Charles Richard Weld collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Weld to Jane, Lady Franklin regarding the search for her husband and the missing British Naval Northwest passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (led by Sir John Franklin)

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Richard Weld was born in 1813 in Windsor. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, but did not complete his degree, moving to London in 1839 to take up an appointment as secretary to the Statistical Society. After completing his studies at the Middle Temple, he was called to the bar in 1844. The following year, he was appointed assistant secretary and librarian to the Royal Society, publishing his History of the Royal Society with memoirs of the Presidents in 1848. Weld was an authority on polar matters, assisting Sir John Franklin in his research for his Arctic expeditions, and providing advice for those engaged in the search for Franklin's ill-fated Northwest Passage expedition. Resigning from the Royal Society in 1861, he became a partner in a publishing business with Lovell Reeve. In 1862, he was appointed manager of the philosophical department of the International Exhibition, also serving as district superintendent of the exhibition. He died on 15 January 1869 at New Bridge Hill, near Bath.

Published work Arctic expeditions, a lecture by Charles Richard Weld, John Murray London (1850) SPRI Library Shelf (3)91(091)[Arctic history of exploration] The search for Sir John Franklin. A lecture delivered at the Russell Institution, January 15, 1851 by Charles Richard Weld, Richard Bentley London (1851) SPRI Library Shelf (41)91(091)[1847-1859 Franklin search]


The correspondence with Lady Franklin 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 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 Dictionary of National Biography volume 60, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1899)

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