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Cook Museum Whitby

The Attic

This attic is where, according to established tradition, the young apprentice seaman spent much of his time ashore and where he shared sleeping quarters with other apprentices.

The kindly housekeeper, Mary Prowd, supplied him with candles so that he could study on dark winter evenings, while the other apprentices 'were engaged in amusements or idle talk'. The attic with its high timbered roof, retains the atmosphere it had in the period when a lasting friendship was forged between Cook and his Whitby master, John Walker. Some of the timbers are recycled from old ships - nothing went to waste in a Quaker household!

The attic is now also used as the space for our annual special exhibitions, but the visitor can climb the steps to look out of the window over the harbour to the site of shipyard which built the ships in which Cook sailed on his great voyages.  The seagulls cry, cormorants and redshanks strut along the banks of the river, and it takes only a little imagination to feel transported back to a world of wooden ships, sail and hardworking seamen.

See Cook in Whitby

Model depicting the Attic in Cooks days

The pinhole model recreates the attic as it might have looked at the time of Cook's apprenticeship. There are palliasses to sleep on, trunks for personal possessions, clothes, books and tools lying around, and there would probably have been wet socks hung up to dry!  An excellent way for inquisitive children to see how it might have been!

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