Historic Events

The Great Admiral Nelson's Public Dinner (1905)


Harwich, with which the name of the great Admiral is so closely associated by history, paid homage to the memory of Lord Nelson by the means most dear to the Englishman’s heart – a public dinner. The function was arranged by the Mayor (Mr. W. H. Elwell), in conjunction with the proprietors of the Three Cups Hotel (Mr. T. West Carnie and Mr. C. F. Cartmale), who exerted every effort to promote the success of a gathering that will long be held in happy memory. Close upon sixty guests, including a number of ladies, assembled in the quaint old hostelry, famous for its Nelson traditions, and in the spacious coffee-room sat down to a menu which in every respect was worthy of the occasion. The chair was occupied by the Mayor, who was faced by the Mayoress, and amongst those present were Mr. and Mrs. A. J. H. Ward, Colonel R. S. Barnes, Rev. E. F. and Mrs. Frayling, Rev. S. W. Tidswell, Rev. H. D. Warroll-Smith, Mr. McLearson, Mr. Franks, Mr. Chapman, Dr. Mathews, Mr. Linstead, Mr J. A. Saunders, Mr. E. S. Saunders, Mr. E. G. Watts, Mr Nalborough, Mr. Hugh Jones, Mr. E. S. W. Tidswell, Mr. And Mrs. Cottingham, Mr. And Mrs. Irlam, Mr. And Mrs. Paterson, Mr. And Mrs. Cooper-Brown, Mr. Cullum, Mr. Edgar Hulland, Mrs. C. M. Brooks, Mr. Thiem, and others. The hotel was decorated both inside and out, and the streets of Harwich bore an unwonted look of gaiety in their dressing of bright-hued bunting.

In giving the loyal toasts, which were enthusiastically honoured, the Mayor reminded his hearers that King Edward’s education was largely acquired on a man o’ war, and, referring to the Royal tour to India, said they all wished the Prince and Princess of Wales every success.

The Mayor next proposed “The Immortal Memory of Nelson.” With the title of the toast, he said, he agreed so far as it went, but he would ask them to allow him to add something else. He thought, perhaps, the toast should be given in the language of another country: “The day we celebrate, and the death (or the deaths, for there were many) we commemorate.” The day they celebrated was Trafalgar, the battle in which was the turning-point in the history not only of England, but of Europe. To England, perhaps, it was more important, more far-reaching than any battle that had ever been fought by Englishmen, and he said that with full knowledge of all that Marlborough did, of the brilliant exploits of Wellington, and of others, before and since. (Hear, hear.) That battle freed England from an incubus which had been upon it for years. Those of them that travelled along the South East Coast of England – within view almost of that place – would appreciate what was the meaning of those pigmy fortifications, the round towers. They meant that an enormous host was once gathering at Boulogne to invade these shores – shores which happily had not for 800 years been touched by a foreigner’s foot, except in love and affection. (Applause.) The victory of Trafalgar paved the way for the final subjugation of Napoleon. Probably his power would never have been broken but for that. If Napoleon had obtained command of the seas, Wellington could never have carried out the campaigns which ended in the defeat of Napoleon. Probably, Waterloo would never have been necessary but for Trafalgar. (Hear, hear.) As to Nelson, “the death we commemorate,” they must not forget the great Admiral’s many companions who fought and fell with him. It was, of course, Nelson who inspired others, and whose genius formulated the battle array. It was to Nelson, and Nelson alone, to whom the victory was due. Nelson’s name, 100 years after his death, inspired in Englishmen a feeling which no other name did. (Applause.) Our Navy, great as it was, lived on in the name of Nelson. Every man in the Navy to-day was influenced by Nelson and Nelson’s work. They felt that Nelson bequeathed a heritage which must be rendered untarnished, and although for 100 years England had never been engaged in a great maritime encounter, he left sure the name of Nelson would inspire our seamen if ever they had to face foemen on the water, (Applause.) Nelson’s name was more far-reaching than that. Witness the testimony of Admiral Togo, the greatest naval warrior of to-day, who said that Nelson was the leading spirit of his life. (Hear, hear.) One characteristic of Nelson was in danger of passing from their minds. He was not speaking of the Army and Navy, but of the modern tendency not to take responsibility. In many walks of life, they saw that men endeavoured to shelter themselves under their superiors. Nelson never did that – witness what happened at Copenhagen. If Nelson failed on that occasion he would have been shot, but he did not quail, and went on to victory. (Applause.)

The toast was drunk upstanding, and in silence.

