Samuel Enderby & Sons

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Samuel Enderby & Sons
Founded1776;247 years ago (1776)
Founder Samuel Enderby
Defunct1854 (1854)
Fate Liquidation

Samuel Enderby & Sons was a whaling and sealing company based in London, England, founded circa 1775 by Samuel Enderby (1717–1797). [1] The company was significant in the history of whaling in the United Kingdom, not least for encouraging their captains to combine exploration with their business activities, and sponsored several of the earliest expeditions to the subantarctic, Southern Ocean and Antarctica itself.


History of the company: 1773–1800

Whaler William 1796 owned by Enderby's, with notes on rigging etc Sketches 'Copied from log of whaler William 1796 owned by Enderby's', with notes on rigging etc RMG PU9738.jpg
Whaler William 1796 owned by Enderby's, with notes on rigging etc

Enderby had acquired at least one ship, Almsbury, c. 1768, renamed Rockingham, that he used as a trader. In 1773 Enderby began the Southern Fishery, a whaling firm with ships registered in London and Boston. All of the captains and harpooners were American Loyalists. The vessels transported finished goods to the American colonies, and brought whale oil from New England to England. Some of Enderby's ships were reportedly chartered for the tea cargoes that were ultimately dumped into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party incident.

An embargo was placed on whale oil exports from New England in 1775, as a result of the American War of Independence. Enderby therefore elected to pursue the whaling trade in the South Atlantic. Rockingham embarked on her first whale fishing voyage on 11 November 1775 when Captain Elihu L. Clark sailed her from Britain for the Brazil Banks.

Samuel Enderby founded the Samuel Enderby & Sons company the following year. He and his business associates Alexander Champion and John St Barbe assembled a fleet of twelve whaling vessels on the Greenwich Peninsula, on the River Thames just downstream from the City of London. [2] [3]

By 1785, Samuel Enderby & Sons controlled seventeen ships engaged in this business. All were commanded by American Loyalists. That year, whales in the South Atlantic had become nearly extinct due to pressure from the whaling industry. The Enderby family therefore shifted its focus to the seas around New Zealand, with the Bay of Islands as its main base of operations.

In early 1786, the Enderby family lobbied the government for the right to go into the South Pacific (an area in which the East India Company had historically enjoyed a monopoly). [4] The lobbying efforts were eventually successful, and on 1 September 1788, the 270 ton whaling vessel Amelia, owned by Samuel Enderby & Sons and commanded by Captain James Shields, departed London. The ship went west around Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean to become the first ship of any nation to conduct whaling operations in the Southern Ocean. A crewman, Archelus Hammond of Nantucket, killed the first sperm whale there off the coast of Chile on 3 March 1789. Amelia returned to London on 12 March 1790 with a cargo of 139 tons of sperm oil. [5] The Amelia voyage marked the beginning of a new era for the company—one in which many great voyages of oceanographic and geographic exploration were accomplished, but which would ultimately prove to be a drain on company profits.

By 1791, the company owned or leased 68 whaling ships operating in the subantarctic region and the Southern Ocean. [2] Whaling vessels owned by Samuel Enderby & Sons were part of the Third Fleet taking convicts to New South Wales in 1791. These vessels included Britannia, William and Ann , Mary Ann, Matilda, and Active. Captain Eber Bunker, the enterprising American captain of William and Ann, not wanting to return to England with an empty vessel, became the first to hunt whales in New Zealand waters in December 1791. From this time forward, Enderby's ships Speedy, Britannia, and Ocean made frequent whaling voyages from Port Jackson.

Over the next decade the area became more attractive as the East India Company’s monopoly on fishing in South Pacific waters was progressively lifted, and Governor Phillip Parker King of New South Wales (Phillip Parker King's father Philip Gidley King was governor of NSW) worked to attract the whaling industry.

From January 1793 to November 1794, Enderby sent Rattler to survey whaling grounds in the southeastern Pacific, under the command of Lieutenant James Colnett, Royal Navy. Colnett surveyed the Galapagos Islands on this expedition.

Samuel Enderby died in 1797, leaving the company to his three sons, Charles, Samuel, and George. [2]

History of the company: 1800–1854

By 1801, Governor Phillip King of New South Wales reported six ships engaging in the whaling industry off the northeast coast of New Zealand, and in 1802 he declared that whaling was established in that area.

On 18 August 1806, Captain Abraham Bristow, commander of Ocean, a whaling ship owned by Samuel Enderby & Sons, discovered the Auckland Islands archipelago in the Southern Ocean, south of New Zealand. Finding them uninhabited, he named them "Lord Auckland's" after his father's friend William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland. [6] Bristow returned on Sarah in 1807 in order to claim the archipelago for England.

