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The Papers of Robert White

Reference Code: GBR/0014/RWHT

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence between Robert White and Lady Franklin, as well as others, and published books about the expeditions to find Sir John Franklin in the 1850s.


  • Creation: 1850 - 1926

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Robert White was the owner of the well- known White's Shipyard at Cowes in the Isle of Wight in the mid-nineteenth century. Two fires at the Shipyard have destroyed most of the business records. In 1859 he lived in Medina Road, Cowes. Robert White's interest in the attempts to rescue Sir John Franklin and his expedition to the Arctic were aroused before 1850 when he presented a mahogany boat to the 'Prince Albert' - Lady Franklin's private expedition. He played an important part in urging the government to continue the search with naval ships and when, in 1857, the government declined to continue the search he assisted Lady Franklin in planning her last expedition. This was the 'Fox' commanded by Captain McClintock, R.N. which discovered relics of Sir John Franklin's men in King William's Land. Nothing is known about Robert White after 1865.


2 archive box(es)

Language of Materials



When received the archives consisted of four printed volumes and a small parcel of papers. The volumes were somewhat dilapidated from heavy use, but they and the papers were otherwise in good condition. The papers were somewhat disturbed in order, but it has proved possible to restore all the enclosures to the correct letters and almost all have been correctly dated.

Other Finding Aids

Copies of this catalogue are available at Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives in London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These papers were deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by Miss Helen Dashwood, through Victor Bonham-Carter, in 1970. Miss Dashwood was the friend and business partner of the late Miss Alice Sanders of Dulverton in Somerset. Miss Sanders had inherited the papers of Robert White, who was one of her maternal ancestors.

Related Materials

The Scott Polar Institute, University of Cambridge, holds papers of both Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin as well as others involved in Arctic exploration (ref. GBR 0015/ Sir John Franklin and GBR 0015/Jane, Lady Franklin).


This catalogue was prepared in March 2005 by Louise King at Churchill Archives Centre. Most of the information about Robert White given in this finding aid (taken from the original catalogue produced 1970) is drawn from the papers themselves.


White, Robert, fl 1850-1859, shipyard owner

2005-03-03 14:46:39+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087