The vicar gave “The Mayor and Corporation of Harwich.” He observed that when first he came to that interesting and antique place – (laughter) – he understood that the chief business of the Corporation was to enter into competition with other towns, and spend large sums of money on useless improvements. (More laughter.) Since then, he supposed, he had learned wisdom – (hear, hear, and laughter) – or the Mayor and Corporation had learned wisdom. At all events, he had learned with satisfaction that the rates were to be considerably reduced in the ensuing six months, which seemed to show that the Corporation had given up that interesting game of competing with other towns. (Hear, hear). He hoped that an admirable suggestion made by the Mayor at a recent meeting of the Town Council would be carried out. A large population was growing up at Shotley, and surely it should be attached to Harwich. He hoped easy means of communication would be established with Shotley, so that Harwich, not Ipswich, would be benefitted. Ipswich had no Naval traditions as Harwich had. Harwich had been christened “Happy-go-lucky” Harwich. It would be happy-go-lucky indeed if it did not start a ferry, or bring pressure to bear upon those who should undertake such a venture, in order that Shotley might be a suburb of Harwich, and not a suburb of Ipswich. (Applause). In concluding, the Vicar paid a tribute to the Mayor, who, he hoped, would allow himself to be offered for re-election. (Applause).

The toast was honoured with music, and the Mayor, in the course of his reply, referred to the Vicar’s suggestion that he should allow himself to be again nominated for the office of Mayor. He remarked that the Vicar was a great deal more sanguine than he was. He had recently had a spice of what the Corporation’s opinion was, and he would not put himself forward for the office. He accepted the verdict of the majority, and he bowed and made his exit. (“No, no.”) The Vicar seemed to think that the Corporation’s principal occupation in the past if not the present, was to make the rates as high as possible. He could assure him that some of them had fiercely and successfully fought for a reduction of expenditure. (Hear, hear.) Harwich was under a cloud, but they hoped the days of prosperity would return. Time bought many changes, and they had seen towns rise on their ashes. They believed that the time would come when the whirligig would bring round to Harwich the prosperity it formerly enjoyed. (Applause.) The Mayor heartily congratulated the managers of the Cups Hotel upon the result of their labours to adequately commemorate Nelson Day in the borough of Harwich.

The last toast, “The health of the ladies,” was given by Mr. A. J. H. Ward, and happily acknowledged by the Mayoress.

While Mr. Edgar Hullard played a pianoforte solo, the ladies retired to the Nelson room, still in the full glory of oak panelling, and hung with the old and valued prints of Nelson and the battle of Trafalgar. The Nelson relics displayed upon a quaintly-carved oak table were inspected with great interest. They include one of the great hero’s snuff-boxes, and a case of crested dessert forks, which were used in his canteen on the Victory. In these pleasant surroundings the remainder of the evening was passed. An admirable programme of musical and elocutionary effort was presented by several London artists, including Mr. Edgar Hullard, the brilliant pianist associated with the Serenatas: Miss Alexander, who contributed some pleasing coon impressions; Miss Anna Mather, an elocutionist of marked dramatic ability; and Mr. Guy Pertwee, a robust baritone. The function, to sum up, was a great success. (East Anglian Daily Times, 23rd October, 1905)

Launch of the 74 Gun Vengeur (1810)


HARWICH, June 22.

Tuesday last was launched from Mr. Graham's yard, a beautiful new ship of 74 guns, called the Vangeur, after the French ship of that name sunk in the memorable action of 1st June. The town, during the whole day, was rendered one continued scene of gaiety and bustle by the immense concourse of beauty and fashion, which this interesting spectacle had attracted hither. About a quarter past one o'clock the ship took to the water in the highest style amidst the huzzars and acclamations of thousands of spectators; every vessel in the harbour was decorated with flags and ensigns of every description, the greater part of them being full of company: in short, such a brilliant and interesting scene was never before witnessed by the oldest inhabitant of this place; in the evening there was a grand ball at the Three Cups at which Harmony and the Graces might be truly said to preside. 

From the inside pages:

The launch from Mr Graham's yard of this town, on Tuesday last, of a beautiful new 743-gun ship, upwards of 2000 tons burthen, named Le Vengeur, brought a greater concourse of spectators to witness this majestic and highly gratifying display of national grandeur, than was ever remembered on any similar occasion. All the carriages, gigs and horses, within twenty miles, were hired; upwards of 900 vehicles, of different descriptions, passed the tollgate. It is supposed, that at least 6000 persons were present. The tops of the buildings were loaded with spectators; all the boats, wherries, and vessels of every kind, were put in requisition, and crowded; the men of war in the harbour had their yards manned; and the packets were decorated with the colours of their respective nations. After all her shores were struck away, and the dog-block knocked off, the promise she gave of being launched produced an instantaneous silence; and in the finest of majestic grandeur, she immediately went off with 4300 persons on board, into the middle of the harbour, where she was brought up to the King's moorings. - A great number of officers from the neighbouring garrisons were present, and a military band stationed in a vessel, near the dock, added to the effect. The fineness of the day, the brilliant shew of elegant women who graced the scene, and this most excellent launch, which everyone present had witnessed, caused a glow of satisfaction on every face, and amply gratified the curiosity which had been so generally excited. In the evening there was an assembly at the Three Cups Inn, which was numerously and respectfully attended. (The Ipswich Journal, 23 June 1810)

Three Cups Hotel Re-opens at Church Street, Harwich, today!


