Harwich: Birth Of The American Dream?

A plan is underway in Harwich to smuggle US tourists away from Devon and into Essex.

Currently, Plymouth is popular with Americans who visit to see where the pilgrims fathers set off for the new world in the 1600s.

But the Mayflower ship and its captain both actually hailed from the Essex port town.

The journey passed through the Devon city on its way across the Atlantic.

The Harwich Mayflower project wants to rebuild the ship, creating jobs while also bringing tourists.

Jeff Webber told Heart: "We've now developed a training centre to run alongside the ship-build.

"We run marine apprenticeships, construction apprenticeships, we're doing some business admin apprenticeships for local companies and employers - we're also doing un-employed training.

"So we've developed a training centre so the project has a legacy, it's not just about converting what was a derelict site two years ago into a working ship-yard to build the ship - it's actually to leave a legacy behind.

"We'd like to develop the site and put a museum here because it'll bring tourism, tourism brings money to the town and creates jobs for local people and the whole project can develop Harwich as an entity.

"Harwich is full of history."

Work has already started on the full-size replica of the 100ft vessel.

However organisers claim the effort to raise funds of around £2.5 million are being hampered by Plymouth's monopoly of the Mayflower story.