A maritime history of the port of Whitby, 1700-1914
This study attempts to contribute to the history of merchant shipping in a manner suggested by Ralph Davis, that 'the writing of substantial histories of the ports' was a neglected, but important, part of the subject of British maritime history. Aspects of the shipping industry of the port of Whitby fall into three broad categories: the ships of Whitby, built there and owned there; the trades in which these vessels were employed; and the port itself, its harbour facilities and maritime community. The origins of Whitby shipbuilding are seen in the context of the rise to prominence of the ports of the North East coast, and an attempt is made to quantify the shipping owned at Whitby before the beginning of statutory registration of vessels in 1786. A consideration of the decline of the building and owning of sailing ships at Whitby is followed by an analysis of the rise of steamshipping at the port. The nature of investment in shipping at Whitby is compared with features of shipowning at other English ports. An introductory survey of the employment of Whitby-owned vessels, both sail and steam, precedes a study of Whitby ships in the coal trade, illustrated with examples of voyage accounts of Whitby colliers. The Northern Whale Fishery offered further opportunities for profit, and may be contrasted with the inshore and off - shore fishery from Whitby itself. A quantification of the importance of Whitby shipping in the Baltic is followed by a study of Whitby ships carrying emigrants to Canada and convicts to Australia. The impact of war, especially in the late eighteenth century, brought unprecedented prosperity to the port, where the continued significance of the local shipping industry was always at odds with its small population and landward isolation.