On 3 August 1819, the whaling vessel Syren, owned by Samuel Enderby & Sons and commanded by Captain Frederick Coffin of Nantucket, Massachusetts, visited the whaling grounds off Japan. The ship returned to London on 21 April 1822 with a cargo of 346 tons of sperm oil. [5] [7]

In 1830, after the death of their father, Samuel Enderby Junior (1756–1829), Samuel Enderby's grandsons, Charles and George Enderby, bought a site on the Thames River which became known as Enderby's Wharf. This site became the new headquarters of the Messrs Enderby company. There they built a ropewalk and a factory, known as Enderby's Hemp Rope Works, for the production of sail canvas and rope from hemp and flax. [2]

From 1830-1833, Samuel Enderby & Sons sponsored the Southern Ocean Expedition as part of an effort to locate new sealing grounds in the Southern Ocean. This expedition, involved two company-owned vessels: the whaling brig Tula, and the cutter Lively. The expedition, led by Captain John Biscoe of the Tula, was the third ever to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent. (Captain James Cook being the first, and Fabian von Bellingshausen being the second.) The expedition discovered and charted a large coastal land mass in East Antarctica which Biscoe named Enderby Land. Biscoe also charted many other terrain features, including Cape Ann, Mount Biscoe, Adelaide Island, the Biscoe Islands, and Graham Land. [8] Despite the loss of several men to scurvy and the wreck of the Lively at the Falkland Islands in July 1832, the expedition successfully returned to London in early 1833.

The Samuel Enderby - leaving Cowes Roads for London, September 1834 The Samuel Enderby - leaving Cowes Roads for London, September 1834 RMG PY8498.jpg
The Samuel Enderby - leaving Cowes Roads for London, September 1834

From 1838-1839, Captain John Balleny led another expedition to the Southern Ocean. Commanding the Eliza Scott, another whaling schooner, this expedition led to the discovery of the Balleny Islands.

In 1846, Samuel Enderby's grandson Charles Enderby founded the Southern Whale Fishery Company in England. In December 1849, he established the Enderby Settlement in Erebus Cove, Port Ross, at the north-eastern end of Auckland Island, close to Enderby Island. [9] [10] This was the beginning of the community named Hardwicke. The Hardwicke settlement was based on agriculture, resupply and minor repair of ships, and whaling. Ultimately unsuccessful, the colony was abandoned in August 1852. [9]

Charles Enderby returned to London in 1853. The ill-fated Enderby Settlement finally bankrupted the Enderby family business, which was liquidated in 1854. [11] Charles Enderby died in poverty in London on 31 August 1876.

Terrain features named after the Enderby family

Terrain features named after the Enderby family include:

Fictional References

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Auckland Islands</span> Volcanic archipelago of New Zealands subantarctic islands

The Auckland Islands are an archipelago of New Zealand, lying 465 kilometres (290 mi) south of the South Island. The main Auckland Island, occupying 510 km2 (200 sq mi), is surrounded by smaller Adams Island, Enderby Island, Disappointment Island, Ewing Island, Rose Island, Dundas Island, and Green Island, with a combined area of 626 km2 (240 sq mi). The islands have no permanent human inhabitants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Island</span> Island in Falkland Islands

New Island is one of the Falkland Islands, lying north of Beaver Island. It is 238 km (148 mi) from Stanley and is 13 km (8.1 mi) long with an average width of 750 m (820 yd). The highest point is 226 metres (741 ft). The northern and eastern coasts have high cliffs but the eastern coasts are lower lying, with rocky shores and sandy bays. There are several smaller offshore islands in the group; North Island and Saddle Island have high cliffs but Ship Island and Cliff Knob Island are lower lying.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Enderby Land</span> Projecting landmass of Antarctica

Enderby Land is a projecting landmass of Antarctica. Its shore extends from Shinnan Glacier at about 67°55′S44°38′E to William Scoresby Bay at 67°24′S59°34′E, approximately 124 of the earth's longitude. It was first documented in western and eastern literature in February 1831 by John Biscoe aboard the whaling brig Tula, and named after the Enderby Brothers of London, the ship's owners who encouraged their captains to combine exploration with sealing.

John Biscoe was an English mariner and explorer who commanded the first expedition known to have sighted the areas named Enderby Land and Graham Land along the coast of Antarctica. The expedition also found a number of islands in the vicinity of Graham Land, including the Biscoe Islands that were named after him.

The Southern Ocean Expedition (1830–1833) was an expedition to Antarctica.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Whaling in Australia</span>

Whaling in Australian waters began in 1791 when five of the 11 ships in the Third Fleet landed their passengers and freight at Sydney Cove and then left Port Jackson to engage in whaling and seal hunting off the coast of Australia and New Zealand. The two main species hunted by such vessels in the early years were right and sperm whales. Humpback, bowhead and other whale species would later be taken.

