Three pieces from two sledge runners

Three pieces from two sledge runners from the boat sledge used on the 1845 Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. AAA2283.1 has a label nailed onto it stating its provenance and goes with AAA2283.2. AAA2283.3 is a complete runner.

The runners were recovered by the US expedition under Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka between 1878-1880. They are described as 'Item 82. sledge runners obtained from Netchillik Eskimo on Adelaide Peninsula. It was taken by them from the boatplace on Erebus Bay shortly after being seen by Sir L. McClintock' in the 1881 catalogue of items that he sent back to Britain in 1881 [TNA, ADM 1/6600].

Schwatka's expedition visited the Erebus Bay 'boat place' sometime between 17 and 21 July 1879. The markings on the boat's stem found by Schwatka indicate it was the same one located by McClintock when he visited this site in 1859. McClintock described the sledge - then complete - 'she [the boat] was mounted upon a sledge of unusual weight and strength. It was constructed of two oak planks 23 feet 4 inches in length, 8 inches in width, and with an average thickness of 2 1/2 inches. These planks formed the sides or runners of the sledge; they were connected by five cross-bars of oak, each 4 feet long, and 4 inches by 3 1/2 inches thick, and bolted down to the runners; the underneath parts of the latter were shod with iron. Upon the cross bars five saddles or supporting chocks for the boat were lashed.' [McClintock, pages 291-292].

The sledge runners were displayed in the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, 'Table No. 3. Runners of a sledge, found laden with a boat belonging to Franklin's Expedition on the west shore of King William Island.' These were also in Display 15 at the Royal Naval Exhibition at Chelsea in 1891. The exhibition catalogue mentions 'Sledge runners obtained from Netchettik Eskimos on Adelaide Peninsula, taken by them from the boat place on "Erebus Bay" shortly after being seen by Sir Leopold McClintock.' [page 6].

Object Details

ID: AAA2283
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Sledge runner
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, Schwatka, 1878-1880
Date made: 1848
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 100 mm x 145 mm x 4430 mm x 29 kg
Parts: Three pieces from two sledge runners

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