Harwich Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by arturowan
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by arturowan
  • Navyyard Wharf in its heyday...
    Navyyard Wharf in its heyday...
    by arturowan

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Harwich

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    Harwich Town Brewing Co...

    by arturowan Updated Dec 9, 2014

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    Harwich's local brewery might not actually be 'off the beaten path', located as it is beside the town's railway & bus stations, but you might still miss it, such an unremarkable old shed is its home!
    The building in Station Approach was a former railway goods shed, now as you can see from the photo's, full of barrels of brew in various states of fermentation...
    Harwich once had more pubs within its tight confines than any other town in England, so it's only proper that it should contain its own brewery...
    If you want to sample some of its many special brews, they might be found on tap throughout the town, but especially at the New Bell Inn...
    Not only is it a brewery, but also a venue for live music during the annual sea Shanty Festival, organised every 0ctober...

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    • Beer Tasting
    • Music
    • Festivals

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    Navyard Wharf...

    by arturowan Updated Nov 8, 2014

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    The Navyard Wharf is located on Harwich seafront, on the tight corner, directly opposite the Pier Hotel...
    The site was a 12th Century castle, which became a shipyard in the 16th Century, which was inspected by Elizabeth 1 in 1561
    To the right of the main gates is a large board on which are listed all the Men-0f-War constructed in the old Naval Shipyard, from 1660 - 1827
    Also on site is the old shipyard bell, cast by John Darby, Bellfounder of Ipswich, in 1666
    It was originally located in a belltower in the middle of the 0ld Naval Yard, & rung in order to summon men to work, but made redundant in the 1920's, around the same time that the old treadwheel crane, which spent its entire active life on site, was relocated (see separate tip...)
    The Navyard Wharf nowadays receives vessels from all of Scandinavia, & Belgium, & is now operated by Harwich Dock Company Ltd...

    Navyyard Wharf in its heyday...
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    • Historical Travel
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Light Vessel East Goodwin...

    by arturowan Updated Oct 9, 2014

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    The East Goodwin lightship sits midpoint at the mouth of the River Stour, marking the port & starboard channels, to traffic...
    The name East Goodwin derives from the fact that the vessel was originally located on the Goodwin Sands, but was brought to Harwich Docks for repairs, & has remained offshore, ever since...
    In 1896, the East Goodwin was involved in the radio trials of Guglielmo Marconi, attempting to transmit ship-to-shore...
    In 1899, the first radio distress signal was transmitted from the East Goodwin, when the merchant vessel, Elbe, run aground on the sands...
    Just a month later that same year, the East Goodwin transmitted again, after she was rammed in dense fog by S.S.R.F.Matthews...
    Lightships have not been manned since the 1980's - if you use binoculars, you can see extensive photo-voltaic-cells mounted along both sides of the vessel, in order to power the lantern, at night or in fog...
    LANBY buoys carry out the role of a lightship in most locations nowadays, so it is a special sight to be able to witness 1 in working order, albeit fully-automated...

    Related to:
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    The Quarrymen...

    by arturowan Updated Mar 21, 2014

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    The most famous departure from Harwich dock, will always be that of The Mayflower - it could be said, the voyage that founded USA...
    That historic event was in 1620
    Today, Harwich dock is only a commercial concern, the passenger ferries, which until a few decades ago, were equipped to receive an entire train from off of The Mayflower Line, a thing of the past, & the rails towards it now rusting relics...
    According to Network Rail, there is still a 'Harwich International' stop, because this is what they've re-named the previous Parkeston Quay station (- much to my annoyance, because Parkeston was founded as a separate resort to Harwich, & is anyway, located in Dovercourt!)
    Visitors to Harwich docks can now only observe activity there, & reminisce on the excitement inherent in REAL TRAVEL, when it was possible to board a British Rail train, & take your seat off of hard land, into a cavernous ferry hold...
    Also, if you venture to Harwich's commercial backwater to consider its glory days, remember the other momentous voyage that took place from here on 16th August 1960
    5 naive Liverpuddlians set sail from here, after a crane loaded them, 5 others, & all their kit, inside a cramped Austin van, aboard the ferry bound for Hook of Holland, next destination; Hamburg...
    The 5 in the band, were then, collectively known as The Quarrymen...
    0n their return, much more worldly wise, they would regroup, & as John, George, Paul, (& Ringo, who missed out on THE HAMBURG EXPERIENCE) - they would become THE BEATLES

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    Kindertransport memorial plaque...

