This year marks the 250th anniversary of the start of Captain Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific in 1768.
This is being celebrated worldwide with exhibitions and events in this country and abroad, and particular events marking Cook’s charting and circumnavigation of New Zealand (2019) and his exploration of the east coast of Australia (2020).
The Captain Cook Museum believed that for this year’s exhibition, it was both novel and enlightening to focus on the place in which the young Cook was trained for the sea and where he spent nine formative years.
Today, Whitby is generally thought of as a pretty seaside town with many historic connections. How different it was in the 18th Century!
Cook could not have come to a better place and was immensely fortunate in the training he received there.
Here he was exposed to impressive models of success, ambition, training and behaviour. It was a town in the middle of a shipbuilding and shipping boom.
There were opportunities to make careers in an exceptional seafaring environment. Boys and young men were drawn from miles around by the quality of training available.
Training was strictly practical with the emphasis on professional and vocational skills.
It was also an outward looking place, well connected by sea to the towns of North East, to London and to the Baltic.
The young Cook himself travelled as far as St Petersburg in 1750.
The exhibition covers some of the key aspects of the town and examines the lives of key men who helped to shape it, such as Abel Chapman (1694-1777), entrepreneur and ship- owner, and Lionel Charlton (1720-1788), teacher of mathematics, surveyor and author of the history of the town.
It also takes the opportunity to showcase how Parkol Marine Engineering continues the tradition of shipbuilding and apprenticeships in Whitby today.
The museum will be hosting a range of workshops and events throughout the year inspired by the exhibition.
Events for children and adults include mathematical artworks, rope making and money making, among others.
Opening times: 9.45am to 5pm daily until Sunday November 4.