Captain James Cook
|Cook's early life and career|
Cook and the colliers
At the age of 16 he left the clothing trade and signed on as an apprentice seaman with the Whitby ship owner and coal trader, John Walker. The east coast coal traders took cargoes of coal from north-east England and Yorkshire down the coast to London in ships called colliers.
Cook sailed this route regularly and by the age of 26 he had risen to the position of mate (second-in-command) and John Walker was about to offer Cook the command of his own ship.
Cook joins the Navy
Cook was appointed to HMS Eagle under her new captain, Hugh Palliser. He was quickly promoted to master's mate – one of the people who assisted the sailing master, the man responsible for matters concerned with navigating and sailing the ship.
Cook at war
When the war was over, Cook was employed by the Admiralty to make charts of Newfoundland. He spent each summer surveying the coasts and each winter he returned to his home in London to work on the charts for publication.
At that time, the Admiralty did not publish their own charts, but relied on commercial publishers. London was the centre of Britain's publishing trade.
After they married, they bought a house on London's Mile End Road, on Assembly Row. The house is no longer standing. Although Cook later became a celebrity, he always had to survive on his naval pay and never moved to a larger or more stylish house.
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