How to spell the surname COOK in relation to the beautiful little cottage in Fitzroy Gardens.
Captain James Cook’s father’s cottage in Bridge Street, Great Ayton, was auctioned and sold in 1933. After being purchased and presented to the Victoria State Government of Australia it was dismantled and re-erected in Fitzroy Gardens, where it is open to the public as a museum.
Many moons ago, a museum in England wrote to us saying that the owners of the cottage were Mr & Mrs Cook, and therefore the correct spelling of the Cottage should be Cook’s Cottage. The museum in question was the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, so you would think, they would know.
Both Fitzroy Gardens and Melbourne City Council web sites have the spelling as Cooks’ Cottage.
We wrote to the owners of the Fitzroy Gardens web site asking for clarification, who kindly replied with..
It is known as Cooks’ Cottage because of the plural use of the family name.
Below I have included information about the correct use of the Apostrophe in written English.
Apostrophes are probably the most misused punctuation marks in contemporary written English. When used correctly, they enhance language by providing extra information in a sentence to better convey your meaning. When not used correctly, they can muddle your message and irritate pedants like myself.
There are two primary situations when apostrophes are used. The first is to denote ownership and the second to indicate an abbreviation. (A ‘contraction’ I think is the technical term.)
When two words are linked through one having some sort of ownership over another the apostrophe indicates this.
The girl’s cat killed an alarming number of small native birds.
The girl owns a cat. When we refer to her cat, we use an apostrophe to show this.
Incidentally, cat skins make great hats. To wit: The environmental warrior’s hat was made entirely of cat skins. (Note the apostrophe.)
Using Apostrophes with Singular and Plural Words
When one person owns something, the apostrophe comes before the ‘s’.
When more than one person owns something, the apostrophe comes after the ‘s’.
The girl’s cat bit the postman.
One girl had a cat, to the postman’s regret.
The girls’ cat bit the postman.
The cat was owned by more than one girl – perhaps they were sisters with a perverse dislike of male mail personnel.
So, the correct spelling in this instance is Cooks’ Cottage