The Three Cups Inn within a few yards of St Nicholas's Church in Harwich's Church Street, is arguably the ancient borough's most historic building. Behind a Georgian facade lies an inn of Tudor and earlier origins.

It was certainly well known to the Elizabethan sea-dogs who put in at the Port of Harwich and it is even claimed that in 1326 Queen Isabella ('the she-wolf of France'), wife of King Edward II, stayed at the Three Cups when she landed with a French force to meet her lover Roger Mortimer and to overthrow, to depose and later to cruelly murder, her husband.

Horatio Lord Nelson and his paramour Emma Lady Hamilton stayed at the Three Cups, Samuel Pepys savoured his ale in its parlour and it was well known to the Mayflower's master Christopher Jones. It was at one time a Court House. In 1607, a court sitting there concicted a Mary Hart of witchcraft and sentenced her to death by hanging. The Three Cups has had royal visitors too. In 1728, Frederick Prince of Wales was entertained at the Three Cups - at a cost of £6.75.

Today, new life has been breathed into this ancient hostelry as a lively and outgoing young couple - both Harwich born and bred - take it over with the firm intention of making it the most popular, as well as the most historic, inn within the twin communities of Harwich and Dovercourt.

For the past few months Ricky and Kim Good - encouraged, if not helped, by their three year old daughter Ericka - have been working with the building contractors to bring the Three Cups to the standard expected of the first class licenced premises in the final two decades of the twentieth century, while ensuring that the inn loses nothing of its historic character and atmosphere

They acknowledge with gratitude the structural work of alteration that has been undertaken by the brewers - the Norwich Brewery - and have complimented the work of refurbishment, redecoration and refurnishing that they have personally undertaken.

Have they succeeded in transforming the Three Cups while retaining its ancient historic character? Well, you'll have to call in and see for yourself. In some ways their work has been one of restoration. In the ceiling of the saloon bar there are now time-blackened structural oak beams to be seen that were previously hidden by the plaster.

As for the famous people of the past who have patronised the Three Cups, there's little doubt that Samuel Pepys, Harwich's best-known member of parliament - who certainly liked his creature comforts - would have appreciated the luxurious wall-to-wall carpeting in both the saloon bar and the lounge. He'd have approved of the modern furnishings too, as elegant to the eye as comforting to the weary body. Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton would surely have liked the splendidly appointed indoor toilets that have replaced the outside loos. His Lordship would have had to concede that they were a vast improvement on the 'heads' of the Victory though he might not have thought much of being kept waiting for his meal while his Emma repaired he make-up and her coiffure over the sparklingly modern vanity unit that has been provided in 'the Ladies'.

Modern residents of Harwich and Dovercourt, who patronised the Three Cups before its renovation, cannot fail to be impressed by the enormously enlarged saloon bar where there are to be for music when required. The bar itself has been lengthened (there'll be no question of having to queue for a little space there!) and brought up to thoroughly modern standards.

They'll like the new landlord Ricky Good and his young wife, Kim. Married for just five years they are keen to inject their own magic ingredients of youth and enthusiasm into this centuries old business. Ricky and Kim hope that the reborn Three Cups will prove to be a real 'local' for the people of Harwich and Dovercourt - a place where they can relax with their friends over a pint of ale or a glass of wine.

They hope, too, that their historic pub will attract the many tourists whose visit to the north-east Essex 'sunshine coast' holiday resort towns isn't complete without a tour of the narrow streets and alley-ways of old Harwich. The Three Cups has its own car park at the rear and there is usually ample free on-street parking within a short distance.

Ricky and Kim, who say apologetically that the facard of the Three Cups isn't yet as attractive as they hope to make it, have great plans for the future too. The inn has a large well-appointed kitchen and Kim feels that well-cooked and economical pub meals may well be a feature of the Three Cups once she and her husband have established themselves. Then there are six large - some would say enormous! - bedrooms upstairs, with some splendid views of the harbour from those at the rear. The possibility of providing over-night hotel accommodation is one that Ricky and Kim are considering for the future. In the mean-time, all who appreciate the special charm of historic Harwich will wish this charming Harwich born-and-bred young couple every success in their new venture at the Three Cups. (The Standard, Thursday 8 April 1982, p.9; accompanied by eight advertisements from tradesmen and companies wishing Ricky and Kim well for the future making up to a full page)

Launch of the 74 Gun Conqueror (1801)


'HARWICH, ESSEX. The LAUNCH of the CONQUEROR, of 74 Guns, On SATURDAY, the 21st instant, At Twelve o'clock, A.M.

Wm. BULL, of the Three Cups Inn, begs Leave to inform the Gentleman and Ladies of Harwich, Ipswich, and their vicinities, that in consequence of the Launch of the Conqueror,the finest ship ever built at this port, there will be an ASSEMBLY at his house on the evening of the 21st inst. Admittance 3s.6d. each, Tea and Coffee included. The early attendance of the Company will be deemed a favour. N.B. A good Larder, and Dinners dressed at the shortest notice. (The Ipswich Journal, 14th November 1801)

Another Right Old Knees-Up at the Three Cups (1803)


'Tuesday se'nnight a very elegant entertainment was given by Lord Temple and the Officers of the Royal Bucks, to a party of their friends at the Three Cups, Harwich. Between 8 and 9 the ball began; near 40 couple danced; at one, the supper tables were spread with every delicacy in season, soups, wild fowl, game, fruit and ice in profusion. Between 2 and 3 the dancing recommenced, and continued with great spirit till 5, when the company departed, highly gratified with the polite attention of Lord and Lady Temple,and the officers of the corps. The company consisted of more than 100, amongst whom were Major and Lady Arabella Macleod, Miss Harvey, Gen. Manners and his Aid de Camp, Col. Birch, Capt. Smith, Major Chabot, Col. Freemantle, the Mayor of Harwich, some Officers of the Royal Navy, &c.' (The Ipswich Journal, 8th October 1803)

Harwich's National Association with Nelson (1905)


'The old Three Cups, Harwich, is a hotel in which Nelson often stayed; therefore it is appropriate that the Trafalgar centenary should be specially commemorated there. The celebration will not be the least notable of those which next week is to bring in the provinces. As far as possible the banquet will be a replica of that given to the immortal Admiral by the City of London when he was presented with the freedom, and special menu cards for the occasion are being made of wood from the rectory of Burnham Thorpe, Nelson's birthplace. (The Pall Mall Gazette, Thursday 12 October 1905)

The Royal Harwich Regatta Dinner


The Royal Harwich is one of the oldest Royal Clubs in England...

It had its beginnings at the dinner of the local Regatta Committee, at the Three Cups Hotel, Harwich, on September 21st. 1843. At this dinner it was resolved that a Yacht Club be formed, and Mr. T. M. Gibson, M.P. for Harwich, was elected as the first Commodore. In 1845 Queen Adelaide consented to be Patroness of the Club, being succeeded in 1846 by Queen Victoria and Prince Consort. (Hughes, B. Carlyon The History of Harwich Harbour, Harwich, 1939, p.150)

The Three Cups Hotel...Headquarters to the Royal Harwich Yacht Club (Carnie, T. West Happy-Go-Lucky Harwich, 1920?, George Pulman & Sons Ltd, p.iii)

The Great Railway Banquet (1854)


On 15th August 1854 the very first passenger train arrived in Harwich. After much uncertainty and land speculation over the coming of the railway this momentous event was marked with a public dinner at the Three Cups. The Mayor and other distinguished guests boarded the train at Dovercourt, to be greeted at Harwich by a huge crowd out to enjoy a public holiday. On a decorated platform the band played "See the conquering hero comes", and amid long and prolonged cheers the guns at the Redoubt fort fired a salute. At 6 pm the mayor, John Pattrick, and about seventy others sat down to a banquet at the Three Cups, where festivities continued until  late hour. (Weaver, L. Harwich, Gateway to The Continent, p.21-22, location P.50-51.) 

The official opening took place on August 15th, when shareholders of the Eastern Counties Railway came from London in four special trains, each welcomed by a salvo from the artillery at the Redoubt. The day had been proclaimed a public holiday, and concluded with a banquet at the Three Cups. (Weaver, L.T. Harwich-Holland, The story of the service and the boats since 1661, Seaford, p.11)

The Grand Opening (1949)


The Three Cups was remodeled and re-opened in 1949 after a fire, when the top story and archway at the rear were removed. The Hotel was very spacious with its comfortably furnished lounge, a dining room, and private rooms for teas, reception, and other function rooms.

