THE NEWCASTLE WHALING TRADE 1752-1849

By Tony Barrow

In the period between 1749-1849, London, Liverpool, Hull, Newcastle upon Tyne and Whitby became the principal whaling ports of England, and although a number of other ports showed a periodic interest in the trade, none ever operated so many ships on such a regular basis as these five. Newcastle upon Tyne, in common with other whaling ports, responded to the increased bounty incentives offered by the Act of 1749, and showed similar cyclical patterns of profitability and decline to the others. Newcastle, however, was unusual, perhaps even unique, in that once the merchants and ship owners of the town had entered the whaling trade, they maintained an unbroken association with it when other, more well-known, ports, like Whitby. Liverpool and Hull, left the trade altogether for short periods.
Newcastle upon Tyne's well-known association with the coal trade, and the development of its links with the Baltic and North European trades had given it a premier position as one of the leading outports by the beginning of the eighteenth century. A number of royal charters had given the ancient town and corporation jurisdiction of the whole of the River Tyne, from Ryton Willows some six miles above the town, to Spar Hawk, a point off the mouth of the river at Shields, together with all the adjoining creeks and inlets. The Newcastle whaling trade was not, therefore, exclusive to the whalers that fitted out and left from Dent's Hole near the mouth of the Ouseburn, but also included the ships that regularly operated from Willington Quay, Howdon Pans, North Shields and South Shields', thus the study is more appropriately called the Tyne whaling trade.
In November and December 1751 the Newcastle newspapers carried a number of advertisements calling for subscriptions to the foundation of the Newcastle Whale Fishing Company and a number of prominent merchants in the town subscribed. including the mayor, Ralph Sowerby, and most of the aldermen. Sir Walter Blackett, M.P. for Newcastle upon Tyne from 1734 to 1777 and five times mayor, led the list of notables. Unfortunately the account books and ledgers of the Newcastle Whale ltd Fishing Company do not survive and there is no way of knowing the precise amounts of money subscribed to the venture. However, assuming slight fluctuations in local prices, the ledger of the Exeter Whale Fishing Company established in 1754,1gives a good indication of the likely amounts.
The Exeter Company purchased their whaler second-hand in London for 2,150; it was a ship of 346 tons. The Swallow, Newcastle's first ship, was described as 'about 300 tons'2 and purchased in December 1751. A general meeting of the Company, advertised in the local press, was convened to sanction a call of 30% on sums already subscribed. If the Swallow cost 2,000, it can be assumed that perhaps as much as 6,000 had been subscribed to the venture at that point. The remainder of the money, for provisioning and fitting out, was paid over during March 1752, when the ship sailed for the Greenland seas. The Swallow returned in early July with four whales.

uncommon good success. . to the general satisfaction of the whole town and neighbourhood which was demonstrated by the ringing of bells. . - 3

The Newcastle merchants were obviously encouraged too, since in September 175? the Newcastle Journal carried an advertisement announcing the intention to send the Four brothers, burden 340 tons, with the Swallow on the 1753 season. The ship was valued at 2,500 and subscriptions exceeding 50 were requested. A third ship, the Russell, was the focus of an independent venture. 4 Newcastle did send three ships in 1753 - but the Four Brothers and the Russell did not figure amongst them - The Swallow was accompanied by the Dolphin and the Resolution. By 1756, five ships were operating from the Tyne, and this was the position for the next ten years, a decade during which both Hull and Whitby left the trade altogether between 1761 - 1766.

The extent of local investment in whaling, and the bounty incentives associated with it, totalled a not inconsiderable sum. If each ship was valued at 2,000, and the expertise of manning and fitting out are added, Newcastle merchants were risking as much 20,000, a very large sum by the standards of industrial investment in the mid-eighteenth century and representing as much as the investment in the Lombe brothers silk mills in Derby and far more than was usually invested in a cotton mill twenty or thirty years later - Jedediah Strutt's Belpet Mill, for example, cost 5,000 in 1793.5 John Cookson, a shareholder in the Newcastle Whale Fishing Co. and one of its elected managers, also had interests in the Dunbar Company6 and it is fortunate that some accounts of a voyage undertaken by the whaler North Star from Dunbar, about 1753 (the date is uncertain) give us an accurate impression of the actual expense of a whaling voyage to Greenland in this early period. The importance of the increased Bounty incentives to the encouragement of whaling enterprise remains a matter of some dispute. 0nly two ships had gone north to the whaling grounds in 1749 but by 1756 there were 83 and the Bounty Act of 1749 seems to provide the obvious explanation for the rapid increase in the fleet. The government bounty payment of forty shillings per ton represented an inducement of 600 to the owners of an average 300 ton ship. Jackson argues that 'with so many variables in whaling it is doubtful if 600 could ever have been more than a marginal inducement, a trigger mechanism that only worked because of a confluence of favourable factors'. 7

