Captain Cook Memorial Museum Whitby
Captain Cook Memorial Museum is in Whitby, North Yorkshire, England, 43 miles (69 km) north of York. The Museum is in Walker’s House which belonged to Captain John Walker to whom the great explorer, Captain Cook was apprenticed in 1746, and to which Cook returned in the winter of 1771/2 after the First Voyage.
The house is situated in Grape Lane on the harbour side. A plaque on the wall states that the house was built in 1688 by Joseph and Susannah Dring. It is a largish building on three floors with an attic. It is regarded as a typical example of a well-to-do ship-owner’s house of the period. Much is known about the furnishings of the house from an inventory of contents taken in 1754. The two ground floor rooms are furnished according to this inventory and decorated in the original colour.
The property was bought in 1729 by the father of Captain John Walker, and became his home and place of business. He was also a captain in the merchant marine and developed the family’s shipping business. He died in 1743, and in his will (Borthwick Institute, York), divided his ships between his sons John and Henry, but left the house to them as tenants in common. The brothers allowed their mother to continue to live in the house. After the deaths of his mother and brother, John Walker moved into the house by 1755. The house remained in the family until the mid 19th century and then was used by turns as a hospital and as a private residence until rescued in 1986 to become the Captain Cook Memorial Museum.
The acquisition of Walker’s House by the Cook Museum Trust enabled the Trust to establish a museum in Whitby dedicated to the celebration of the life of Captain Cook and the scientists, artists and crews who sailed with him. The collections comprise original letters about the Voyages including correspondence of Cook, Lord Sandwich, Sir Joseph Banks and the Forsters, paintings and drawings by the artists who went with Cook to the Pacific, including Parkinson, Hodges, and Webber, artefacts from the Pacific islands and New Zealand, original maps and charts, and ship models.