    by arturowan Updated Nov 27, 2013

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    In Harwich Crescent is a memorial bench, with plaque mounted on the sea wall, commemorating the town's role in the Kindertransport scheme...
    The location of the plaque & bench, facing the shipping lane in the North Sea, is purposeful, because this is where most of those aborad the rail ferries, would have first seen British land...
    10 000 Jewish refugee children passed through the port in 1938 to take trains, many going to Liverpool Street Station, to be met on the platform by Nicolas Winton, whose idea it was for the Kindertransport system of providing sponsors to give them an escape from the forthcoming Holocaust...
    A lot of new arrivals were directed to the Warner's Holiday Camp in Dovercourt Bay, where they were given a meal, before pursueing their journey in a country where many, coming from Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, as well as Germany, did not know the language...
    All arrivals wore identity tags for inspection by port officials, who had documentation for where each refugee was due to go, or otherwise be looked after in Harwich, until a foster family found for them...
    Some children had to travel alone, & arrived exhausted, having never been away from their parents, or outside their hometown, in their life...
    The Red Cross organised the travel plans of these youngsters, many of whom would be orphaned while in Britain, as their parents were due to be sent to the concentration camps...
    Children without sponsor families in Britain, were accommodated in the town, either at the Dovercourt Bay camp, or the Salvation Army hostel...
    The last arrivals came in August 1939 - a train due to leave from Prague on September 1st, was held at the station by Nazi guards, & the children from families who had applied for them in order to come to Harwich, instead sent to the camps...
    Thus the Kindertransport salvation line, was thwarted as world war commenced, but it saved 1000's of children, who since forged a new life in Britain, or moved onto the US...
    As well as the bench & information plaque, the scheme that was active in Harwich between 1938-39, is still remembered in the town, with occasional reinactments/street plays, re-creating the drama of being a child refugee in wartime Britain...

    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel

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    Norwegian flatpack housing...

    by arturowan Written May 1, 2013

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    If you walk along Harbour Crescent, near Beacon Hill, you will find a cement plaque inscribed;
    "These houses were a gift to the Borough of Harwich, from the people of Norway, to rehouse victims of the floods of 31st January 1953"
    It refers to the 6 houses facing the seafront here, & another 18 located in Norway Crescent, the name dedicated to the nation who stepped in to help those made homeless by the freak flood of 1953
    Norway has always been grateful to the British for liberating them from Nazi occupation, so the nation wanted to demonstrate their feelings, when the east coast was devastated by the high tides...
    All 24 houses were supplied in flatpack form & were designed to last a couple of decades, but to this day, all remain on site, some updated with white plastic cladding, but others still in the original black timber cladding...
    The basic design of a timber frame, with tarpaulin sheeting, clad with tongue & groove boarding, has stood the test of time & the worst weather the North Sea can throw their way...
    Their construction has proven the Scandinavian flatpack home concept to be far better than temporary, & I believe, this form of housing should be a pattern in this country, rather than the over-reliance on bricks & mortar...

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    'We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea' locations...

    by arturowan Written Feb 8, 2013

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    'We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea' is the 7th book by Arthur Ransom in his still popular, 'Swallows & Amazons' series...
    It was written in 1937 & marks a departure from the settings of the previous 6 novels, reflecting the author's own move to East Anglia, where he discovered the delights of such places as Pin Mill & The 0rwell estuary, in his yacht, The Nancy Blackett...
    In the other stories, Ransome disguised the location of where the nautical adventures took place, but in 'We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea' he alters his style to make specific locational references to places that might still be found to this day...
    The plot is based on the theme of a (mis)adventure, caused by the boat engine running out of fuel, so allowing the craft to drift dangerously close to a sand bank, necessitating the deployment of the sails & venturing out into the North Sea...
    This results in arriving in the Netherlands, rather than returning to Harwich harbour, where the author goes to some detail to record accurately, as well as mentioning the cross-channel ferry, & including the Harwich harbourmaster as 1 of the characters...

    Related to:
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    • Sailing and Boating
    • Arts and Culture

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    An Unlikely Nature Reserve

    by johngayton Updated Jul 26, 2010

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    A couple of years ago Essex County Council ran a survey find out what small-scale projects local people felt would improve their quality of life. A Parkstone resident, Russel Tye, suggested a riverside walk in what was, at the time, an overgrown wasteland through which the Dock River ran between Parkstone and Harwich Port. Essex Council agreed and so in 2009 the Captain Fryatt Riverside Walk was officially opened.

    This little stretch of river runs maybe half-a-mile between the main road and the harbour gates with an industrial estate on one side and an out-of-town supermarket on the other.

    The river was dredged of its man-made waste, the overgrowth cut back, clearing a footpath along its length, and a couple of vandal-proof benches erected. This has created a pleasant little haven in the middle of what is still very much an industrial area and the planting of a row of Black Poplar trees will eventually further the walk's relative isolation.

    The path now makes for quite a pleasant off-road shortcut between the port and Parkstone village.

    A Quick Note About Captain Fryatt

    Charles Algernon Fryatt was a local mariner who during the First World War was captain of the steamship SS Brussels. The Germans navy was blockading the trade routes between Britain and the Continent but Captain Fryatt, as was the case with most merchant mariners, was willing to run the blockade.

    After several succesful crossings, including on one occasion where he managed to outrun a chasing German submarine, he and his ship were eventually captured in June 1916 as he was returning from a trip to Rotterdam.

    The Germans, I assume wishing to make an example of him, tried him for espionage and he was summarily shot later that year.

    Riverside Walk Signage The Industrial Estate Towards The Docks Tranquility In The Middle
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography
    • Eco-Tourism

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