John Cheyne collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material written during the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854 (leader Sir Edward Belcher) relating to the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854 (leader William Pullen)

Administrative / Biographical History

John Powles Cheyne was born in 1826. He entered the Royal Navy, serving as master's assistant in the surveying ship HMS Columbia in the Bay of Fundy. He was appointed midshipman in HMS Enterprise on the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1848-1849 (leader James Clark Ross), sent by the Admiralty to search for Sir John Franklin's missing Northwest Passage expedition along the shores of Lancaster Sound, Barrow Strait, Wellington Channel and Prince Regent Inlet. He returned to the Arctic as mate in HMS Resolute on the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851 (leader Horatio Austin), instructed to search for Franklin's missing expedition by way of Baffin Bay and Lancaster Sound. Promoted lieutenant on his return in 1851, Cheyne joined the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854 (leader Sir Edward Belcher), sailing in HMS Assistance on a voyage to the regions of Wellington Channel and Melville Island in search of Franklin. He retired from the Navy with the rank of commander in 1870. In 1880, Cheyne proposed a plan for an expedition to reach the North Pole by balloon, travelling to the United States the following year in an attempt to raise funds, but the project was later abandoned. He died in 1902.


The collection 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 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 The Bulletin of the Geographical Society of Philadelphia Volume 33 number 4 October 1935 SPRI Library Shelf Pam 92[Cheyne, John Powles]

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