Book Review – ‘Viola: The life and times of a Hull steam trawler’ by Elsa Cox

By Elsa Cox, published November 2020


In 2007 the reviewer arrived at Grytviken whaling station as curator of the South Georgia Museum, returning to the island as a summer resident for three consecutive years. The rusting hulk of Dias, berthed at a small jetty in front of the former whaling station manager’s villa, now the museum, was a familiar sight.

Dias arrived at Grytviken in 1927 and worked as a sealing and expedition support vessel until the cessation of the South Georgia whaling industry in 1965. Although now known as Dias, the vessel was built as Viola in Beverley, North Yorkshire, in 1906, around 8,000 miles from its current resting place. Dias/ Viola is the last remaining example of a Hull steam trawler, and one of only a handful of fishing trawlers in existence to have served in the First World War.

Viola: The life and times of a Hull steam trawler examines in great detail the remarkable history of this vessel and its adventures in the waters around Africa, Antarctica, Norway, South America, the United Kingdom and South Georgia. Historians and authors, Robb Robinson and Ian Hart, set the scene by introducing the transfer from sail to steam trawling fleets in the 1890s …

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Filed under: Atlantic | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

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