The Coffin family was prominent in the history of whaling in the United States, operating ships out of Nantucket, Massachusetts, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Some members of the family gained wider exposure due to their discovery of various islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Hardwicke was the name of an agricultural and whaling community set up at Port Ross, a natural harbour on Auckland Island in the Auckland Islands in the Southern Ocean, south of New Zealand. Although a short-lived settlement was established, it was abandoned within three years.

Samuel Enderby was an English whale oil merchant, significant in the history of whaling in the United Kingdom. In the 18th century, he founded Samuel Enderby & Sons, a prominent shipping, whaling, and sealing company.

Samuel Enderby Junior (1755–1829) was a British whaling merchant, significant in the history of whaling in Australia.

Charles Enderby (1797–1876) was one of three sons of Samuel Enderby Junior (1756–1829). He was the grandson of Samuel Enderby (1717–1797), who founded the Samuel Enderby & Sons company in 1775. Samuel Enderby & Sons was one of the most prominent English sealing and whaling firms, active in both the Arctic and Southern Oceans. Charles and his two brothers, Henry and George, inherited Samuel Enderby & Sons when their father Samuel Junior died in 1829. They moved the company headquarters in 1830 from Paul's Wharf to Great St. Helens in London.

The Southern Whale Fishery Company was established by the granting of a Royal Charter in 1846 to Charles Enderby, for the purpose of operating a permanent whaling station on the Auckland Islands. Charles Enderby was the grandson of Samuel Enderby, founder of the prominent sealing and whaling firm, Samuel Enderby & Sons.

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Abraham Bristow (c1771-1846) was a British mariner, sealer and whaler. In August 1806 he discovered the Auckland Islands.

William was a merchant vessel built in France in 1770 or 1771. From 1791 she made numerous voyages as a whaler in the southern whale fishery. She also made one voyage in 1793 transporting supplies from England to Australia. She then resumed whaling, continuing until 1809.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Whaling in the United Kingdom</span>

Commercial whaling in Britain began late in the 16th century and continued after the 1801 formation of the United Kingdom and intermittently until the middle of the 20th century.

Sarah was launched at Hartlepool in 1800. Between 1807 and 1813 Sarah made two voyages as a whaler. On her first whaling voyage her captain claimed the Auckland Islands for Britain. As she was coming home a French privateer captured her, but a British privateer recaptured her. After her whaling voyages Sarah became a transport, a West Indiaman, and traded with North America. She was last listed in 1826.

Greenwich was launched on the Thames in 1800. Between 1800 and 1813 Samuel Enderby & Sons employed her as a whaler in the British Southern Whale Fishery, and she made four whaling voyages for them. In 1813 the United States Navy captured her in the Pacific and for about a year she served there as USS Greenwich. Her captors scuttled her in 1814.

John Balleny was the English captain of the sealing schooner Eliza Scott, who led an exploration cruise for the English whaling firm Samuel Enderby & Sons to the Antarctic in 1838–1839. During the expedition of 1838–1839, Balleny, sailing in company with Thomas Freeman and HMS Sabrina, sailed into the Southern Ocean along a corridor of longitude centering on the line of 175°E., south of New Zealand.


  1. K.M. Dallas, 'Enderby, Samuel (1756-1829)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, Melbourne University Press, 1966, p. 357.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Green A, 150 Years Of Industry & Enterprise At Enderby's Wharf
  3. Jackson, Gordon (1978, page 92. The British Whaling Trade. Archon. ISBN   0-208-01757-7.
  4. Dan Byrnes, Outlooks for England's South Whale Fishery, 1784-1800, and the Great Botany Debate
  5. 1 2 The Quarterly Review, Volume 63, London:John Murray, 1839, page 321.
  6. F.B. McLaren, The Auckland Islands: Their Eventful History, Wellington:A.H and A.W Reed, 1948
  7. Granville Mawer, Ahab's Trade: The Saga of South Seas Whaling, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999, page 126. ISBN   0-312-22809-0
  8. "Antarctic History," . Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  9. 1 2 Historical Timeline of the Auckland Islands Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  10. 1 2 Dingwall, Paul R.; Jones, Kevin L. (2009). "The Enderby Settlement (1849–52): Archaeological reconstruction of a British Colonial settlement at the Aucklnad Islands". In Dingwall, Paul; Jones, Kevin; Egerton, Rachael (eds.). In Care of the Southern Ocean : an Archaeological and Historical Survey of the Auckland Islands. Auckland: New Zealand Archaeological Association. ISBN   978-0-9582977-0-7.
  11. Charles Enderby [ permanent dead link ]
  12. USGS GNIS: Enderby Land
  13. USGS GNIS: Enderby Island
  14. USGS GNIS: Enderby Plain
  15. 1 2 Herman Melville, 'Moby-Dick', Harper & Brothers, New York, 1851, Chapters 100 & 101