The steel-hulled Endeavour replica arrived at Whitby on 1 June, 2018.1 After another month’s refitting she was opened to the public on 1 July, just in time for the town’s Cook Festival on the weekend of 6-8 July, 2018.2 However, this opening was only a temporary one to whet the appetite of tourists visiting the town. More work was needed to complete the internal lay-out and displays, so the ship was closed for another month. She finally re-opened on 1 August, in time for the peak tourist season at Whitby.
Andrew Fiddler, the owner of Endeavour, states that the vessel has been converted to become an educational attraction. The cost of buying the replica, and its subsequent conversion, totalled £1.2 million. Admission charges to go onboard are £7.50 for adults, and £4.50 for children under 16. The owner expects to get 150,000 visitors a year, in which case this project will soon cover the capital costs.
Visitors going onto “The Endeavour Experience” will see a range of displays laid out around the ship’s top deck. Audio recordings help recreate the atmosphere of life in Endeavour with the clucking of chickens and the bleating of goats, some of the animals that the ship is known to have carried. Visitors will also hear the sound of the ship’s cannon firing, although I suspect that this will also be part of the audio effects, rather than disturbing the town’s residents by discharging a real cannon on the deck.
Down on the main deck eleven different cabins and display spaces have been created, including
Captain Cook’s cabin.
The Surgeon’s cabin, where silhouettes of the ship’s surgeon and his assistant can be glimpsed operating behind a semi-transparent blood-splattered curtain, with a bucket filled with body parts just visible at the end of the table, and a display of crude surgical instruments on the wall.
Banks and Parkinson Cabin, a small room re-imagining how naturalists Joseph Banks and Sydney Parkinson would have worked as they recorded the discovery of new plant and animal species.
Charles Green’s Cabin, displaying what the astronomer saw when he observed the Transit of Venus. As visitors walk through the cabin the dark night atmosphere emerges showing the constellations of the southern hemisphere.
The Great Cabin, where charts, reference books and navigation equipment are displayed on the table as though they were still in use by Cook and his men. As visitors stroll around the cabin, animated films projected onto the windows bring to life dramatic events, such as the moment Endeavour struck the Great Barrier Reef.
Sea shanty karaoke, a sound-proofed room lined with a seascape, barrels and crates. Here families with the help of audio visual equipment can sing their hearts out to sea shanties that crew members would have sung to relieve the boredom of the voyage.
Galley, complete with sounds and smells of the ship’s kitchen area. Visitors can see what it was like to produce meals with dwindling rations, and how foods such as sauerkraut helped stave off scurvy.
On the lowest deck, there is a small café serving refreshments during the day. After the ship has closed to the public, this area transforms into a 60-seat restaurant providing a fine dining experience to pre-booked parties. Scarborough Council has granted a licence to sell alcohol to the diners.
Have you been to Whitby and seen “The Endeavour Experience”?
If so, please drop a line to the editor telling him what you thought of the displays.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 37, volume 41, number 4 (2018).
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