This is “Cook’s Earth”, Andrew Burton’s globe and sextant sculpture outside the South entrance to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where I had a meeting this morning. I also did a few of my medical school rotations here.
It, of course, commemorates everybody’s favourite 18th century Middlesborian*, the seafaring discoverer of Australia. The globe used to be more clearly globe-like, with a blue sea, but that seems to have washed off. A replica of his most famous ship is down the road in Stockton, as I showed back in January.
James Cook’s violent death is captured in a famous Zoffany painting; so perhaps it’s appropriate that the hospital named after him is leading the country as a regional specialist trauma centre. Although, given the number of areas in which the hospiral’s highly respected, it’s hard to think of a mode of death for Captain Cook that would preclude me from drawing a tenuous link…!
*Marton, where James Cook was born and his eponymous hospital stands, was actually considered a village in Yorkshire in the 18th century, rather than a suburb of Middlesbrough, so I guess whether or not he was Middlesborian is a bit of a philosophical question!