Esther The last Grimsby Sail Trawler


This page is the repository for news paper clips and other documentary information relating to the Esther story. It has been gathered mainly from news paper archives both here in the UK and from Iceland. There is a substantial amount of archive material available in digital format from these archives. I have filtered through what I believe is relevant to the Esther story however there is much that has been left out.

The Iceland archives mention Esther in numerous fish catch reports as well as in advertising her availability to carry cargo as well as when looking for crew members. I have not found any mention of her in any UK news paper archives apart from her launch, however by following the story of the Grimsby Ice Company and Messrs Hewetts and Co. it is possible to infer her movements and the state of the fishing industry she was launched into.

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In this news article mentions the tonnage of shipping owned by various companies in our area. The Grimsby Ice Company was a medium sized owner of fishing boats with just over 1,500 tons in mid 1882.


A letter from a fisherman deploring the loss of life due to "Boxing". Boxing became necessary in the main due to the introduction of fleeting. Fish had to be moved from the smack to the steam cutter for the trip back to port, something that was not needed before fleeting.Fleeting significantly increased the dangers of what was already a very dangerous way to earn a living.


Pressure was building by the middle of the 1880's


This is one of the many gales that swept through the fishing communities. The news papers of the day have weekly stories of the losses of men and boys from the fishing industry.


A Government report into the treatment of the fisher boys


A report into the way Grimsby and Hull mistreated the apprentice fisher boys as compared with other ports around the country.


On the 9th September 1895 the Grimsby Ice Company threatens to move it's fleet if the fishermen do not accept winter fleeting.


At an extraordinary meeting at the Royal Hotel marked the beginning of the end of the Grimsby Ice Company. Of coarse we all know that the Grimsby Ice Company would go on for another 100 years so I think going bust was just a ruse to clear the decks so they could start again but only the directors then would have known that?


More on the bankruptcy of the Grimsby Ice Company


Mr Mudd, one of the directors of the Grimsby Ice Company, has his say.


Report of the sale of the fleet to Messrs Hewett's & Co which we will have to assume would have included G.I.C. later to become Esther.

barking story

This is a short history of the Hewett's and the Short Blue fleet. There is plenty about them on the internet but nothing that I can see about G.I.C. When I get a chance I will try to access their archives which I understand to be quite extensive.


This reporter smells more than rotting fish with the way the directors of the Grimsby Ice Company acted in closing down the company but tempers his report by saying that at the end of the day it would be good for Grimsby in the long run.


A few years later Hewett's were having trouble of their own. This explosion cost them dear as I understand they were not insured. I believe G.I.C. was sold not long after along with other assets to help pay for repairs but this is not know directly.


This is the first mention of G.I.C. in Iceland on the 2nd of November 1901 This article tells of a Sig. Johansen having bought at auction two smacks. One called G.I.C. and one called Vesper. He would later rename both of these boats Esther and Ruth respectively after his daughters.


It wasn't to last long as they were both up for sale by May 3rd 1902. Why so soon? Who knows. Maybe it was for a quick profit or ran into money troubles.


Couldn't be for a quick profit though because it took until October 10th 1902 before Esther sold to a man called P.J. Thorsteinsson. Ruth remained unsold at that time.


By April 19th 1904 this story appeared describing Esther as a motorkutter. This is the first mention of Esther having been fitted with an engine. The story goes on to say that she had taken fish in ice to England and returned with 60 ton of coal. This wasn't unusual even for British smacks. I have even seen evidence of English smacks being used for moving coal in British waters where a smack would run up on a beach near a coastal village and sell coal to the locals who had no rail or road connections.


This is an article showing a connection between Esther and a company called Engey on the 27 May 1905, or it might be the Island called Engey which is on the West Coast of Iceland.


In 1906, but I do not know exactly when Esther had a skipper called Kristian Brynjolfsson


This is the news story of an award ceremony for Gudbjart Olafsson the skipper who saved the lives of 38 fisherman from the fishing community of Grindavikon the South West of Iceland in March 1916. That story is covered in detail here


Esther seeking crew members for a fishing trip. 23rd May 1919.


Esther is going on a trip up the East Coast and is offering space for fair paying passengers or cargo. 27th May 1919


This simple little announcement heralds the end of Esther's time in Iceland and proclaims that she was sold to the Faroes. No mention of to who or for how much. Got to the Faroes page to find out.

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