FRIDAY 23rd October 2003, 1200 hours. 54.0781 N. 2.8444 W, Morecambe Bay on the West coast of Britain (with apologises to the Great Captain for this Mickey Mouse nomenclature - I blame Brussels, Digital Imaging, three hours of intense concentration, over for another week. Nothing compared to what would be required, on board or up top, in a howling gale in the Pacific oceans at –10 C).
Watering, victualing, and stowage completed. Weather fair, temperature in the teens, winds light and variable WSW. Up anchor, 1301hrs, and gently eased out into the “roads” heading NE, made steady progress to 54.5863N, 1.7348W (Ordnance Survey Map Ref; SD 86800.89613). White Scar caves Ingleton, 1407hrs. Pleasant anchorage, haze clearing, views across the valley to the Limestone outcrops, but picked specifically for its facilities.
Leaving an hour later, by the B6255. Eastwards. Ribblehead viaduct was sighted almost immediately. The 13 arches emerging through the mist, stark and gaunt in the afternoon light. No traffic to day, but diesel engines don’t have the same effect as a Steam hauled, 13 coach train, charging across the empty wild fells belching smoke and cinder, ascending the Long Drag.
Leaving the Railway Inn, beside the station, behind, we altered coarse to NNE for the descent to Hawes. On the busy market day, I think that Funchal would have been seen at a rather more leisurely pace. Provision of Wensleydale cheese (Thank you Gromit) and Ginger wine receipt, were picked up. (Eat your heart out Madeira). Purchases completed, we continued now E on the A684 through brightening weather conditions, passing Leyburn, Bedale and Northallerton. N at Ellerbeck on to the A19 and NNE on to the A172, Stokesley veering N, to our anchorage at 54.5382N 1.2044W. MARTON Hotel at around 1631hours. (The O.S. map ref. is NZ 514669.16191 - an interesting coincidence?)
After stowing gear, contact was made in the bar with earlier arrivals, chair purloined, the circle growing ever wider. The shortage of cooks caused the arrival of liquid refreshment to be a protracted affair, even threatening the evening meal. The lady steward, however pulled out all the stops, and everybody was fulfilled by 1900 hrs with Roast Beef or a large piece of Salmon.
2000 hrs brought the informal get together. GOODIES of every kind were produced, Maps, Wills, Artefacts, Pamphlets. Ian and Ruth presided over a table full of books, manuals and photographs, which were perused by a constant stream of interested crew members. Stock books appeared stamps swapped, even a club, nine-sheet competition entry, was shown. Discussion groups formed, dissolved and reformed as other units. Wills were inspected, goodies exchanged, objects handled. Old friends meet, new friendships made. Yarns told of recent voyages, particularly in the Southern seas, and visits to rocky islands, including St Georges, on St Helena. I’ve no idea what our two ex colonial cousins from America made of it all, but they joined in enthusiastically, exchanging addresses with many. Charlie’s wife hails from the village of Bay Horse, only three leagues south of our own homeport around Morecambe Bay. Hammocks were slung from 2230.
SATURDAY 24th October 2003. Dawn brought scattered showers, which had prevailed most of the two previous watches. Breakfast was served from 0730 on, but 0830 seemed to be a popular time. A good old fashioned English one was on offer but lighter bites, for the Frenchies and points east, were available. However ICED WATER had to be specifically asked for, the sugar was hidden beneath the “Jelly” (marmalade). Tea and coffee was on offer, but I dared not enquire what our visiting American friends thought of the latter.
Formal meetings took place in the refurbished Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Stewart Park commencing at 1000 hrs. This was only a short distance and could be reached without launching the Jolly boat. By 1000 the lecture room was FULL (some crew members missed out on the Goody bags from Ian Stubbs).
The four Chiefs seated themselves preparing for their individual reports: Alwyn Peel, Ian Boreham, Andrew Bardell and Cliff Thornton. (It would be interesting to find the rule which says all officials must Be Bearded.) However it’s a well known maritime tradition, which saves time in the forenoon, besides eliminating self inflicted injury with an open razor, from shaking, cold hands, after a night before, or on a heaving deck in a blow.
