Exhibition to mark 200th anniversary of whaling ship tragedy

28 March 2013

A new exhibition to commemorate a key moment in Aberdeen's maritime history will open on Monday 01 April - exactly 200 years to the day of the wreck of the whaling ship Oscar at Greyhope Bay.

Aberdeen Maritime Museum has taken the decision to open on Monday so visitors can view the 'Wreck of the Oscar' the exhibition on the anniversary.

On Thursday 01 April 1813 five whaling ships sat out in Aberdeen bay waiting to set sail for the whaling grounds of Greenland, when a terrible storm suddenly blew up. Four of the ships reached the safety of the harbour, but the Oscar was dashed onto the rocks with the loss of 42 of her crew of 44.

'One of the most melancholy and distressing events that ever happened at this place.' - Aberdeen Journal, 07 April 1813.

'TWAS on the 1st of April, and in the year of Eighteen thirteen, that the whaler "Oscar" was wrecked not far from Aberdeen.' - William McGonagall, poet.

This exhibition uncovers the circumstances surrounding that tragic event as well as exploring other wrecks and rescues along the coast of North-east Scotland which have shaped Aberdeen's maritime history.

Key items on display for the first time include the City Council register for 1830 in which the Harbour Commissioners formally request 10 acres of land for the construction of a new lighthouse at Girdleness; a direct result of campaigns started after the wreck of the Oscar.

Curator of maritime history, Meredith Greiling, said: "The loss of this ship, so close to the shore and within sight of relatives of those on board, had a profound effect on the city. Even 200 years later the name Oscar is remembered in place names such as Oscar Road in Torry and in one of Aberdeen's most famous landmarks, Girdleness Lighthouse."

This exhibition runs until Saturday 17 August 2013.