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Home > Research > The Anstruther Whale Fishery Company > NAS and SCAPE Trust Conference


The Nautical Archaeology Society and The SCAPE Trust are pleased to be partnering for this conference, a weekend of exciting opportunities to discuss research and review the archaeological activities of members, friends and colleagues and exchange ideas on our maritime cultural heritage.

The conference will take place at the University of Glasgow’s Western Infirmary Lecture Theatre Suite, Glasgow, G11 6NT on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th November 2016, with an excursion on Monday 7th November.

The findings of the research project into the Anstruther Whale Fishery Company will be presented on the Sunday.

You can find out more from the Conference website.


Andrew Bicket (1), Dan Atkinson (1), Robert Prescott (2)

1.Wessex Archaeology Scotland, 2. The Scottish Fisheries Museum Trust Ltd

Early historic whaling in Scotland and the Anstruther Whale Fishing Company: 1757 – 1762

The history of whaling in Scotland usually focuses on the developments in northeast Scottish ports during the late 19th and 20th centuries in connection with whaling in the southern oceans. However, prior to this industrialised whaling the focus of Scotland’s first major whaling industry was based in the Forth, developing from 1750 across many of the small ports and villages in Fife and the Lothians. The industry targeted Arctic hunting grounds of the Bowhead whale (the Greenland Right Whale) around Svalbard and later Greenland. This whale fishing industry was an important part of the maritime history of Scotland linked to the economic and political importance of whale oil and developing naval power across the North Atlantic.

The industry grew rapidly during the late 18th century, interrupted by the Seven Years War and American Revolutionary War, which saw the experienced sailors and hardy, modified vessels of the fleet pressed into service. The early Scottish whaling industry contributed significantly to the wider maritime and naval history of the time including maritime technology and invaluable experience in extreme conditions, which would support later phases of polar exploration in which Scotland played a key role.

Recent work by WA Coastal & Marine on behalf of the Scottish Fisheries Museum is presented. The Whale Store, now part of the Scottish Fisheries Museum complex in Anstruther, Fife is a well‐preserved remnant of the short‐ lived but characterful Anstruther Whale Fishing Company which operated from the site between 1757 and 1762. A history of the building, the company and its ships the Rising Sun and ill‐fated Hawke are discussed within the wider context of early historic Scottish Whaling in the Arctic.

The Scottish Fisheries Museum Trust Ltd
St Ayles, Harbourhead, Anstruther, Fife KY10 3AB
Tel (within UK): 01333 310628
Tel (from outside UK): +44 1333 310628
Charity Number: SC 006185
VAT Reg Number: 270 2790 64
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