Skip to content

Ghost of Haslar Story: Dr Alexander Collie


I was petrified; silence was all I could hear; the ship was gone.

The vast expanse of sea, sky, rocky mountains and blue ice stretched out in front of me.

Two years ago, in May 1825, we left familiar comforts of home in England and set sail from Spithead on HMS Blossom.

We’d travelled so far since then on this Royal Navy ship, stopping at many places including Rapa Nui Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean.

And then we sailed to one of the most northerly places on earth – a place you now call Alaska – where I met someone belonging to the local Inupiat people.

Their hands had carved a knife and fork out of animal bone. It’s style reminded me of cutlery we had used at home and I decided to bring them back for display at Haslar’s museum.

I gave something useful to the owner in return but can’t remember what – red cloth or iron nails perhaps?

I am long gone from this earth now, but the objects I collected on my travels have a life of their own – once at the famous Haslar museum and now at the British Museum in London.