Posted 5th Jun 2018 by Peter Byrne
A full-scale replica of Captain James Cook's legendary ship, HMS Endeavour, arrived in Whitby on Friday (1st June)
HM Bark Endeavour's arrival was heralded by the sound of bells ringing from St Mary's Church, a cannon salute and a group of sea cadets, as crowds gathered to watch her come in.
The vessel had been towed 40 miles down the coast, coming from Middlesbrough to Whitby, and marked the ship's spiritual homecoming - the original Endeavour was built in Whitby in 1764 and was also the town where Captain Cook started his sea-faring career.
This is one of only two life-size replicas in the world, with the Australian-built version previously visiting Whitby three times - now, the harbour town will have her own replica which is to be permanently moored and transformed into a visitor attraction, ready for when it opens on 1 July.
The attraction will be poignant as 2018 marks 250 years since Captain Cook set off on his first expedition into the Pacific in command of the Endeavour.
The Endeavour's journey started in April when she left Stockton-on-Tees and needed to be craned over the lock gates the Tees Barrage to overcome her landlocked status. Since then, there has been an extensive repair and restoration programme in dry dock, and there will now be a further transformation before it opens as a family-friendly attraction prior to Whitby's Cook anniversary celebrations.
By using innovative graphic design, lighting and interactive features, visitors will let visitors find out more about the expedition's scientific discoveries. For instance, the astronomical phenomenon of the Transit of Venus, which helped to improve navigational accuracy, and the wealth of new botanical and animal species that were collected as the explorers charted the coast of New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia.
Mr Fiddler, who bought the ship at auction last autumn for £155,000, has spent over £750,000 to transform it into a visitor attraction.
He said: "It was fantastic to see the Endeavour coming through the harbour entrance in full glory and receiving a great Whitby welcome knowing she will be staying put in her rightful home."
"We can now look forward to the final stage in her transformation, from being a rundown function venue to becoming an engaging and entertaining attraction that will capture the imaginations of children and adults alike."
The Endeavour Experience is set to open on 1 July 2018 prior to the Cook250 Festival Whitby which runs on 6-8 July.