Friday 9th August 2013
This pub takes its name from the first ship commanded by Captain James Cook. He was from Whitby and the ship was built there, as were all of his four vessels. It was from this port that he commenced his epic voyage to the South Pacific and the South Seas, nowadays known as the Southern Ocean.
After an illustrious career in the Royal Navy he received a commission from the Royal Society in 1766 to observe the passage of Venus across the sun. He departed in 1769 in the Endeavour to the South Pacific. After observing the phenomenon in Tahiti, he received further orders to survey the coast of New Zealand which he did almost precisely, circumnavigating both islands.
He then visited the previously unseen (by Europeans) eastern coast of Australia. After repairs to mend the ship after it had crashed into the Great Barrier Reef he returned to England via the Cape of Good Hope and called into St Helena on the way, thus circling the world. He arrived back on 12th July 1771 after an amazing two years. He led two more expeditions and died on the third when he got in to some bother with Hawaiians.
Although this pub was only built in the mid 1930s it is incredible that it wasn't the Endeavour from the beginning. It was the Imperial. As it was built late, in pub terms, it probably replaced a much older inn. Over twenty years ago I spent a night in Whitby and visited the pub. I am sure it was a Cameron's (Hartlepool) pub then. That means it was more than likely built by Scarborough & Whitby Breweries who were taken over by Cameron's in 1956.
Inside it is one medium sized room with the bar counter on the left. The seating looked comfortable. One thing that struck me was the number of paintings there were on the wall facing the bar. It made the pub look like an art gallery and I thought it was very cheering. I don't know whether this was a special exhibition or the normal decoration. There is also a lovely original fireplace which I imagine really comes into its own in the colder months.
There is one regular beer and that is the almost tasteless John Smith's Cask Bitter (3.8%). Nowadays this is brewed under contract by Cameron's of Hartlepool for Heineken.
On this visit the other beers were Greene King (Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk) Morland's Old Golden Hen (4.1%); Harviestoun (Alva, Clackmannanshire, Scotland) Bitter and Twisted and Triple fff (Four Marks, Hampshire) Moondance (4.2%).
This pub has a warm and friendly feel about it and it is well worth a visit. Whitby itself holds many attractions; not least that it is a handsome harbour town with a number of very good pubs. Of course, there are the ruins of St Hilda's Abbey and its graveyard, heavily featured in Bram Stoker's Dracula. There is a minor Dracula industry in the town with the Dracula Experience. (After visiting you have to go home at night!). There are also the true legends of Captain Cook and shops selling local jet and jet jewellery, as in the term "jet black".
The Endeavour, 66 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AS. Tel: 01947 603557
Open: Monday-Saturday 12.00-01.00; Sunday 12.00-23.30
Whitby station is about ten minutes walk away and is served by the Esk Valley line from Middlesbrough. This is not a frequent service and takes a long time but the compensation is that it is a very beautiful line. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway also accesses Network Rail for the last few miles into Whitby. When this visit was made there were three trains a day from Pickering but I understand this is to be increased in future.
The bus station is near the railway station and is served by route 840 "The Coastliner" every two hours, sometimes more frequently, especially in summer. This commences in Leeds, runs via York, Malton, Pickering and over the moors to Whitby. Note: it connects with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Pickering. There are also hourly buses to Middlesbrough and Scarborough on weekdays. Sunday services are sparser.