Rochfort Maguire collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1848-1852 (leader Thomas Moore) and its continuance 1852-1854 under Maguire. The second part of the collection comprises of correspondence by Maguire.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rochfort Maguire joined the Navy in 1830, serving as mate in HMS Wasp on the coast of Syria and lieutenant in HMS Vernon. He was appointed lieutenant in HMS Herald on the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1848-1850 (leader Henry Kellett), instructed to assist HMS Plover of the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1848-1852 (leader Thomas Moore), in the search for Franklin's missing expedition in Bering Strait. In the summer of 1852, Maguire arrived at Port Clarence, Alaska, on the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854, taking over command of Plover from Thomas Moore with instructions to remain in the Bering Strait region assisting in the Franklin search. Maguire spent two winters at Elson Lagoon near Point Barrow, returning to Port Clarence in September 1854.

After the expedition, Maguire assumed command of a succession of ships, later serving as commodore of the Australian Station. He was invalided and died at Haslar hospital in 1867.

Published work The journal of Rochfort Maguire 1852-1854; two years at Point Barrow, Alaska, aboard HMS Plover in the search for Sir John Franklin edited by John Bockstoce, Hakluyt Society London (1988) SPRI Library Shelf (49)91(08)[1848-1854]


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

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

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

Related Material

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, which includes an image of Maguire. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.