Whitby Museum

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The weather on the Wednesday of our holiday was rather mixed to say the least. It rained during the morning but the afternoon promised sunny spells. So we decided to go into Whitby, look round some of the shops and old streets and visit the Whitby Museum in Pannett Park. The weather certainly was mixed. At one point we were standing in bright sunshine getting rained on!!

The museum is in a lovely setting – Pannett Park on the west side of the river in the area developed during the Victorian period. It’s a fascinating Victorian museum – old fashioned, but in a good way!

It has a rather eclectic collection of local fossils, natural history exhibits, model ships, carved jet, toys, costumes, items relating to social history and local notables, including Captain Cook.

These are just some of their collection of fossils found in and around Whitby, many of them from the local alum quarries, including this Ichthyosaurus

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a marine crocodile

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and many others.

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There’s a large collection of jet jewellery and other objects. I particularly liked this chessboard

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I also liked this clockwork model of a jet workshop. Put a coin in the slot and the workers started to carry out the various tasks involved in jet manufacture.

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The museum website tells us

the jet workshop model (over 120 years old)….. was made by George Wood, a jet worker, in 1889 and this model stood for many years in the doorway of Elisha Walker’s jet shop at 97 Church Street in Whitby. The heads of the 6 jet workers were carved from the bowls of clay pipes and were caricatures of George Wood’s fellow jet workers. It is driven by clockwork and the men treadle their machines such as polishers, turners, finishers, grinders, working the jet, whilst the foreman’s head turns periodically to see that everyone is working hard!

There was a statue of Captain Cook in the room devoted to maritime history

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Whitby was a whaling centre and their were exhibits related to this rather gruesome industry including these rather viscous looking harpoons and flenshing tools

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These are narwhal tusks

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and a complete narwhal skeleton

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I found the display about shipbuilding in Whitby interesting on two counts. First of all I’m always interested in industrial history. Secondly we were staying next to a former shipyard owners house and above where his shipyard once stood.

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We learned that an old building we passed walking to and from the town centre was a former sail making and repair loft that had been located next to the Whitehall shipyard.

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There was plenty more to see and we ended up spending a couple of hours looking around – longer than I expected – and could probably had stayed longer.

After, dodging rain showers, we had a look around the park

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Walking back to the town centre we passed Bagdale Hall, the old building that is now a hotel and restaurant

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where I spotted this rather attractive Art Deco statue in the courtyard

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