John Walker's house - the House on the Harbour

The Museum is in an historic building on the harbourside, Walker's House. In 1746 James Cook, then aged seventeen, came here to be apprenticed to Captain John Walker. A beautiful 17th century house, this is the sole surviving building which can with certainty be connected to Cook.

Built in 1688, the house shows what a Whitby master-mariner's dwelling was like - both a comfortable home and the centre of the family shipping business. It retains much of its original internal decoration and has been meticulously restored.

Atmospheric and evocative, the skilled craftsmanship may seen in the paneling, doors and staircase, but there was no display or extravagance, in accordance with Quaker principles. The colours are based on the original ones, and create an impression of calm restfulness.

The visitor enters from the courtyard overlooking the harbour, which now contains an attractive garden planted with 18th century type plants.  Passing through the Orientation Room and the former kitchen, the ground floor rooms are furnished according to an inventory made in the early 1750s. The upper floors follow Cook's life and career from Whitby to Canada, through the great Voyages to the 'Ends of the Earth'.

Go to Explore the Museum page