The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

A researcher has sent me the following:

The Earl of Morton had several Arctic interests, as far as I can see. He and Alexander Bruce Hugh, 6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh had major shares in the little known Spitzbergen Coal and Mineral Ltd of London before Morton became involved in the Spitzbergen Mining and Exploration Syndicate in 1906. His third son, Archibald Roderick Sholto, was also a shareholder in the latter. Then there were shares in Arctic Ltd, but I have no idea what that may have been.


Morton and Balfour (excuse any wrong title, I'm not an expert) went on that sailing trip in 1906. I have a here the Cressida R.Y.S. Was there more than one boat (referring to SY Latona)? So I know that Morton and Balfour, and possibly Roderick and perhaps Frederick Ernest Charles Byron, 10th Baron Byron (also an original shareholder in the SMES) were on board.


On Spitsbergen and at Camp Morton at the time were Ernest Mansfield (prospector, Goldhanger, Essex), Rev Frederick Gardner (parson and prospector, Goldhanger, Essex), Charles Mann (Goldhanger, Essex), George Alexander (Little Totham, Essex), and 13 or 14 Norwegian workers.


The coal mine at Camp Morton was being opened up in 1906, that why it looks like it's at the surface (referring to a photograph of surface digging). Mind, they never got particularly deep.It was later taken over by the Northern Exploration Company, but work had totally stopped by the mid-1920s.

Can anyone add anything to this?


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Comment by William Douglas on February 27, 2011 at 19:31

Frigga Kruse contributed;

Being in the Arctic, Spitsbergen has a relatively recent human past. It's capital Longyearbyen can only note a little over 100 years of continuous occupation, starting also in 1906.

The Earl of Morton had several Arctic interests, as far as I can see. He and Alexander Bruce Hugh, 6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh had major shares in the little known Spitzbergen Coal and Mineral Ltd of London before Morton became involved in the Spitzbergen Mining and Exploration Syndicate in 1906. His third son, Archibald Roderick Sholto, was also a shareholder in the latter.

Then there were shares in Arctic Ltd, but I have no idea what that may have been.

Morton and Balfour (excuse any wrong title, I'm not an expert) went on that sailing trip in 1906. I have a here the Cressida R.Y.S. Was there more than one boat? So I know that Morton and Balfour, and possibly  Roderick and perhaps Frederick Ernest Charles Byron, 10th Baron Byron (also an original shareholder in the SMES) were on board. On Spitsbergen and at Camp Morton at the time were Ernest Mansfield  (prospector, Goldhanger, Essex), Rev Frederick Gardner (parson and  prospector, Goldhanger, Essex), Charles Mann (Goldhanger, Essex), George Alexander (Little Totham, Essex), and 13 or 14 Norwegian workers.

The coal mine at Camp Morton was being opened up in 1906, that why it looks like it's at the surface. Mind, they never got particularly deep. It was later taken over by the Northern Exploration Company, but work had totally stopped by the mid-1920s.

 

And asked this question:

Do you know if the Earl of Morton by any chance knew a David Campbell (supposedly Moray Place, Edinburgh) or Henry Gilbert Tollemache? Both were SMES directors. Roderick Douglas also became a director.

David Campbell also bought into the company with 1,000 Pound, much money then. There was a General Sir David Campbell, who may have had that kind of money, but he was mostly stationed overseas and I cannot like him to anything apart from having a Scottish wife (daughter of Sir Robert Aikman of St Andrews). Only William John Manners Tollemache, 9th Earl of Dysart, also owned that many shares.

Comment by William Douglas on February 27, 2011 at 19:27

David Newman has contributed the following:

There was obviously a long-term relationship between the Revd Gardner, Mr Mansfield and the Earl of Morton as we know of other activities involving them.

It would be very nice to be able to link the Goldhanger people who formed the Northern Exploration Company… Ernest Mansfield, Revd Frederick Gardner and Dr Henry Salter, to the Ear of Morton. I am attaching photos of the three. Charles Mann and George Alexander were their employees who went to Spitsbergen to build the first cabins in 1906-7. Also attached is an early pictures of cabins, all of which were named after investors and family members: Camp Morton, Camp Mansfield, Camp Zoe, (Mansfield’s daughter), etc. Some are still there and are the Norwegian equivalent of listed buildings, although I think Camp Morton was re-named as some stage. 

My records show that they initially formed the Spitzbergen Mining and Exploration Syndicate in 1905 and later re-named in as the Northern Exploration Company and I assume the Ear of Morton was initially a major shareholder, although he is not listed as such in the 1911 & 1913 company share prospectus booklets I’ve seen. 

It would be fascinating to see if any of your photos confirm this connection, such a cabin showing Camp Morton over the door, which we do not have, or the Earl’s yacht moored nearby, etc. I note your blog refers to: …it looks like it's at the surface (referring to a photograph of surface digging), so presumably at least one of your pictures was taken on the island. Much of the coal was available as “open cast” mining. But perhaps my main interest is to establish other connections between the Earl and the three NEC founders. We know of two other connections with the Revd Frederick Gardner who I believe was connected to a wealthy banking family: 

In September 1899 he wrote in the parish magazine… "My dear people, I have been amongst you for nearly six years and for the first time within that period I am about to take a prolonged holiday, partly under doctor's orders after an acute attack of rheumatism. I am to go as the private chaplain to the Earl of Morton for eight weeks at the seat of Congalen Ardgour in N.W.Scotland." 

In the Rector’s obituary in The Times of 1936 it says… “During the War he joined the late Lord Morton’s yacht in a mine sweeping expedition operating on the west coast of Scotland” 

There are other possible connections: Before he came to Goldhanger in 1904 Ernest Mansfield had been a well travelled gold prospector having worked in New Zealand, Australia and British Columbia. In his writings he frequently referred to “wealthy backers” and he was married to a Scottish lady, Margaret Booth. Other male members of the Booth family were involved in Spitsbergen exploration work, as were many other Scottish workers. 

Dr Henry Salter was and remains, a very well known and wealthy Essex GP, who was also extremely well travelled, was president of Crufts, a friend of Czar Nicholas II, and was also very big in UK Freemasonry. Dr Salter’s published diary has a complete chapter on his involvement with Spitsbergen and NEC and many references to his involvement with royalty and Freemasonry.

Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?


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