Celebration of the Election of a Capital Burgess (1925)


Monday last Capt William Liveing was elected a capital Burgess, and Mr William Randfield, Chamberlain, of this borough, in the room of the late Mr Edmund Jermyn. The event was celebrated by an excellent dinner at the Three Cups Tavern, which was attended by the Mayor, Body Corporate, and many friends of the successful candidates. (The Ipswich Journal, Saturday, May 7 1825; and May 4 1822)

Veteran's Lodge No. 351 (1814) and St. Nicholas Craft No. 650


351,  Veteran's Lodge (1814) , The First Veteran Battalion Lodge, (Royal Veterans 1st Battalion) formed Three Cups Inn, Harwich, 11 October 1810 (Most founders from No. 2 Gib) closed 1833 (No. R.S. ref 445, SN no. UGL 1558, ref page Lanes 206; and A List of Lodges of the Most Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Free Masons, Granted by and Held Under the Sanction, of the Grand Lodge of England, according to the old constitutions, London, 1813, p.16) 

 The 1st Royal Veteran Battalion served in Portsmouth, Gibraltar, Holland, Landguard Fort and Harwich where they were disbanded in 1814.  

"650, Harwich. For some years, owing to the gradual increase in the number of members, the rooms allotted to the ... The St. Nicholas Craft Lodge first met at the Three Crowns Inn, which probably was the Three Cups"  ​(​The Freemason's Chronicle, 1896,​ volumes 43-44​, p.243​)​   

Harwich Football Club Founded at The Three Cups (1877)


Peter Goodwin’s daughter Abi, whilst researching the history of the Harwich Football Club, discovered that it was founded at the Three Cups in 1877. Sadly, details of the founders of the Club, which still survives today as Harwich & Parkeston Football Club playing in the Essex and Suffolk Border League, Premier Division, have, it seems, been lost to history. 

Annual Railway Staff Dinner (1901)


The Three Cups was a highly popular establishment, and many organisations held functions here, such as in 1901 the Annual Dinner of the Harwich railway station staff. (Goodwin, P. R. Harwich and Dovercourt Pubs, Gloucestershire, 2004, p33.) 

Police Subscription Dinner (1904)


A Police Subscription Dinner was held at the Three Cups in Church Street in 1904.  (Goodwin, P. R. Harwich and Dovercourt Pubs, Gloucestershire, 2004, p33.) 

Clematis Court (1851)


The newspaper reported in October 1892 that the clematis tree at the Three Cups was, according to annual custom, prettily decorated with fairy lamps and Chinese lanterns. The tree was planted by Mrs Bull in 1851 and covered the whole courtyard. (Goodwin, P. R. Harwich and Dovercourt Pubs, Gloucestershire, 2004, p33.) 

Essex Field Club (1910)


 At seven o'clock the members landed at Harwich Pier and proceeded to the "Three Cups" Hotel, where they inspected in turn the Nelson suite of rooms and 17th century fittings of this well-known hostel, and the famous
Clematis in its central courtyard. A substantial meat tea was served in the
Coffee Room, after which a short formal Ordinary Meeting (the 284th) was
held for the nomination of a new member and other business, Mr. Miller Christy in the chair. [232, 1910]

St Andrew's Day (1803)


Wednesday being St. Andrew's Day, the Corporation met at the Town-hall, when Charles Cox, Esq. was elected Mayor of this borough for the year ensuing; and in commemoration of the day, a splendid dinner was given by the late Mayor at the Three Cups Inn, to the principal inhabitants of the town, who were honoured by the presence of the Earl of Abergavenny, Major General Lord Charles Fitzroy, and the Officers of the Royal Bucks and West Essex regiments. Many loyal toasts and sentiments were drank upon the occasion, and the day concluded with the greatest conviviality.  The London Gazette, Admiralty Office, 1 December 1803)  

Brewery Annual Outing (1879)


“This year the Brewery employees, to the number of about 400, celebrated their annual outing by a trip to Harwich. A special train had been chartered for the occasion, and this left Romford station soon after 7... In the afternoon nearly the whole of the foremen of the various departments dined together at the Three Cups Hotel, under the presidency of Mr. Guyatt” (The London Stratford Times​, a​nd The Bow, a​nd Bromley News, a​nd The South Essex Gazette​,​ 23rd July 23, 1879, p.5)

Tom Paine Burned in Effigy (1793)



HARWICH, Jan. 18, 1793

Monday was launched here by J. Graham, Esq. the builder at this dock-yard, his Majesty's ship Magicienne, taken from the French last war, now one of the handsomest and best-finished frigates of her class in the British Navy. She has undergone a thorough repair, is entirely new modelled, and need only to be seen to be admired. After the launch Mr. Graham gave an elegant dinner to a number of his friends. The evening was finished with a ball at the Three Cups.

