The Collections

Franklin's ships 'Erebus' and 'Terror'

Created: 19.09.14

Franklin’s ships were both Hecla-class bomb vessels. HMS Terror was launched at Topsham in 1812 and the slightly smaller HMS Erebus at Pembroke in 1826. In 1836-1837 Captain George Back took Terror to the Arctic to attempt to find a sea route from Hudson's Bay to the Polar Sea. The ship was stranded for 118 days on an ice floe, drifted 200 miles and sustained heavy damage. On return from the 1837 voyage, Terror was beached for repairs in Ireland. In 1839 Terror was sent out with the Erebus to the Antarctic under the command of Captain James Clark Ross, returning in 1843. Sir John Franklin was selected commander of an expedition to discover the North-West Passage - a sea route across the top of the American continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The expedition set out in the Erebus and Terror in May 1845. The voyage was expected to be completed in two years. When nothing was heard from them after three years, a series of searching expeditions was sent out to the Arctic. Jane Franklin, the expedition commander’s wife, refused to let the Admiralty give up the search for the expedition and sent out expeditions of her own. John Rae, the Hudson’s Bay Company explorer, met Inuit on the northern coast of Canada in 1854 who had personal possessions of members of the Franklin expedition, including this badge which undoubtedly belonged to Franklin himself. They also told Rae that the starving expedition members resorted to cannibalism. Lady Franklin sent out a final private expedition in the Fox, commanded by Leopold McClintock, in an attempt to solve the mystery of the fate of her husband’s expedition. McClintock succeeded, bringing back records and relics in 1859.


  • Name
  • Artist / Maker
  • Date made
  • ID
  • Unknown
    September 1839
    6132a
    Terror (1813); Erebus (1826)

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the inboard profile with fittings for Terror (1813) and Erebus (1826), both Bomb Vessels converted for polar exploration. The plan relates to the two ships as converted for the Antartctic Expedition under Captain James Clark Ross…

  • Unknown
    December 1837
    6133
    Terror (1813)

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the upper deck with some deck fittings for Terror (1813), a Bomb Vessel converted for Arctic Service under Captain George Back in 1836. Signed by William Stone [Master Shipwright, Chatham Dockyard, 1830-1839].

  • Unknown
    September 1839
    6133a
    Terror (1813); Erebus (1826)

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the upper deck with deck fittings for Terror (1813) and Erebus (1826), both Bomb Vessels converted for polar exploration. The plan relates to the two ships as converted for the Antarctic Expedition under Captain James Clark…

  • Unknown
    March 1836
    6132
    Terror (1813)

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the inboard detail for Terror (1813), a Bomb Vessel as converted for Arctic Service under Captain George Back in 1836. The plan is subsequently dated December 1837 after it was used at Chatham to assist with…

  • Unknown
    September 1839
    6135
    Terror (1813); Erebus (1826)

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the orlop deck and hold with details of stowage and magazine stowage for Terror (1813) and Erebus (1826), both Bomb Vessels converted for polar exploration. The plan relates to the two ships as converted for the…

  • Unknown
    December 1837
    6134
    Terror (1813)

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the lower deck illustrating the cabin arrangements and some fitted furniture for Terror (1813), a Bomb Vessel as convered for Arctic Service under Captain George Back in 1836. Signed by William Stone [Master Shipwright, Chatham Dockyard,…

  • Unknown
    September 1839
    6136
    Terror (1813); Erebus (1826)

    Scale: 1:24. Plan showing a half section of the midship section illustrating the additional wooden sheathing and fittings for Terror (1813) and Erebus (1826), both Bomb Vessels converted for polar exploration. The plan relates to the two ships as converted…

  • Unknown
    17 March 1845
    6137
    Erebus (1826); Terror (1813)

    Scale: 1:24. Plan showing the two elevations of the rudder and stern post with deadwood to illustrate the screw propeller in postion and the replacement chock as fitted on Erebus (1826) and Terror (1813), both converted Bomb Vessels to Arctic…

  • Unknown
    December 1837
    NPC3124
    Terror (1813)

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the orlop and hold with platforms for Terror (1813), a Bomb vessel, as converted to an exploration vessel for the Arctic (under Captain George Back). The plan includes elevations of the sloproom racks and the storeroom…

  • Unknown
    September 1839
    NPC3125
    Terror (1813); Erebus (1826)

    Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the lower deck illustrating the cabin arrangement for Terror (1813) and Erebus (1826), both Bomb vessels, converted to exploration vessels for Antarctica (under Captain James Ross). The plan includes an elevation of a seaman's chest in…

  • Unknown
    Circa 1839
    397
    HMS Erebus (1826); Exploration/research vessel

    A full hull block model built at a scale of 1:48 of HMS ‘Erebus’, launched in 1826. The model is decked with some fittings and the hull is complete with the additional planking at the bow and around the waterline…

  • Smyth, William Henry
    Mid-19th century
    OP1952-17
    'Perilous position of H.M.S. Terror, Captain Back, in the Arctic Regions in the summer of 1837'

    This shows an episode during Captain George Back's voyage in the 'Terror' in the Arctic regions during 1836-37. It was his last expedition to find a sea route from Hudson's Bay to the Polar Sea, tracing the coast of the…

  • Stanley, Owen
    1837
    PAF0279
    Sketch showing the state of HMS Terror on her arrival in Loch Swilly

    Bound with PAF0252-PAF0278, PAF0280-PAF0285.; Medium includes graphite.; Heightened with white.

  • Carmichael, John Wilson
    1847
    1948.530.2
    'Erebus' and 'Terror' in the Antarctic

    (Updated, July 2014) One of a pair with BHC1215, both of which have received identifications in terms of subject, as showing the 'Erebus' and 'Terror' in the Antarctic during James Clark Ross's expedition. However, there is a so far unresolved…

  • Lucchesi, Andrea Carlo
    circa 1898
    TP0018
    Sir John Franklin (1786-1847)

    Head-and-shoulders small-scale bust of Sir John Franklin in bronzed plaster, signed 'A. C. Lucchesi' on the back, on an integral square, flared socle. It was presented to Greenwich Hospital in 1899 by W. F. Rawnsley, Franklin's great-nephew, and shows the…

  • Franklin, Jane
    1852
    12
    Sledge flag

    A sledge flag embroidered with Sir John Barrow's motto ‘HOPE ON HOPE EVER’ made by Lady Jane Franklin for Lieutenant Bedford Pim. It was flown from HM sledge 'John Barrow' commanded by Pim when he made contact with the crew…

  • Unknown
    circa 1855
    W1986-47
    'Sir John Franklin' and 'Lady Franklin'

    A Staffordshire earthenware figure of the Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), the name 'SIR JOHN FRANKLIN' painted in gold on the base. He is dressed in naval uniform and hat, and stands in front of a rock holding a…

  • Arrowsmith, John
    1860
    N9360
    The Arctic shores of America; from Baffin Bay to Cape Bathurst, showing the coasts, rivers &c. explored by the officers of the several British expeditions, between 1818 & 1859. Principally in search of Sir John Franklin. by John Arrowsmith F.R.G.S.

    Single sheet. Hand col. engr. Scale: [ca. 1:3 000 000 (bar)]. Contents Note: Tracks of the Fox and the Terror. Notes on ice thickness and the fate of the Franklin expedition, Inset: Sketch of Bellot Strait by Captn. Allen Young…

  • Unknown
    1836
    Y2000.023
    Badge: Royal Hanovarian Guelphic Order, 2nd class

    A relic of Sir John Franklin's last expedition 1845-48. The badge of a Knight Commander, of the Royal Hanovarian Guelphic Order awarded to Sir John Franklin on 25 January 1836. It was obtained from the Inuit at Repulse Bay in…

  • Captain McClintock
    circa 1859
    285:4
    Sketch of the recent discoveries on the northern coast of America by Captain M'Clintock RN in search of Sir John Franklin

    Single sheet, lithograph with hand colouring of explorers' routes. Scale approximately 1:1 500 000. During an expedition in the 'Fox', paid for by Lady Franklin, Leopold McClintock and his companions found remains of Sir John Franklin's 'Erebus' and 'Terror' expedition…

  • Gould, Rupert Thomas
    1927
    G285:4/9(1)
    Chart showing the vicinity of King William Island with the various positions in which relics of the Arctic Expedition under Sir John Franklin have been found.

    Scale approx. 1:1,000,000. This British Admiralty publication records the locations where relics of the Franklin expedition were discovered on and around King William Island where many of Franklin’s men died. Rupert Gould compiled information brought back by the searching expeditions…