Harwich and the Continent, by Charles Wilson, London & North Eastern Railway, 1947[booklet]


Harwich and the Continent, by Charles Wilson, London & North Eastern Railway, 1947. Booklet, 8.25”x 5.25”, pp.32, of which one only carries printers name. Colour frontispiece, artist’s impression of S.S “Arnhem”, three B&W reproductions of posters, silhouettes of ships 1703-1947 to scale, six other B&W illustrations, chart of sea approaches to Rotterdam and The Hook.


Published to mark the introduction of the SS “Arnhem” on the Harwich – Hook of Holland route as part of the post WWII restoration of Continental services from Harwich.

Harwich served as England’s gateway to the Low Countries long before the Great Eastern Railway reached the port and began steamer services. Traffic between England and Holland naturally increased after the arrival of Dutch William on the British throne, although there were unfavourable comparisons drawn between the clean and neat Dutch packet boats and the English ones. In 1831, the Post Office packet service removed to the Thames for the Low countries and to Hull for Sweden. The opening of the Eastern Union Railway in 1846 offered the prospect of a change, but it was not until 1854 when the line from Manningtree to Harwich opened that attempts were made to start regular steamship services to the Continent. These eventually became regular weekly sailings in 1863. Development continued apace until the beginning of the Great War, when the port was closed to civilian traffic.

The Great Eastern steamers were requisitioned for war service, and suffered heavy losses. Despite the post-war recession services developed with new ships and new routes, only to have history repeat itself with the port closing and ships being requisitioned on the outbreak of WWII. Publication of this booklet marked the start of a return to normally.




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