The next stage in the transformation of HM Bark Endeavour into a visitor attraction is well underway following its arrival into Whitby at the beginning of June.
In the coming weeks the revival of the Captain Cook replica ship as The Endeavour Experience will take shape as the internal decks are converted into spaces with interactive features and displays that will help visitors imagine what life was like for the 95 crew members during the three-year voyage.
Initial work, which is being led by interpretative design specialists Leach Studio, is focussing on the first level of the interior, the Main Deck.
This first stage will be completed in time for the town’s Cook250 Festival (5-8 July) celebrating the anniversary of Cook’s first voyage on-board The Endeavour.
A recruitment drive is also underway that will see more than 20 people, the majority from the local area, employed by the attraction.
The first completed sections of the deck will include the Great Cabin at the rear of the ship, which acted as the study and workroom for Cook and his Royal Society colleagues.
Through live action and animation projected onto the cabin’s walls and windows, visitors will be transported back to the dramatic moments in the 1700s when Cook discusses the expedition orders – the first to transport the astronomer Charles Green to Tahiti so he could observe the Transit of Venus and then the second secret order to look for the unknown Great Southern Land.
The perilous conditions faced during the voyage, particularly the moment when The Endeavour ran aground on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the crew battled to save the stricken ship, will also be part of the animation.
Another section of the Main Deck will bring to life how crews overcame the monotony of days at sea and the confined life on-board, by inviting visitors to practice their knot tying skills or play games such as Top Trumps to find the crew members with the most sailing experience or science skills.
In the discovery area visitors will also learn what it meant to be a medic on-board by finding out the symptoms of prevalent diseases.
Meanwhile immersive light boxes in the Charles Green cabin will give visitors a sense of how the astronomer would have felt when making this scientific discovery under the southern hemisphere sky.
Throughout the Whitby festival, the Endeavour Experience will be open to visitors before closing for the second tranche of the transformation and then re-opening fully at the beginning of August.
During the Festival local schoolchildren will be given complimentary access to The Endeavour Experience while visitors will have reduced-price entry to see the initial stages and enjoy the performers invited on-board for the celebrations.
These include a troupe of Maoris in a nod to Cook’s meeting with New Zealand’s indigenous people.
While the replica mirrors the dimensions of the original 33-metre long, nine-metre wide ship, it only has two instead of three interior decks harking back to its origins as the Whitby-built collier bark before the Navy requisitioned the vessel and installed the extra level.
Following the Festival, the revamp of the top deck, the rest of the cabins on the middle deck and the lowest Orlop deck that will also include a restaurant, will be completed.
Andrew Fiddler, owner of The Endeavour Experience comments:
“We’re really pleased we will still be able to participate in Whitby’s Cook celebrations particularly as we’ve had to realign timescales after losing a few weeks during the ship’s move from Stockton.
Giving visitors a first-look at the experience in July will enable people to understand how our harbour-side attraction will fit in with the rest of Whitby’s sights, boost visitor footfall as well as provide valuable local employment.”
Once fully opened The Endeavour Experience will cost £7.50 per adult and £4.50 for children aged 16 and under; under 3’s go free.
However for the Cook250 Festival the introductory rate will be £5 per adult and £2.50 per child.