Samuel Enderby & Sons

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Samuel Enderby & Sons was a whaling and seal hunting company founded in London in the mid-18th century , which later also made a name for itself with expeditions to the waters of the Antarctic and the Pacific Ocean . The family business has been a market-determining factor in whaling for around 100 years and a. book the discovery of the Auckland Islands by Abraham Bristow for themselves. The history of the family business reached back over five generations to the 17th century.


The origins of the Enderby's company go back to the family's grandfather, Samuel Enderby (1640–1723).

Samuel Enderby (1640-1723)

The family originally made their living from tanners in the Bermondsay district of London. After selling properties in Ireland in 1660, Samuel Enderby invested in business with whale oil and in trading in fur from Russia . He became a trader and owned the first ships.

Daniel Enderby (1681–1766)

During Daniel Enderby 's lifetime , the Enderby's had their business on St Paul's Wharf and next to them two competitors, Buxton and Sims , both whale oil dealers.

Samuel Enderby (1719–1797)

It was the son of Daniel Enderby who expanded grandfather Samuel's business and registered ships for trade with the thirteen colonies of North America in Boston and London. The business of transporting goods to Boston for the colonialists and bringing whale oil from American whaling to England on the way back was promising. He himself had learned the cooper's trade from Charles Buxton and later opened his own shop on Lower Thames Street in London. But along with his marriage to Mary Buxton , daughter of his former trainer, both families brought their businesses together and became partners, with the Enderby's being the determining factor. Samuel Enderby moved the company to St Paul's Wharf on Thames Street , where it was based until 1830.

The so-called Boston Tea Party in 1773 (civil resistance to British colonial policy) and the beginning of the American Revolutionary War in 1775 caused the business of Samuel Enderby & Sons to collapse. As a result, Enderby went to the South Atlantic with his whaling fleet. Ten years later the company already owned 17 ships. Since the South Atlantic had already been fished in those years, the Enderby's, who could see themselves as the main owners of the company in 1786, expanded the range of their ships to New Zealand and had a base for their whaling fleet built in the Bay of Islands . It is not known when Samuel Enderby Junior took over the business, but it can be assumed that this happened due to the age of Samuel Enderby Senior in the 1780s. During this time, Enderby appeared with Alexander Champion and John St Barbe as spokesman for the Southern Fishery advocacy group before the British Privy Council committee . They wanted to get fishing rights without restrictions on all oceans.

Samuel Enderby (1756-1829)

In 1789 Samuel Enderby & Sons got the permit for whale and seal fishing in the South Seas and at the same time started the business of research projects. This should be the beginning of declining revenues for Samuel Enderby & Sons until it went down a good 60 years later. Enderby expanded its business and by 1790 was able to call more than 68 ships its own. In 1791 he brokered the transport of prisoners to whaling ship owners. He himself was involved in transports with his ship Britannia , which hunted sperm whales off Australia . In 1792 Enderby sent the Rattler to investigate whaling grounds in the South Pacific. He combined this with a research project in the Galapagos Islands . It was the Lieutenant of the Royal Navy , James Colnett , whom he won over for the trip. Colnett researched the whaling grounds from January 1793 to November 1794 on behalf of Samuel Enderby & Sons and the flora of the Galapagos Islands on behalf of the government.

His ships Britannia , Ocean and Speedy operated from Port Jackson in the South Seas. Responsible for the obstruction of his whaling fleet, Enderby campaigned in 1797 for punitive expeditions from Port Jackson against Spanish ports in Chile and Peru . In order to increase the company's profits, Enderby applied for the transport of prisoners to the colony of Australia, but was rejected by the government. Instead, around 1800, his company, along with Alexander Champion, obtained permission to transport goods for the colony. In May 1801 the Greenwich was one of his first ships in this new business. Also in 1801, Samuel Enderby & Sons received approval to go whaling in all seas except the China Sea .

In 1806 one of his captains, Abraham Bristow , discovered the Auckland Islands on the Ocean and named one of the islands Enderby Island after his client. A year later, Bristow was commissioned to explore the islands.

In the 1820s the whaling market got into trouble. In 1819 whaling was expanded into Japanese waters, followed by the coasts of Mozambique , the Seychelles and the waters deep south to Antarctica.

Charles Enderby (1798–1876)

With the death of Samuel Enderby in 1829, the company Samuel Enderby & Sons went to the three sons Charles, George and Henry, but Charles was probably the determining factor in the family business and lived in the Enderby house on the shipyard. In order to compensate for the loss of income from whaling and expeditions and to develop new business areas, Charles Enderby opened a factory for the manufacture of ropes, reinforced cables and canvas around 1830 on the company property on the Thames . In 1845 it was destroyed by fire and 250 workers lost their jobs. At the same time, the company's profits plummeted. In order to free the company and the family from financial difficulties, Charles tried to establish a British settlement with a whaling station on the Auckland Islands. When Charles left Plymouth for the Auckland Islands, a note appeared in the newspaper that the Enderby's are likely to be unable to meet their financial obligations. In 1849 Charles founded the Southern Whale Fishery Company and was appointed deputy governor of the Auckland Islands. But he had little interest in his office and after just three years the settlement had to be abandoned due to unsuccessfulness. The Enderby's were financially at an end after this further failure. In 1854 the Southern Whale Fishery Company and Samuel Enderby & Sons were liquidated.


Enderby with his company Samuel Enderby & Sons, plays a role in the fictional story about the white whale Moby-Dick . The American author Herman Melville , who himself went on whaling ships, had the Pequod of Nantucket from Captain Ahab hit the ship named Samuel Enderby , whose crew had also met the white whale , in his 1851 story . The Samuel Enderby really existed and was part of the Enderby's fleet. The company is also mentioned in the story.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e K. M. Dallas: Enderby, Samuel (1756-1829). Australian Dictionary of Biography, accessed August 14, 2012 .
  2. ^ A b Barbara Ludlow: Greenwich Industrial Story - Notes on the Enderbys. Greenwich Industrial History Society, archived from the original on November 2, 2013 ; accessed on May 12, 2019 (English, original website no longer available).
  3. Messrs Enderby collection. Archives Hub - University of Manchester, accessed May 12, 2019 .
  4. a b c d Enderby House and Enderby Wharf, Christchurch Way, Greenwich. (PDF 1.2 MB) Royal Borough of Greenwich, accessed on August 14, 2012 (English, document found at, original website no longer available).
  5. ^ Charles Enderby collection. Archives Hub - University of Manchester, accessed May 12, 2019 .
  6. ^ The Southern Whale Fishery Company collection. Archives Hub - University of Manchester, accessed May 12, 2019 .
  7. ^ Richard Taylor: The Past and Present of New Zealand with its Prospects for the Future . William Macintosh, London 1868, p. 317 ( online [accessed August 14, 2012] Governors of New Zealand).
  8. ^ Herman Melville: Moby-Dick . Harper & Brothers, New York 1851 (English).