Cliff Thornton was invited to officially open the newly completed resource centre. The museum has collected together as much of the James Cook material as possible from the local libraries, museums, et al. With it now all under one roof, research will never be the same again. Cataloguing is still being undertaken, and the facilities are not available on Saturdays; a prior phone call would be appreciated. CCS member Neil Evenett presented a video to the resource centre that shows a complete circumnavigation of New Zealand. Well done to all the Staff who made it possible.
Reports and formalities were soon dispensed with. I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all serving officials of the Society for their hard work on our behalf.
Papers Delivered During The Day
1030 Dan O’Sullivan Cook in Great Ayton
1100 Derek Morris Cook in Stepney
1130 Cliff Thornton Recent research on Wills
1200 LUNCH, in the Museum café.
1400 Joe Wheatley Ships of Cook’s Time
1500 Phil Philo Cook’s Wooden World
1530 Robin Daniels Cook in Marton & dig
Dan O’Sullivan gave us an update on events in Great Ayton, particularly the whys and wheres we don’t see, continuing with an insight into what could be expected of education in the 1730s. For the most part it was left to a few people, of no formal training, who wanted or who could see that educating the “masses” was Christian, Moral and good for trade. Through research Dan has been able to piece together Cook’s probable teacher in Marton. The similarities when comparing some letters and numbers in the hand writing of the Captain in his logs to that of the/his teacher was
Derek Morris provided us with a hand-out on the Land Tax for Assembly Row, Mile End Road, 1761-1769. Using it he explained that Cook’s neighbours were all people of consequence and some had connections with the sea. Where else
would Cook glean new information, swap experiences, but near the river? These were people who had purposely gone to live further away from the town (although we may not appreciate it now), to larger houses, more pleasant surroundings
for a young and growing family. Other neighbours were a Baker, Builder, Victualler, Distiller and a rich widow who, from
surviving documents, had property in Bishopsgate insured for nearly £17,000, (in the 1760s).
Cliff was unfortunate in his choice of electronic instrumental aids; the one supplied decided that it required a new bulb and, after a frantic search, a new one was unable to be located.
Cliff has postponed his paper to a later date.
Instead he told us about the latest developments in the research into the arrow that it is claimed was made from part of one of Cook’s bones.
Joe Wheatley produced for us the most delightful drawings of 17th and 18th ships, contemporary with Cook. Not only were these beautifully drawn to scale, the research that had gone in to them to ensure the detail and accuracy Joe demanded of himself was inspiring.
Most people, having drawn them, would have looked back and said “Job well done”.
He then commenced to colour them, in their original paint work.
Pick one out?
Well it had to be the Endeavour.
Phil Philo started with the wonders of modern technology, that worked - a laptop with a PowerPoint h3 though a projector. I can go along with the second assertion he made - but he had not thought it through: “That we all should do a stint crewing the Endeavour replica” (in case it does not return again), where everyone gets to do every task.Great!
How old are you Phil? 35? Looking around the room, several of the landlubber types, like me, took on a lighter hue. There is NO way, these days at pushing 70, that you could, would, get me up that mast. But that’s with the hindsight of age.
When 18 in the early 1950s, I was invited to go to a place, East of China, for a couple of years. I thought I was fire proof. Now I know I wasn’t.
Enough of the drivel, I know from your paper you had a whale of a time aboard the replica, just the attitude Cook looked for. You, like me from those far flung lands, will never forget it, and will probably be a better person for the experience.
You portrayed your days at sea with humour, humility for the elements, and enthusiasm. I hope that you achieve your dream of crewing for longer in warmer climes, then you can come back and tell us “recycled students” all about your experiences at a later date. Thank You for the paper and all you are doing at the museum.
Please also pass on our Thanks to all the staff.
Fortunately the squalls had abated when we viewed the excavation work outside on “old Marton”, village. When pointed out to us, the village area could still be discerned by using the Ancient boundaries that are still there. One of the
finds from the archaeological dig was a large stone. It had a hole in it, which is thought to be the pivot hole for an outhouse’s door. The various, hardly noticeable, mounds we could see, are hoped to be sites of later digs, giving up more information.
