F R O M T H E C H AI R FORESTERS 200 CLUB CURRENT COMMENTS AMENITY SUB-COMMITTEE REDOUBT FORT REPORT F R O M T H E L I B R A R I A N & AR C H I V I S T M AR I T I M E M U S E U M F O O T P AT H R E P O R T T H E H AR W I C H S O C I E T Y AN N U A L D I N N E R MORE OF LEN’S STORIES T AK E P AR T I N O U R C H AR I T Y S T R O L L … … . . . FORESTERS OPEN DAYS U N V E I L I N G O F B E N C H I N M E M O R Y O F M I K E M E AL I N G RECENT EVENTS D R AW I N G L I N E S I N T H E P AR K P O R T R AI T O F A M E M B E R S T E AM D R I F T E R J E AN N I E M c I N T O S H B C K 2 0 9 POSTBOX W H AT I T M E AN S T O B E O C C U P I E D ( C O N T ) O F F I C I AL P R O G R AM M E F O R H A R W I C H W E E K - D a t e ? T H E G R E AT E S T E X P E R I E N C E O F M Y L I F E E V AC U A T I O N M E M O R I E S F I R E M AR K S H AR W I C H F R O M T H E AI R c 1 9 5 0 Y E AR S O F M Y L I F E C O N T I N U E D W H AT D I D T H E R O M AN S D O F O R U S ? O B I T U AR I E S H AR W I C H B O R O U G H C O U N C I L 1 9 5 1 MEMBERSHIP NOTES C O M I N G AT T R AC T I O N S
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Highlight 160 F R O M T H E C H AI R
For many years the Society has been a member of the Civic Trust, the umbrella organisation which offered advice and support to Civic Societies and represented us at regional and national levels. Regretfully, in April last year, the Civic Trust announced that it could no longer continue to function due to a lack of funds. Following a period of consultation and debate a new national charity has been launched called Civic Voice which it is hoped will continue and extend the work carried out by the Civic Trust. Fees for membership of the new body were originally suggested to be on a per capita basis which for a large organisation like the Harwich Society would have been prohibitive. It is now agreed, however, that a cap will be provided for the larger societies. On this basis we have enlisted in the new organisation recognising, of course, the need for improved funding and the benefits which would flow from membership. Watch this space! On Saturday the 15th of May a number of members met at Foresters for the unveiling of a garden bench in memory of Mike Mealing. Mike was Treasurer of the Society from 1976 to 2008. He was also chairman of the House Committee which looks after Foresters. As Treasurer Mike oversaw the financial repercussions of the massive increase in Society membership, the advance of IT re book keeping and the meeting of the increasingly vigorous demands of the Charity Commissioners. The bench was unveiled by Mike's wife, Judith, and the event was attended by their children and grandchildren. The Social group provided excellent refreshments and the weather too was kind to us. (see photograph on page 10) By the time this copy of Highlight is delivered to your doors the Flower Baskets initiated by the Society should be on display at various locations round Harwich and Dovercourt. The scheme is funded by individuals and businesses in the town as well as some Tendring District councillors, Harwich Town Council and the Society itself. Historically the baskets have been hung from lamp posts but over recent years many lamp posts have been ruled out by the highway authority on safety grounds. Apparently the modern concrete lamp posts are made to break on impact thereby minimising damage to vehicles, drivers and passengers. Because of this they are not strong enough to safely support the flower baskets. This affects in particular the number of baskets in Dovercourt town centre. We are working with the Dovercourt traders to secure funding for stronger removable posts in the town. In the meantime many of the baskets originally planned for the town centre will be hung in Cliff Park, close to the band stand.
FORESTERS 200 CLUB
The winner of the Foresters 200 Club draw for March which was drawn at the AGM was Mrs Gibbs of Little Clacton. She has kindly donated her prize to the Harwich Society to further the work at Foresters. You have the opportunity to help the Society raise funds and to win a cash prize of £200 each quarter. If you want to help, with the possibility of winning money, send a cheque payable to the Harwich Society for £25 (or cash by hand) per membership to The Harwich Society, Foresters Club, c/o Miss S Marshall, 23 Station Road, Harwich, Essex CO12 3LY. Please provide your address and to whom the winning cheque should be made payable.