Saturday sailed the Prince of Wales; Monday came in the Diana; this day sailed the Prince of Orange. One mail due from Holland. Wednesday the effigy of Tom Paine was carried about this place, attended by a vast concourse of people, singing God save the King, and was in the evening hanged and afterwards burnt to ashes. (The Ipswich Journal, 19th January 1793)

The Duke's Head Auctioned (1788)


To be SOLD by Auction,

By H. J. Enefer, Auctioneer, on Friday the second day of January, 1789, at twelve o'clock at noon, at the Sign of the THREE CUPS, in Harwich, in one lot. All that capital messuage, or victualling house, called the Duke's Head, in Harwich aforesaid, let on lease to Charles Cox, Esq. at the yearly rent of £20. Also, all those messuages or tenements adjoining to the last mentioned, situate in Currents Lane, in the several occupations of Thomas Tolleralle, Robert Wilkinson, and Joseph Gibbs, tenants at will, at the yearly rent of £16. 5s. Also, all the messuage or tenement, and blacksmith's shop, with the appurtenances, situate in West Street, in Harwich afforsaid, as the same are let on leases to William Deane, Esq. and Robert Whiting, at a yearly rent of £3. 1s. For further particulars apply to Mr. Ambrose, of Mistley; or Mr. Enefer, at Harwich. 

Also read the interesting advertisment which appeared beneath the auction notice.



Wanted, a man and his wife, at Lady Day next, to undertake to Farm the poor of the parish of Halstead, in the County of Essex. He will be required to set the poor to work, and to provide them with food and clothing, and every thing required for their maintenance and support, for a curtain sum, as shall be agreed upon. (The Chelmsford Chronicle, 26th December 1788)

The Harwich Punch Bowl


"The cup that cheers, but not inebriates;" but for brewing that glorious liquor punch, to warm the Body Corporate, and make all its members jolly - jovial as 

"Jove in the chair

Of the sky Lord Mayor;

Men and gods

Obey his nods,"...

- after a survey, at the Mayor's, of the glorious punch-bowl - a pleasant sight to the antiquary, even when empty; but if filled, as it always is annually when the worthy Magistrate begins his official career, then it becomes surpassingly interesting to all the Councillors assembled at the Three Cups on that halcyon day... (Cutler, Richard A Historical and Archaeological Sketch of the Town Harwich, Church Street Harwich, c.1863, p.16)

Music Consert and Ball (1734)


For the benefit of Mr. Joseph Gibbs. At the Free School in Harwich, on Tuesday the 18th of this instant June, will be a Consert of vocal and instrumental musick and a Ball, it being the day appointed for the opening of a new organ, made by Mr. Kellenbergh. N.B. Tickets may be had at the Three Cups in Harwich, or of Mr Gibbs, at 2s. 6d. each. Beginning at 6 o'clock. (The Ipswich Journal, Saturday 1st June 1734)

Three Cups Midnight Revels (1773)


HARWICH ASSEMBLY will be on Monday next, the 8th of March, at the THREE CUPS. N. B. It will be MOON-LIGHT. (The Ipswich Journal, Saturday 6th March 1773)  

St. Andrews Mayoral Dinner (1800)


On Sunday last being St. Andrews-Day, Rayner Cox, Esq was elected Mayor, of the borough of Harwich, for the ensuing year; and on the following day was sworn into office; when a very elegant dinner was given at the Three Cups Inn, on the occasion, by Joseph Graham, Esq. the predecessor Mayor. (The Ipswich Journal, 6th December 1800)

Celebration of Nelson's Victory over the Dane's (1801)


The Loyal Harwich Volunteers were forces of volunteers for home defence. Details of the Corps events have been taken from their Minute Book. 'The weather in the winter of 1800/1 must have been particularly bad, for it was not possible to hold any parades from September to April, but on 17th April the Corps was able to celebrate Nelson's Victory over the Dane's on 2nd April, 1801, and on 4th June "the Corps met upon the Lawn and fired three excellent volleys in honour of His Majesty's Birthday", before partaking of a dinner at the Three Cups, paid for out of the Corp's funds.' (Weaver, Leonard T. Harwich Papers, 1994, p.94)

Session Dinner at the Three Cups (1680)



In the first book of the Chamberlain's Accounts, the Innkeeper of the Three Cups, Samuel Newton (Capital Burgess and Mayor in 1676), was paid £2.0.0 for wine. 'Some idea of the amount of food consumed can be got from the copy below of the payments made in 1680:

Paid to Kirke for six stone and five pounds of Beefe for Session Dinner £1.0.0

Pd for four Turkies 0.6.0

Pd for tenn Pulletts & four Couple of wildfowl 0.10.0

Pd for seaventeen Lobsters

Pd the Parkkeeper for halfe a Buck from Sir Phillip Parkers

Pd to Mr. Samuel Newton for wine £2.0./0

Pd Richard Kirke for five pounds and a halfe of sewett for the Pastie 1/4d

Pd for a peck of brankie [Buckwheat] 6d

Pd for Two leggs of Mutton 0.3.4 

At times, in addition to 5 or 6 stone of beef, there were joints of pork (called crops of pork, and weighing about 10lbs, at 2d per pound).

