Captain James Cook Artefact return

£85 of £34,000 goal

Raised by 7 people in 27 days
A FUND-raising appeal is underway to acquire a rare Captain Cook artefact for Cook's birthplace museum located in Stewart Park, Middlesbrough. 

The 18th Century japanned tea tray features a depiction of the legendary explorer’s death painted by Edward Bird RA.

The  Captain Cook Birthplace Trust, registered charity no. 507317 is appealing for donations to help it meet the £34,500 asking price to return it to its former home.

The tray – a rendering of George Carter’s 1781 painting of Cooks death scene - dates from the 1790s and was presented to Middlesbrough funding father Henry Bolckow in the 1850s or 1860s.

The wealthy industrialist, who became Middlesbrough’s first Mayor and Member of Parliament, built Marton Hall at Stewart Park, site of Cook’s birth, in 1856.

Bolckow amassed one of the finest Cook collections ever assembled, including Cook’s original manuscript journal of the Endeavour voyage along with the Admiralty’s secret instructions.

Following his death, the collection was sold with the death scene tray eventually finding its way into one of Australia’s most significant private collections of Captain Cook material which has now been put up for sale.

Councillor Tom Mawston, Chair of the Captain Cook Birthplace Trust, said: “2018 marks the 250th anniversary of the first of James Cook’s three famous voyages to the Pacific.

“There remains huge local pride in the achievementof a man who pushed back the boundaries of the known world and we are determined to develop and expand our celebration of one of history’s towering figures.

“This tray was painted just a few years after Cook’s death, and fittingly found its way into the collection of one of Middlesbrough’s founding fathers.

“It would be fantastic if we are able to return it to the site of his birth for future visitors to enjoy – I would urge anyone with any interest in our local heritage and history to help us reach our fund-raising target.”

Cook is considered to have been Middlesbrough’s greatest son and his name is associated with streets, buildings, shopping centres and businesses. All over historic North Yorkshire and Cleveland, from Middlesbrough to Great Ayton; Redcar to Marske; and Staithes to Whitby; there are places with Cook connections to visit and explore. This area is known as Captain Cook Country and although most of the objects from Cook’s voyages and times are housed in the major national and regional institutions across the world, museums in North Yorkshire, Middlesbrough and Newcastle care for important Cook-related collections.

It is the trusts aim to "bring home" more Cook related artefacts to the birthplace museum and promote awareness of this world renowned navigator.

The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum opened on the 28th October 1978 – the 250th anniversary of Cook’s birth. It is housed in a purpose-built building close to the granite urn marking the site of Cook’s birthplace cottage in Stewart Park, Marton, Middlesbrough. The museum tells the story of one of the world’s greatest navigators and mariners through themed display galleries, temporary exhibitions, associated activities and events and a lively education programme.

Housed in the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum is:-

1. The temporary exhibition space is now to a standard that national loans can now be accepted. In its first year of opening, as part of the “Gotta Catch em All” exhibition, loans from the Natural History Museum included original Sydney Parkinson watercolours and Joseph Banks’ shell collection

2. The Australian Aboriginal walkabout gallery now proudly presents Middlesbrough’s impressive collection of Australian Aboriginal artefacts. It is especially popular amongst school groups and is now gaining in popularity with art students from secondary schools.

3. The Cabinet of Curiosities contains reference material all related to Cook and the places he visited. From handling resources to 18th century original prints right up to contemporary books on Cook. Brand new storage systems have been installed and are now far more accessible.

4. The Mess Deck is the museum’s new space for school and community groups. It also includes a variety of new resources including Virtual Reality platform “Google Expeditions” which is extremely popular with visitors of all ages and abilities. It is a large space with plenty of new resources to engage visitors of all ages and interests. Events within the new year of opening have included a taxidermy demonstration, watercolour workshop, school visits and even the annual conference of the Captain Cook society amongst many others.

5. Cooks Café has had an overhaul and now offers a name and menu more in keeping with the museum. The much improved seating area now offers a nautical ambience. The walls around the café now include a Sperm Whale, Tiger Shark and Colossal Squid. Amongst them are mosaic fish created at the museum by dementia sufferers engaged with the Volunteering Matters charity. This demonstrates the museum’s continuing strong community relationships.

6. The main exhibition galleries have continued to evolve. The museum has had opportunity to invest in its natural history collections. A selection of taxidermy to complement the popular workshops with schools has proven to continue to drive schools admissions and increase the diversity of workshops that the museum can offer to schools (This includes North America, Frozen worlds, animal adaptations and habitats, Australia and much more.)

To every Captain Cook enthusiasts around the world,  thank you enormously for helping to return Captain James Cook artefacts to his birthplace.
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£85 of £34,000 goal

Raised by 7 people in 27 days
Funds raised will benefit:
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Charity Number: 507317
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