Reply To: Ice Poles & Phipps' 1773 Arctic Expedition

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Sam Willis

    Frank the suggestion I can make is to look at the information relating to Charles Douglas’s relief of Quebec in the New Year of 1776. He makes it to Quebec through the ice-bound St Lawrence on 6 May, one of the earliest ships to do so. I am certain that there is information about them using fenders to protect the ships from the ice and some sort of poles. It is almost exactly contemporary and I know that there is a large amount of unexplored material relating to that voyage at the National Maritime Museum and National Archives.

    These may help.

    TNA: ADM 1/1706, 8 May 1776.
    TNA: ADM 51/484, ff. 27–8.
    Naval Documents of the American Revolution V: 225–7.

    Douglas was also instrumental in some North Sea exploration a few years before the American War and there may be something relevant in the material from Cook’s exploration of the St Lawrence in the preceding decade.

    As a matter of interest I would be very keen to read any material relating to ice-seamanship from this period. There is plenty written afterwards, particularly in the early 20thC but I have not found anything specific from the 18thC or earlier. Any ideas?