second-in-command in the schooner Felix on the British Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851 (leader Sir John Ross), financed by Hudson's Bay Company and by public subscription to search for Franklin's missing expedition along the shores of Barrow Strait and Melville Sound. Between May and June 1851, Phillips attempted to lead a party northward across Cornwallis Island but was forced to turn back after he had reached 75° 29 minutes North. He served as an honorary member of the British Meteorological Society. He died in 1872.


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 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 Royal meteorological Society [ requires Adobe Acrobat reader]

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