PortCities London
UK Bristol Hartlepool Liverpool London Southampton
You are here:  PortCities London home > The working Thames > Trades, industries and institutions
Text Only About this Site Feedback
Explore this site
About maritime London
Early port
Tudor and Stuart port
18th-century port
19th-century port
20th-century port
People and places
Port communities
Crime and punishment
Leisure, health and housing
Thames art, literature and architecture
The working Thames
London's docks and shipping
Trades, industries and institutions
Port of science and discovery
Historical events
Ceremony and catastrophe
London in war and conflict
Fun and games
Things to do
Timeline games
Matching games
Send an e-card

The London whaling trade

Early Arctic whaling
Things to do with a dead whale
The southern whale fishery
London declines as a whaling port
Send this story to a friend Send this story to a friend
Printer-friendly version Printer-friendly version
View this story in pictures View this story in pictures


The Spermacaeti whale brought to Greenland Dock.
View full size imageThe Spermacaeti whale brought to Greenland Dock. © NMM

For centuries whaling was an important economic activity. Many industries found ingenious and varied uses for a huge range of whale products, from oil to bone.

A whale fishery set up to meet this demand would enjoy a boom when hunting a particular species of whale in a particular area.

The Howland Great Dock near Deptford.
View full size imageThe Howland Dock, re-named Greenland Dock in 1763 and used by the London whaling fleet. © NMM

Eventually there were too few whales left to make the trade economic.

Then the industry would revive in a different area, hunting a different sort of whale, using different techniques.

For many years, the Port of London played a leading role in this trade.

Page 1 of 5. Next page


Find out more
StoriesGoing for growth: The West India and the Greenland Docks
New dockyards on the Isle of Dogs and Rotherhithe are opened to ease congestion.
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
Legal & Copyright Partner sites: Bristol Hartlepool Liverpool Southampton About this Site Feedback Text Only