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Discover Whitby’s Connections to Captain Cook

You can see references to Captain Cook all across Whitby when you visit. Here, we talk about Captain Cook’s outstanding relationship with Whitby.

captain cook

Whitby draws visitors for a number of reasons. While some visitors travel to explore the local arts and crafts, others go to see Whitby Abbey or other seaside communities like Robin Hood’s Bay. Despite the fact that these are all well-liked destinations, many visitors travel along Captain James Cook’s route.

Whitby and Captain Cook actually go hand in hand since without Whitby, there might not have been a Captain Cook.

Who was Captain Cook?

Captain James Cook, a British explorer, navigator, geographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy, requires little introduction. renowned for discovering Australia. One of Whitby’s most well-known contemporary heroes is Captain Cook.

In 1728, James Cook, a Scottish farm laborer, gave birth to Cook in Middlesbrough. James Cook spent his early years living on the Airey Holmes farm, where Mr. Thomas Skottow also paid for him to attend the neighborhood school. At the age of 16, he traveled to Staithes to begin an apprenticeship as a shopkeeper and haberdasher after spending four years working on the family farm. Records suggest that this is when Cook first developed a love for the sea.

Cook wasn’t suited to shop work. He met the Walker brothers at Whitby after only eighteen months. Sanderson the haberdasher’s pals John and Henry Walker decided to take on Cook as an apprentice in the merchant fleet. On board the Freelove, Cook transported coal for many years between the Tyne and London. Cook was residing with the Walker family at their home on Grape Lane at the time. The Captain Cook Memorial Museum is presently housed in this building, which has been conserved.

Cook successfully completed his apprenticeship, cruised the Baltic trade routes, and took his exams in 1752. He made great progress and was given command of the collier brig Friendship in 1755. Cook joined the Royal Navy less than a month later, seeing it as a means of career promotion and adventure.

Cook claimed that his plans included going, but also

“farther than any man has been before me but as far as I think it is possible for a man to go”

Cook gained a reputation for his cartographic and topographic abilities during the Seven Years’ War; in particular, he produced the map that helped General Wolfe mount a surprise attack at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

In order to create the maps that would be used for the following 200 years, Cook would spend the next five seasons in the vicinity of Newfoundland mapping and surveying all the coastline, rocks, and undiscovered perils. He also made an astronomical observation, measuring the sun’s eclipse on August 5, 1766, using longitude from Newfoundland and cross-referencing it with England.

At a time when Cook’s career in the Royal Navy and the advancement of British interests abroad were being determined by the high seas, the Royal Society and the Admiralty were both quite impressed.

For the Royal Navy, Captain James Cook completed three magnificent trips, solidifying his position as one of the greatest nautical explorers of all time.

The Captain Cook Memorial Monument

A 7-foot-6-inch bronze statue called the Captain Cook Memorial Monument honors the men who constructed the Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure, and Discovery, the four ships Cook utilized on his expeditions. The statue commands a magnificent view of Whitby Harbour, the East Cliff, and St. Mary’s Church from its perch in People’s Park on the West Cliff.

For the lasting memory of a great Yorkshire seaman this bronze has been cast and is left in the keeping of Whitby; the birthplace of those good ships that bore him on his enterprises brought him to glory and left him at rest.

The inscription on the south face of the statue reads


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