Iron and leather shot flask

A dark leather-covered iron shot pouch (or flask) from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The flask still contains shot and the iron is corroded. The style is very similar to AAA2169, which was made by Bishop of Bond Street, London. This refers to William Bishop, a goldsmith at 170 New Bond Street, who was the agent for Westley Richards, gunmaker [London Post Office Directory, 1841, page 147].

The shot pouch was found by Lieutenant William R. Hobson's sledge team on 24 May 1859 at a place where a ship's boat was discovered on the coast of Erebus Bay, King William Island, as part of the search expedition led by Captain F. L. McClintock. Hobson described finding a lot of material in the boat, including '5 shot flask' [Stenton, 'Arctic' v.69, No. 4, p. 518]. McClintock visited the site on 30 May and records 'two shot pouches (full of shot)'. [McClintock, Voyage of the Fox (1859), page 366].

The shot pouch was displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, in Case 2, No. 46. 'Two shot flasks with specimen of shot'. The item is 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. 7 (top right, to left of other shot pouch).

Object Details

ID: AAA2170
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Shot flask
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: 43 x 165 x 70 mm
Parts: Iron and leather shot flask

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