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Stockton’s Endeavour Replica - Part 11


I had previously reported that all of the masts and superstructure had been removed from the Endeavour replica and placed on the quayside, adjacent to the hull.1  I had been told that the next stage in relocating the vessel required the hull to be lifted out of the River Tees and placed onto a low-loader for transport to Middlesbrough by road.

Endeavour replica being towed.  © James PJ Stubbs

On 6 April, a friend crossing over the River Tees noticed that Endeavour was no longer at her berth, and assumed that she had been transferred to Middlesbrough.  However, further enquiries revealed that this was not the case, and she was still on the River Tees at Stockton.  By removing the ship’s entire superstructure, the vessel was sufficiently low to pass beneath the several modern bridges that span the Tees at Stockton.  She had been towed downstream passing under these bridges, and had been tied up adjacent to the Tees Barrage.  This is a huge mechanical barrier that maintains a head of water upstream, regardless of the state of the tide downstream.  A narrow system of locks adjacent to the Barrage enables small craft to move from the tidal to the non-tidal part of the River Tees.  

Unfortunately, the lock itself was too narrow to accommodate Endeavour.

Endeavour replica and crane.  © James PJ Stubbs

To overcome this physical restriction, a huge crane was erected adjacent to the locks.

Endeavour replica.  © James PJ Stubbs

Endeavour was towed into the upstream basin in the lock system.  The crane lifted the vessel from the upstream basin, and swung around to lower her into the downstream basin.  At the next high tide she was towed out of the basin and into the tidal section of the River Tees to commence her voyage down the river to the dry dock where she was to be refurbished.  

Seeing Endeavour lifted clear of the water made a big impression on me.  When the ship is in the water you are always aware that part of the hull lies beneath the surface out of sight.  But when she was lifted out of the water, the entire hull was on view.  The ship was so dwarfed by the size of the huge crane that it was difficult to believe that 90+ men sailed around the world in such a small vessel.  

Endeavour painted white in Dry Dock © CAG Photography

Endeavour was refurbished at the dry-dock of A & P Tees Ltd.  These works included

  • cleaning and repainting the hull,
  • repairing and replacing the three masts,
  • rigging the ship with thousands of metres of rope and stainless steel wire,
  • renewing and replacing all of the deck fittings,
  • refitting some of the areas below decks to create display areas, etc.


almost ready in Dry Dock © CAG Photography

By Friday, 1 June, all of the works had been completed, and Endeavour left the dry dock for her next port of call, Whitby.  It was a nice sunny day as the ship left the mouth of the River Tees for Whitby, 40 miles to the south.  Not having an engine, the ship had to be towed all the way there.  

arriving at Whitby © CAG Photography

Her arrival in Whitby was greeted with a peal of bells from St Mary’s Church on the east cliff top, overlooking the harbour.  Endeavour was due to open to the public on 1 July, just in time for the town’s Cook250 Festival on 6-8 July, 2018.


replica on her way to Whitby © CAG Photography

Cliff Thornton

1.    Cook’s Log, page 33, vol. 41, no. 2 (2018).

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 24, volume 41, number 3 (2018).

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