'The Spermacaeti whale brought to Greenland Dock 1762'

During the 18th century the Greenland whale-fishery vessels were normally around 350 tons and were constructed in such a manner as to resist, so far as possible, the pressure of the ice. The crew normally numbered about fifty and the vessel carried six or seven whale-boats. The vessels left London at the beginning of April, and, after touching at the Shetlands, reached the whaling-grounds before the end of that month. In approaching a whale, silence was essential. The harpoon had to be delivered within a distance of a few yards. The moment the wounded whale disappeared, a flag was hoisted in the boat to give notice that assistance was required from the ship. It was vital that the whalers tended to the line, for if it became entangled with their boat they could be easily dragged under water by the whale.

Object Details

ID: PAH3459
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Places: Greenland
Date made: 1762
Exhibition: The Atlantic: Slavery, Trade, Empire; Trade and Commerce
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 167 mm x 238 mm

Your Request

If an item is shown as “offsite”, please allow eight days for your order to be processed. For further information, please contact Archive staff:

Tel: (during Library opening hours)

Click “Continue” below to continue processing your order with the Library team.