PortCities London
UKBristolHartlepoolLiverpoolLondonSouthampton
You are here:  PortCities London home > The working Thames
Text Only About this Site Feedback
Explore this site
About maritime London
Early port
Tudor and Stuart port
18th-century port
19th-century port
20th-century port
People and places
Port communities
Crime and punishment
Leisure, health and housing
Thames art, literature and architecture
The working Thames
London's docks and shipping
Trades, industries and institutions
Port of science and discovery
Historical events
Ceremony and catastrophe
London in war and conflict
Fun and games
Things to do
Timeline games
Matching games
Send an e-card

Captain James Cook

Greatest explorer of his age
Cook's early life and career
Cook and the Pacific voyages
HM Bark 'Endeavour'
Science and natural history on Cook's voyages
Navigation
The aftermath
Cook's later years
*
Send this story to a friendSend this story to a friend
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
View this story in picturesView this story in pictures

Cook's later years

Retirement... but not for long

John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich, 1718-92, First Lord of the Admiralty.
View full size image John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, 1718-92, First Lord of the Admiralty. © NMM
After his second great voyage to the Pacific from 1772 to 1775, Cook was made a captain of Greenwich Hospital. The idea was to reward him with a respectable retirement post while he wrote the official account of the voyage.

However, Cook stayed in the job for little more than a few months. He was soon tempted out of retirement for a third voyage by Lord Sandwich who had long been a great supporter and patron of Cook's (Cook acknowledged his debt to the Earl when he 'discovered' the Hawaiian islands and called them the Sandwich Islands).

The Tschuktschi and their habitations.
View full size imageCook visited Siberia during his search for the North-West Passage.
The plan was to look for the North-West Passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The British government had offered a prize of £20,000 if a navigable passage could be found.

We now know that at least seven such passages exist, although until recent years they have only been practicable for ships such as icebreakers and nuclear submarines.

The death of James Cook

The Death of Captain James Cook
View full size imageThe death of Cook in Hawaii.
James Cook was killed on the beach of Hawaii's Keleakekua Bay on 14 February 1779. The reasons why he was killed are still hotly debated, but what is certain is that his death had a great impact in London. 

George III is said to have wept at the news and Zoffany's huge unfinished canvas, shown here, was only one of a large number of paintings, engravings, plays, poems and commemorative ware to show a national sense of loss at the death of the 'great explorer'. 

 

Useful links

Page 8 of 8. Previous page

*
*
Glossary
Engraving

Find out more
Fact fileCaptain James Cook
Surveyor of Australia and the Pacific
*
*
*
Fact fileHM Bark ‘Endeavour’
Captain Cook's ship for sailing to the South Seas
*
*
*
GalleriesFamous Thames ships
The great and the good
*
*
*
GalleriesDeptford Royal Dockyard collection
*
*
*
StoriesDeptford and Woolwich: London's Royal Dockyards
The rise and decline of Henry VIII's Dockyards
*
*
*
GalleriesThe transit of Venus
See the first photographs of a transit of Venus, taken by astronomers of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in 1874
*
*
Related Resources
Related Galleries6 Galleries
Related Images58 Images
*
*
8
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
Legal & CopyrightPartner sites:BristolHartlepoolLiverpoolSouthamptonAbout this SiteFeedbackText Only