The Beechey Papers

Following Alison Freebairn's 2019 rediscovery of the Beechey Papers, I travelled to London to photograph these Franklin Expedition relics – after the Beechey Island graves, the only written records recovered from the first winter camp.

To read her brief overview of the Beechey Papers, click here.

To organize the papers, I have numbered all non-newsprint fragments as "BP-1" through "BP-12", based on the original order they appear in the archive.  Where a Beechey Paper has two sides visible, I have added "A" and "B" suffixes to the file names to denote this.



BP-02-A, B:  Handwriting present.  Believed to be magnetic observations, and identified by John Barrow Jr. as being James Fitzjames' handwriting.

BP-03-A:  Handwriting present.  Name of "Mr. McDonald", Assistant Surgeon on HMS Terror.


BP-04-A, B:  Handwriting present on Side A.  Believed to be "to be called".

BP-05-A, B

BP-06-A:  Handwriting present.  Mathematical notations.

BP-06-B:  Handwriting present.  Mathematical notations.

BP-07:  Fortnum & Mason, Superior Chocolate Powder.

Reconstruction of first paragraph by Karen Boyd, Alison Freebairn, and myself:

The Chocolate Powder, in possessing all the nu-
tritious qualities of the Nut, as well as its peculiar
fine flavour, XXXXX infinite advantage over most
preparations of the same nature. Chocolate made
in the common manner is exceedingly troublesome,
XXXXXXXXX frequently neglected, although
strongly recommended by medical men for nourish-
ment to invalids. The simplicity of making use of
the Powder supersedes that entirely.

BP-07 (polarized for readability)

BP-08-A, B

BP-09:  Handwriting present.  

BP-09 (saturated to highlight the writing)

BP-10, 11:  BP-10 above (in two or more fragments) with BP 11 below.  Handwriting present.  

BP-11:  Detail of the debated words.

BP-12:  Handwriting present.  This is only the more analyzed segment of the larger paper.