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Whale before the crowd - Whales and Whaling pictures 39

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Before I found out more about this whale, I took it to be a fin whale on account of the colouration of the baleen. It turns out however to have been a blue whale that was taken around Europe and Britain on a tour on the back of a truck in the 1950's and 1960's. The Times, 31 March, 1954 reported:

"South Bank Whale Jonah, the Giant Whale" which is to be exhibited under Waterloo Bridge on the south bank from April 2, arrived from Dunkirk yesterday in a Dutch coaster. The vessel docked at Dagenham and the 65ft. rorqual was unloaded on to a 10-wheeled lorry which transports it on land. The whale had been touring Holland, Belgium, Germany and France since last September and has been kept in good condition by an internal refrigeration plant and daily injections of formalin. It was killed off Trondheim, Norway in September 1952."

Such "events" drew crowds to see the enormous beasts. It looks like in this one, the "whaler" if he indeed is, is to speak about the whale and its capture. His foot is on an explosive harpoon which would have been used to impale, kill or maim and hold the whale and to his left is the broad bore cannon out of which the harpoon would have been fired. The whale's mouth looks to be propped open by something behind the whaler to show the baleen plates.

For more about "Jonah" the blue whale on tour see here


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