HMB Endeavour, 2012

These photos were taken when I was doing a stint of tour guiding on board. I took photos during the quiet times. I also did this in 2007 and added my guide "spiel". So that one has better words and this one has better photos.

HMB Endeavour, replica of an 18th century collier converted to a navy ship filled with scientists.


Today's post is an overview of the ship as you'd encounter it on a visit. The attention to detail is incredible: clothing & blanket are hand sewn, hand woven, from the original places where possible; letters are on handmade paper, hand copied from originals; all the ship's measurements are as accurate as they could make them. She might be a secondary source, at best, but a fascinating source.

Once onboard, there are about ten positions (depending on how many guides are available) each with a guide who'll tell you something about that part of the ship. If it's very busy, each group should only be at each position for 2 minutes. At quieter times "they should be through in an hour, unless they want to stay longer and talk".


So you go onboard here.

Then up to the foredeck, where I've still managed not to be stationed, so you'll have to make do with just images.


Although I will draw your attention to the flag.


Taken later in the day.

From foredeck

Then you head down there, to the ladder that will take you below, which I managed to avoid getting a photo of (the black mass to the left is the cover over it).


From above, it looks much steeper and the first step is a bit off-putting, but you just have to grab the rope, turn around and go down it like a ladder, watch your head there and hold the ropes on the sides.

Fire hearth - 1

Once your eyes adjust, the first stop below is the fire hearth, which seems to me to be a bad idea. You've come onboard, you want to look around this ship thing, but first you have to wait while someone rambles on about a stove.

Fire hearth - all

Although it is an interesting stove. The bulk of it is intended to provide boiled rations for sixty sailors twice a day, every day for three years, but it can also bake bread & pies (lower right corner, easier to see in other post) and at the rear is a spit and other cooking accessories.

Fire hearth - rear

Late-18th century, state of the art, all-in-one cooking centre.

Mess deck

Around there, and the first decent view of the whole mess deck. The only real source of light here is the coal hatch.

Mess deck - port side

Postion 3, and some more discussion about food and utensils and the cat. Food is important when you're out in the middle of nowhere and a long way from home.

Position 4 is the starboard side of the mess deck, where you hear about the hammocks, the other cat, why the next bit is so low and, if the guide has had time to think, how the crew were divided into watches.


The marines' hammocks (between crew and officers) in a place that is low and dark. If you see the guy on the right, he's crouching down because there's no room to stand.


Same area but to the right a bit, and this is position 4. Can you see the guide behind the fire extinguisher? (Long exposures are fun.)

Behind that, position 5 (Midi Mates Mess) is closed because there aren't enough guides. A pity, because I think it's the most interesting area, and gives a better idea about the operation of a working ship than some of the positions that were open.

So, up the ladder.

Ladder - 1

Into this bit and watch your head as you straighten up, there's a beam in just the right place, then around here

Officers Mess

into the Officers' Mess. Draw up a chest and sit down. The ceiling is still low in here, but the average height of a man at the time was about 5'5, which is taller than me, and as you can see, I can't quite stand up in here. Around the edge are the cabins of the gentlemen

Cabin - artists

including the artists, Mr Parkinson and his friend Mr Buchan--I say friend because they both hung their hammocks in here so they must have been friendly--

Cabin - astronomer

and the astronomer, Mr Green (insert bit about the Transit of Venus, which is why the ship was in this bit of the world to start with).

Great cabin

Now through to the Great Cabin (and that door on the right is fucking low, no apologies, I almost knocked myself out) which on a sensible ship is the domain of the captain.

When I was in Devonport, I hated being in here. Visitors came through in dribs and drabs, and wandered looking at things, and I couldn't tell if they were listening to me, or if I should stop and start again. This time, they came through in defined groups, who stood and listened, and then looked about. And there was room to pace (on the right) and make grand arm gestures. It was one of my favourite positions (fortunately, as they kept rostering me here A LOT).

Great cabin

To the right (center in photo) is Joseph Banks' cabin. He, and his gentlemen, made good use of the Great Cabin and its table (hence the comment I started my spiel with).

Banks cabin

He was, I'm told, 6'4 tall. The bed is no where near that long.

When you're done in here, go back through the Officers' Mess

Ladder - 2

and up this ladder, around to the right, and one cross each.


Sun! Air! Space!


Looking back down, you can get an idea of how steep these things look from the top and that's much shorter than the ladder down to the mess deck.


So you come up on the right there, past the capstan which we will ignore unless someone specifically asks about it, and past the skylight, which is the one over the Officers' Mess


to the Quarterdeck, which is the control centre of the ship.


From here, you can see right down the length of the ship, and (waving arms) right around everywhere.

Swivel guns

The swivel guns, for seeing off hostile visitors.

Also one of my favourite positions, when I got to talk. I was rostered here first thing on my final day. You spend half an hour or an hour in each position before changing, and it's the last position and visitors take about an hour to move through the ship... so I had a lot of time to take photos.


From the quarterdeck, you down the port side of the ship (left/behind the mizzen mast here) and then across to the walkways, and don't forget to stop at the merchandise tent on the way out.

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