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Royal Commonwealth Society : Photographs of South Georgia and whaling activities


Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Collection of loose prints and one duplicate by various unidentified photographers, most probably dating from the 1920s. The original owner, Hester McGivering, worked for Christian Salvesen Limited. It formed the third shore-based whaling station on South Georgia at Leith Harbour in November 1909 and continued operating there until 1960/61. It is therefore probable that most of the photographs of whaling stations on South Georgia are of Leith Harbour. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The photographs vary considerably in quality, from the very detailed scenes on a whaling ship (numbers 2-5) to a batch of larger but generally very faint photographs (numbers 56-80). The majority have captions on the back or front. Henry and Frances Heyburn, 'Postcards of the Falkland Islands: a Catalogue 1900-1950' (1985), sheds light on the origin of some of the photographs, though none of the items it lists are identical. On pp. 101-103 there is a list of a series of 18 cards on South Georgia and the whaling industry published by Ray V. Hardy, South Georgia, in 1914. The numbers and descriptions correspond to items Y30795B/48-55 listed above, but the set recorded by the Heyburns was coloured. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>On pp. 145-147 is a description of a set of ten cards bound in a paper cover lettered 'Prince Olav Harbour South Georgia' with the cards perforated on the left hand side. They were published by Foto. Magn. Himberg, Southern Studio, Norway. The same firm published Y30795B/47, but this postcard is not listed by the Heyburns. All ten cards in the set are illustrated, and three correspond to items in this collection - though the latter are not captioned, and are separate cards, without perforations. These are: </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>AF1 "Albatros I Bay of Isles" = Y30795B/55, but the former photograph has been reproduced in oval shape. AF7 "Spermacet hval (sperm whale) Prince Olav Harbour" = Y30795B/37. AF8 "Blahval (Blue whale) Prince Olav Harbour" = Y30795B/38. It seems likely that the remaining cards Y30795B/37-47 are from the same source.</p>

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