Voyage to the Arctic: A Whaler's Tale

Flensing the Whale!

What happened after the whale had been caught?

After the whale had been caught and towed back to the whaling ship, the whalers set about 'flensing' the whale.


'Flensing' was when the blubber (the fatty layer) was removed from the whale. Whalers attached special spikes called 'spurs' to their shoes, to allow them to walk on the whale while they were flensing, so that they wouldn't slip. (See the image on the right.)


Strips of blubber were cut off the whale and then put into huge barrels to take home. Back on dry land the blubber could be boiled or 'rendered' to make oil. Special factories grew up along the River Hull for rendering blubber. Apparently the smell was awful!


Go to the next page to see a blubber pot from Hull Maritime Museum!

Document icon Learning article provided by: Hull Maritime Museum | 
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