William Scoresby Senior (1760-1829) Bagdale

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries Whitby was a prosperous port with booming shipbuilding and whaling industries. Two of the most successful whaling captains were William Scoresby senior and his son, the Reverend Dr William Scoresby junior.

Scoresby Snr

William grew up on a small farm near Pickering and was an agricultural labourer before going to sea. After various adventures, he joined the crew of the whaling ship Henrietta in 1785, rising through the ranks to become captain in 1791. In 1806 he broke the British record for sailing furthest north, reaching latitude 80° 30′, with his son William junior as chief mate. In 1807 he developed the crow’s nest, to provide shelter for the navigator at the top of the main mast. He retired from whaling in 1823.

Source: Whitby Museum. The museum has an extensive collection of objects and papers linked to Arctic whaling and to the Scoresby family.