Figures derived from Cookson's accounts and from the ledger books of the Exeter Company suggest that Jackson may have underplayed the bounty factor, although he admits the importance of bounty money in sustaining the trade once it had begun. The bounty payment for the voyage of the North Star represented 34% of the total income and more than catered for the expenses of the voyage. Conrad Dixon's analysis of the Exeter Company accounts further highlights the importance of the bounty. 'In the "good years" it amounted to over 22% of the product in cash terms and in the "bad years'' it provided over 90% of the product. It provided 55% of the dividend paid to shareholders and put the Exeter Whale Fishery Co. firmly in the category of a formally supported unit of enterprise '.8

Between 1733 and 1800, 1,975,089 was paid out in bounties,9 and ports like Newcastle derived considerable benefits from the steady supply of government money through the whaling trade. After 1749 further regulatory Acts were passed in 1755, 1767 and 1771 and the Act of 1786 was seen as a kind of consolidating Act incorporating all previous regulations. 'The Act declared and described how the vessels to be properly qualified were to be owned, built and navigated and from what ports they might proceed. To be properly equipped each whaler had to possess the proper number of crew, harpoons, lines, stores and provisions and must sail unless in case of unavoidable necessity by 10 April and unless a certain specific success is obtained must remain within the limits of the Greenland seas until 10 August'.10 Although the bounty payments were gradually reduced after 1790, they were not finally abolished until 1824.

Once purchased, the ships needed to be maintained and provisioned and the various officers of the company paid their salaries and retainers. The Exeter Company employed a Ships' Husband, who seems to have acted as the secretary of the company. A similar appointment was made in Newcastle upon Tyne and the individual chosen, Thomas Aubone, was both secretary of the Brethren of Trinity House and a prominent citizen in the town with a large house in The Close. He dealt with the business interests of the company, tendered for the provisioning of the ships, handled the accounts and had a financial share in the vessels. The Primage Account Books of Trinity House reveal Aubone's continual interest in the whaling trade, and it was Aubone on behalf of Trinity House, who claimed primage by ancient tradition, from the merchants of Whitby, as a creek of Newcastle! He wrote to john Burgh, Customs officer at Whitby in March 1755:

As nothing hath been paid from the traders in the Greenland trade for their importation of bone and blubber with you, desire that you will get that mistake rectified each company here pays primage regularly .11

The correspondence continued for two years and the Whitby merchants naturally resented Newcastle's claim to tax them. Burgh wrote to Aubone in 1754.

some of the company seemed greatly surprised by the demand . . . they seem not inclined to pay any duty for bone and blubber without some further authority or letter. . 12

The matter had not been resolved by September 1756 when the correspondence falls silent on the subject. We can only assume that some Whitby merchants, perhaps with property and interests in Newcastle upon Tyne, deemed it diplomatic to pay the primage while others may have continued to hold out either way it demonstrates that Newcastle's interest in the whaling trade extended well beyond the ships that fitted out on the Tyne.

Always central to the port's commitment to whaling were the economic advantages to be gained from the sale of oil and bone. The Newcastle Whale Fishing Company leased land on the South Shore, Gateshead, in June 1752, for processing blubber into whale oil. Sir Walter Blackett petitioned the Common Council on behalf of the company and obtained a 21 year lease at a nominal rent. The lease was renewed in 1770 and a further lease, granted in 1787, extended the boiling and processing activity. It is interesting that this part of Gateshead subsequently became associated with 'noxious trades' and a substantial chemical industry occupied the site in the nineteenth century. There were further processing and storage facilities down the river at Willington Quay and Howdon, where the Hurry family of shipbuilders had an oil-processing plant and warehouses. These properties continued to be used for the manufacture of whale oil until the 1830s.

Gordon Jackson, 13 maintains that Newcastle's position as a leading outport was in decline after 1766 - but so were the number of ships operating nationally. The proportion of Newcastle ships in relation to the national fleet remained about the same. The reduction in the Newcastle contingent was not the result of waning interest, but the loss of four ships in five years. In March 1766, the Newcastle was burnt down to her keel in an accident at Howdon Pans, and Newcastle's pioneering whaler the Swallow was lost in the ice in June 1766 after taking one whale. There were further losses in 1768 and 1773.14

With one or two notable exceptions, whalers were not specifically designed for the whaling trade. Their hulls were doubled and fortified15 and their rigging was adapted to enable the ships to be worked by shorthanded crews when on the whaling grounds. A study of the Newcastle shipping registers shows that the standard whaler was between 3 - 400 tons, about 100 ft long and 28 ft wide; 72% of all the ships employed in the whaling trade from Newcastle fell within these parameters.

There was no tendency to use older ships, although some were very old, but particular ships gradually established themselves as whalers and when sold from one port, these ships were invariably employed as whalers at another. The famous Hull whaler Truelove was the classic example of this trend. She spent 72 years in the Arctic and was the last sailing whaler in commission when she was already over a hundred years old in 1868. Of the notable ships in the Tyne fleet, the John and Margaret, like the Truelove American built, at Piscattaway, New England in 1740, spent 42 years (1766-1808) whaling from Howdon Pans for the Hurry family of shipbuilders. The Priscilla, also built in 1740, was the only ship ever fitted out for the Southern or Sperm Whale Fishery (in 1792-93) from the Tyne, after spending 24 years in the Arctic. She would un-doubtedly have continued to sail as a whaler had she not been taken by French privateers off Shetland in 1794. The Cove spent 21 years whaling from the Tyne (1812-1833) and another 20 from Hull; the Grenville Bay, 25 years (1816-1841); and when Newcastle's last but most famous whaler, the Lady Jane, was lost in Melville Bay in 1849, she had operated for 45 years from Willington Quay, and had earlier spent six years in the Hull fleet (1785 - 1791). Such examples indicate that certain ships remained as the nucleus of the whaling fleet, even though countless others spent very little of their working lives in the trade.

Analysis of the whaling trade of Newcastle shows that 53 ships operated from the Tyne at various times during nearly a century of involvement (1752-1849). Of these ships 54% undertook fewer than five voyages from the river, in fact 20% of these only ever undertook one voyage. Of the remainder, however, 30% spent more than ten years in the trade from Newcastle and if consideration is given to their subsequent whaling activity the figure would be higher. 16 The Norfolk spent only four years whaling from Newcastle (1803-1807) but nearly 30 years from Berwick (1808-1837). The Middleton operated for ten years from the Tyne (1801 - 1811) but 24 from Aberdeen before she was lost in the notorious winter of 1835, and the Lord Gambier spent 31 of her 36 years whaling.

As with the ships, so with the men who sailed them. the records indicate the recurrence of the same names, usually the masters of whaling vessels, who remained committed to the industry despite its obvious dangers. Life expectancy amongst masters generally was not good, 17 and the master of a whaling vessel could expect to be wrecked at least once in his career.

In the last years of Arctic whaling, the ships penetrated into the very high latitudes of Baffin Bay and Cumberland Inlet in response to the reports of numerous large whales sighted there by the Ross and Franklin expedition that sailed in search of the North - West passage in 1818-19. The captains and crews of the sailing whalers reached almost to the limits of human endurance and the risk of a winter beset in the ice became an additional hazard that some masters did not survive. It is reasonable to assume that the masters of whaling vessels were a cut above the average skipper of a coasting collier in the London trade. They needed the navitagional expertise, seamanship and leadership qualities to get them to and from the whaling grounds. It was a trade in which experience was a valuable commodity and that element of 'greasy luck' always played its part. Even Scoresby, one of the most accomplished whaling skippers of the period, had some pertinent remarks to make on this subject. In 1756, William Hedley, in his first season whaling from Newcastle as master of the Resolution, had the extraordinary luck to return to the Tyne with 15 whales, all caught in eight days, an almost unheard of cargo in these early years. Thomas and Ralph Frank, father and son, spent over 40 years in the trade from the Tyne; John Boswell, first as master of the Euretta (1798-1811) and then of the Eliza (1812 1822) was possibly the most successful of all the Tyne whaling captains in the heyday of the industry. Jacob Jameson, Peter Johnson, George Palmer and Thomas Taylor were a few of the others.

