Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Mermaid of Kent and a few strange things in Kentish waters...

G. Howell’s A Kentish Notebook of 1891 records the following stories:

The Gravesend Mermaid

‘Real Wonders!’ At Gravesend – Exhibition August 1825 – ‘A Gravesender visited these wonders (in relation to beautiful dolphins, a learned pig etc) in company with his children and saw the Mermaid, which, he says, “was about 2-ft high”, and had one arm, the other having been cut off and sold. The woman who exhibited it, declared to me it was no imposition that it had been inspected, very minutely, in London, by professional gentlemen and that it was pronounced to be a Mermaid.

A Kentish Swordfish

November 10th 1888 – Capture of a swordfish at Sittingbourne – Long Reach, Milton Creek, caught by a bargeman , 5-ft, 2” from tip of tail to tip of sword. Possibly in pursuit of a whale seen at Gillingham – trying to find its way to the Mediterranean or the Atlantic.

A Sea Eel

1761 – A sea eel, 6-ft long, 20 inches round and weighing 30lb was lately taken in a shallow water, where it had been left by the tide at Whitstable…

A Conger Eel

October 1760 – A conger eel was lately taken in the River Medway near Romney Marsh, which measured 7-ft, 6 ½ inches, and in circumference 2-ft 9” and ¾ with a weight of 56 lbs.

Sperm Whale

February 1762 – Sperm whale 61-ft in length at Broadstairs.

December 1764 – A Spermaceti whale was thrown ashore on the flats at Seasalter, nr Whistable – 54 ft in length, 38-ft in girth at its broadest point.

Autumn 1854 – forty to fifty young whales at the Thames at Gravesend – proceeded until (?). One struck by steamer paddle. All travelled down river.

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