5-minutes on Lady Jane Franklin

In celebration of International Women’s Day and the wider Women’s History Month, Anno is shining a spotlight on the leading figure and pioneer, Lady Jane Franklin. A remarkable woman who dedicated her life to adventure, discovery, and the natural world, making her a natural inspiration and great name for our pioneering rum.

Born in 1791 in London she spent her early years studying flowers, plants, and herbs, cultivating her knowledge of the natural world. This led her to embark on a series of expeditions and adventures. As a keen botanist and traveller, her passion allowed her to explore many different botanical species, later influencing her work as a patron of exploration and scientific discovery.

Jane met Sir John Franklin in 1828 while he was governor of Tasmania, and married the same year. Sir John had already made a name for himself as a polar explorer, having led expeditions to the Arctic in 1818 and 1821. Lady Jane was a passionate advocate and participant. In tandem, she became a force to be reckoned with in high society, known for rescheduling the traditional balls in favour of lectures on botany! While Lady Franklin's botanical interests and expeditions are well-known, she was committed to education and intellectual pursuits throughout her life and her efforts to promote scientific exploration and discovery continue to inspire us today.

During her time in Tasmania Lady Franklin was responsible for the establishment of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart which included an art space which was later named in her honour. She was instrumental in introducing many new plants and trees to the gardens too, including the Tasmanian Mountain Pepper, which is now a key botanical in the Anno Lady Franklin Rum. Her work as an anthropologist drove her to Aboriginal settlements on the island and resulted in her pursuing immediate improvements to their conditions. These actions contributed to her well-regarded "character for kindness, benevolence and charity." 

In addition - whilst down-under - Lady Franklin continued committed to reform, earning a reputation for her vociferous letter correspondence with - amongst many others - Elizabeth Fry. During a time where there was little regard for the safety and conditions of prisoners, both felt a need to act in order to improve the often torrid voyages many thousands of convicts faced travelling from the UK to Australia during this time. One of the most remarkable stories to come out of this partnership was the provision of a number of amenities to female prisoners - including sewing materials - and which resulted in Lady Franklin being presented with the Rajah Quilt upon the ship's arrival in 1841. It remains one of Australia’s most treasured artefacts. 

On the opposite side of the world, Jane’s husband had been entrusted to lead yet further expeditions to the icy-seas in pursuit of the Northwest Passage. Sir John set sail in 1845, with two ships and a crew of 129 crew, sadly never to return to the arms of his loving wife. Lady Franklin’s determination to find her husband was unwavering and she immediately began fundraising for expeditions to find him, even travelling to the Arctic twice herself. The search resulted in a greater understanding of the area that ultimately paved the way to the discovery of the Northwest Passage. Franklin's perseverance and unwavering dedication played a crucial role in this historic discovery.

Lady Franklin had travelled far and wide; braving the treacherous seas, harsh winds, and foreign lands. But it was on the remote island of Out Stack in Scotland, where the Scurvy Grass grew on the cliffs, that she found solace (and we found our final botanical.) It was a quiet and desolate place, but she found comfort in the rugged beauty of the landscape. As she looked up at the shimmering lights, Franklin knew that her husband, lost long ago, also lay beneath those same Northern Lights somewhere.

Anno's Lady Franklin Rum pays homage to Lady Jane Franklin and her love of botany, contributions to science and society, and her adventures. We are scientists, botanists and innovators at heart, so her story is particularly inspiring. The rum's unique blend of botanicals, including scurvy grass and Tasmanian mountain pepper, is a testament to Lady Franklin's spirit of exploration and discovery. Her legacy lives on, and we consider the botanicals found in Anno's Golden Botanical Rum to be a fitting tribute to her remarkable life.

You can find Lady Franklin Golden Botanical Rum for sale here: