& Peterhead's Economy
the whaling port
town of Peterhead has been bound up with the sea for generations
and its vessels were involved in Arctic whaling for over 100 years.
sent out her first whaler, the Robert in 1788. In April 1893
Captain David Gray (III) came out of retirement and took the Windward
north. In August he returned with the blubber of just one whale
- the Peterhead whaling industry was at an end. However, for a few
decades in the middle of the 19th century Peterhead had been the
premier whaling and sealing port in the British Isles and had enjoyed
physical reminders of the days of whaling in Peterhead are evocative
but few and far between.
quay in the South Harbour where the barrels of whale fat were unloaded,
prior to being carted to the boilyards on Keith Inch, is still called
Blubber Box Quay. If you cross the harbour to Keith Inch and then
walk along Pleasure Walk you will come across a wall into which
a whale jawbone was once set, presumably marking the entrance to
a boilyard. The boilyards are long gone, and the area is now turned
over to the modern, petroleum based, North Sea Oil Industry.
the town itself there are fine houses built with whaling profits
and streets named in memory of long-gone whaling Captains and their
ships: Hope Street, Captain Gray Place, Geary Place and Penny Place.
the North Harbour there is a fine, granite-built, graving, or dry,
dock. Today it is used for the repair of fishing vessels but it
was built in 1850 to meet the needs of the growing whaling fleet
and was financed by a local levy on whale oil and bone.
was from this town that brave men set out in sailing boats to hunt
and to encounter the huge mysticetus of the Arctic.
Blubber box quay, Peterhead 2002
Old jawbone entrance, Peterhead 2002
Peterhead dry dock