Newcastle's commitment to Arctic whaling peaked in 1788 when 20 ships were fitted out in the river and more than 250 ships were employed nationally. The Newcastle registration books for 1786 shows 6:3 ships of over 300 tons registered at the port. Of the 20 ships operating as whalers, 14 were more than 300 tons: that is 22% of the ships in that tonnage range, a significant proportion. Basil Lubbock remarks:

Though the results of the fishing season of 1788 were on the whole poor, certain ships were unusually successful on the whole the Newcastle fleet had the hest average, and though one ship returned 'clean' i.e. without any whales, and the Trial (Captain Hamilton) was lost off Werde Fiord, the other 17 returned with 78 whales, 77 seals, 6 unicorns and 5 bears, producing 405 tons of blubber and oil and 60 tons of fins or whale-hone.18

Within three years the national and local total of whalers operating had been halved. The Newcastle newspapers contain numerous advertisements for the sale of whalers and many of the ships returned to general trading. Newcastle's near neighbour, Sunderland, which had also been operating a small fleet of whalers since 1754. left the trade altogether in 1797. These were the critical years when many ports finally severed their connection with the Arctic, but Newcastle maintained its links, albeit tenuously for a time. Between 1794 and 1796 the veteran John and Margaret was the only whaler set sail from the Tyne, and Newcastle's unique record of being the only outport to persevere with the trade was seriously threatened but not broken. The traditional interest shown by the shipowners of the port soon revived. In 1798, three ships left the river, by 1802 there were sevet and for the next twenty years (1802-1822) between five and twelve ships operated regularly from the river. This was the hayday of Atctic whaling. The ports, like Newcastle and Whitby, that had persevered with the trade, were about to experience the rich rewards and enormous profits generated by the demand for whale products, and the boiling houses along the River Tyne processed plentiful cargoes.

Between 1801 and 1807 the average seasonal catch of a Tyne whaler was almost exactly 10 whales; in 1785 when about the same number of ships were operating from the river it had only been 3.4 whales per ship, a figure that had changed little since the 1750's and 1760's. There had of course been some exceptionally successful seasons and some excellent catches. The Resolution took 15 whales in her first season in 1756 and Industry had caught 18 in 1785, but the John and Margaret, the most well established ship in the Tyne fleet during these years, only once took 10 whales in a season between 1778 and 1798. She only twice took less than 10 over the next decade. The Newcastle ships reflected the national trend of larger catches during this period when many of the whalers sailed for Davis Strait where large whales were more abundant than off the over-exploited east coast of Greenland. A glance at the performance of the Tyne fleet in these early years of the nineteenth century will give some idea of the size of the cargoes actually landed.

ANNUAL CATCH CF THE TYNE WHALING FLEET 1801-1807

(Compiled from seasonal figures given in local newspapers.)

YEARS
SHIPS
1801180218031804180518061807
Content131359911-
Hero--4----
Euretta1515141471313
John and Margaret131221012107
Middleton131512131213-
Sarah1412797910
Howe---8984
Isabella-1213111347
Lady ]ane---1171612
Prescott-15313---
Norfolk--3111013-
Calypso----1079
Mars--11----
4 Friends10-5----
Katherine--6101946
TOTAL SHIPS671211111110
WHALES78948511911611481

Using figures cited by Jackson and Scoresby, and the average price of oil and whale bone in the period, it is possible to arrive at some idea of the monetary value of these catches. Between 1800 and 1804 the average seasonal catch of a Greenland whaler was 84 tons of oil and 4.2 tons of bone, 19 while the price of whale-oil was about 40 per ton and that of bone 80 per ton. 20

Thus an average cargo in this period would be worth 3,696 excluding the bounty. In 1801 Euretta's cargo of 15 whales produced 414 casks of blubber and 12 tons of bone. 21 Using 3 casks = 1 ton 22 this represented about 6,480 - a figure that compares favourably with the successful Scottish ships of 1801, the Raith and the Eliza Swan quoted byjackson,23 and with Scoresby's computation of the earnings of the Resolution which he estimated to be 6,810 over 14 seasons between 1804 - 1818.24 Even assuming only average catches, when the table demonstrates that some Newcastle ships were doing much better than average, the Tyne fleet was grossing between 40,000 and 50,000 per season during these years.

1808 was the best season on record in relation to the number of whales actually caught; the Middleton was the best fished of the Newcastle ships, her cargo of 31 whales was only topped by the Aurora of Hull with 3825. A number of ships caught 20-30 whales, including the Euretta (Captain Boswell) which was the most successful ship employed in the Tyne fleet in this period, which returned with 26 whales.

1808 was a memorable year in other respects too. On 17 December the Newcastle Courant carried this advertisement.

