Antarctic Whaling Expedition 1945-46 on the factory ship Southern Venturer
No Place, No Publisher. 1945-46.
Photograph album, original cloth boards; 41cm by 32cm. A comprehensive photographic record of the Antarctic Whaling Expedition 1945-46 of the factory ship Southern Venturer. Southern Venturer was built in 1945 by Furness Shipbuilding Co, Haverton Hill-on-Tees, she made one voyage a year to the Antarctic to service the whale catchers and process the catch. This album contains over three hundred and twenty images of various sizes including interior views of the ship, studies of wildlife, ice flows and bergs, crew members working and relaxing, capturing and processing of whales both on-board ship and onshore, topographical views of Leith Harbour and Grytriken South Georgia. Also included are related newspaper and magazine cuttings and other contemporary and later paper ephemera. Particularly interesting is letter by Hewer to his mother addressed from "Southern Venturer" Still in the Ice 22nd January 1946. The letter details that this was his first voyage and that he was "tired of all this whaling business. It is so very regular and monotonous & I am just longing for the day when I shall walk into No 10 [Marlborough Avenue, Hull] again. He describes the ice and the wildlife and it is clear from the letter that one of his intentions on signing up was to make a photographic record and he clearly was a skilled photographer. "This is my first long spell away from home & believe me it seems like years. I can still see you looking out of the sitting room window on the day I left to catch the train ... it would bring back memories to you of my poor Dad". The stresses of such a voyage are laid bare by the description of the suicide of a Norwegian member of the crew who was found hanging in the rope locker. This is an important record of a forgotten industry. One of the newspaper cuttings justifies the killing - "an oil cargo alone of 34,000 tons, sufficient whale - oil almost to abolish the margarine ration and certainly enough to ease the soap supply situation." The album is in a fine condition.