We would like to create an authoritative archive that will give future generations an improved insight into ship building in Harwich whilst there was a Royal Dock Yard. The list of ships that we are concentrating on, however, is not an exhaustive record of ship-building in Harwich, It is believed that many other men-of-war were built before 1660 plus, famously, generations of Canns built boats in Harwich between 1866 & 1938 amongst many other merchant vessels.

HMS Conqueror towing HMS Africa three days after the Battle of Trafalgar Public Domain. Source

For this project, however, we are concentrating on the 58 ships listed on the board outside Navyard (“Navy Yard”) Wharf, most of which were built for the Kings & Queens of England and their many wars with continental neighbours.

For many of these ships there is very little information available. However, for a few ships, there is a great deal of information publicly available, including HMS Conqueror whose captain of marines took the surrender at the Battle of Trafalgar.

How you can help the project

There are several possible research routes.

Firstly we are looking for people to adopt a ship and then to take a lead in digging out new information for that ship – from construction to destruction. This may lead into crew members and links to other ships.

Secondly you might want to start with the people and the social history of the Harwich Navy Yard  – who were they, where did they live and what role did they have?

Thirdly you might want to create art based on existing information – be it on canvas, in verse, in song or as prose?

How you participate is down to yourselves – our own researc hers will provide support and will verify any information discovered before adding it to the record on this site. But first please drop us an email through our Contact page. If you have decided to adopt a ship then please let us know that ship’s name (please remember the year if there are multiple ships of the same name).

If you would like to create art, then by all means let us know now but there’s no need. In fact there’s no timesale for this project.

Online Resources:

Three Decks

National Archives

Essex Record Office

National Maritime Museum

Royal Navy Museum

Lloyd’s Of London


What to do next?