Jump to content

Did a concertina accompany the ill-fated Franklin expedition?


Recommended Posts

I've just read an article about a forth-coming TV production on the Franklin expedition of 1845 to find the North West Passage.

The article discusses various items that have been recovered from the expedition.

At the end of the article there is this tantalising sentence:
 

“Bits of accordion, pipes and books have been found. These are touchstones to those lives and they have incredible poignancy.”

 

Was it a concertina or an accordion? 

 

Some years ago I read an account of the Franklin expedition and efforts to retrieve artefacts and find and examine the few graves of sailors entombed in the tundra.  I don't recall reading about a concertina, although I think I recall that both ships were equipped with a harmonium.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been mentioned before, and I'd be fascinated to learn more about it, but I've never been able to find out anything more, nor a photo, of this "accordion"/"bits of accordion" (or whatever it is) that was reportedly found aboard the wreck H.M.S. Erebus.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is said that there was a concertina on the later "Lady Franklin" or Greely expedition to search for survivors of the Franklin expedition. 

https://time.com/5752551/christmas-dinner-north-pole-1881/

On Christmas Day 1881, "The first Thanksgiving menu was extravagant... During the meal, prizes were distributed to the winners of the day’s events, and the evening concluded with concertina and violin music and singing."  - from Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy.

Edited by Stephen Mills
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

2 hours ago, Stephen Mills said:

It is said that there was a concertina on the later "Lady Franklin" or Greely expedition to search for survivors of the Franklin expedition.

 

By the time of the Greely expedition, in 1881, both concertinas and accordions were much more freely, and cheaply, available than they had been in 1845 (when concertinas would have been more the preserve of the officer class).

Edited by Stephen Chambers
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Stephen Mills said:

It is said that there was a concertina on the later "Lady Franklin" or Greely expedition to search for survivors of the Franklin expedition. 

https://time.com/5752551/christmas-dinner-north-pole-1881/

On Christmas Day 1881, "The first Thanksgiving menu was extravagant... During the meal, prizes were distributed to the winners of the day’s events, and the evening concluded with concertina and violin music and singing."  - from Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy.

This is a little confused. “Lady Franklin” was not the name of a ship, but the name of the bay Greely explored (and the name of the expedition). The purpose of the expedition had nothing to do with the Franklin expedition (35 years later one could hardly have expected to find survivors). There was consideration that they might rescue survivors of the more recent Jeannette expedition.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, David Barnert said:

This is a little confused. “Lady Franklin” was not the name of a ship, but the name of the bay Greely explored (and the name of the expedition). The purpose of the expedition had nothing to do with the Franklin expedition (35 years later one could hardly have expected to find survivors). There was consideration that they might rescue survivors of the more recent Jeannette expedition.

I agree completely, David - a sloppily worded post.  I inadvertently dropped the word Bay after Lady Franklin, which I never intended to be taken as the name of the ship, but the expedition.  While the expedition was said to be named for Franklin's wife, who tirelessly worked to advance searches for her husband's expedition, the purpose was to search for Jeannette survivors.  While I was troubled by the large number of years passed since the original expedition, I indeed missed that that they were in fact looking for survivors from the Jeannette, as you stated.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Stephen Mills said:

While the expedition was said to be named for Franklin's wife...

The expedition was named after the bay. The bay was named after Franklin’s wife.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/14/2021 at 5:09 PM, Stephen Chambers said:

It's been mentioned before, and I'd be fascinated to learn more about it, but I've never been able to find out anything more, nor a photo, of this "accordion"/"bits of accordion" (or whatever it is) that was reportedly found aboard the wreck H.M.S. Erebus.

 

Well now we know - it was a French accordion/flutina! (I'd have bet on it, for 1845 - they were the most popular accordions up until the 1870s.)

 

Here's its maple reedpan, with slotted-in individual reedplates, having just been recovered from the galley on board and being put into a plastic bag:

 

55570793_Erebusaccordion.jpg.3199124b14af8a3704ef983973fa61b8.jpg

 

You can witness the recovery here, on YouTube, between 2.43 and 2.52:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...