Historic Harwich’s hidden history to be revealed thanks to the National heritage Lottery Fund

The Harwich Society is celebrating becoming lottery winners as its Archaeology Group has been awarded a £10,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to facilitate an architectural survey of Historic Harwich’s numerous timber-framed dwellings.

Nick May and Richard Oxborrow identified the potential of seeking help from a panel of architectural experts to produce a survey of Harwich’s oldest timber-framed buildings, some dating from the 15th century, and agreed to lead an Archaeology Group under the auspices of the Harwich Society to bring this about.

Early visits from experts such as Elphin and Brenda Watkin confirmed the massive potential to unearth Historic Harwich’s architectural secrets but covering the expenses of those travelling to Harwich to undertake the examinations meant that there was limited scope for progress.

Now, thanks to the generous grant of £10,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the continued goodwill of a broad panel of experts, detailing Historic Harwich’s remarkable architectural history can begin in earnest.

Richard Oxborrow says, “There are 35 identified timber-framed buildings in Historic Harwich.  Thanks to the generosity of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the goodwill of some renowned experts in the field, we have the opportunity to make available forever an aspect of Harwich’s history not previously explored.  It’s very exciting!”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Engagement, England: Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund says

“We’re delighted that money raised by National Lottery players will allow the Harwich Society to uncover the architectural secrets within the town’s timber-framed buildings. Once the survey is completed it will be a wonderful addition to the wide range of heritage and historical opportunities within Harwich.”

The results will be publicly available so will be able to be used for anything from academic research through to increasing tourism opportunities and it is expected that the work made possible by this grant will lead to further projects within the same field.

Nick May says, “Anyone walking around Historic Harwich can see what an absolute gem it is but we are now proving that what lies behind the facades is of equal if not greater historical significance.  Everyone who plays the National Lottery has assisted in giving us this opportunity and, while they may still be waiting to win the jackpot, thanks to the National Heritage Lottery Fund the Harwich Society’s Archaeology Group has certainly become a big winner!”

For more information please contact

Richard Oxborrow on 07920 079874

Garry Calver on 01255 551940


Notes to Editors

About Historic Harwich

Historic Harwich dates from the time of King Stephen (circa 1150AD).  King Edward I held a parliament in Harwich in 1197 and its historical importance has remained constant through the centuries with connections to the defeat of the Spanish Armada, Nelson and the surrender of the German U Boat fleet at the end of World War I.  Henry VIII visited Harwich in the Mary Rose and Harwich was home to both Christopher Newport, the founder of Jamestown Virginia – the first permanent settlement in America, and Christopher Jones, the master of the Mayflower.  It’s narrow streets and intersecting lanes still retain timber framed buildings dating from the mid 15th century and its streets are still laid out on the medieval grid pattern.


About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk.


Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund


The Alma Inn, Kings Head Street, Harwich – Photo Copyright © Maria Fowler 2019