TO BE SOLD BY PRIVATE CONTRACT

The hull of the Greenland ship,]ohn and Margaret, burden 397 tons, with her lower masts. standing rigging and bowsprit, now lying at the Gin, South Shields. 26

The Hurry shipyard complex at Howdon Pans had been declared bankrupt in 1806, and the assets were gradually sold off. The ]ohn and Margaret, after 42 years whaling from the Tyne, was broken up. Two other ships of the Hurry fleet, the Howe and Norfolk, were sold in 1807, and a fourth ship, the Prescott had been sold to the Hull fleet in 1805. Thus within three years a 40-year tradition of whaling from Howdon Pans had been broken, and the Howdon shipyards - which between 1770 and 1805 had been amongst the best known in England - were sold off.

Although the end of the Howdon connection contributed significantly to the reduction of the Tyne fleet - only 4 whalers sailed from the river in 1812 - it was not the only reason for the declining number of ships. The years between 1808 and 1811 were years of depression in overseas trade and some ports came to a virtual standstill. Nationally only 56 ships had sailed for the Arctic in 1808, compared to an average of 84 between 1800 and 180427, and thus the reduction of the Tyne fleet only reflected a national trend. In fact Tyne ships still represented about 12% of the national fleet during these years. Despite a revival in the whaling trade after l812, the Newcastle fleet never recovered its original numbers. A maximum of 6 ships per season sailed from the river between 1814 and 1822. There are two likely explanations for this situation. After 1812 Arctic whaling was increasingly dominated by Hull and the Scottish ports - particularly Dundee, Aberdeen and Peterhead - and this specialization caused the remaining outports, with the possible exception of Whitby, to lose interest in the trade. Secondly, the industrial and commercial expansion of the years after 1815 enabled ship owners to employ their ships in more lucrative ventures. However these who persevered with the trade were about to witness the most successful decade in the history of the Northern Fishery.

In 1810, the Isabella had returned with 21 whales, the Lady Jane with 16. In 1811 the Euretta was again the best fished of the Newcastle ships with 24 whales and in 1813 the Lady Jane (Captain Holmes) was the most successful ship of the British fleet. Her cargo realized 13,000 for her owner William LinskiII of Tynemouth.

the greatest profit ever made by one vessel in any one season, since the Northern Whale Fishery was practiced...28

In spite of these enormous profits whaling remained a hazardous and dangerous enterprise, a risky business both for its financial backers and for the masters and crews who annually risked the uncertain conditions of Arctic weather. Almost every year in the busy decade, ships failed to return, and as the whalers penetrated further into pack ice of Baffin Bay in search of their prey, the prospect of damage and loss increased. William Scoresby's log-books and journals record the fate of one of the Newcastle fleet:

27 April 1814 Lat. 780 29'N Long. 60 10'E

The Leviathan of Shields in working to windward in the morning run against a piece of ice which has stove her very severly, breaking 14 timbers and leaving an indented wound I4 feet long.

12 May 1817 Let. 770 50'N Long. 20 40'W Spoke the Dexterity, Geary, who informed us that the Dauntless and Fortitude of London, and Leviathan of Shields and Lion of Liverpool were wrecked in attempting to get out of the ice in the gale of the 5th and 6th, which we avoided by going to the northward.29

In 1821, Newcastle lost a potential whaler on passage to the Davis Straits, the James, built at South Shields in 1807, which was probably the smallest whaler ever sent from the Tyne. She was a collier brig of 152 tons, only 69' long, and although she had been strengthened and repaired at South Shields preparatory to her voyage she never reached the whaling grounds. Eleven other ships were wrecked that season. When in 1822. The British Queen and Eliza (with the veteran John Boswell) were lost in Baffin Bay. - Newcastle had lost four ships in five years.

Two new whalers joined the Tyne fleet in this period, and both were to achieve fame in their various ways. The Cove, 373 tons, built at Whitby in 1798, was skippered by George Palmer between 1814 - 1833. Palmer was the father of the more well-known Charles Mark Palmer who established the shipyard at Jarrow which became something of a legend on Tyneside. The Palmer family derived some of its financial strength from the proceeds of whaling and the family still retains its records of the Cove. A complete run of log-books written by George Palmer describe the hazards and routines of Artic whaling between 1820-1833 and a painting of the Cove is one of only four illustrations of Newcastle whalers. John Wilson Carmichael's The Newcastle Whaling Fleet in the Ice painted about 1837 shows the LadyJane, Lord Gambier and Grenville Bay. The Latter was the second of the new whalers to join the Tyne fleet after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The Grenville Bay was built at Stockton-on-Tees in 1783, of 340 tons burden; she sailed in the Tyne fleet between 1816 and 1841, and was, like the Lady Jane, the object of considerable interest in the town. With the Lady Jane and the Norfolk, she was beset in the terrible winter of 1835, and wintered again in 1836. She spent her last years in the North Atlantic timber trade and was wrecked off Fleetwood in Lancashire in 1853.

