Sailor's Housewife (sewing kit)

A sailor's 'housewife' or sewing kit from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The 'housewife' is made from two strips of ribbon woven with clover plants, oak leaves and acorns. A strip of blue velvet is sewn to either ends. It contains a thimble, a quantity of thread, a ball of wool and a small package wrapped in cotton fabric held by a pin.

The sewing kit was found at the boat site in Erebus Bay by Captain F. L. McClintock's sledge team on 30 May 1859, as part of the search expedition led by McClintock The site had been visited and partially investigated by Lt William Hobson on 24 May but his report does not list everything he saw or removed. McClintock records ’a thread case' and 'a needle and thread case'. [McClintock, Voyage of the Fox (1859), page 366].

The 'housewife' was displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, Case 2, No. 48. 'Seaman's housewife'. The item, with some of the component parts, is also shown in - 'Stereoscopic slides of the relics of Sir John Franklin's Expedition' photographed by Lieutenant Cheyne RN, at the United Services Museum, Whitehall, No. 6 (left and centre).

Object Details

ID: AAA2161
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Sewing set
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, McClintock, 1857-1859
Vessels: Fox (1855)
Date made: Before 1845
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 45 x 432 x 150 mm

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