Tuesday, 9 July 2013
A DAWLISH TUNNY, 1868
In September 1868 a monster of a fish was caught and brought into Dawlish. It was a tunny or tuna (thymnus vulgaris) Whoever caught it, I know no further details of the catch, must have got the shock of his life. It must have been 'Old Man and the Sea' stuff! The fish was eight foot, seven inches long. Its greatest circumference was five foot, two inches and it needed six strong men to carry it. We know these facts because the fish was bought and caused to be taken to London by the celebrated Victorian naturalist, Frank Buckland,, who made a model of the fish for display in his Museum of Economic Fish Culture at the Horticultural Gardens in Kensington.
I hope the Dawlish fisherman or men had a good price for it. It arrived in London 'anything but sweet smelling' and, after Frank Buckland had made his plaster cast, Mr Jerrard of the British Museum 'made a skeleton' of it. No doubt its bones are still to be found there.
My source: Trewman's EFP 23rd September 1868.