The Whaleship Essex was penned by Owen Chase, the first mate of the Essex
an American whaler from Nantucket, Massachusetts. Chase describes events that took place on a voyage in the Southern Pacific during 1820.
The book the Whaleship Essex was published two years later.
Thirty years later Herman Melville published the acclaimed novel Moby Dick, the story of a whale attacking a ship. Moby Dick was loosely based on based on Owen Chase’s book.
In 1957 the film Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab was released. The rubber ‘whale’ used in the filming was designed and made by Leigh Bridge Industries in Southend-on-Sea.
In July 1959 the Moby Dick public house, at the junction of Whalebone Lane North and the A12 Eastern Avenue, was officially opened by the Mayor of Dagenham, Councillor Mrs Mary Bredo.

Whalebone Lane was named after the whalebones that were supposedly retrieved from the carcass of a Common Greenland Whale stranded on river Thames in the 1600s.  The bones were set over a toll gate and its toll house built around 1721 at the crossroads of Chadwell Heath High Road and what is now Whalebone Lane. After World War II the bones were taken to the Valence House Museum where they stood at the entrance to the museum. However the bones deteriorated and were put into storage. When the museum opens again it is hoped the bones will be on display.

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