Harwich Ferries: Parkeston Quay under Railway Ownership (Ferry Publications)

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In this newly revised and updated edition Stephen Brown, a former Sealink employee, has extended the remit of the book and included a variety of miscellaneous material related to Harwich and Parkeston Quay. He tells how the port at Harwich had been used since Elizabethan times for the transportation of both passengers and goods; the trade between Harwich and ports at Rotterdam and Antwerp was very profitable and the development of the railway came to be very beneficial to the continuation of this.

He follows the many schemes vying to build a line and pier at Harwich, which benefited from a harbour that could be accessed at all tides. However, it was not until the mid-1850s that the railway finally reached Harwich and, rather than build their own pier, the railway company took over the Corporation Pier built by Harwich Corporation, who had got into financial difficulty. A decade later construction of a new pier, known variously as the New Pier, the GER Pier or the Continental Pier (and these days as Trinity Pier) was under way west of the Corporation Pier.

Over the years there followed many proposals and expansion plans, but it was the mid-1870s when a development at Ray Island, to the west of Harwich, got the go-ahead for a deep-water quay, with a railway connecting to the Harwich branch. Also included were several structures including station buildings, an hotel, locomotive depot with turntable, a bonded warehouse, a formative goods yard, stables, coal store and a causeway and road. Originally referred to as Stour River Quay, Stour Quay or Ray Island Wharf, in 1883 it was officially opened as Parkeston Quay.

The author gives a very detailed account of all these happenings and continues to describe the subsequent growth of Parkeston Quay, the railway and the expansion of the ferry services. Following the introduction, chapters cover the decades from the 1840s to the 1980s, a fleet list of over 350 ships, along with shipping and port managers. Numerous black & white and colour photographs are included, along with reproductions of ephemera such as posters, maps, brochures and other archive material. 292 pages.

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