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Captain Cook Memorial Museum

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In Whitby's narrow, winding Grape Lane close by the busy Harbour, stood the handsome house of 18th century Quaker shipowner John Walker and his family.

In the attic, lived his 'other family' of seventeen apprentices, lodging there when not actually away learning seagoing skills between Newcastle and London aboard their Master's coal ships - "that best 'nursery' of seamen".

One of these apprentices was the seventeen year old James Cook. The house in Grape Lane was Cook's only known 'landfall' in Whitby and his home is now the museum.

The House

John Walker's house, built in 1688 the year of the Glorious Revolution, had its heyday in the mid 18th century.

A shipowner's house, a slipway led directly from the cellar to the edge of the River Esk. From it Walker's sturdy ships, all Whitby built 'cats', were serviced.

At the very top of the house, in the ship-timbered attic, the young James Cook pursued his winter studies by candlelight, he must often have looked across the river to the shipyards where, later, the ships he would use on his famous voyages - Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure and Discovery would be built.

An old adjoining cottage was restored in 2002 to make a new wing. There are now eleven rooms to visit in the house

  • Orientation Room - the world before Cook. Group portrait of Omai, Joseph Banks and Dr Solander
  • 'Brick floor'd room - newly discovered kitchen. The story of the house and the Walkers
  • Green Room - a panelled dining room
  • Blue Room - furnished austerely as Cook would have known it in the mid 1700's
  • Whitby Room - this room celebrates Cook's nine Whitby years with letters, documents, pictures and a fine model'cat'
  • London Room - reflects Cook's naval life and achievements
  • Voyages Room - the story of how four small converted collier ships under the Command of James Cook RN put the Pacific Ocean on the map
  • Artists Room - prints of original watercolours were used to illustrate reports and journals
  • Scientists' Room - artefacts from the voyages demonstrate how the frontiers of human knowledge were pushed back
  • The Attic - where the young apprentice seaman spent much of his time ashore
  • A section on Antarctic exploration


  • Special exhibitions
  • Small gift shop
  • Wheelchair access
  • Education Room

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We are in Grape Lane, on the East (Abbey) side of Whitby harbour - over the Swing Bridge, 1st lane on right. A171 from Scarborough or Teesside. A64 and A169 from York.

Captain Cook Memorial Museum Postcode for SatNav: YO22 4BA


+44 (0)1947 601 900
+44 (0)1947 601 900

Grape Lane
North Yorkshire
YO22 4BA

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