INCIDENT – Whale on Beach – The man who buried it
Accreditation Cleveland Standard 07/11/1936
That Whale Again
By The Man Who Buried It
Following the publication in “The Town’s Newspaper” last week readers stories of the whale which was washed ashore at Redcar in 1912, we have now received an account of the incident from The Man Who Buried The Whale. He is Mr. J. Jackson of Marske.
Mr. Jackson personally supervised the work of disposal at some discomfort, for “It is true,” he writes, “that people in the High Street, as far as the Swan Hotel at any rate, had their handkerchiefs to their noses.” But its odoriferous condition did not defeat one stalwart, who even sent pieces of skin as souvenirs.
Mr. Jackson writes:
I should like to add my quota to the story of the whale, as the man whose job it was to dispose of it.
“In September of 1912 a telephone message was received at the Estate Office at Marske from the late Mr. J. Howcroft, the surveyor to the Redcar Urban District Council, stating that a whale had been washed up on Redcar Sands, and owing to is being above high tide mark it was up to the Lord of the Manor to deal with it.
“Thinking the matter was urgent, I at once rang up the Head Agent for the Estates at Richmond, who gave instructions to deal with it, and at the same time to take some empty barrels to collect the oil. Straight away I went to see the creature, measured it (30 feet long by about 7 feet diameter), and began to think of the best way to dispose of it. Of course I got advice about it from the spectators. One man suggested digging a huge hole in the sands and rolling it in; another man had the explosive idea and suggested powder, which he said would blow upwards, but not by any means to use dynamite, as it blew things downwards.
“The next thing to do was to get someone to do the job, and anxious to use local labour, I approached several man without avail; they wouldn’t have anything to do with it.
Adapted By Nature
“At least I came across a man whom I am still convinced to this day is the only man that could possibly do it. I found out that he had lost his sense of smell!
“The man I refer to must have been well known to Redcar people as the sand artist who made his wonderful drawings against the Pier at that time – his arms were tattooed like an old sailor. By this time I had made up my mind how to deal with it. i.e., to cut it into sections and haul it up on to dry land and bury it there.
“The artist, bestowed with the finer gifts, agreed to take the job on for £5.
“I got a large cross-cut saw from Charlie Sill, and a start was made to cut it into four sections. The artist stuck manfully to his job, but native assistants vanished in quick succession.
“The job was left to him alone to struggle on with a hand saw and axe – and he did it, never turning a hair. He also found time to cut off small pieces of skin and sell them for 3d a time as souvenirs, before it was dragged away with horses and long chains for burial well above sea level.
“It is quite true that people on the High Street, as far as the Swan Hotel at any rate held their handkerchiefs up to their noses
June 11, 2010 Beach