Former Essex home of Mayflower captain to become tourist attraction

Mayflower captain Christopher Jones' house in Harwich Picture: PAUL NIXON PHOTOGRAPHY

Mayflower captain Christopher Jones' house in Harwich Picture: PAUL NIXON PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

The former home of the captain of The Mayflower – the ship which took the Pilgrim Fathers to America – is to be opened as a tourist attraction in 2020, it has been announced.

The Mayflower II, which is a replica of the 17th-century ship Mayflower, celebrated for transporting

The Mayflower II, which is a replica of the 17th-century ship Mayflower, celebrated for transporting the Pilgrims to the New World Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Captain Christopher Jones, from Harwich, led the voyage to the New World in 1620 which carried the people who would become the founders of the United States of America.

Tendring District Council (TDC) has now agreed a lease of his former house in King’s Head Street, which will allow it to be opened to visitors in 2020 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic voyage.

A significant part of the house has already been restored to expose its original features, and TDC will now carry out work to make it accessible to visitors.

The authority says it will also look at developing the house further with exhibits, while the Harwich Society will manage the attraction.


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There is much interest in the USA and elsewhere in The Mayflower story, and already travel operators are marketing tours of Harwich and other relevant destinations for the year 2020 and beyond.

TDC says research suggests an authentic attraction such as Captain Jones’ House will appeal to US visitors.

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TDC, and Harwich, are part of the Mayflower 400 Compact, an international consortium of destinations working together to promote tourism related to the historical moment.

Mick Skeels, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said: “Harwich is already a brilliant place to visit with lots of attractions such as the Ha’Penny Pier and Redoubt Fort, among countless others.

“But with the surge of interest expected around the Mayflower 400 celebrations, historic Harwich – home of The Mayflower – has so much more to offer people, especially those looking to follow in the footsteps of the Pilgrims.

“At the heart of that is Captain Christopher Jones’ house, and for visitors to be able to walk around his home will surely make this the jewel in the crown of the tourist offer.”

TDC has been working with partners, including the Harwich and Dovercourt Tourism Group and Visit Essex, over the past few years to help Harwich benefit from the anniversary celebrations.

A year of events will kick off in November 2019 with an Illuminate Festival.

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