The whale was hauled ashore and became an immediate sensation. People were photographed alongside it, the Midland Railway ran excursion trains to transport visitors to the site and people paid a penny to witness the spectacle.
Oldbury fisherman Hector Knapp (1832-1897) wrote in his diary at the time:
“Thear was a Whal cum ashore at Littleton Pill and bid thear a fortnight. He was sixty eaight feet long. His mouth was twelve feet. The queen claim it at last, and sould it for forty pound. Thear supposed to be forty thousen pepeal to se it from all parts of the country and from far and near.”
The whale ended up in St Phillip’s Marsh in Bristol where it was exhibited to thousands more people for a further fortnight. It was then made into fertiliser and its bones were given to the British Museum.
Hear local historian Lyn Carnaby talk about the day the whale came in our video below.
Did You Know?
You can find out more about The Day the Whale Came at Thornbury and District Museum.