The North Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby is set to get a new family-friendly floating visitor attraction when HM Bark Endeavour, the full-scale replica of Captain James Cook’s legendary ship, opens to the public next month.
On 1 June 2018 the replica arrived in the harbour town to the sounds of bells ringing from St Mary’s Church, a cannon salute and a group of sea cadets piping her in while crowds watched from the quayside and piers.
The arrival of the vessel, which had been towed 40 miles down the coast from Middlesbrough to Whitby, marked the ship’s spiritual homecoming as the original Endeavour was built in Whitby in 1764, the town where Captain Cook also began his sea-faring career
There are only two life-size replicas in the world. The Australian-built version has previously visited Whitby three times, but now the harbour town will have her own replica which will be moored permanently and transformed into a visitor attraction ready to open on 1 July.
The opening of The Endeavour Experience attraction will be all the more poignant as this year marks 250 years since Captain Cook set out on his epic first expedition to the Pacific in command of the Endeavour.
The Endeavour’s journey began back in April, when she left Stockton-on-Tees and had to be craned over the lock gates at the Tees Barrage to overcome her landlocked status. Since then she has been undergoing an extensive repair and restoration programme in dry dock and will now undergo a further transformation before opening as a family-friendly attraction just ahead of Whitby’s Cook anniversary celebrations.
To complete the tall ship’s transformation, the owner, Whitby entrepreneur and ex-Naval officer Andrew Fiddler has appointed leading interpretive design specialists, Huddersfield-based Leach Studio Limited, whose previous commissions have included Tower Bridge (London), the Seaside exhibition at Scarborough Museums Trust and ‘Viking’ for York Museum & The British Museum.
Through innovative graphic design, lighting and interactive features visitors will be transported back in time to life on-board the 18th century ship and learn just how Cook’s crew, numbering almost 100, coped during the three-year voyage including how they staved off scurvy and overcame boredom during those long days at sea.
The attraction will also enable visitors to glean more about the expedition’s scientific discoveries. For instance how the astronomical phenomenon of the Transit of Venus improved navigational accuracy, and the wealth of strange new botanical and animal species collected as the explorers charted the coast of New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia.
Mr Fiddler, who bought the ship at auction last autumn for £155,000 beating bids from Dubai, Portsmouth and London, is spending more than £750,000 transforming it into a visitor attraction. He commented: “It was fantastic to see the Endeavour coming through the harbour entrance in full glory and receiving a great Whitby welcome knowing she will be staying put in her rightful home.
“We can now look forward to the final stage in her transformation, from being a rundown function venue to becoming an engaging and entertaining attraction that will capture the imaginations of children and adults alike.”
The Endeavour Experience is due to open on 1 July 2018 just ahead of the Cook250 Festival Whitby which takes place 6-8 July. More information on the Endeavour will be available over the coming weeks on http://www.hmbarkendeavour.co.uk/