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Replica of Captain Cook's HM Bark Endeavour to be re-homed in Whitby

Whitby businessman Andrew Fiddler Photo: Ceri Oakes

A life size replica of the ship 18th century explorer Captain Cook sailed to Australia is to get a new home in Whitby.

HM Bark Endeavour has been berthed in Stockton for more than 20 years.

Its new owner, Whitby businessman Andrew Fiddler, plans to spend three quarters of a million pounds refurbishing the vessel.

HM Bark Endeavour Credit: Ceri Oakes

In August a partnership led by Mr Fiddler purchased HM Bark Endeavour, one of only two full-scale replicas in the world of the ship.

The partnership’s auction bid of £155,000 safeguarded the replica’s future as a North East visitor attraction, having beaten competing bids that could have seen the ship moved to Portsmouth, London or Dubai.

Mr Fiddler now plans to spend nearly £750,000 refurbishing and repairing the 33-metre long Teesside-built ship and then relocating it next year from its current berth at Stockton-on-Tees to Whitby, where the original Endeavour was built in 1764.

The ship will remain in Stockton over winter to undergo extensive refurbishment. This will involve the huge logistical operation of moving the vessel from its current position on the river Tees and into a dry dock to enable the refurbishment programme to be carried out.

The arrival of the legendary tall ship in Whitby in 2018 will coincide with the 250th anniversary when Captain Cook first set sail from Portsmouth on-board Endeavour to observe the transit of Venus at Tahiti, circumnavigate and chart New Zealand and chart the East coast of Australia.

“To have secured one of the most distinctive and historic maritime attractions is fantastic particularly as I’ve had a lifelong passion for the sea. Not only did I serve in the Royal Navy but I also participated in Endeavour ’90, a six-month circumnavigation of the globe which included visiting Dutch Harbour in the Aleutian Islands where Cook landed.

“Now we have to carefully work out a complex programme for sensitively refurbishing the ship so that once again HM Bark Endeavour can tell the story of life at sea in the 18th century.”

– Andrew Fiddler

“We’re delighted to help support a project that has such a strong resonance with the National Park particularly with Cook’s early years being spent near Roseberry Topping and Great Ayton before he moved to Staithes and then onto Whitby where his maritime career began.

“The ship will be a great draw for visitors and encourage them to make their own discoveries of the wonders along our coast.”

– Catriona McLees, Head of Promotion and Tourism for the North York Moors National Park Authority

“It’s a bittersweet moment really because on one hand we’ll be sad to see it go but on the other it’s great to see it being retained in the region, and we can fully understand why the new owner wants to relocate it in time for next year’s 250th anniversary celebrations in Whitby. We wish him well in his new venture.

“Meanwhile, we’re delighted that the new owners of the Teesside Princess – which was sold at the same auction – are continuing to offer events on the river and planning to invest in a wholesale refurbishment of the vessel. It sounds like a great project and will complement the range of existing leisure activities on the river offered by the likes of Rivershack, Tees Watersports Centre, Tees Barrage and Tees Wheelyboats.”

– Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council