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For other places with the same name, see Harwich (disambiguation). Harwich_sentence_0


PopulationHarwich_header_cell_0_1_0 17,684 (2011)Harwich_cell_0_1_1
OS grid referenceHarwich_header_cell_0_2_0 Harwich_cell_0_2_1
DistrictHarwich_header_cell_0_3_0 Harwich_cell_0_3_1
Shire countyHarwich_header_cell_0_4_0 Harwich_cell_0_4_1
RegionHarwich_header_cell_0_5_0 Harwich_cell_0_5_1
CountryHarwich_header_cell_0_6_0 EnglandHarwich_cell_0_6_1
Sovereign stateHarwich_header_cell_0_7_0 United KingdomHarwich_cell_0_7_1
Post townHarwich_header_cell_0_8_0 HARWICHHarwich_cell_0_8_1
Postcode districtHarwich_header_cell_0_9_0 CO12Harwich_cell_0_9_1
Dialling codeHarwich_header_cell_0_10_0 01255Harwich_cell_0_10_1
PoliceHarwich_header_cell_0_11_0 EssexHarwich_cell_0_11_1
FireHarwich_header_cell_0_12_0 EssexHarwich_cell_0_12_1
AmbulanceHarwich_header_cell_0_13_0 East of EnglandHarwich_cell_0_13_1
UK ParliamentHarwich_header_cell_0_14_0 Harwich_cell_0_14_1

Harwich /ˈhærɪtʃ/ is a town in Essex, England and one of the Haven ports, located on the coast with the North Sea to the east. Harwich_sentence_1

It is in the Tendring district. Harwich_sentence_2

Nearby places include Felixstowe to the northeast, Ipswich to the northwest, Colchester to the southwest and Clacton-on-Sea to the south. Harwich_sentence_3

It is the northernmost coastal town within Essex. Harwich_sentence_4

Its position on the estuaries of the Stour and Orwell rivers and its usefulness to mariners as the only safe anchorage between the Thames and the Humber led to a long period of maritime significance, both civil and military. Harwich_sentence_5

The town became a naval base in 1657 and was heavily fortified, with Harwich Redoubt, Beacon Hill Battery, and Bath Side Battery. Harwich_sentence_6

Harwich is the likely launch point of the Mayflower which carried English Puritans to North America, and is the presumed birthplace of Mayflower captain Christopher Jones. Harwich_sentence_7

Harwich today is contiguous with Dovercourt and the two, along with Parkeston, are often referred to collectively as Harwich. Harwich_sentence_8

History Harwich_section_0

The town's name means "military settlement", from Old English here-wic. Harwich_sentence_9

The town received its charter in 1238, although there is evidence of earlier settlement – for example, a record of a chapel in 1177, and some indications of a possible Roman presence. Harwich_sentence_10

The town was the target of an abortive raid by French forces under Ayton Doria on 24 March 1339 during the Hundred Years' War. Harwich_sentence_11

Because of its strategic position, Harwich was the target for the invasion of Britain by William of Orange on 11 November 1688. Harwich_sentence_12

However, unfavourable winds forced his fleet to sail into the English Channel instead and eventually land at Torbay. Harwich_sentence_13

Due to the involvement of the Schomberg family in the invasion, Charles Louis Schomberg was made Marquess of Harwich. Harwich_sentence_14

Writer Daniel Defoe devotes a few pages to the town in A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain. Harwich_sentence_15

Visiting in 1722, he noted its formidable fort and harbour "of a vast extent". Harwich_sentence_16

The town, he recounts, was also known for an unusual chalybeate spring rising on Beacon Hill (a promontory to the north-east of the town), which "petrified" clay, allowing it to be used to pave Harwich's streets and build its walls. Harwich_sentence_17

The locals also claimed that "the same spring is said to turn wood into iron", but Defoe put this down to the presence of "copperas" in the water. Harwich_sentence_18

Regarding the atmosphere of the town, he states: "Harwich is a town of hurry and business, not much of gaiety and pleasure; yet the inhabitants seem warm in their nests and some of them are very wealthy". Harwich_sentence_19

Harwich played an important part in the Napoleonic and more especially the two world wars. Harwich_sentence_20