Your Executive Committee was re-elected en bloc at the Annual General Meeting, and all Groups and Subcommittees were subsequently re-appointed noted that 79 members enjoyed the Annual Dinner in the Pier Hotel when Mike Riches spoke about Harwich High School was pleased to learn that 43 members enjoyed the St George‟s Day Dinner in the new Crown Post Restaurant in Church Street when they were entertained by the Vice Chairman David Whittle has approved a smart new uniform for members on duty for the Society, it consists of navy blue sweatshirts and polo shirts with the Society logo in light blue thanks the team who took the Society exhibition to represent Harwich at the County Tourism and Leisure Show thanked Vice Chairman David Whittle and Mrs Jacky Whittle for arranging the Society display at the Tour de Tendring Cycle Race by the Swimming Pool was delighted at the gathering of members present to see Mrs Judith Mealing unveil the memorial seat to our late Treasurer Mike Mealing at Foresters welcomed two American visitors from Harwich Massachusetts who spent a week in our town. Highlight of the visit was a re-union dinner at the Crown Post with those members who went to Harwich MA in 2002 deplores the procrastination of Taylor Wimpey in providing an adequate wildlife corridor around Bobbits Hole Nature Reserve, now four years behind schedule. The situation is exacerbated by the developer placing social housing next to the reserve was pleased to hear Chairman Bernie Sadler speaking about Harwich and the Harwich Society on Felixstowe Radio, a new radio station learned that the decorative lights on The Quay have been removed because TDC felt they were dangerous. Has this ever happened at Clacton? has joined Civic Voice, the successor organization to the Civic Trust is repairing vandalism damage to the Flood Plaque on the Ha‟penny Pier and to the Post Box on Harwich Town Station has purchased a new lap top computer to give improved power point presentations to the members thanks the Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Felixstowe, Frinton & Walton, Hadleigh, Ipswich, Kelvedon & Feering, Norwich, Sudbury and Wivenhoe Societies for the receipt of their newsletters
AM E N I T Y S U B C O M M I T T E E
Planning Application - no comment made: Capital House Estate, Dovercourt - change approved plan of plots to include 50 new build dwellings, to include 3 affordable. Replaces upmarket houses with mid market types to reflect current conditions. No changes would be approved unless the criteria were met Alexandra House, Marine Parade - minor changes to existing approval Bathside Bay development various - defer all works until 2021 10 Marine Parade, Dovercourt - 2 flats with office on ground floor + parking Don Thompson Care Home, Low Rd, Dovercourt - 2 x 2 storey extensions to increase bedrooms from 28 to 70 with additional amenity area and recreational space on adjoining land to be acquired from the caravan park 48 Kings Head St, Harwich - balcony to form viewing platform from bedroom overlooking sailing centre Flat 3, 20 Market St, Harwich - 2 front dormer windows instead of larger single dormer (approved) Extracts from TDC minutes:Planning Applications approved: Bucks Lane, off Stones Green, Gt Oakley - two “earth sheltered” eco houses for agricultural workers Old Bakehouse, Ramsey - single storey extension Kingsway House, 21 Kingsway, Dovercourt - change of use of ground floor offices to Class A3 cafe/ restaurant 10 Marine Parade, Dovercourt - 2 flats with ground floor office Planning Applications refused: “Whispers”, High St, Gt Oakley - listed building, 3 solar panels considered too incongruous and only 30% efficient Stonehall Farm, Stonehall Lane, Gt Oakley - detached outbuilding, too large and out of character with street scene 1 Midland House, High St, Dovercourt - change use from sandwich shop to pizza takeaway. 10% rule for class A1 premises. Other matters: Corporate Plan - A new draft plan for period 2009/2016 has been prepared for final approval, based
AM E N I T Y S U B C O M M I T T E E
on existing Plan. Budget - Budget for 2011/12 proposed at £21.9m with capital expenditure of £8m and reserves of £3.9m, subject to amount of Government grant award. No increase to Council Tax. An alternative budget had been voted on and approved in which all projects had been put back Coastal tourism - It is proposed to enter into a “Coastal renaissance partnership” with E.C.C. to better foster coastal tourism and the coastal economy for the whole of Tendring Committee programme issues for discussion - December: future of Barrack Lane site and users aspirations; Manana: Local Development Framework; May: funding options for improving Dovercourt boating lake: January: investigate feasibility of “revolving fund” to restore/sell back at risk listed buildings
REDOUBT FORT REPORT
March saw the completion of the electrical rewiring of the entire Redoubt Fort, indeed a momentous occasion. It is the culmination of four years‟ work, and it is a tribute to our electrical team (Dan Beck and Paul Catton) that they have seen this massive programme through to completion. 18 rooms, 11 annexes, 3 staircases, 9 upper level shelters, a kiosk and external lighting, all done to exceptionally high standards, the project will rank among the major achievements in the history of the renovation of the fort. Don Hambling continued with his single handed restoration of the 12 pounder gun at Queen St embrasure, carrying out repairs to the wooden carriage and repainting everything. It will look very smart for the summer season. John Spearpoint continued his meticulous maintenance of the grassed areas, the grass on the central parade and in the moat has never looked better. Ghost hunting parties continue to come and seem to have good time. Some of the parties even send us photographs of the ghosts they have encountered! Paul Catton plays a leading role as host. Raffle tickets are in the process of being issued for our annual fund raising appeal. We hope that you will support our work, for while the loyal band of workers give their services free, money is still required to buy materials. This year the raffle will be drawn on August Bank Holiday Monday 30 th at an Open Day at the Redoubt Fort, when we plan to show off our work, and our latest exhibits. There will also be a barbecue and a tombola stall and any unwanted gifts would be appreciated for the latter.
