In 1843 Johan Theodor Salvesen set up in business as a shipbroker
at Grangemouth, a few miles west of Edinburgh and three years later opened another
office in Leith. In 1851 his brother, Christian, left Norway to join him in Scotland
and was given responsibility for the Leith office.
At the time Christian
joined the company, the Leith office was being operated jointly with George Turnbull
as Turnbull, Salvesen and Company. The main trade involved the export of coal
and the import of timber. In 1872, the partnership with Turnbull ended and Christian
Salvesen and Co. was formed. Meanwhile Johan concentrated on the Grangemouth office
and, in 1853, withdrew completely from the Leith business. Eventually, the company
started at Grangemouth passed to the control of F.T. Everard.
|Christian Salvesen offices, Leith|
A raft of steamships operated out of Leith until as late as the 1960s.
When they pulled out many were left to rot in the harbour.
association with the importation of whale oil encouraged the company to set up
a land-based whaling station at Olna in the Shetland Isles in 1904 where whale
catchers were based until the station was closed in 1929. In 1907, the company
started Antarctic whaling. Initially a base was established in the Falkland Islands
but was soon relocated to Leith Harbour, South Georgia, to be nearer the whaling
grounds. Floating factory ships were acquired to operate from the new base, which
in turn was serviced by supply ships drawn from the company's tramp ship fleet.
The whole operation was managed by the newly formed South Georgia Company.
1914, Salvesen's whaling fleet consisted of two factory ships, five supply ships
and 18 whale catchers. The introduction of stern ramps on factory ships in the
late 1920s enabled the whale carcasses to be hauled up onto the deck for cutting
up. Before then, harpooned whales were dissected alongside the vessels.
Directions: From the harpoon after listening to the history of whaling,
continue on by the walkway through - Victoria Bridge. Walk through here
then turn left following the roadway by Ocean Drive opposite the Scottish
Office and to the next point, Commercial Quay.