UPDATE: I’ve added a comment received after this was first posted.
Sorry for the lack of updates here, but I started this blog to follow a ship build, which unfortunately came to nothing. I didn’t create it to follow a rail “museum”, which is currently what the Harwich mayflower Heritage Centre/Project are promoting.
So as the ship build is dead in the water and there is no progress at all with any kind of a build, I’ve had nothing to update. The only thing I can pass on (apart from the usual directors coming and going) is that there has been a name change. The Harwich Mayflower Project has become Harwich Mayflower Heritage Projects LTD.
As far as the Charity goes, it seems from the pic below (of a charity name check) that the Mayflower Project which was registered as the Charity arm of the project is now renamed asThe Harwich Mayflower Heritage centre. Pic from. Charitycommission.gov.uk
So it would seem the debacle that was the Mayflower Project has finally been laid to rest. R.I.P Harwich Mayflower Project.
Therefore, as this is now a limited company and not a charity – all donations, including those given by visiting North American tourists MUST be returned to them, as it was taken on the premise that a ship was to be built. This does not look good for the town and all the hard work that will be done regarding the 400th anniversary in 2020. My book “The Mayflower of Harwich” which is on sale with Amazon, praises the hard work that was being done when I wrote it, regarding Harwich rising from the ashes to celebrate the 400th anniversary by building a replica of the most famous ship that ever sailed. I am now very much embarassed about writing it !!
While I could not attend the recent Harwich Mayflower Project Open Session, there were people there who have contacted me with reports.
While I myself do not have a history of ships or shipbuilding, ( and neither it seems do the Harwich Mayflower Project as public records show their Trustees vary from “retired” to “woodlands manager” , “Ex wing commander” and “Hotelier” the youngest being 63 and the eldest 74 as of 2017. I believe the staff of 2 or 3 also consist of nobody with any history of shipbuilding or the business of building ships either) I am becoming more and more of the opinion that the Mayflower Project will probably end up as a Heritage Centre for Harwich and simply promote Harwich during the 2020 celebrations.
But as usual I remain cautiously optimistic.Several questions were asked at the meeting, such as “why is there such limited information” and “why are the opening hours so erratic” but apparently, questions were met with a bland and well rehearsed “We will address your concerns”
Pretty routine stuff, but apparently things heated up when someone was heard saying “Sean Day (staff) and Robert Day (Trustee) are well known local *wide boys who should not be encouraged to continue with their plans”. Now while I have no knowledge of Robert Day (apart from once overhearing “The best thing about him is that he’s not his brother Sean” ) I did spend 18 months in the company of Sean while I was a volunteer.
It would seem that in the lack of any concrete information coming from this meeting, the one thing we can take from it is that as of this month, it seems the HMP have a year to get funding in place. Fingers crossed.
*For my American followers, Wikipedia states that Wide boy is a British term for a man who lives by his wits, wheeling and dealing.
I was going to put a few comments here, because although they are placed on the side bar over there, a lot of people still miss them. I’d advise you to have a look to gauge the general feeling of people, both here and in the US. But, I received a comment a few hours back that I think is straightforward, pithy, and so very well written with lovely snatches of humour that it deserves a platform all of its own.
Crimsonseas, I salute you.
I’ve spent a lot of time around the project, looking over the walls nearly everyday; and I for one can’t understand these random side steps in progression with this project. If it’s failing, just admit it’s failing. Every article for the last 4 years covering this “community project” has shown it to be some god awful parody of what it perceives itself to be, some nautical historical disney land. where as the truth can only be described as “Carry on across the Atlantic”. Everything that goes slightly off target with it just gets the official response of “tis but a scratch” even though it’s had its arms chopped off and is standing on stumps, (don’t worry it’s official mayflower oak stumps, felled from the most holy of oak trees). The loss of charity status may not detriment it’s laughable income in donations from across the pond, but it does effect it’s status on the global stage as an “official” charity that wants to take place in these global 400 year anniversary celebrations that should be bigger than all of the olympics and world cup games put together, according to my last tour. I only want this project to seriously succeed so that when or if The Donald ever steps foot on it; I can at least watch them both sink together knowing that our backwater little town actually did something positive for the world.
But in all seriousness, I know my dreams of seeing this actually work out will never succeed because how can we take this seriously if it can’t get even the big business local to harwich itself on board? Where are those giant cheques from Hutchinsons or Trinity House, Where’s the list of businesses the HMP are on as official registered charities to lend it credence? Any small little idea can become a registered charity here in the UK. As far as i can see this has less substance, less impact on the local area, and less continual support from local business and credibility than a cat sanctuary that gets a few tins of cat food a week from Asda.
If anyone from HMP is reading this, perhaps it’s time you stop sniffing wood glue, you’re clearly more high than your neighbours in bathside.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: This blog does not condone the sniffing of wood glue, or any other substances used to fix wood together. We might like a drink now and again on a Friday night, and maybe a bag of pork scratchings, but that’s where we draw the line… OK there was that one time when someone said I could get a buzz from licking a frog, but I’m not counting that.
“loss of 501(c)(3) status can be highly challenging to a charity’s continued operation, as many foundations and corporate matching programs do not grant funds to a charity without such status, and individual donors often do not donate to such a charity due to the unavailability of the deduction.”
It appears from the Harwich Mayflower website as well as various US Gov sites, that they have lost their US charity status. This comes in a few weeks when there has been a flurry of activity at the project, which includes the chairman stepping down and then the vice chairman stepping down as well.
While I remain cautiously optimistic that the project will one day build the ship as promised, I have to be honest, with time ticking by and their continued refusal to talk to members of the public (the same public that they are asking for donations) I’m of the opinion that the build may not end up as originally envisioned. Maybe they’ll drop the ship build and just become a Harwich Heritage centre, maybe they’ll get pieces built off site and build it like a kit, maybe they’ll scale it down and build a model in dry dock, maybe they’ll just continue to stumble along as they are? Who knows, apparently not even the project themselves.
Although my email to them asking about the build was opened and read at 10.29pm on February 2nd, they have of course not replied. No, I’m not surprised either. Let’s remember that these people are a charity asking for help from the public, yet continue to refuse to give any information to the public on what they are doing.
Seriously, how hard is it? Come on guys, get your act together. You’re either building a ship or you’re not. As time goes on you’re losing more and more credibility, to the point where people are beginning to think that there’s something “funny” going on. Remember the old saying:
You can fool some of the people some of the time, but most people can see through you. 🙂
Work continues at the Project as the shipwrights work on the frames. The frames (‘ribs’ to non shipbuilder types) will be hoisted atop the keel and will form the skeleton of the Mayflower. Once erected they will see her beginning to really take shape. This picture shows Chris, one of the shipwrights, working on a template of a frame on the lofting floor. For those of you not familiar with ‘lofting’, please take a look at my earlier post on it. Photography and content: James Kelly.