to seek counsel or suggestion ; in fact no contact with any admiralty authority and no means of contacting them from the other side of the world other than leaving despatches with captains whose ships may be bound for England, but who might take months to reach a British port. Yet Cook would have no hope of expecting a reply.
As a captain he strove to improve the health of his men and the conditions under which they lived and worked. As an explorer he continually reached to grasp further knowledge that man could more easily understand his environment and his relationship to it. His diligence led him to chart unknown seaways and islands meticulously, his accuracy only surpassed by advances in technology, and his discoveries in effect proved the first tent-ative steps whose tracks were to be the foundation of the British Empire and subsequently the Commonwealth.
The statue on Whitby’s West Cliff comes nearer than any portrait in evoking James Cook’s character and yearning. A sturdy six foot man, he is sculpted with feet firmly planted in his capability. One hand holds dividers, the other a chart as he stares out to sea, searching. For men like Cook are driven to discover what lies beyond the next hill, unable to suppress their desire to unravel the secret of the next horizon.
We owe a great deal to Captain James Cook’s efforts.
Left: The site in Stewart Park of the cottage where James Cook was born marked by a pink granite urn, now remount-ed on a circular base.
Above: The memorial setting in the 1980s. Marton Hall stood in the centre of the park in the mid-1800s, home of industrialist Henry William Ferdinand Bolckow, joint founder of Teesside's first iron plant with John Vaughan - see the article about Bolckow & Vaughan in the Archive on this website. Bolckow had a great interest in James Cook, and after his death one of the explorer's original handwritten manuscripts was discovered in Bolckow's library at Marton Hall.