Whitby Signpost Stories

"History is not a recipe book; past events are never replicated in the present in quite the same way. Historical evernts are infinitely variable and their interpretations are a constantly shifting process. There are no certainties to be found in the past."

- Gerda Lerner.

Signpost Stories was an exhibition at Pataka Museum from October 2004 to January 2005 which explored the history behind, and the meanings of the names of the streets, avenues, lanes and groves of Porirua City. Follow this link to find out more information about Pataka's Signpost Stories Exhibition.

Whitby Streets named after Captain James Cook

All street names in Whitby are named after sailing terms, personalities and associated place names used in the era of James Cook’s voyages of discovery.

Adventure Drive - one of the ships of the second voyage.

Albatross Close - large white bird with black wings, seen in the southern oceans.

Anchor Lane - self-explanatory.

Astronomer Place – one who studies the celestial bodies in the universe.

Ayton Drive - Great Ayton was the hamlet close to Whitby, in Yorkshire, where Captain James Cook was born.

Azimuth Place - in astronomical terms, an azimuth is an arc of the horizon intercepted between the meridian of a place and the vertical circle passing through the centre of a heavenly body; or an arc of the heavens extending from the zenith to the horizon, which it cuts at right angles.

Barque Crescent - a barque is a three-masted sailing ship with no squaresails on the mizzenmast. “Endeavour” was classed as a barque.

Bight Place - a loop of rope or a curve or recess of a coast or river.

Bobstay Lane - the rope or chain that steadies, or holds down the bowsprit of a boat.

Bosun Terrace - (pronounced bosun) is a warrant officer, or petty officer of a ship who has charge of the deck crew and rigging.

Bowline Place - a rope fastened near the middle of a ship’s square sails and used to keep the weather edge of the sail tight forward when the ship is sailing into the wind. It is also a special seaman’s knot.

Bowsprit Way – a spar projecting from the bow of a vessel, especially a sailing ship.

Bowman Place – a sailor positioned in the bow to give warning of obstacles or shallow water.

Cabin Lane - self-explanatory.

Cannon Lane - self-explanatory.

Capstan Lane - an apparatus consisting of an upright spool-shaped cylinder which is turned around by means of horizontal bars and used mainly for weighing anchor or hauling in hawsers.

Carvel Lane - an abbreviation of caravel, a small type of sailing ship. Carvel-built is a shipbuilding term defining a type of construction with hull planks flush at the seams, as distinguished from clinker-built, in which the joints overlap.

Charthouse Lane - part of a ship’s bridge in which navigation is worked out with the use of chart or sea maps.

Cleat Street - a fixing to belay ropes to a wedge, or a projection bolted on to a gangway to give footing.

Compass Way - self-explanatory.

Discovery Drive - one of the ships of the third voyage.

Eclipse Lane - as in the eclipse of a heavenly body.

Ensign Lane - a national flag, banner, emblem or rank. In this context, the flag of the Royal Navy.

Exploration Way - self-explanatory.

Fathom Lane - a nautical measurement of the depth of water. One fathom equals six feet, or 1.829 metres.

Furneaux Drive - Captain Tobias Furneaux was appointed to command the Adventure during the second voyage of discovery.

Gaff Place - a spar, boom or yard, and a boot hook. It is also a barbed fishing spear and a stick with an iron hook for landing large fish.

Garboard Lane - the first range of planks laid on a ship’s bottom next to the keel.

Halyard Lane - a rope, or tackle, for hoisting or lowering sails, yards or flags.

Hicks Close - Lieutenant Zachary Hicks was on the Endeavour during Cook’s first voyage and after whom Hicks Bay on the East Coast of the North Island was named.

Lanyon Place - William Lanyon was a sailor on Cook’s voyages.

James Cook Drive - self-explanatory.

Joseph Banks Drive - Joseph Banks, a botanist, joined Cook’s first voyage at his own expense and led the group of scientists and naturalists.

Kedge Lane - to change the position of a ship by winding in a hawser attached to a small anchor at some distance.

Keel Place - the lowest longitudinal timber of a vessel on which the framework is built up.

Latitude Close - the angular distance on a meridian north or south from the equator.

Leeward Drive - (pronounced loo’ard in nautical usage) means in the direction which the wind blows.

Longitude Place - the angular distance east or west from a standard meridian as that of Greenwich, to the meridian of any other place.

Luff Place - the sailing of a ship close to the eye of the wind. A luff is the forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail.

