Because Harwich port is Essex's main shipping terminal for freight and passsenger services to and from the Netherlands the Dutch Vice-Consulate is located here in Dovercourt, at the top end of the High Street.
As a vice-consulate they don't issue or replace passports or identity cards (you need to go to London for that) but can be of assistance to Dutch nationals with any other problems such as translators and legal advice.
The office is open from 9 to 5 Monday to Friday by appointment only - the phone number is 00-44-1255-554460 and the website: http://www.mfa.nl/en/europe/united_kingdom_of/vice-consulate
Shakers pub, formerly the Mariners Hotel, is sortof self-styled as a trendy bar but is in fact more of a local boozer. It's a friendly enough little place and whilst it doesn't offer real beer does a pretty decent pint of Guinness.
It's especially useful for us travellers in that it offers freebie WiFi to customers - ask at the bar for the code. The pub is located on West Street which is the first main road to your left as you come out of the town's railway station.
It also has rooms to let which seem reasonably-priced and I'll probably consider staying there on my next visit.
If travelling to or from the Continent via Harwich as part of a longer trip then a stop-off in town can allow you to catch up with your clothes washing. This little laundrette on Kingsway, just up the road from Dovercourt railway station, is cheap and friendly and you can either do your own or take advantage of their service wash.
The service was is about £2 more expensive than doing it yourself but your clothes come neatly folded and for a small further fee you can get your shirts and trousers ironed.
The Electric palace was built in 1911 and is now the oldest unaltered purpose built cinema in Britain. It was restored by a Trust and re-opened in 1981.
It can be found in Kings Quay Street, telephone 01255 553333.
Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703), was a frequent visitor to Harwich. As First Secretary of the Admiralty, MInister of Parliament for Harwich and the Master of Trinity House, he probably had several reasons for doing so.
Fondest memory: For those of you who don't know who Samuel Pepys is, he wrote a diary in the 17th century. Over a period of 10 years, he made one entry per day, giving us some of the greatest descriptions of life in London, during those times.
The Guildhall was built in 1769 and resides in Church Street. It stands on the site of "The Bear" (public house) where the council had met since 1673.
It is a grade one listed building and contains medevial wall paintings, as well as graffitti carved by prisoners who were incarcerated here. The Council Chamber, Mayor's parlour and other rooms may be viewed by appointment only.
Fondest memory: Telephone: - 01255 507211
Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 12.30pm
There are two prominent lighthouses in Harwich and they are named as the High & Low Lighthouses. The Low Lighthouse, foremost in the picture, is on the sea front. The other, seen as a spire to left of the white lighthouse, sits quite comfortably 150 yards (approx 140mtr) further inland, almost inside the town. They were built in 1818 and took over from a light that was installed over the Town gate in 1665 and a wooden structure that sat on the sea front.
The idea of these two lighthouses was to guide ships into the harbour. When a ship aligned itself so that both lights were in line with each other (know as leading lights), they knew that they were following the cleared channel into the port.
Over a period, they became know as “misleading lights”, as the channel became silted up and they no longer led ships clear of the surrounding shoals. They were acquired by Trinity House in 1836 and discontinued in 1863. They were replaced by iron lighthouses, further down the coast in Dovercourt.
The Low Lighthouse depicted is now the local Maritime Museum.
Fondest memory: .
Opening times: - 1st May to 31st August
10am to 5pm Daily
Cost: - £0.50
Just down the road and around the corner from the Redoubt is Dovercourt Bay. This is where you will find the Iron Lighthouses that replaced the high & low lighthouses of Harwich.
The Iron Lighthouses – or leading lights – at Dovercourt are as prominent a feature as the lower & higher lighthouses in Harwich. They were built in 1863 to replace the Harwich lighthouses, but in 1917, were superseded by lighted buoys.
Unlike the Harwich lighthouses, only one of these was built on land and the other was built out to sea. You can see this feature in the photo. These lighthouses are unique in their design and, as such, they were restored to their former glory over a period of 1983 to 1988.
The Three Cups is an ancient inn that is frequently mentioned in Harwich history. The earliest recorded instance is 24th September 1326, when Queen Isabella and her son waited here for their horses, after they landed in Harwich with Roger Mortimer, her lover, before journeying on to fight against her husband, Edward II.
The white building on the left is the building that was the Three Cups Inn and the Church at the end is St Nicholas Church. This church was built in 1821 and is unusual in that it is supported by internal columns, and has a gallery that is made of cast iron. The road that they reside in is Church Street.
Harwich is the head quarters of the Corporation of Trinity House, which is the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and the Channel Islands. It is responsible for providing navigation maritime aids such as lighthouses, light ships, buoys and beacons. At present, Trinity House services 82 lighthouses, 14 light vessels and over 500 buoys.
Trinity House maintains over 500 buoys, lighted and unlighted, and a significant number of these are maintained in the Harwich buoy yard, along with a few light ships.
Until 1987, Trinity House was also liable for providing pilotage facilities for Harwich and 39 other districts, but the Harwich Haven Authority now under takes this responsibility. However, Trinity House is still responsible for the licensing of deep-sea pilots.
Trinity House was first granted its Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1514, and a depot was built on land behind the White Hart Inn in Harwich in 1812.
Favorite thing: From my limited knowledge of history, I always understood that the Mayflower sailed to the Americas with the Pilgrim Fathers from Southampton (my hometown) in 1620. Well, they did but the ship originally hailed from Harwich and its Captain lived at 21, King Head Street, Harwich.
Favorite thing: This picture shows a light ship called “Wolf Rock”. Some of you may know of this ship as it normally marks the “Wolf Rock” that sits a few miles out from the end of Lands End in Cornwall. It was sitting in port awaiting overhaul when we visited Harwich. It is sitting alongside Trinity House pier, which was originally known as the Continental pier, which was rebuilt in the 1950’s from an original construction that was built back in the late 1800’s.
Favorite thing: This house is reputed to be the oldest house in Harwich, dating from around 1450. It can be found in Church street, on the opposite side of the road to the Three Cups and St Nicholas Church. The Foresters Arms was an ale (beer) house from 1800 to 1941. It was known locally as the “Old Drum and Monkey”. This place is the headquarters of the Harwich Society, who has done so much to show visitors the history of Harwich by placing information plaques around the town.
At present, Tendring District Council owns the High Lighthouse. They renovated it in 1975 to commemorate the European Architectural Heritage Year. Towering over the surrounding buildings, the nine-sided brick tower stands at 90 foot (approx 28 mtr) tall and now houses the National Vintage Wireless and Television Museum.
The High Lighthouse marks the end of an 81-mile (110km) footpath that starts in the south of the county, in Epping.