We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.
A Dead Whale
You searched for: More Like: 'Fittie howffs'
of 23

A Dead Whale

Historic Photographs
This item is active and ready to use
A Dead Whale
Historic Photographs
A Dead Whale
Crowds gathered round a dead whale, with fishing boats (A329) in the background.

Silver City Vault user Ed Fowler suggests that this photograph shows the "Nairn whale".

Initially wrongly identified at the time as a blue whale, it was actually a sei whale (Balaenoptera Borealis), one of the 4th-largest balaenopterid.
The whale stranded at Nairn on 18th December 1884 and was subsequently purchased by Mr Davidson, fish-dealer, Aberdeen. The whale was then towed by the tug Granite City on 2nd February 1885.

The Evening Express from Wednesday 4th February 1885 provides more details about the operation:

"This was accordingly done about five o'clock yesterday afternoon by the tug Granite City, and the leviathan was successfully placed on the waggons which had been provided for the purpose. Suspended in mid-air, the whale presented a remarkable spectacle, its huge proportions being displayed to full advantage. The task of placing it on the huge waggons by which it was conveyed to its destination proved a very laborious and onerous one, and occupied a large staff of men from four o'clock in the afternoon till midnight. Ultimately, the leviathan stretched upon the waggons, and the horses - numbering about two dozen - being attached, the unusual procession proceeded on its way to the Recreation Grounds [Queens Links]. The quay was literally besieged by a crowd which swelled in proportions as time wore on, and whose enthusiasm the disagreeable odour which proceeded from the whale was wholly unable to quench. [About] four o'clock this afternoon, after many difficulties had been encountered and overcome, the whale reached its destination - the Recreations Grounds - where it now lies. As before stated, a very strong smell is felt in the vicinity of the carcase, and the sanitary inspector has brought the matter under the notice of the Public Health Committee".

Ed Fowler adds that "The Landing was a difficult operation as it can reach 19.5M (64-ft) long and weighing as much as 28-Tons. An attempt to haul it from the water at Fittie (Perhaps Alexander Hall's Slipway) with Horses failed and so it was Towed into the harbour to the North Lock Sheer-legs (a lifting system) at the North Lock, Waterloo Quay and hoisted in mid-air with a tackle around the Tail, then placed on a series of Wagons and then dragged by 24 Horses and a crowd of Men to the Recreation Grounds (Queens Links), for Public Exhibition."
Aberdeen Harbour
Special Occasions
Aberdeen Local Studies
Other Items Like This
Humpback whale on display, Aberdeen, 1884
Beached whale
Sir John Struther with beached whale
Culter war memorial