Captain Cook's Travels

James Cook and the Resolution

This Yorkshire World Collections object, is one of 100 chosen by young people aged 16-24, as part of the London Cultural Olympiad programme Stories of the World.

This ship, the Resolution built in Whitby, was the first to cross the Antarctic Circle, and the first to cross both Arctic and Antarctic circles.  The model, cutaway at the back to reveal the inside, shows the enormous number of men and stores which had to be taken in order to survive a voyage of several years. The Resolution was taken into the 'King's service' and converted into an armed merchantman in 1771. James Cook sailed in her on his second voyage and on his third and last voyage in his explorations of the South Pacific until his death. By the time of his third voyage on the Resolution James Cook had become a Captain.

James cook was born in Yorkshire in 1728. His most famous voyage was in 1770 while sailing on the Endeavour and discovering 'Australasia'. Captain Cook was killed along with fellow mariners in a fight in Hawaii in 1779. Here is an account of the crew and supplies for Cook's third voyage on the Resolution.


The total complement on the 3rd Voyage was 111 men and 2 supernumeraries.


  • Beer for one month 
  • Suet 1,500 lbs
  • Brandy in lieu of 12 months    
  • Raisins 3,300 lbs
  • Bread in butts 26,880 lbs    
  • Oatmeal 150 gals
  • Bread in bags 26,880 lbs
  • Wheat 1,200 gals
  • Flour in barrels 15,000 lbs    
  • Butter 1,500 lbs  
  • Beef in puncheons 6,000 pieces     
  • Cheese 1,500 lbs
  • Pork 12,000 pieces    
  • Oyl 30 gals
  • Beer 60 puncheons    
  • Sugar 2,000 lbs
  • Spirits 1,500 gals
  • Sourkraut, malt, wheat
  • Port Wine 600 gals    
  • Robs of oranges and lemons
  • Pease in butts 300 bushels
  • 5 chests of oranges and 5 chests of lemons
There were also a large number of other items, from a camp forge to two dozen scissors and a very large quantity of clothing. A considerable amount of livestock was taken and Cook wrote to Lord Sandwich from the Cape, "we are now ready to proceed on our voyage and nothing is wanting but a few females of our own species to make the RESOLUTION a complete ark for I have added considerably to the Number of Animals I took onboard in England.  Omai consented with raptures to give up his Cabbin to make room for four Horses."

Discussion Ideas:

  • Look at the model of inside the ship. What do you think living conditions would have been like for over 100 people?
  • Who would have had the worse living conditions?
  • Why do you think Captain Cook took four horses on board?
  • What stores are not taken onboard and why?
  • What different descriptions of measurement do the stores have compared to today's?
  • Why would the ship take oranges and lemons onboard?

Document icon Learning article provided by: Captain Cook Memorial Museum | 
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