Of particular note: Harwich_sentence_21

1793-1815—Post Office Station for communication with Europe, one of embarkation and evacuation bases for expeditions to Holland in 1799, 1809 and 1813/14; base for capturing enemy privateers. Harwich_sentence_22

The dockyard built many ships for the Navy, including HMS Conqueror which captured the French Admiral Villeneuve at the Battle of Trafalgar. Harwich_sentence_23

The Redoubt and the now-demolished Ordnance Building date from that era. Harwich_sentence_24

1914-18—base for the Royal Navy's Harwich Force light cruisers and destroyers under Commodore Tyrwhitt, and for British submarines. Harwich_sentence_25

In November 1918 the German U-Boat fleet surrendered to the Royal Navy in the harbour. Harwich_sentence_26

1939-1945—one of main East Coast minesweeping and destroyer bases, at one period base for British and French submarines; assembled fleets for Dutch and Dunkirk evacuations and follow-up to D-Day; unusually, a target for Italian bombers during the Battle of Britain. Harwich_sentence_27

Royal Naval Dockyard Harwich_section_1

Main article: Harwich Dockyard Harwich_sentence_28

Harwich Dockyard was established as a Royal Navy Dockyard in 1652. Harwich_sentence_29

It ceased to operate as a Royal Dockyard in 1713 (though a Royal Navy presence was maintained until 1829). Harwich_sentence_30

During the various wars with France and Holland, through to 1815, the dockyard was responsible for both building and repairing numerous warships. Harwich_sentence_31

HMS Conqueror, a 74-gun ship completed in 1801, captured the French admiral Villeneuve at Trafalgar. Harwich_sentence_32

The yard was then a semi-private concern, with the actual shipbuilding contracted to Joseph Graham, who was sometimes mayor of the town. Harwich_sentence_33

During World War II parts of Harwich were again requisitioned for naval use and ships were based at HMS Badger; Badger was decommissioned in 1946, but the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service maintained a headquarters on the site until 1992. Harwich_sentence_34

Transport Harwich_section_2

The Royal Navy no longer has a presence in Harwich but Harwich International Port at nearby Parkeston continues to offer regular ferry services to the Hook of Holland (Hoek van Holland) in the Netherlands. Harwich_sentence_35

operates a roll-on roll-off ferry service from Harwich Navyard to Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven, Paldiski and Turku. Harwich_sentence_36

Many operations of the Port of Felixstowe and of Trinity House, the lighthouse authority, are managed from Harwich. Harwich_sentence_37

The Mayflower railway line serves Harwich and there are three operational passenger stations: Harwich International, Dovercourt and Harwich Town. Harwich_sentence_38

The line also allows freight trains to access the Port. Harwich_sentence_39

The port is famous for the phrase "Harwich for the Continent", seen on road signs and in London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) advertisements. Harwich_sentence_40

From 1924 to 1987 (with a break during the second world war), a train ferry service operated between Harwich and Zeebrugge. Harwich_sentence_41

The train ferry linkspan still exists today and the rails leading from the former goods yard of Harwich Town railway station are still in position across the road, although the line is blocked by the Trinity House buoy store. Harwich_sentence_42

Lighthouses Harwich_section_3


Harwich High Lighthouse Range rearHarwich_table_caption_1
LocationHarwich_header_cell_1_0_0 Harwich

Essex EnglandHarwich_cell_1_0_1

CoordinatesHarwich_header_cell_1_1_0 Harwich_cell_1_1_1
Year first constructedHarwich_header_cell_1_2_0 1665 (first)Harwich_cell_1_2_1
Year first litHarwich_header_cell_1_3_0 1818 (current)Harwich_cell_1_3_1
DeactivatedHarwich_header_cell_1_4_0 1863Harwich_cell_1_4_1
ConstructionHarwich_header_cell_1_5_0 brick towerHarwich_cell_1_5_1
Tower shapeHarwich_header_cell_1_6_0 tapered enneagonal prism with light shown from the top window and tented roofHarwich_cell_1_6_1
Markings / patternHarwich_header_cell_1_7_0 unpainted towerHarwich_cell_1_7_1
Tower heightHarwich_header_cell_1_8_0 21 metres (69 ft)Harwich_cell_1_8_1
ARLHS numberHarwich_header_cell_1_9_0 ENG-093Harwich_cell_1_9_1
Managing agentHarwich_header_cell_1_10_0 The Harwich SocietyHarwich_cell_1_10_1

