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Cook Museum Whitby

Northward Ho! A Voyage towards the North Pole 1773

Northward Ho! - A Voyage towards the North Pole 1773

A now forgotten voyage, in 1773 the Yorkshireman Captain Constantine Phipps led an expedition towards the North Pole. Organised by the Admiralty, this was to test the belief that the sea itself did not freeze and that ice only formed near to land. If a trans-polar passage could be found, the route to the East Indies would be shorter.

Captain Phipps with the Racehorse and the Carcass, sailed north of Spitsbergen (modern-day Svalbard), but was driven back by the icepack, only extricating the ships with difficulty. The voyage however brought back much information. The young midshipman Horatio Nelson apparently had a famous encounter with a polar bear.

Phipps, a fellow Yorkshireman and keen supporter of Cook, entertained the Polynesian Omai at his home near Whitby. A courageous and unusual officer, his life and the 1773 voyage are revealed in this exhibition of previously unseen original material, accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Fully illustrated catalogue available, with essays by Ann Savours, Sophie Forgan and Glyndwr Williams.

above: Racehorse and Carcass forcing their
way through the ice
right: Johann Zoffany, Captain Phipps on the ice © private collection

Phipps

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