The total bill for the food given above comes to £2.19.6, which is far below the average, and may be regarded as a snack for around 40 people' (Weaver, Leonard T. Harwich Papers, 1994, p.78)

Theatricals and Procession to the Three Cups (1815)


'Our Correspondent informs us, that the Theatre was patronized on Wednesday evening by the Worshipful Master and Brethren of the Veteran Lodge; when the play of A Bold Stroke for a Wife, and the farce of The Irishman in London, were performed in a manner highly creditable to the manager and performers. The house was completely filled in all parts. The Brethren walked in a handsome procession from the Three Cups Inn to the Theatre, attended by torches, and the band of the 55th regiment. The performance at the Theatre concluded with God Save the King; after which, the procession again formed, and they returned to the Three Cups, attended as before, the whole forming as gratifying a sight as has been seen in Harwich for some time. (The Suffolk Chronicle, 7th January 1815)

Ipswich Corporation Dinner (1818)


'The Court being finished, the Corporation landed at Harwich, where an excellent dinner had been prepared at the Three Cups, which was attended by the principle gentleman in Harwich, and the day was spent with great conviviality and pleasure. In the evening the Corporation returned to Ipswich' (The Suffolk Chronicle, 15 August 1818)

Harwich Election Dinner (1823)


'On Monday last, came the Election of Members to serve in Parliament, for this Borough, on the resignation of the Right Hon. N. Vansittart, and the Right Hon. C. Bathurst. In the course of the morning, the right Hon. George Canning, and J.C. Herries Esq. arrived; and after paying their respects to several members of the Corporation, proceeded to the Town Hall, where they were elected without opposition. About one o'clock, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, the new Members were chaired round the town; on their return to the Hall, each Gentleman returned to thank his Constituents. They afterwards dined with the Mayor, Corporation, and about 150 of the principal inhabitants of Harwich and its vicinity, at the Three Cups Inn, where an excellent dinner was served in the Ball room, which was tastefully and appropriately decorated for the occasion.' (The Norfolk Chronicle, 15th February 1823)

New Church First Stone (1820)


HARWICH NEW CHURCH. In honour of laying the first stone of the intended new church, at Harwich, on Monday, the 5th of June next, dinner will be provided, by Mr. Wm. Bull, at the Three Cups Inn, in that town. Tickets twelve shillings each, wine and dessert included. (The Suffolk Chronicle, Saturday 20 May 1820) 


The price of dinner, with wine and dessert: 12 shillings in 1820 = £366 in 2000!

The Traditional 'Three Cups' Beano (1951-1981)


This was taken in Church Street, the tallest building in the background is Tom Wills Bakery, and to the left the angled roofs of a Tobacconist and Barbers, and the Wheatsheaf. The coach is parked just down from the street from Saint Nicholas Church and the Three Cups. This is probably a photograph of the ‘Three Cups Outing’ sometime between 1951-1981 as the man stood fifth from the left wearing glasses looks like the Three Cups licencee Albert Keeble.

Essex Turnpikes Meeting at the Three Cups (1817)


"ESSEX TURNPIKES. SECOND DISTRICT. WHEREAS, at a MEETING appointed by the TRUSTEES, to be holden at the Three Cups Inn, Harwich, on Tuesday, the 22d day of July instant, a suffi- cient number of Trustees did not appear to act at such Meeting ; in pursuance, therefore, of the Directions con- tained in an Act of Parliament made and passed in the Thirty- third Year of the Reign of his present Majesty King George the Third, intituled " An Act for repairing the Roads leading from the western part of the Parish of Shenfield to Harwich, & c." and also in an Act made and passed in the Fifty- fifth Year of the Reign of his said pre- sent Majesty King George the Third, intituled " An Act for continuing and amending an Act of his present Majesty, for repairing several Roads leading from Shen- field to Harwich, & c." I do appoint a Meeting of the Trustees of the said Second District, to be held at the Three Cups Inn, in Harwich aforesaid, on Tuesday, the 12th day of August next, at Eleven o'clock in the Fore- Boon. being three weeks from the last and above- men- tioned Meeting — Given under my hand, the 24th day of July, 1817. JOHN AMBROSE, clerk to the Trustees of the said Second District."  

