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Friday, 17 February 2012

Bones purchase means hotel can offer guests a warm whale-come

Whitby's iconic jawbone arch, which was replaced on the town’s West Cliff by a new set of whalebones in 2003, is set to become a major feature of the area's newest hotel.

No bones about it ... the old jawbone
has a new home.
The luxury Raithwaite Hall is to be the new custodian after a council appeal to find them a home. Details of how the arch will be displayed are not yet finalised.

Hotel owner, the Skelwith Group, secured the whalebones after pledging to make a “sizeable" charitable donation and agreed to pay for storage and transport costs.

Scarborough Borough Council northern area officer, John Woodhead, said: “Interest in acquiring the whalebones gathered momentum after recent renewed publicity and we were delighted to receive a total of 17 requests from individuals and groups who wanted to take ownership of the bones."

Raithwaite Hall ... plans are being
 finalised for displaying the bones.
Paul Ellis, managing director of Skelwith Leisure, added: “Whitby’s old whalebones are an extremely important historical artefact. We are delighted to be able to give them a new home and put them back on public display so local residents and visitors to the town can see them once again.

“Raithwaite Hall is historically important to the town and by bringing the bones to the hotel we are able to continue to protect and safeguard the town’s history, and play a further important role in the town.”

The old whalebones – which came from a 113-ton Fin Whale, killed in the Weddell Sea in the Antarctic by the Norwegian whaling ship Thorshovdi – were given as a gift to Whitby Rural District Council in 1963 by the Norwegian Shipping Company, Thor Dahl, to put up in the town as a monument to the town’s whaling past.

The West Cliff was chosen as an appropriate place to display the jawbones given its close proximity to the Captain Cook monument. The whalebone arch measured 19ft and 3 inches in height and stood in the same location for almost four decades before it was decided it needed to be replaced due to it deteriorating condition.

The arch was replaced by new whalebones from a Bowhead Whale, killed legally by native Inuits in 1996 and donated by the people of Barrow in Alaska which is twinned with Whitby.

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