Medicine chest

A mahogany medicine chest from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The medicine chest is held together with screws. It has brass hinges and the remains of a canvas cover. There is a plush pad inside the lid and it is fitted with a lock and strap now broken. The contents are a mix of medicine bottles, syringes, bandages, lint and test tubes (see NOTES for contents).

The chest was found by Lieutenant William R. Hobson's sledge team on 6 May 1859 near the Ross Cairn, Point Victory, King William Island, as part of the search expedition led by Captain F. L. McClintock. Hobson described it as '...a boat's medicine chest..' [Stenton, 'Arctic' v.69, No. 4, p. 515]. McClintock recorded it as 'A case of medicines, consisting of 25 small bottles, canister of pills, ointment, plaster, oiled silk etc' [McClintock, 'Voyage of the Fox' (1860), p.368].

The medicine chest was displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, Case 8 'Medicine chest, brought from Ross Cairn, Point Victory'. The item 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. 1.

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