Sir John Ross's Beef Can

Contributed by Stranraer Museum

Sir John Ross's can of beef, copyright Dumfries & Galloway Museums Service, Stranraer Museum

This can of beef travelled on three of Sir John Ross's Polar expeditions from 1812 to 1833.This humble and slightly battered tin can is remarkably well travelled and has quite a story to tell. The can is first recorded in 1812 when it went on a voyage to Bermuda. By 1812 it had been acquired by John Ross and accompanied him on his first Arctic expedition in search of the North West Passage. Ross, who was born at Inch near Stranraer in 1777, was to become one of Britain's best known Polar explorers. This beef can went back to the Arctic with Ross in 1829 and returned, still unopened, in 1833. The can was presented by Ross to the Stair family of Lochinch Castle, where it remained for many years. Then in 1869 it was finally opened to mark the 21st birthday of the Earl of Stair. The meat, despite its age, was eaten. It was pronounced "quite good" and all the party guests survived the meal.

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