Mayflower 400 international programme is announced

Dec 05, 2018

The Mayflower 400 international programme, a four-nation commemoration marking the sailing of the Mayflower ship in 1620 from England to the New World, has officially been launched.

The Mayflower 400 commemoration will explore all aspects of the Mayflower history and legacy reflecting the core themes of imagination, humanity, freedom and future. The programme encompasses a national visitor trail of 11 destinations in England, 12 months of cultural and events activity in addition to heritage, community, sporting and volunteering aspects.

The event, which took place in the House of Commons saw global representatives unite from all of the four nations, sending a clear message from all, regarding the strength and significance of the relationship between the UK, Netherlands and the United States of America.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said, “We’re proud to be working closely with the Mayflower 400 team and to be strengthening cultural connections with our American partners from the Wampanoag community and British consulate in Massachusetts – these connections will help to boost the flow of talent that is so crucial to the arts and creative industries, one of the fasted growing economic sectors in England.

You can browse the detailed National Programme Announcement here

The groundbreaking Illuminate festival will herald the start of the anniversary year in November 2019

A cultural highpoint

The Art of the Possible cultural programme will benefit from £700, 000 of Arts Council National Lottery funding, creating unprecedented opportunities for people in cities across the UK, to consider afresh the meaning of the ship that set sail from the Mayflower steps some 400 years ago.

As well as supporting a new large-scale music theatre collaboration between the Wampanoag and Plymouth and musician Seth Lakeman, and other cultural experiences, this Arts Council award will enable ‘Wampum Belt’ – a touring heritage and arts project partnered with the British Museum and Wampanoag artists.

Speaking about ‘Wampum Belt’, Paula Peters of the Wampanoag Advisory Committee said: “Wampum belts, if you can imagine, are as important to us as the crown worn by your queen. While several such belts are held in archival storage by the British Museum, the one that eludes the Wampanoag, the one we are desperate to find, is the one that belonged to Metacom, who was called King Philip by the English.

"It was taken from him at the end of that tragic conflict nearly 350 years ago and we have longed for it ever since. While we continue to search for Metacom’s belt, we will engage our tribal artisans in a major undertaking to create a new wampum belt for the Wampanoag Nation.”

Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism and Adrian Vinken, Chair of Mayflower 400

Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “The Mayflower 400 commemorations will increase the profile of the UK among an international audience and encourage people to travel beyond London when they visit the UK. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to improve relations with international partners and to prove that the UK is open for business.”

Adrian Vinken, Chair of Mayflower 400 comments, “The Mayflower voyage was one of the most influential journeys in global history and a defining moment in the shared history of Britain, the US and the Netherlands. This programme not only stands to strengthen our transatlantic links yet further but will enable is to drive education and awareness through arts and culture." 

You can browse the detailed National Programme Announcement here

Andrew Stokes, Director VisitEngland, Amanda Lumley, Executive Director Destination Plymouth and Joss Croft, Chief Exec UKinbound

A year to link nations

The milestone in UK and US history is set to boost the UK economy and attract over 1.4 million visitors during the Mayflower 400 commemoration year, yielding an anticipated economic impact in excess of £80m across all UK location partners.

Extensive research commissioned by Mayflower 400 confirmed that 5.5% of the general US population are ‘very likely’ to visit England and / or the Netherlands in 2020 for the anniversary if it is highlighted and promoted to them, supporting the notion that 400th Mayflower commemoration year holds significant potential to boost tourism in the UK. For Mayflower descendants and members of ancestral societies this increases to 21% being very likely to visit.

Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain and VisitEngland, said: “We know that visitors from US are interested in finding out about their history and Mayflower 400 will draw more tourists to our shores as they come to experience the once in-a-lifetime events taking place next year. The US is our most valuable inbound visitor market and these historic celebrations are also a fantastic opportunity to promote our outstanding tourism products and experiences, driving growth in tourism and boosting the local economy.”

Jon Hales, Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson, Oliver Colvile, Johnny Mercer MP for Plymouth Moor View and Neil Long, Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson

Huge opportunity for business

The Mayflower 400 commemoration programme in 2020 will comprise over 400 events that will span four Nations – Britain, US, Netherlands and Wampanoag – and is anticipated to yield a significant £440m impact on the business turnover across the UK Mayflower Compact destinations. Business leaders are gathering to explore how business might further work with the anniversary for transatlantic opportunities. 

The Mayflower 400 commemoration programme in 2020 will comprise over 400 events and is anticipated to yield a significant £440m impact on the business turnover across the UK Mayflower Compact destinations. 

Robert Wood Johnson, US Ambassador to the UK who visited the Mayflower 400 Project Headquarters in Plymouth last week commented, “The Mayflower 400 Project truly brings to life the Special Relationship that we have with one another and is a very tangible example of the strength of our connections and relationships. It’s our most important relationship both in security and prosperity. While we go through times when we may not understand the other’s exact course, no matter what happens, you can be assured the United States will be your best ally.”

Michael Ellis with Commodore Peter Coulson, Royal Navy, and Luke Pollard, MP for Sutton and Devonport

About Mayflower 400

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the historic voyage of the Mayflower ship from the UK to the ‘New World’ of America. The anniversary will commemorate the legacy of the passengers and crew who undertook the epic journey inspired by an unquenchable desire for freedom; and for whom the voyage promised newfound liberty. 

The International Mayflower Compact partnership has been created to align 11 core UK member destinations across England, alongside the United States of America, the Native American community and the Netherlands. The international Mayflower compact partners are united in their passion to commemorate the anniversary and to celebrate shared values of freedom, democracy, humanity and the future.

The 11 UK destinations are working together for the first time. Each with their own unique connection to the story, a new ‘Mayflower Trail’ has been developed for visitors to explore. During 2020, destinations will stage a world class events and cultural programme to commemorate the journey of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

The cultural programme will unite communities, inspire creativity, drive economic growth, enhance the visitor experience and promote understanding and education of this pivotal moment in history. The commemorations will recognise the impact of the Mayflower’s journey on Native American communities and address themes of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy that have such contemporary relevance, as well as the longstanding relationship between the UK and the US and the history of Thanksgiving, ensuring the Mayflower’s legacy lives on.

There are over 35 million descendants of the passengers and crew who sailed on the Mayflower. The Mayflower 400 UK national visitor project aims to reach out to the descendants and other ancestral tourists to invite them to visit England and be a part of the anniversary year. 

The 11 UK member destinations within the Mayflower 400 programme are:

  • Austerfield, Doncaster
  • Boston, Lincolnshire
  • Dartmouth, Devon
  • Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
  • Harwich, Essex
  • Immingham, Lincolnshire
  • Plymouth, Devon
  • Scrooby & Babworth, Nottinghamshire
  • Southwark, London
  • Southampton, Hampshire
  • Worcestershire
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