F R O M T H E L I B R AR I A N & AR C H I V I S T
The Archivist is very grateful for the gifts of artefacts and books from members or their family. Recently we have received an excellent collection of photos taken by Michael Woodward and numerous papers and books from the family of Kate Jackson. Other individual gifts have added to our archives. Please accept my grateful acknowledgement if you have not already received one.
Highlight 160 M AR I T I M E M U S E U M
Two thousand and ten is the thirtieth anniversary of the Harwich Society‟s Maritime Museum. The Maritime Museum was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Sir Andrew Lewis. About 120 people attended the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, including Tendring Council Chairman, Mr Fred Good and Harwich Mayor, Mr Lindsay Glenn. The Harwich Society Vice Chairman, Mr Peter Brunning stood in for Chairwoman Mrs Winifred Cooper as she was recuperating in Harwich and District Hospital following an operation. Sir Andrew visited her later in the day. An unusual visitor was the Dulux dog accompanied by a representative from ICI. The company gave 60 litres of paint towards the museum project following an ICI sponsored competition for buildings of unusual interest. Dulux paint is still used in the Maritime Museum to the present day. Our Secretary, Andy, struggled across Harwich Green with two great big cans of Dulux last year, most of which is now on the walls. There have been many custodians of the Museum over the last thirty years; all have given their time and expertise making the museum the popular tourist attraction it is today. Most were before my time but Peter Gates stands out and members of his family call in to the museum from time to time. In 1750 Harwich Green had many trees, by 1820/22 the trees had disappeared; I can only guess they were used in the cement mill. By April 1875 trees formed an avenue leading to the door of The Low Light House. These trees also disappeared. Earlier this year six trees were planted, three by the Low Lighthouse and three near the tea shop. Museum volunteers and Lady Lewis have been watering the trees near the Museum; there are two hawthorn trees and a horse chestnut. Some of our older visitors tell me there was a big horse chestnut on the green and they used to collect conkers on their way to school. I have been unable to carry on with the painting of the top floor in the Museum, as it was too cold to work, also in February I stupidly and most annoyingly fell and damaged my wrist and arm. On April 24th David Whittle met 14 Colchester Blue Badge Guides at the Visitor Centre then escorted them to the Maritime Museum, before going to lunch and then on to the Redoubt. The Guides seemed to enjoy themselves in the Maritime Museum commenting on so many items on show in a small building. One lady came back for another visit. A Potted History A pair of leading lights was built in 1818 by General Rebow to guide ships through the treacherous shoals. When the light from the High Lighthouse was positioned above the light from the Low Lighthouse, as seen from the sea, the ships were on the correct course into Harwich Harbour. The two lighthouses together cost £8,000 to construct but revenue from the lights at the time was estimated to be £9,000 per annum from light dues on passing ships. The Low Lighthouse was built 9ft to the south west of the original site of the old wooden lighthouse. The old wooden Low Lighthouse of 1665 was built on the beach and is portrayed in a painting by John Constable. The High Lighthouse was over the Town Gate. Both the earlier lighthouses were coal fired. In 1836 General Rebow sold the lights to Trinity House for £31,730 (a vast sum). It was rumoured that he knew the channel for the harbour was changing direction because of shifting shoals. And it was precisely for this reason that Trinity House was obliged to discontinue these Harwich lights in 1863, and replace them with the new high and low iron lighthouses situated on Dovercourt Bay seafront. The iron lighthouses were discontinued for the same reason in 1917 and the channel marked by lighted buoys.
