Harwich is just to the south of the meeting point of the estuaries of the Stour and Orwell rivers. As the only safe anchorage between the Thames and the Humber, historically it had great civil and military maritime significance, becoming heavily fortified. It is therefore rich in a broad range of historic buildings and installations of many types.
Built on a medieval street pattern, the whole of the centre of the old town is a conservation area on a small peninsula. It is surrounded by nautical activity, conspicuously the Harwich Haven Authority, which manages marine traffic and the local environment, the Trinity House East coast depot, responsible for maintaining lighthouses and navigation aids, ‘for the benefit and safety of all mariners’, various piers and jetties, and the terminus for the Hook of Holland Ferry.
Harwich today is contiguous with Dovercourt and the two, along with Parkeston, are often referred to collectively as Harwich. Felixstowe is on the north shore; although of similar antiquity to Harwich, it is today dominated by its container port, the largest in the UK, through which 40% of UK container traffic passes.
The bell is located next to the Low Lighthouse