A calf-length leather seaboot.

A leather calf-length sea boot used on the 1845 Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The boot has a square toe and a rounded top to the leg shaped to fit the calf.

This item was recovered from Starvation Cove (also called Starvation Bay) at around July 1879 by a party from the US expedition under Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka between 1878 and 1880. The paper label on the sole states '20 From Starvation Cove', corresponding with 'Item 20. A boot found at Starvation Cove' in the 1881 catalogue of items that he sent back to Britain in 1881. [TNA, ADM 1/6600].

Schwatka's party had split into two. While he remained on King William Island a detached party of Inuit were sent to hunt for themselves and search the mainland following up an account by a man called Ahkgekshewah that a boat and skeletons had been found on the northern coast of the Adelaide Peninsula. The Inuit Joe Ebierbing seems to have been the main one to explore Adelaide Peninsula and Starvation Cove. Henry Klutschak recalled in 'Overland to Starvation Cove' that 'Eskimo Joe more than fulfilled his duty in this area; he had visited Starvation Cove within his first month on the island... shoes, boots, pieces of uniform and button were still lying around.' [Klutschak, page 110]. This was the farthest point that the main body of Franklin's expedition reached, having crossed from King William Island to the mainland.

The boot is marked in white paint '(10)' SEA BOOT FROM STARVATION BAY', indicating that it was displayed in the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, in Case 7, No. 10. 'Seaboot from Starvation Cove'.

Object Details

ID: AAA2296
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Sea boot
Display location: Display - Polar Worlds Gallery
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, Schwatka, 1878-1880
Date made: circa 1845
People: Ebierbing, Joseph
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 320x 300 x 100 mm

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