The collection comprises of correspondence relating to the company.
The Southern Whale Fishery Company collection
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 15 The Southern Whale Fishery Company
- Dates of Creation1850
- Name of Creator
- Physical DescriptionCorrespondence (1 microfilm)
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The Southern Whale Fishery Company was established in 1849 by Charles Enderby of the sealing and whaling firm, Messrs Enderby, to manage a whaling station on the Auckland Islands. Messrs Enderby had been in decline following losses made by exploring expeditions, and the destruction of its Greenwich rope-making factory by fire in 1845. Looking for a way to revive the firm's fortunes, Charles Enderby sought government backing to establish a settlement on the Auckland Islands 'for the purpose of the whale fishery, as a station at which to discharge the cargoes and refit vessels'.
The Southern Whale Fishery Company was granted a Royal Charter and Charles was appointed lieutenant governor of the Auckland Islands. He himself chose to lead the expedition, even though he had never before participated in such a voyage. Three vessels, loaded with settlers and stores, arrived at Port Ross on the north end of Enderby Island in December 1849, and land was cleared for the colony and whaling station. However, the cold, damp climate and acid soils made agriculture impossible, and the eight whaling ships attached to the station caught very few whales.
In 1852, Enderby Settlement was dismantled and closed. Charles Enderby returned to London the following year. This ill-fated enterprise further overstrained the resources of Messrs Enderby, which was liquidated in 1854.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically.
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Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and BBC and The Enderby Settlement by Barbara Ludlow and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034
Other Finding Aids
Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.
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