Stephen Talks Harwich Family History, Craftsmanship & The Mayflower Project
Firstly a little bit about The Mayflower Project…
Just imagine… you were going aboard a ship 400 years ago bound for a strange country and seeking a new life free of religious restrictions. Imagine you were one of the first of the Pilgrim Fathers and their families who embarked on the Mayflower of Harwich and faced a voyage of 3,000 miles across the North Atlantic Ocean.
You and another 120 souls would have placed your life in the hands of the Mayflower’s Master, Christopher Jones, and the handful of mariners and seamen who made up the crew of this small ship which was typical of the vessels with which the English were beginning to build a reputation.
The extremes of weather and the heavy seas the little Mayflower would have to endure as she battled her way westwards in order to make her landfall safely in what would come to call Massachusetts in New England.
Captain Jones’s house still stands in the ancient town of Harwich in the English county of Essex and not far away The Mayflower Project is building a sea-going replica of the Mayflower, a ship made famous by that trans-Atlantic passage of 1620. Their goal is to embark on a Commemorative Voyage in 2020, to remember the remarkable achievement of the Mayflower, her Master, crew and passengers and their incredible voyage.
To achieve this, The Mayflower Project has two aims, the first of which is, of course, to build and fit-out a working replica of the Mayflower herself. In doing so, it intends to re-establish Harwich as a maritime hub and a centre of learning and enterprise for the future.
By reinvigorating traditional boat-building skills and integrating these with modern working practices and processes, The Mayflower Project will provide employment and educational opportunities throughout Harwich and the surrounding area.
The project wants to reignite the passion and self-belief generated by the voyage of the original Mayflower, to fire the imagination of its young participants and to reconsolidate its much-valued links with the United States of America.
Now over to Stephen who will tell you what the project means to him…
“I wanted to get involved with the Harwich Mayflower Project because I know Harwich really really well, I spent virtually every school holiday there until I was about fourteen, hanging out and exploring with all my cousins down there. Total freedom to roam – the kind of blessed independence that unfortunately has been lost to our own children in the city.
My Mother was one of five children born and brought up there to my Grandparents-Mliss and James Hanley Garnham. My Grandfather (Grandad) was a shipwright and inventor-owner of a real golden eagle, and three fish and chip shops. My Grandmother (Nan) was the giver of sloppy kisses and home cooked bread. They both had died by the time I was six.
My Mother’s brother James joined the Navy and was the Button Boy at Naval ceremonies in Shotley. The Button Boy was the young cadet who had to stand on the button at the very top of the mast, which is still visible across the river from Harwich today – even though the Royal Naval college has closed. Sadly he was killed in WWII serving for the Royal Navy as a navigator in a Swordfish torpedo plane in the Aegean near Greece. My mother had to leave school at fourteen to sew naval uniforms in a factory called Bernard’s in Harwich. She also met my dad here during the war. So… I have a strong connection and fondness for the place, it’s been a really big part of my life and a lot of my relatives still live there.
As well as my Harwich family history I also have a keen interest in apprenticeships and am incredibly passionate about keeping UK craftsmanship and manufacturing alive and flourishing. It’s a big part of the ethos of Jane and mine’s fine jewellery company and weirdly my Grandfather also had the same interests… he started (probably the first) youth club in Bath Side for tough young kids that needed to find a purpose and value to life, and it is for all these reasons that I feel real empathy for the Mayflower project and why we wanted to get involved. I’m hoping that we can contribute in however small a way to the charities success!”
Auction Now Live!
If you would like a chance to be the proud owner of the very first Stephen Einhorn Mayflower ring, number 001 (each ring will come with a 2000-Year-Old Oak certificate as the back plate to the Mayflower ship is made from this rare and special material) please visit the Mayflower Project website here. The Mayflower auction will end 13th May 2015 with last bidding closing at midnight.
Stephen has designed the Mayflower ring to help raise money for the Mayflower charity. From today you can buy this exquisitely crafted design online or at our London jewellery shop. 20% of the full retail price of each Mayflower ring sold will be donated to The Mayflower charity, to help pay for apprentices and support the work they are doing.