M AR I T I M E M U S E U M
Around the turn of the century Harwich Borough Council obtained permission to put the “umbrella”, around the base of the Low Lighthouse to provide shelter for promenade walkers. The Council purchased the Harwich Lighthouses in 1909. The Low Lighthouse was vested in the Harwich Corporation for 10/- but with the condition that it should be returned to Trinity House if needed for navigational purposes. Trinity House in fact took over again in 1970 and converted it into a pilot signal station. In 1973 it reverted to Tendring District Council on completion of the new pilot station at Angel Gate. It became the Harwich Society Maritime Museum in 1980, a Harwich Society Voluntary Project.
Thirteen walkers and three dogs enjoyed the walk along The Hangings and back via Blacksmiths Lane and Manor Lane in April. We took a photograph of one of the shopping trolleys on the route! At present the vegetation is hiding much of the litter and The Hangings is a pleasant stroll or bike ride at this time of year with a splendid show of buttercups, red campion, herb robert, cow parsley and more than a few nettles lining the route, quite colourful and shady in hot weather. When the vegetation dies down in the autumn all will be revealed and perhaps it will be time for an organised litter pick. If only everyone would take their litter home with them this would not be needed. It is proving difficult to get a response from Tendring District Council about reconsidering the decision not to dedicate The Hangings as a Public Right of Way so it will be necessary to use historical records to make a formal application to Essex County Council. I may be contacting a few members to sign some documents about walking the route over the years.
T H E H AR W I C H S O C I E T Y AN N U AL D I N N E R
The Annual Dinner of The Harwich Society took place at the Pier Hotel on Friday 12th March with 80 Members and Guests in attendance. The special guests were The Mayor of Harwich, Cllr Jacky Wares, and The Chairman of Tendring District Council, Cllr Nick Turner. Grace was said by Roger Packer, Bernie Sadler proposed The Loyal Toast, Louis Roskill proposed the Toast to the Guests and The Mayor proposed the Toast to The Harwich Society. The evening concluded with Mike Riches, a former Staff Member, who spoke on the history and traditions of Harwich County High School that first opened in 1910. The photo is of The Mayor & Mike Riches.
MORE OF LEN’S STORIES
“More of Len’s Stories” is the title of a new book published this month by Harwich Society member Len Holder. Len‟s first book “A light-hearted look at seafaring and other stories” was published in July 2008 and income from the book allowed donations to be made to Missions to Seamen in Liverpool and overseas, (with Gift Aid) of over £3,000, and to the National Association for Colitis and Crohn‟s Disease of over £1,500. The second book contains more anecdotes about interesting, amusing and surprising incidents. According to the Reverend Canon Bob Evans who wrote the foreword, it is even better than the first. There are more stories about schooldays in Harwich, sailing and sea scouting, serving at sea on the Far East and Australian run with Alfred Holt and Company‟s Blue Funnel and Glen Lines, doing research and consultancy worldwide, studying and lecturing in Liverpool, and family life on the Wirral and in Towcester. Proceeds will again be donated to maritime and medical charities. In order to maximise the profit for the charities, the book is being sold from home. Orders please (£12 including postage, payable to LA Holder Charity Account) to: L A & E A Holder, 88 Belle Baulk, Towcester, Northants NN12 6YE. Email contact for further information: email@example.com
T AK E P AR T I N O U R C H AR I T Y S T R O L L N O T R AI N I N G N E C E S S AR Y
I have great admiration for all of those hardy souls who spend countless hours pounding the streets in order to prepare for the London Marathon. On the fateful day they then put themselves through untold agonies in order to complete the arduous course around the streets of our capital city. The Harwich Society‟s version is somewhat more relaxed, requires no training and can be completed without any fear of being overtaken by a pantomime horse. I am talking, of course, about the Bobbit‟s Hole Charity Stroll. It isn‟t sponsored by Flora Margarine, it isn‟t organised by David Bedford and there are unlikely to be media helicopters flying overhead. It is, however, the perfect fund raising event for anyone not really inclined to half kill themselves in order to raise a few bob. Everyone who visits the Harwich Society‟s nature reserve at Bobbit‟s Hole is amazed by what the small band of dedicated volunteers has achieved. Last summer, as