the changing character of Harwich, Dovercourt and Parkeston through the course
of the 19th century, included in this book is the economic, social and
political history of the borough. The book provides an overview of the
development of areas such as education, religion, public health with a strong
focus on Harwich’s maritime history.
borough of Harwich, including the parish of Dovercourt, lies in the far north
east corner of Essex. Its coastal location as a natural harbour at the mouth of
the Orwell river dictated that Harwich had a prominent role as a port and naval
base from the 14th century onwards. In the 19th century Harwich retained its
military function, particularly during the Napoleonic and Crimean wars. The
port declined economically as a result of losing the continental packet service
in the 1830s, but it was rejuvenated by the opening of the railway in 1854.
Dovercourt grew as a residential area and seaside resort in the second half of
the 19th century, although the rest of the parish retained much of its
traditional agricultural character. The opening of the port at nearby Parkeston
in 1883 led to a rapid growth in both passenger traffic and trade to and from