John Walker's house - the House on the Harbour
The Museum is housed in an historic building on the harbourside Walker's House. In 1746 James Cook, then a youth aged seventeen, came here to be apprenticed to Captain John Walker. A beautiful 17th century house, this is the sole surviving building which can with certainty be connected to Cook.
Built in 1688, the house is a good example of a Whitby master-mariner's dwelling, both a comfortable home and the centre of the family shipping business. It retains much of its original internal decoration and has been carefully restored.
The atmosphere recalls that of a prosperous Quaker shipowner's home. It was well constructed, with skilled craftsmanship seen for example in the panelling, doors and staircase, but without any display or extravagance. The colours are based on the original ones, and create an impression of calm restfulness.
The visitor enters from the courtyard overlooking the harbour, which now contains an attractive garden planted with 18th century type plants. Passing through the Orientation Room and the former kitchen, the ground floor rooms are furnished according to an inventory made in the early 1750s. The upper floors follow Cook's life and career from Whitby to Canada, through the great Voyages to the 'Ends of the Earth'.