British Narratives

This list is a work of progress. Currently it contains most works from British expeditions, published in the 19th century. It does not contain historical works, overview works, or (semi-)fictional works.

Last updated: 13/Dec/2021.


Armstrong, Alexander. 1857. A Personal Narrative of the Discovery of the Northwest Passage: With Numerous Incidents of Travel and Adventure During Nearly Five Years’ Continuous Service in the Arctic Regions While in Search of the Expedition Under Sir John Franklin.

Back, George. 1836. Narrative of the Arctic land expedition to the mouth of the Great Fish River, and along the shores of the Arctic Ocean, in the years 1833, 1834 and 1835.

Back, George. 1838. Narrative of an expedition in H. M. S. Terror, undertaken with a view to geographical discovery on the Arctic shores, in the years 1836-7.

Beechey, Frederick William. 1831. Narrative of a voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait, to co-operate with the polar expeditions : performed in His Majesty’s ship Blossom, under the command of Captain F.W. Beechey in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28.

Beechey, Frederick William. 1843. A voyage of discovery towards the North Pole: performed in His Majesty’s ships Dorothea and Trent, under the command of Captain David Buchan, R.N.; 1818: to which is added, a summary of all the early attempts to reach the Pacific by way of the Pole.

Belcher, Edward, et al. 1855. The last of the Arctic voyages; being a narrative of the expedition in H. M. S. Assistance, under the command of Captian Sir Edward Belcher, C. B., in search of Sir John Franklin, during the years 1852-53-54.

Bellot, Joseph Rene. 1855. Memoirs of Lieutenant Joseph René Bellot : with his Journal of a voyage in the polar seas, in search of Sir John Franklin.

Collinson, Richard. 1889. Journal of H.M.S. Enterprise, on the expedition in search of Sir John Franklin’s ships by Behring Strait : 1850-55.

Cunningham, William K. Unpublished (2009, transcription). The Voyage of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Southern and Antarctic Regions, Captain James Clark Ross, R.N. 1839–1843. The Journal of Sergeant William K. Cunningham, R.M. of HMS Terror.

  • The Journal of the Hakluyt Society, 2009 (edited by R. Campbell): Hakluyt (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3).

Fisher, Alexander. 1820. Journal of a voyage of discovery, to the Arctic regions, performed between the 4th of April and the 18th of November, 1818, in His Majesty’s ship Alexander.

Fisher, Alexander. 1821. Journal of a Voyage of Discovery to the Arctic Regions in His Majesty’s Ships Hecla and Griper, in the Years 1819 and 1820.

Franklin, John. 1823. Narrative of a journey to the shores of the Polar Sea, in the years 1819, 20, 21, and 22.

Franklin, John. 1828. Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the Years 1825, 1826 and 1827.

Goodsir, Robert A. 1850. An Arctic Voyage to Baffin’s Bay and Lancaster Sound: In Search of Friends with Sir John Franklin.

Inglefield, Edward Augustus. 1853. A Summer Search for Sir John Franklin; with a Peep into the Polar Basin.

Lyon, George Francis. 1824. The Private Journal of Captain G. F. Lyon of H.M.S. Hecla during the Recent Voyage of Discovery under Captain Parry.

Lyon, George Francis. 1825. A brief narrative of an unsuccessful attempt to reach Repulse Bay : through Sir Thomas Rowe’s “Welcome,” in His Majesty’s ship Griper, in the year MDCCCXXIV.

Markham, Albert. 1874. A Whaling Cruise to Baffin’s Bay and the Gulf of Boothia: And an Account of the Rescue of the the Crew of the “Polaris.”

Markham, Clements. 1853. Franklin’s footsteps : a sketch of Greenland along the shores of which his expedition passed, and of the Parry Isles, where the last traces of it were found.

McClintock, F. Leopold. 1859. The Voyage of the ‘Fox’ in the Arctic Seas: a Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir J. Franklin and his Companions.

McClure, Robert and Sherard Osborn (editor). 1856. The Discovery of the North-West Passage by H.M.S. “Investigator,” Capt. McClure, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853, 1854.

McCormick, Robert. 1854. Narrative of a boat expedition up the Wellington channel in the year 1852, under the command of R. M’Cormick, R.N., F.R.C.S., in H.M.B. ‘Forlorn Hope,’ in search of Sir John Franklin.

McCormick, Robert. 1884. Voyages of discovery in the Arctic and Antarctic seas and round the world: being personal narratives of attempts to reach the North and South Poles, and of an open-boat expedition up the Wellington Channel in search of Sir John Franklin and Her Majesty’s ships “Erebus” and “Terror”, in Her Majesty’s boat “Forlorn Hope”, under the command of the author to which are added an autobiography, appendix, portraits, maps and numerous illustrations.

  •  London : Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1884: Archive.org (Vol. 1; Vol. 2); Google Books (Vol. 1; Vol. 2).

Nares, George. 1878. Narrative of a voyage to the Polar Sea during 1875-76 in H.M. ships ‘Alert’ and ‘Discovery’.

Osborn, Sherard. 1852. Stray Leaves from an Arctic Journal; or Eighteen Months in the Polar Regions, in Search of Sir John Franklin’s Expedition in the Years 1850-51.

Parry, W. Edward. 1821. Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific; performed in the Years 1819-20 in His Majesty’s Ships Hecla and Griper, under the orders of William Edward Parry, R.N., F.R.S., and Commander of the Expedition.

Parry, W. Edward. 1824. Journal of a second voyage for the discovery of a north-west passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific : performed in the years 1821-22-23, in His Majesty’s ships Fury and Hecla, under the orders of Captain William Edward Parry.

Parry, W. Edward. 1826. Journal of a third voyage for the discovery of a northwest passage, from the Atlantic to the Pacific; performed in the years 1824-25, in His Majesty’s ships Hecla and Fury, under the orders of Captain William E. Parry.

Parry, W. Edward. 1831. Three Voyages for the Discovery of a North-West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Narrative of an Attempt to reach the North Pole.

Rae, John and Robert McClure. 1854. The melancholy fate of Sir John Franklin and his party, as disclosed in Dr. Rae’s report; together with the despatches and letters of Captain M’Clure, and other officers employed in the Arctic expeditions.

Richardson, John. 1851. Arctic Searching Expedition: A Journal of a Boat-voyage Through Rupert’s Land and the Arctic Sea, in Search of the Discovery Ships Under Command of Sir John Franklin.

Ross, James Clark. 1847. A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Seas, during the years 1839-43.

Ross, John. 1819. A voyage of discovery, made under the orders of the Admiralty, in His Majesty’s ships Isabella and Alexander, for the purpose of exploring Baffin’s Bay, and inquiring into the probability of a north-west passage.

Ross, John and James Clark Ross. 1835. Narrative of a second voyage in search of a north-west passage, and of a residence in the Arctic regions during the years 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833.

Weddell, James. 1825. A Voyage Towards the South Pole, Performed in the Years 1822-1824: Containing an Examination of the Antarctic Sea … and a Visit to Tierra Del Fuego with a Particular Account of the Inhabitants.

An Officer of the Expedition. 1821. Letters Written during the Late Voyage of Discovery in the Western Arctic Sea.

Officers and Seamen of the Expedition. 1852. Arctic Miscellanies: A Souvenir of the Late Polar Search.