Mercury Way - Captain Cook studied the transit of Mercury during his first voyage as part of his required scientific activity.

Meridian Way – in geography, a circle of the earth passing through the geographical poles and at any given point on the earth’s surface, and in astronomy an imaginary circle of the celestial sphere passing through the poles of the heavens and the zenith and nadir of any given point and cutting the equator at right angles. The sun’s meridian is also the highest point it reaches in the sky.

Mizzen Place - a fore-and-aft sail set on the mizzen-mast - the mast which stands nearest to the stern in a ship with two or three masts.

Molyneux Close - Robert Molyneux was the master of the Endeavour during Cook’s first voyage of discovery.

Musket Lane - a long-barreled muzzle-loading gun used by the infantry soldiers.

Observatory Close - self-explanatory.

Parkinson Close - Sydney Parkinson was one of the artists who accompanied Cook on his first voyage “to sketch views and plants”.

Petrel Lane - a seabird that usually flies far from land.

Picketboat Lane - a lookout boat sent off from a naval ship in a forward position, especially at night, to give advance warning of enemy movement.

Pilot Lane - a person qualified to steer or guide a ship in or out of a port, river mouth, etc, or a person who steers a ship.

Portage Place - the carrying of boats or goods overland between two navigable waters.

Postgate Drive - Postgate School in Great Ayton gave James Cook his primary education. This name was chosen for the primary school sited adjacent to this road.

Pullen Lane - Mr Pullen was James Cook’s schoolmaster at Postgate School, Great Ayton.

Pump Lane - self-explanatory.

Ration Lane - self-explanatory.

Sailmaker Close - self-explanatory.

Samwell Drive - David Samwell, the surgeon’s mate who also wrote a narrative of Cook’s third voyage.

Saunders Close - Admiral Sir Charles Saunders, Cook’s friend.

Seagull Lane - popular name for the common gull.

Shackle Lane - a link in a chain cable fitted with a moveable pin so that the chain can be separated, such as on a anchor chain, and a ring in a trough which the port bar is passed to close a porthole.

Solander Place - Daniel Solander was a Swedish botanist on board the Endeavour during the first voyage of discovery who, with Joseph Banks, made the first collections of New Zealand flora and fauna.

Spinnaker Drive - a triangular sail set opposite the main boom and used when running before the wind.

Spyglass Lane - a small telescope.

Staithes Drive - Staithes is a small fishing town on the Yorkshire coast about 12 miles from the Great Ayton. At 17, James Cook found his first job there as a draper’s assistant.

Photo of Staithes from Cowbar.
Staithes from Cowbar
Photo: Courtesy of James Coney

Staysail Place - any triangular sail extended on a stay.

Stemhead Lane - portion of material forming the extreme forward end of a ship; the curved timber to which a ship’s sides are joined at the fore end and which forms an upright continuation of the keel.

The Anchorage - self-explanatory.

The Bollard - a strong post on a ship or a quay for securing a hawser.

The Companionway - the stairway leading from the deck to the cabins, or space below.

The Crowsnest - a small, sheltered platform close to the top of a ship’s mast used by the lookout.

The Haven - an inlet, a harbour, a station for ships and a place of safety.

The Mainsail - in a square-rigged vessel, the mainsail is the sail that is bent to the main yard; in a fore-and aft rigged vessel, it is the sail set on the after part of the mainmast.

The Marlinspike - an iron tool tapering to a point which is used to separate the strands of a rope in splicing.

The Pier - a structure of iron and wood that runs out to sea. It is used as a promenade and as a landing stage.

The Quarterdeck - afterpart of the upper deck of a ship, usually reserved for officers and originally between the poop and the mainmast.

The Sounding - the act of measuring the depth or examining the bottom of a body of water with a weighted line.

The Topgallant - above the top, or second mast and applied especially to the mast next above the topmast and to the sail above the topsail.

The Yardarm - the outer end of a ship’s yard – the spar used for spreading a squaresail.

Thimble Lane - a teardrop-shaped, hollow section fitting, around which rope or wire is bent for splicing to ease the curve of the rope or wire.

Transom Close - the seat of a boat’s Cabin or any of the transverse beams attached to the sternpost of a wooden ship.

Venus Place - Captain Cook studied the transit of Venus during his first voyage as part of his required scientific activity.

Woolwich Close - one of the naval establishments where Resolution and Adventure were fitted out for Cook’s second voyage.

Links to more information

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