Pocket chronometer

The remains of a pocket chronometer from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. It retains its hands and a full plate movement with an engraved back cock. The glass is missing, although it was evident in the 1859 photograph, and the condition is very rusty. It was issued to HMS Erebus in 1845 along with eight others (see Chronometer Receipt ADL/D/18 for the full list) and is inscribed '980'

The chronometer was one of two 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 'A chronometer bearing the name of Parkinson and Frodsham &c. was found near his remains [skeleton at stern of boat], and much in the position it would have been had he worn it in the waistband of his trousers in a watch pocket.' [Stenton, 'Arctic' v.69, No. 4, p. 518]. McClintock also records in his narrative '...one of the pocket chronometers found in the boat was marked "Parkinson and Frodsham 980" and the other "Arnold 2020"...', although in his appendix he refers to 'five watches', combining the two chronometers with the three watches found in the boat. [McClintock, Voyage of the Fox (1859), pages 297 and 367].

The Parkinson & Frodsham 980 chronometer was displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, Case 17, No. 7 and 11. 'Chronometers from H.M. Ships "Erebus" and "Terror" '. 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. 8 (top, centre on top of the certificate of receipt signed by Lt. Le Vesconte).

Object Details

ID: AAA2203
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Pocket chronometer
Display location: Display - Polar Worlds Gallery
Creator: Parkinson & Frodsham
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, McClintock, 1857-1859
Vessels: Fox (1855); Terror (1813)
Date made: 1848; May 1859
Exhibition: North-West Passage
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 79 x 64 x 26 mm

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