It is believed that thefamous Grape Lane was once known as Grope Lane, and even earlier on than that it was referred to as the historic English term “Gropecunt Lane” (excuse the name). It was known for this term due to the darkness of the street, where you could easily ‘grope’ someone without being caught, it’s also been suggested that it was where prostitutes would go to seek business clients.
But Grape Lane’s past isn’t all seeded, in fact it was very important to the maritime
activity that boomed in Whitby, and was the place where James Cook learnt his trade. As a three year apprentice under the shipping merchant John Walker, Cook lived in the attic of Walker’s home, which still stands there today as ‘The Captain Cook museum’.
Very little evidence of James Cook’s stay in Whitby remains, as most of his ventures and trials were out at sea as a young apprentice. Though the house still remains, and the stories will live in forever.