Harwich builds a new Mayflower

Mayflower replica

The old town of Harwich is home to a project to build a replica of the Pilgrims’ ship Mayflower, with support from both sides of the Atlantic. The photo above shows frame no. 20 in place.

The Mayflower – also known as Mayflower of Harwich and captained by Harwich man, is a central part of the foundation story of the country we now know as the United States of America. The ship carried the Pilgrims, a group of 102 mostly English Puritans and Separatists, from Plymouth in England to the New World in 1620, where they signed the Mayflower Compact, which declared the Pilgrims’ intention to institute just government and required each member to contribute to the welfare of the community.

(This wasn’t the first attempt to escape the authorities in England – there’s an interesting back story here. )

The Mayflower is said to have been a typical square-rigged English merchant ship of the early 17th century, and she struggled against the prevailing westerlies – so much so that the journey took two months (apparently the return voyage too half the time.

The new project’s aims are to build and fit-out a working copy of the Mayflower, to contribute to re-establishing Harwich as a maritime hub and a centre of learning and enterprise for the future, by reinvigorating traditional boat-building skills and integrating these with modern working practices, and providing employment and educational opportunities, and strengthen existing links with the USA.

See a video here:

PS – Is it too much to hope that the new Mayflower of Harwich will one day meet an older Mayflower and have a race  and a party?

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