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Acquisition of whaling journal

Whaling journalTyne & Wear Archives has been successful in purchasing at auction an important journal of a whaling voyage in 1835.

The journal, compiled by ship's surgeon Dr James Williamson, tells of a nightmare voyage on the Tyne whaler Lady Jane, which became trapped in arctic ice for several months during the winter of 1835-6. 27 men died from scurvy, and on the final return to Newcastle a public enquiry accused the captain of failing to distribute provisions fairly, although he was exonerated. Williamson's account descibes the voyage day by day in detail.

Whaling was an extremely important trade for the north east, but because it had died out by 1850 few records survive locally. The archives service is therefore very pleased to have secured this item to add to its rich collection of maritime archives.

Purchase has been part funded by the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

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