Film ID:
NEFA 8936



Visitor Tabs


An edition of the About Britain series produced by Tyne Tees Television and presented by Peter Holland. The film explores the early history of Captain Cook in Cleveland and North Yorkshire and follows the Captain Cook Heritage Trail from Marton to Great Ayton, Staithes and finally to Whitby. This edition was transmitted Monday 2nd October 1978.

The film begins with a view of the Captain Cook statue that stands on West Cliff in Whitby. Paintings and historic maps are shown as Peter Holland talks about the importance of Captain Cook's travels.

In the grounds of Marton Hall in Stewart Park Peter Holland stands beside the marble vase built on the spot of Captain Cook's birth place. There are general views of the village of Marton and Peter Holland walking through the graveyard of St Cuthberts Church. There are views inside the church of the James Cook's baptism register and a commemorative stained glass window.

In Stewart Park workmen build the new Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.

At Aireyholme Farm near Great Ayton there are views of Roseberry Topping and the surrounding countryside. In a meadow a tractor cuts grass. Aireyholme Farm was on this farm where James Cook's farther became farm manager. Interview with the current farmer who discusses how farming today is very different from the time of James Cook. He says that the road through the farm was once very popular with sailors heading to the sea so this could also have been a big influence on his life. 

General view of Ayton Hall and of the High Street in Great Ayton showing the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum. Beside the obelisk where once Captain Cook's Cottage stood Peter Holland talks about how in 1934 the cottage was dismantled and moved to Fitzroy Park in Melbourne, Australia. Peter Holland walks through the graveyard of All Saints Church and stands beside the grave of James Cook's parents as well as five of his brothers and sisters.

Peter Holland walks to the top of Easby Moor and stands next to the obelisk built as a memorial to Captain Cook.

There are general views of the cliffs and harbor around Staithes. Small fishing boats head out to sea. James Cook worked here in the general dealership of William Sanderson and there are views of the cottage where the shop once stood. A woman from Honolulu in Hawaii in interviewed on why Captain Cook is important to her and her heritage. She is wearing a dress showing images of Captain Cook.

Out at sea are two tankers. A local fisherman is interviewed about fishing today compared to the time of Cook. He also talks about the dangers of the sea today and why he thinks Cook's time at Staithes influenced him in becoming a sailor.

On the harbour wall artist Peter Croden paints a picture of Staithes harbour showing the gable end of Smugglers Cottage. He talks about the importance of smuggling at the time of Cook. There is a view of a bricked up doorway which was once a smugglers tunnel.

Around the village views of women wearing the traditional Staithes Bonnet. A young girl wearing a bonnet sits on the steps of a house reading a magazine. Tourists walk around the village and harbour.

There are views of Whitby and the abbey seen from West Cliff. People walk through the whale bone arch on North Terrace. There are paintings and drawings showing collier ships, known as Whitby 'Cats', under construction in Whitby harbour. These colliers carried coal between Whitby and London and were where James Cook had his first taste of the sea.

Peter Holland walks along Grape Lane and steps into the house of Captain John Walker where James Cook was an apprentice. In the attic of the house Peter Holland looks over the wooden beams built from ships timbers and where James Cook probably slept. Sitting at a table lit by a candle Peter Holland says that this was where James Cook studied and learned astromony important for his second voyage to Tahiti to record the Transit of Venus.

Interview with Cordelia Stamp who has written a book on how the people and port of Whitby influenced Cook's career. She also talks about his Quaker influences,his humanity with dealing with natives and how he was worshiped by his men. She finishes by saying his greatest achievement was being able to bring his men back safely home and for curing scurvy, caused by a vitamin C deficiency, to which is he greatly credited.

A finger moves down the muster roll showing James Cook. In his time with John Walker, Cook moved up the ranks from Apprentice to Mate. There are paintings and drawings of a traditional collier ship which was the same type of vessel that Cook commanded in the Royal Navy.

The film ends beside the statue of Captain Cook on West Cliff in Whitby where Cook's career leaves the north east.

End Credit: Presenter Peter Holland

End Credit: Research & Script Michael McHugh

End Credit: Camera David Dixon

End Credit: Sound Bob Rhodes

End Credit: Director Jeremy Lack

End Credit: Executive Producer Leslie Barrett