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June 2023

Object Title: Whaler’s Cap
Object Number: 2021.1
There is something about this old tweed cap, with its frayed and stained lining from years of wear, which connects us to the wearer in an intimate way. In the 1950s and 60s caps like this were popular amongst the whalers working in South Georgia’s whaling industry and they could be bought from the whalers’ shop – the Slop Chest. This cap was bought at Grytviken, but the owner was not a whaler, he was visiting the island in his role as a member of the Royal Marines Naval Party 8901 and was normally based in the Falkland Islands. John Hunter-Paterson enjoyed the posting, the highlight of which was his visit to South Georgia and Antarctica working aboard the British Antarctic Survey vessel RRS Shackleton. The cap is well designed for the rough weather he encountered. It has earflaps that can either secure over the top of the hat, or, in high winds or cold temperatures, be dropped down to protect the ears and fixed underneath the chin with the poppers.

The photograph of whalers sporting similar caps was taken in the late 1950s. It was given to the museum by ex-whaler Hamish Jennings from the Falkland Islands. He worked as a plumbers mate on the whaling factory ship Southern Harvester and overwintered at Leith Harbour whaling station.


This cap was sold from the Slop Chest – the whalers’ shop at Grytviken 
Years of wear show in the cap’s lining 


Whalers wearing similar caps in the late 1950s