The Harwich Redoubt was built between 1808 and 1810 to protect the port of Harwich against the threat of Napoleonic invasion. It was part of the scheme that included the construction of 29 Martello Towers on the East Anglian coast. The Redoubt is of circular shape, approximately 200ft in diameter, with a central parade ground of 85ft diameter. Hoists lifted shells from the lower level to the gun emplacements. It is similar in design to earlier redoubts at Dymchurch and Eastbourne. Though difficult to imagine as it is now surrounded by houses, when the Redoubt was built it was on a hill top with free views in all directions. A house was demolished to make way for the Redoubt, and a large elm tree - used by ships as a navigational mark - was also removed. It is said that French prisoners of war were made to help in the construction.
Originally armed with ten 24-pounder cannon, the Redoubt was remodelled in order to accommodate increasingly heavy guns, as technology and the perceived threat changed. In 1861-2, work was carried out to accommodate 68-pounder cannon, and the emplacements were strengthened (by adding granite facing) to withstand improved enemy artillery. Only a decade later in 1872, three of the emplacements were altered to take enormous 12 ton RML (Rifled Muzzle Loading) guns. In 1903, three emplacements received 12 pounder QF (quick firing) guns. Despite this ongoing modernisation, the Redoubt never fired a shot in anger. It is also probable that its strategic importance declined towards the end of the 19th century with the construction of the more powerful Beacon Hill Battery just to the south. In the 1920s the area around the Redoubt - previously kept clear to provide fields of fire - was bought by the Town Council. This land is used for allotments. The Redoubt itself was allowed to fall into disrepair.
The Redoubt was briefly taken back into military service during World War II, when it served as a detention centre for British troops awaiting trial. Examples of the graffiti left by the soldiers can still be seen in some of the rooms. In addition to some of the original guns that armed the Redoubt, including the 9-inch RML, there are a number of other guns on display. Around the parade ground on the lower level, the various rooms are either fitted out in reconstruction of how they might have looked, or are used as display rooms for other exhibitions. Exhibitions include a large number of replica firearms. Battle re-enactments and other events are held during the summer months. Assistance dogs are welcome and there are disabled toilets. The upper levels with the Gun emplacements are accessable by wheelchair, the lower parts of the Redoubt are only accessible by spiral staircases.
Located in the former Low Lighthouse, built in 1818 as one of a pair of leading lights for the harbour entrance. An active radio link to harbour control serves as a reminder of the lighthouse's time as a pilot signal station. The museum is full of nautical memorabilia from photographs and paintings to ships in bottles and lighthouse bulbs. There are displays on the Royal Navy, including uniform and badges, and local commercial shipping. A fantastic view of the shipping activity in the harbour is obtained from the top floor. On street parking available close to museum. The Museum is accessible via the foot ferry from Felixstowe. Assistance dogs are welcome. Disabled access to the ground floor only via a small ramp at the entrance
Visitors to the Harwich Lifeboat Museum can go on board the 37ft Oakley Class Lifeboat "Valentine Wyndham-Quin" former Clacton on Sea offshore lifeboat. She was at Clacton from 1968 to 1984, launched 179 times and saving 61 lives. In 1984 she was stationed at Cloggerhead, Ireland for a further 4 years. When she finished as an operational Lifeboat she was placed on the seafront at Cromer, close to The Henry Blogg Museum. The "Valentine Wyndha-Quin" was moved to Harwich in 1993 and housed in the 1876 Victorian Lifeboat House. The Museum tells the story of the Lifeboat Service in Harwich since 1821. Very steep steps to Lookout Tower and some steps to board the Lifeboat.
Work began on this pier in 1852 and it was opened in July 1853. It was so called because of the ½d toll charged (like a platform ticket). Originally the pier was twice as long as the present one but one half burnt down in 1927. It was a popular departure point for paddle steamers until after the First World War. The Pier Ticket Office is charming, typical example of late 19th century architecture. It previously had two storeys, but was without the bell cage. The ticket office now houses the Ha'penny Pier Visitor Centre (an information office for Old Harwich run by the Harwich Society). The Visitor Centre is open daily from May 1st until September 30th. It also houses the 'Christopher Jones and the Mayflower' exhibition which has free admission. Free guided tours of Old Harwich start from the Ha'penny Pier Visitor Centre during the summer season every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon at 1400 hours. The area of water enclosed by the arm of the pier is known as the Pound. Berthed here is the remnant of the once great 19th century fishing fleet.
Location : Opposite 42a Main Road, Harwich, Essex CO12 3LT
Transport: Harwich (National) 5 minutes. Bus Routes : 3, 4, 102, 103, 104, 106, 118 and 701 stop close by.
Opening Times Harwich Redoubt: Daily 10:00 to 16:00
Opening Times Maritime Museum: Friday to Sunday 11:00 to 15:00
Opening Times Lifeboat Museum: Wednesday to Sunday 11:00 to 15:00
Tickets Redoubt: Adults £3.00; Children Free
Tickets Maritime Museum: Adults £1.00; Children Free
Tickets Lifeboat Museum: Adults £1.00; Children Free
Tel: 01255 553610