Memories of whaling come flooding back to Leith residents

Isobel and Davina French at the book launch

A Port of Leith Housing Association (PoLHA) sheltered housing tenant has shared memories of her father working as a whaler in a book about this long-lost industry.

Davina French’s father worked for Christian Salvesen as a whaler in the early to late fifties, and she and her sister Isabel have contributed their personal thoughts about this to Whaling Days, a collection of short stories created by Citadel Arts Group which also includes memories from members of Salvesen’s Ex-Whalers Club.

Davina, aged 64, said: “I had some bits and pieces of my dad’s that I was able to let people see, such as a Salvesen’s wage slip, whales’ ear drums and teeth. I was also able to share memories when he was away and what it was like at home, and how we all felt when he came home, especially after a long trip.

“It was great to hear other people’s stories too, particularly from the men that were actually out at sea. My sister Isabel was also able to share her memories. Being the older sister, her husband was also a whaler.”

Maureen Tait, sheltered housing manager at PoLHA, said: “Citadel Arts Group has supported Port of Leith Housing Association sheltered tenants over the years and it’s always lovely to hear their stories and see photos from days gone by.”

Liz Hare, artistic director at Citadel Arts Group, added: “It has been great partnering with Port of Leith Housing Association once again and it was fascinating to hear the tales of local Leith residents who generously shared the stories of their families working lives out at sea.”

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