Cook's Letters and Ships

The Museum has original letters, both from Cook and others, telling parts of the story. They include a note written by King George III expressing his regret at the news of Cook's death, and documents signed by Cook's wife, Elizabeth.

The Sandwich correspondence
Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, was closely involved in preparations for the Second and Third voyages, and in ensuring that the results were published afterwards.

His correspondence with Joseph Banks about accommodation on Resolution throws an intriguing light on relations between the Royal Navy and civilians on such voyages.  Sandwich agreed that Cook should write the official account of the Second Voyage, rather than the man of science, Johann Reinhold Forster.

Cook's Ships
All Cook's ships were Whitby-built collier barks. These were sturdy and reliable, built to service the coal trade. They were capacious and an extra deck could be inserted into them in order to carry a far larger crew, together with stores for up to two years.

The Resolution model
The back of this detailed model shows the hull is cut away to reveal the holds. In front are models of the crew and the huge quantity of stores carried. Every member of the crew, and the extra civilian men of science, is named and arranged according to their job. Very popular with children! A wonderful way of arousing their curiosity!

The Resolution was probably Cook's favourite ship. He wrote how well she sailed and used her again to command the Third Voyage.

First VoyageEndeavour

Second VoyageResolution and Adventure

Third VoyageResolution and Discovery