Whitby.jpg Whitby Place sign (2014). Mike Gooch. Word on the street image collection.

Whitby Place was among the first streets on the Westown land developed by Mr C.W.H Frank. Apparently the developer’s mother was originally from Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. 

Whitby was famous for its coal carrying ships, the Whitby colliers. They were built to carry a maximum load of coal with a minimum draught, and many were almost flat bottomed to allow the unloading of coal on beaches.

Early in the eighteenth century, ownership of colliers was concentrated at Whitby and Scarborough, where many of the vessels were built and manned. Scarborough, with 54 ships calling at Newcastle, was important in the trade. Whitby was even more heavily involved with 98 vessels.

The cost of construction of the Havanna of Whitby, built in 1715, came to £1678. The bill included the hull £650, sails £115, and smith's work £120. The ship would carry 220 tons of coal.

Navigator Captain James Cook chose a Whitby collier for his expedition to the South Seas, sponsored by the Royal Society, to observe the transit of Venus. He knew and respected these collier brigs for their solid build. The Earl of Pembroke, launched in 1764, cost £2840 when purchased by the Royal Navy in 1768.  Renamed Endeavour, it was adapted and refitted for its new role in Deptford Royal Dockyard.

On Cook’s first voyage in command of the Endeavor, he charted the entire coastline of New Zealand. Cook’s second expedition to the southern hemisphere sailed in the Resolution and the Adventure, were both Whitby colliers.

Joseph Banks joined the first expedition as an amateur botanist. Ship's artist, Sydney Parkinson, drew the plants that Banks collected. 

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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