Project to celebrate 400th anniversary of Mayflower voyage

Boston Mayor Alison Austin and husband Richard visit Harwich for Mayflower Project
Boston Mayor Alison Austin and husband Richard visit Harwich for Mayflower Project

The Mayor of Harwich and the Harwich Mayflower Project welcomed VIP guests from Boston to view the project and discuss plans for 2020 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower to the New World carrying the Pilgrim Fathers.

As well as being Mayor of Boston, Coun Alison Austin’s full title also includes ‘Admiral of the Wash’. She was accompanied by husband Coun Richard Austin, who is her Mayor’s Consort.

Their visit was prompted by the launch of the countdown to 2020 at the Plymouth ‘Illuminate’ event in November last year.

She said: “The Harwich Mayflower Project is a very ambitious and impressive project. I wish it every success.

“We hope that the replica Mayflower will be able to visit Boston while undergoing its sea trials.

“Like Harwich, it is important for Boston to be able to capitalise on its heritage and historic links with America.”

Plymouth has the Mayflower Steps and the ship did set off from there after several delays.

She is believed to have been built in Harwich and was registered there in her early days, known as the Mayflower of Harwich.

Her captain, Christopher Jones, was a Harwich man and his house still stands close to the waterfront at Harwich.

Boston is looking forward to celebrating the anniversary, although Coun Austin admitted: “When history is studied closely, you might say that Boston did more to hinder than to help the Pilgrims on their way.”

The Guildhall in Boston was built in 1390 and is famous, among other things in its long history, for imprisonment of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1607.

Also touring the project was Keith Norman, business development manager of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines which is keen to investigate the potential of the unique historical tourist attractions of Harwich.

In a programme organised by Harwich Town Council the Mayor of Harwich, Alan Todd, and his consort Sylvia Todd, hosted a fish and chip lunch courtesy of the Ha’penny Bistro at the Pier Hotel and the visitors were then given a historic tour of Harwich by David Whittle from the Harwich Society.