The Lasting impression which, came over from each of these papers, was the ENTHUSIASUM emanating from each speaker on his chosen subject and the depth of knowledge at their finger tips. Obviously a great deal of time and effort had been expended in their research, but labours of love always demand that.
ON BEHALF OF THE SOCIETY MAY I SAT A BIG THANK YOU TO YOU ALL, from a humble able seamen.
A cautionary tail, even a word of warning. At the museum canteen if you buy two sandwiches, make sure you are accompanied by the WHOLE of your family. Food bought for people coming in a 5-seater family car would, in all probability, feed a charabanc full. Up here they are used to Miners and Shipyard workers.
SATURDAY EVENING. 1830, brought the Auction, preceded by the viewing of the 130 or so lots. Your own particular interests were sure to have been catered for, and there was a great deal of general interest in the book section. Bidding was brisk and KEEN. Harry Ward and Andrew Bardell, assisted by Harry Wright, were kept on their toes, especially by the “corner” bidders hiding holding their paddles.
I’ve always marvelled at the skill of stamp collectors. For any/every given lot, the two parties who are interested in it are to be sat at diametrically opposite points in a room. It is, I believe, mandatory that budding auctioneers spend a fortnight at Wimbledon prior to their first auction; it cuts down injury and strengthens muscles. Lot XXX the postcard of the Endeavour replica in Funchal harbour, possibly cost 50p, but went for £6.00 - two keen bidders. (Mental note: must get hold of some of these cards for future auctions). Most of the lots had interest from within the room, but Harry complained that a little more effort within the room, would have saved him a lot of Posting and Packaging work when he got home. I hope you got your lot(s).
The auction completed, we sat down to a presentable dinner, but not before our president Cliff Thornton had proposed the toast to Captain James Cook R.N. on the anniversary of his 275th birthday. (Well, nearly.)
SUNDAY 25th October 2003. Dawned clear and bright, after overnight showers. Breakfast, our last communal meal, was foreshortened (Sunday) 0830-0930 but most substantial never the less. Preparations were made for individual visits to the church service at St Cuthbert’s at Marton and St Hilda’s at Whitby. Also, wreath laying on the east cliff of Whitby, Reg Firth’s museum at Staithes, the Endeavour replica in Middlesbrough, et al. Good byes said, future meetings arranged, leaves taken. Travel time home varied from a couple of hours to a couple of days (if you were lucky), Huddersfield, Manchester, Wokingham, Kent, Hants., Pittsburgh Pennsylvania - at least they only had to worry about the journey from Heathrow onwards as lifts had been arranged Southwards from Marton.
The weather closed in as we set off for Whitby, heavy rain was soon with us. Whitby was very busy for a wet Sunday in late October. A climb up to St Hilda’s where the service was conducted, after which the dignitaries assembled at Cook’s statue for the wreath laying. A fair wind was now up, which Cook would have appreciated. Further sites at Staithes, Roseberry Topping, not forgetting a last look (may be) of the Endeavour replica, before back for a final dinner (for some). The de-commissioning crew was now down to 8, two of whom, were suffering from Java Fever, and they would have been in dire trouble if the journey home had been as long as Cook’s from Java on his First Voyage. We joined two more of the crew in the small lounge for coffee and talk, but as most of us needed an early start, bed soon called.
MONDAY 26th October 2003. Audrey and I arrived for breakfast rather later than intended, to find that the rest of the decommission crew had mustered, eaten and been dismissed. Finishing off as quickly as possible, we took our leave, having enjoyed an excellent weekend away with friends and like minded fellow travellers. Our thanks must go to ALL the organisers, Speakers, museum staff, auctioneers, et al.
I wonder why it’s been six years since I last attended (1997, Endeavour replica’s first visit). If you were present,
If you were not, you won’t know what you missed, but let’s see if in 2004 we can push the museum into more refurbishments and extensions. The room was Full in 2003, a good turn out, very few empty seats, a few more crew, would have caused the extensions, having to be started this year. An excellent weekend is guaranteed.
With my apologies to Phil Philo, for usurping his idea.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 7, volume 27, number 1 (2004).
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