Schoolroom's set for pounds 200k; Grant to improve Cook museum.
GREAT Ayton's historic Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum has been awarded a pounds 200,000 grant for improvements.
The Grade II-listed building, where the great explorer and navigator James Cook was educated between 1736 and 1740, will receive a full refurbishment, including the addition of an internal staircase, and extra training for volunteers.
The museum, founded in 1928 by local historians, is hoping to have the work completed through the winter to re-open next spring.
The grant has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Chairman of the museum trustees Gary Readman said: "We are all absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this grant.
"As well as existing displays about the young James Cook and the school in Great Ayton, there will also be a new emphasis on the history of the village, incorporating research done by the Great Ayton history society over the last six years.
"We also expect to recruit more volunteers to staff the museum, and they will be trained to answer visitor questions about local and family history as well as the career of Captain Cook."
The schoolroom was rebuilt after Captain Cook had gone on to undertake his voyages of the Pacific and later became a poor house for destitute people from the village.
It is hoped the work will help attract more visitors and give the museum a higher profile.
Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire, said: "Investment into the Cook museum will bring it back to the heart of the community by offering opportunities for everyone to get involved in this world-class heritage on their doorstep."
IMPROVEMENTS: Gary Redman pictured outside the Great Ayton museum, above, and a previous Gazette story as it opened for the summer season in March, left - Gary Readman, chairman of trusteesat the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum, on the left. Also pictured is trustee and historian Dan O'Sullivan inside the museum Picture by IAN COOPER