A series of celebration events and a welcome centre are planned for Harwich as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations in 2020.

The Mayflower ship, from Harwich and captained by Harwich resident Christopher Jones, took the first settlers to America in 1620 in a voyage marked annually by Thanksgiving in the USA. A whole programme of events is being planned across 11 UK destinations, including Harwich, for 2020 to mark the 400th anniversary.


Now TDC’s Cabinet is being asked to approve a budget of £135,000 to support other Mayflower 400 projects in the area. These include £50,000 for a Welcome Centre to act as a hub for tourists visiting the area, £40,000 for a Heritage Trail to take visitors around the town and the key Mayflower sites, and £20,000 for a programme of events.

The Welcome Centre would be home to a whole raft of historical artefacts relating to Harwich and its links to the Mayflower story, and work is ongoing with partners including the Harwich Society and the Guildhall Archivists on this strand of the project.

Neil Stock, TDC Leader, said this is a significant moment in time to remember the key role that Harwich played in historical world events.

“This substantial investment in Harwich is about ensuring the town can capitalise on its heritage and history by welcoming visitors and tourists into the district to boost the local economy,” Cllr Stock said.

It is hoped that external funding can also be sourced from partners and grant organisations to help support projects.

At a national Mayflower Compact event held in the Houses of Parliament yesterday (Wednesday, December 5) it was announced that the Art of the Possible cultural programme will benefit from £700,000 of Arts Council England National Lottery funding. The keynote speech was given by Michael Ellis MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism.

The milestone in UK and US history is set to boost the UK economy and attract over 1.4 million visitors nationally during the Mayflower 400 commemoration year, yielding an anticipated economic impact in excess of £76million.