a way of celebrating this achievement, the Society held a „charity stroll‟ to encourage visitors to the reserve and to raise money for a good cause at the same time. Bobbit‟s Hole is a haven of peace and tranquillity only a few yards from the Main Road and is open to the public throughout the season free of charge between 10am and 12 noon each Sunday morning. On the designated day visitors were asked to stroll around and make a donation to the Royal British Legion‟s Poppy Appeal for the privilege of doing so. The Bobbit‟s Hole team were on hand to show people around and to provide light refreshments. The result was 72 happy visitors who raised £162.40. Colin and Aileen Farnell were so pleased with the day that they agreed to make it an annual event and this year‟s Bobbit‟s Hole Charity Stroll will take place on Sunday 8 th August between 10am and 3 pm. This year the team has chosen „Riding for the Disabled‟ as its charity and I would ask anyone with a half hour to spare to support the event by enjoying a leisurely stroll around one of the most peaceful and picturesque places in our town. Unlike the London Marathon, you won‟t get a medal at the end but I can assure you that you will leave feeling very relaxed and very impressed. Even better – you will leave happy in the knowledge that you can take part again next year without any training whatsoever!
FORESTERS OPEN DAY S
* Sunday 4th July and Sunday 11th July, 10.30 am to 4.30 pm * Albums of old local photographs to peruse * Situated at 5 Church Street, Harwich * An opportunity to look round The Society Headquarters (circa 1450)
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U N V E I L I N G O F B E N C H I N M E M O R Y O F M I K E M E AL I N G
Over 40 people assembled in Foresters on Saturday 15th May to welcome Judith Mealing who unveiled a bench in memory of her husband. The photo is Judith and her family sitting on the bench.
The Harwich Society played hosts to The Colchester Blue Badge Guides on Saturday 24th April for a familiarisation tour of Harwich. The Group were greeted by James Cole, the Harwich Town Crier on the Ha'penny Pier and were then conducted around the town by David Whittle, taking in visits to The Electric Palace, Treadwheel Crane and Jacky Walton was on hand at The Maritime Museum to show them round. After lunch they were met by Andy Rutter and Bernie Sadler at the Redoubt to complete their look at Harwich.
Sixty members attended the last talk in the winter series of Harwich Society lectures, when Angela Blakeway gave an interesting and very informative talk on the Bayeaux Tapestry. The tapestry which is 230 ft long depicts the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. Most members were surprised to learn that the tapestry was made in England, possibly at Canterbury, commissioned by Bishop Odo (half brother to King William) for the consecration of his new cathedral at Bayeaux. Now over 900 years old it obviously was embroidered some years after the events depicted on it. Mrs Blakeway's enthusiasm for the subject was very infectious.
D R AW I N G L I N E S I N T H E P AR K
Members will recall that the two projects to celebrate our 40th anniversary were firstly writing a history of the Society and secondly marking out the site of Cliff House in Cliff Park. Built in 1845, Cliff House was the home of the Harwich MP, John Bagshaw. It was a very grand house, quite the biggest in town, and what is now Cliff Park was the extensive gardens to the house. It was demolished in 1909. In September 2009, once the summer rush of looking after our five tourist sites was over, we called in Maldon Archaeological Group who made a geophysical survey of the area, enabling us to pinpoint and mark out the site of the house. Activities came to an abrupt halt when the water company turned off the water supply to the park for the winter. Work started again when the water was reconnected at the beginning of May. It was decided to outline the site of the house with a line of bricks, laid as a simple rectangle thus emphasizing the great size of the mansion which was 100ft long and 50 ft wide. The bricks have to be lower than the surrounding grass to allow grass mowers to go over the top of them. Digging the trench for the bricks provoked a lot of local curiosity, even causing one ill informed local resident to write to the Standard suggesting the project was in the wrong place! Pity he hadn‟t looked into the trench where the foundations of the house were revealed. 800 bricks were laid in the project which was carried out by Mark‟s Garden & Landscape Services for the Society and paid for by a legacy from the late Mr Albert Goddard. The finishing touch will be the erection of an interpretation board explaining what it is all about.