An inspiring sculpture is to be created to welcome visitors into Harwich as part of how the historic seaside town will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's pioneering voyage.
A replica of the ship, which took the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620, will be installed on the first roundabout visitors encounter when they arrive from Harwich International Port.
It will form a new landmark Harwich, and is part of the Mayflower 400 programme of works. Harwich, co-ordinated by Tendring District Council (TDC) with partners including the Harwich and Dovercourt Tourism Group, is part of a national compact looking to attract visitors to the town during the 400th anniversary of the ship’s sailing to the New World.
The Essex seaside town has a rich seafaring history and is thought to be where the Mayflower was originally built, as well as being home to Captain Christopher Jones, who twice wed in the town.
TDC confirmed funding for the creation and installation of the sculpture late last year, with up to £45,000 committed to the project, and now a scale model of the artwork has been produced. Essex County Council has already carried out the required groundworks at the roundabout, as part of its commitment to the Mayflower 400 celebrations.
It is hoped the sculpture will be put in place in Spring 2019, but installation will be weather dependent.
Harwich is also busy organising a full programme of events for 2020, plus developing a Heritage Trail and Welcome Centre.
Zoe Fairley, TDC Cabinet Member for Investment and Growth, said it was fitting the decision to release the funding was made on Thanksgiving – the date Americans celebrate the arrival of The Mayflower on their shores.
“We are really gearing up our efforts now to make Harwich a top tourist destination for 2020, based around The Mayflower, and for decades beyond that with all it has to offer,” Councillor Fairley said.
“This striking sculpture will really act as a gateway to Harwich for visitors, and I look forward to seeing the finished artwork from artist husband and wife collaborators Hanman Murphy.
“This project has been some time in the making, but now is the right time to install it to have an impact as build up to the Mayflower 400 celebrations in 2020.
“It will also improve the public realm in general for residents, businesses and tourists.”
Since the funding was approved the required agreements have been signed and a final model of the sculpture agreed before work began on the finished piece.
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