At least three pairs of lighthouses have been built over recent centuries as leading lights, to help guide vessels into Harwich. Harwich_sentence_43

The earliest pair were wooden structures: the High Light stood on top of the old Town Gate, whilst the Low Light (featured in a painting by Constable) stood on the foreshore. Harwich_sentence_44

Both were coal-fired. Harwich_sentence_45

In 1818 these were replaced by stone structures, designed by John Rennie Senior, which can still be seen today (they no longer function as lighthouses: one houses the town's maritime museum, the other is (in 2015) also being converted into a museum). Harwich_sentence_46

They were owned by General Rebow of Wivenhoe Park, who was able to charge 1d per ton on all cargo entering the port, for upkeep of the lights. Harwich_sentence_47

In 1836 Rebow's lease on the lights was purchased by Trinity House, but in 1863 they were declared redundant due to a change the position of the channel used by ships entering and leaving the port, caused by shifting sands. Harwich_sentence_48

They were in turn replaced by the pair of cast iron lights at nearby Dovercourt; these too remain in situ, but were decommissioned (again due to shifting of the channel) in 1917. Harwich_sentence_49


  • Harwich_item_0_0
  • Harwich_item_0_1
  • Harwich_item_0_2
  • Harwich_item_0_3

Architecture Harwich_section_4

Despite, or perhaps because of, its small size Harwich is highly regarded in terms of architectural heritage, and the whole of the older part of the town, excluding Navyard Wharf, is a conservation area. Harwich_sentence_50

The regular street plan with principal thoroughfares connected by numerous small alleys indicates the town's medieval origins, although many buildings of this period are hidden behind 18th century facades. Harwich_sentence_51

The extant medieval structures are largely private homes. Harwich_sentence_52

The house featured in the image of Kings Head St to the left is unique in the town and is an example of a sailmaker's house, thought to have been built circa 1600. Notable public buildings include the parish church of St. Nicholas (1821) in a restrained Gothic style, with many original furnishings, including a somewhat altered organ in the west end gallery. Harwich_sentence_53

There is also the Guildhall of 1769, the only Grade I listed building in Harwich. Harwich_sentence_54

The Pier Hotel of 1860 and the building that was the Great Eastern Hotel of 1864 can both been seen on the quayside, both reflecting the town's new importance to travellers following the arrival of the Great Eastern Main Line from Colchester in 1854. Harwich_sentence_55

In 1923, The Great Eastern Hotel was closed by the newly formed LNER, as the Great Eastern Railway had opened a new hotel with the same name at the new passenger port at Parkeston Quay, causing a decline in numbers. Harwich_sentence_56

The hotel became the Harwich Town Hall, which included the Magistrates Court and, following changes in local government, was sold and divided into apartments. Harwich_sentence_57

Also of interest are the High Lighthouse (1818), the unusual Treadwheel Crane (late 17th century), the Old Custom Houses on West Street, a number of Victorian shopfronts and the Electric Palace Cinema (1911), one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas to survive complete with its ornamental frontage and original projection room still intact and operational. Harwich_sentence_58

There is little notable building from the later parts of the 20th century, but major recent additions include the lifeboat station and two new structures for Trinity House. Harwich_sentence_59

The Trinity House office building, next door to the Old Custom Houses, was completed in 2005. Harwich_sentence_60

All three additions are influenced by the high-tech style. Harwich_sentence_61

Notable residents Harwich_section_5

Harwich has also historically hosted a number of notable inhabitants, linked with Harwich's maritime past. Harwich_sentence_62


Politicians Harwich_section_6


Sport Harwich_section_7

Harwich is home to Harwich & Parkeston F.C.; Harwich and Dovercourt RFC; Harwich Rangers FC; Sunday Shrimpers; Harwich & Dovercourt Sailing Club; Harwich, Dovercourt & Parkeston Swimming Club; Harwich & Dovercourt Rugby Union Football Club; Harwich & Dovercourt Cricket Club; and Harwich Runners who with support from Harwich Swimming Club host the annual Harwich Triathlons. Harwich_sentence_63

See also Harwich_section_8


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harwich.