Although the life and adventures of the famous explorer and navigator, Captain James Cook - who landed on several American coasts - are well recorded, it has only been in recent times that he has been linked to the county of Essex, England.
When Mr Norman Gunby, the eminent Essex historian and writer began researching the life of James Cook for his book "A Potted History of Ilford", he discovered an interesting link with our county.
On 21 December 1762, James Cook married Miss Elizabeth Batts at St Margaret's Church at Barking, Essex. Elizabeth was born in Wapping, London where her father was a publican. Following his death when she was very young, she came to live in Ilford (then a tiny Essex village) with a Mr and Mrs Sheppard whose large house named 'Crouchers' stood in Clements Road. Although her mother re-married and Elizabeth went back to live with her at Wapping Elizabeth continued to visit and stay with the Sheppards over the years and, in fact, spent the mandatory four weeks required residency period with them at Ilford (then a part of Barking), prior to the wedding - hence Elizabeth stating as being 'of Barking, Essex'.
Mr Gunby has applied for a commemorative blue plaque to be affixed to the building where Captain James Cook and Elizabeth spent some of their precious married life when he was home on leave.