The last years of whaling from the Tyne correspond closely to the decline of the industry generally. Between 1830 and 1841, three ships persevered, but they brought back smaller cargoes at great cost to the captains and crews. In the winter of 1835/36, two of the three Newcastle ships were beset in the ice of Baffin Bay from 9 October, in Lattitude 690N. When Christmas arrived, with eight Davis Straits whalers still unaccounted for, Hull merchants offered to equip a vessel for their relief if the Admiralty could provide a competent commander. Captain James Clark Ross, of North West Passage fame, volunteered, and Spivey and Cooper offered the ex-Newcastle whaler Cove for the task. The Cove sailed from Hull on 5 January 1836 - on 6 January the Grenville Bay arrived on the Tyne.

The Grenville Bay, whaler, of Newcastle, arrived in the Tyne, an event which was hailed as a joyous occasion at Tynemouth and South Shields. The sands at the Low Lights and South Shields were crowded with spectators who evinced the pleasure they felt by heartily cheering the vessel and crew as she gallantly sailed up river. Thie Grenville Bay had 3 fish and about 70 tons of oil. 30

The Lady Jane did not get clear of the ice until 18 February 1836, and when she arrived in Stromness on 12 March, 23 of her crew had died of scurvy. According to a report in the Newcastle Chronicle, of 64 men on board, only eight were fit for work. and 12 hands had to be shipped to bring the vessel back to Newcastle.

The appearance of the survivors and the distress of the friends of the dead . . . baffles all description. It drew tears from the eyes of many unconcerned spectators . . . such scenes Stromness never witnessed before . . 31

Recriminations followed the Lady Jane's return to the Tyne. A public enquiry at the Peacock Inn on the quayside, was convened to examine accusations levelled at Captain Leask by members of the crew. They had challenged the substance of reports that had circulated in the local press prior to their arrival from the Orkneys. After six hours Leask was exonerated of all charges viz: that he could have left the ice earlier when the opportunity arose and that he had been the only person fit to serve the ship on her passage to Stromness.

The Lady Jane had arrived in the Tyne as the other two whalers, the Lord Gambier and the Grenville Bay left for the 1836 season in Davis' Straits. The Grenville Bay had been repaired, reprovisioned and mustered in under three months - she was amongst six whalers beset in Lat. 730N in the first week of October 1836, and this time her escape was long delayed and her crew suffered the fate that had befallen the Lady Jane's the year before. When the Grenville Bay arrived in Stromness on 27 April 1837, there were 20 dead. Ironically she had received stores from the Lady Jane on 23 April, Captain Taylor later wrote:

Captain Leask desired me to report his ship quite tight - she was in the most excellent order - the wind then S.E.32

By 1842, only two ships were sailing annually from the Tyne, and after 1845 only Lady Jane. On 23 February 1849, the Newcastle Chronicle carried the information that:

Lady Jane, Patterson. for the Davis Straits, will mustcr her crew next week and will sail in the second week of March.33

On 8 March:

Wind NNE - sea high on the bar - the Lady Jane, Patterson, for Davis' Straits.34

It was the last time the ship left the Tyne. On 12 June 1849 she was crushed in the ice of Melville Bay with three other ships and lost without trace. News of the tragedy did not reach Newcastle until 5 October. Patterson, with a crew of 50, secured the seven boats belonging to the ship and trekked 500 miles across country to the Danish settlement of Proven, without loss of life. They were then conveyed to the Orkneys in a Danish vessel where agents of the Shipwrecked Fishermen's and Mariners Benevolent Society forwarded them to Newcastle.

It is something of in irony that the Lady Jane, the longest serving and most well- known of the Tyne whalers, should he lost exactly a century after the Government Bounty Act had first encouraged Newcastle upon Tyne's merchants to enter the trade.

This document was set up a long time ago and I have lost the original source there is more information on the Palmer family the main hope it that these pages will prompt people to send me even more information on the Palmer family who seem to have a high number of engineers and electrical engineers so I expect there should be a few more links to Palmer items. Please email ericmark@talktalk.net to give me any updates or corrections.

I have been at long last told the source it is Dr. Tony Barrow it was published by the Society of Nautical Research in its journal 'The Mariner's Mirror' Vol. 75, No.3 (August 1989) pp 231-240.