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Harris, Bunavoneader, Whaling Station

Whaling Station (20th Century)

Site Name Harris, Bunavoneader, Whaling Station

Classification Whaling Station (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Bunavoneader Whaling Station; Bun Abhainn Eadarra

Canmore ID 4075

Site Number NB10SW 5

NGR NB 1310 0397

NGR Description Centred NB 1310 0397

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish Harris
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Bunavoneader (Bun Abhainn Eadar)

Whaling Station, 1904 Gaunt remains of a long-defunct industry, with a lone, tapering red brick chimney rising from the foundations of the boiling house/dessicator. Little else but the carcass ramp survives. Founded by Norwegian Karl Herlofsen, the factory was acquired by Lever Bros in 1922 when the market was declining, but was abandoned by them in 1929, a financial failure. Leverhulme never pursued his bizarre notion of turning whale meat into tinned sausages for Africans. The whaling station finally closed in 1951.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NB10SW 5 centred on 1310 0397

(Location cited as NB 131 038). Whaling station, Bunaveneadar. All that survives of this once-extensive complex is a tapering brick chimney, foundation remains of structures, two small buildings, and the sloping ramp up which whales were hauled for processing.

J R Hume 1977.

Scheduled as 'Bunavoneadar, whaling station, Harris'.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 27 April 1992.


Photographic Survey (5 June 1996)

Measured Survey (1996)

RCAHMS surveyed the whaling station at Bunavoneader in July 1996 with the assistance of D E Macleod (aged 90), a former employee.

Aerial Photography (25 September 2004)

Ground Survey (19 February 2007 - 23 February 2007)

NB 1310 0397 Bunavoneader Whaling Station is the best preserved example of a shore-based whaling station in the UK and was designated a scheduled ancient monument in 1992. It operated commercially between 1904 and 1928, with a break during World War I, and reopened, on a much smaller scale, for two seasons in 1951 and 1952. The archaeological remains are extensive and include the seawall, slipway, flensing platform, jetty, paths and trackways, and the remains of buildings and ancillary structures, including a tall brick chimney. A pig house, part of the foundations of another piggery, magazine and dam associated with the operation of the whaling station lie outwith the scheduled monument. Many of the structures and buildings are perceived to be at risk, particularly those closest to the sea. The fieldwork undertaken from 19–23 February 2007 was the result of a commission for the owners for the preparation of a Conservation Plan for the site. Archaeological fieldwork on site included feature description and assessment of significance, a photographic survey and a detailed topographic and feature survey.

Archive will be deposited with RCAHMS. Report will be deposited with RCAHMS and the Highland SMR

Funder: North Harris Trust.


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