​(​The Colchester Gazette, 2 August 1817,​ issue 188, p.4)

Cannon Salute at the Three Cups (1821)


"HARWICH,- At an early hour the barges and vessels in the harbour were decorated with flags. At twelve o’clock, royal sailors were freed from the batteries, at the Landguard Fort, from the vessels and by the military at the barracks. About 1400 poor persons were regaled with an excellent dinner in the West-street, to which the Right Hon. N. Vansittart and the Right Hon. C. B. Bathurst, the members of the Borough largely contributed. At four o’clock the principal inhabitants dined at the Three Cups Inn, the Mayor in the chair. On the health of the King being given an immediate discharge of cannon took place." (John Bull Newspaper “For God, the King, and the People!”, Volumes 1-2,  no.34, Sunday 5 August 1821, p.270) 

The Launch of the HMS Sultan (1775)


This is to give notice, that there will be as ASSEMLY at the Three Cups, Harwich, this present Saturday the 23rd Dec. after the launching of his Majesty's ship the SULTAN. *** Tickets to be had at the bar at 2s. 6d. each. To begin at six o'clock. (The Ipswich Journal, 23rd December 1775)

Other unknown ship launches:

HARWICH ASSEMBLY will be at the THREE CUPS on Friday the 7th of May; being the day the ship is to be launched. Tickets to be had at the bar, at 2s. 6d. each. N. B. The hot and cold baths are now opened, with proper guides for the ladies as usual. - - - Private lodgings to be had by applying to Mr. Abra. Hindes at the Cups. (The Ipswich Journal, 1st May 1773)

By the desire of several Gentleman and Ladies. On Tuesday the 13th of this instant September, at the Three Cups at Harwich, will be an ASSEMBLY, after the ship is launched. N.B. The admittance at 2s. 6d. - - - Beginning at six o'clock. (The Ipswich Journal, Saturday 10th September 1748)

Masonic Dinner at the Three Cups (1876)



Angel Lodge (No. 51).—The annual meeting of the members of this lodge took place on the 10th inst. It was anticipated that the ceremony of installing Bro. G. Gard Pyi: (W.M. Star in the East, Har wich, and P.P.G.S. of W.) would have been performed by Bro. F. A. Philbriek, Q.C., P.J.G.W., but in consequence of a domestic bereavement he was unable to be present, and in his stead Bro. F. Binckes, P.G.S., officiated in a very impressive manner. The Worshipful Master then highly complimented his predecessor, Bro. Alfred Welch, P.J.G.W., for his efficient management of the lodge in the past year, and appointed him I.P.M. The other appointments were as follows:- Bros. S. W. Crookes, S.W.; T.T. Ralling. J.W.; W.S. Sprent, P.P.G. Swd. Br., Sec.; A. Cobb, P.M., Treas.; Harris, S.D.; J. Hanly, J.D.; W. Brightwell, I.G.; Gunner, Tyler; G. Mercer, and W. H. Ablitt, Stds. A large party of brethren afterwards dined at the Three Cups Hotel, under the presidency of the W.M., Bro. Pye. ln the course of the evening “ The Health of the Newly-appointed W.M. " was proposed by Bro. Carr, P.G.S., and was duly honoured. " The Health of the lnstalling Master” having been proposed, Bro. Binckes, in reply, remarked that Bro. Pye must be gifted with unusually high qualifications to merit the honour of being three times elected within the year to fill the highest position in two lodges, namely, Worshipful Master of the Star in the East, Harwich, W.M. of Angel Lodge, and within the present week re-elected as W.M. of the Harwich Lodge. The other toasts included “The Most Worshipful the Grand Master, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales ;” “The Pro Grand Master, Lord Carnarvon, the Deputy G.M., Lord Skelmersdale, and the Grand Officers. Past and Pre sent," responded to by Bro. Binckes; “The Provincial Grand Master for Essex, the Right Worshipful Bro. R. J. Bagshaw;” the Deputy Past Grand Master, Bro. M. E. Clark, and the P.G. Officers," responded to by Bro. John Wright Carr, Provincial Grand Secretary, Bic. A well arranged programme of music was admirably carried out by Bros. T. M. Bear, S. Chaplain, A. R. Staines, and J. J. C. Turner. Bros. C. Winterbon and J. J. C. Turner alternately presided at the pianoforte. Amongst those also present during the day's proceedings were the following :- Past Masters and Visitors A. E. Church, A. Cobb, Thomas Rix, C. Cobb, rl. Richie, W.P. Lewis, and F.A. Cole; J. H. Staddon, W.M. Perfect Friend ship; W. Boby, W.M. British Union; N. Tracy, P.M., P.P.G.J.W. Suffolk; G. N. Godwin, British Union; R. Ellisdon, P.P.G.R. Essex; J. E. Wiseman, P.M. 433; A. Aldous, S.W. 433; J. Richardson, P.M.; R.C. Athill; G. Harvey, S.D.; John Dean, W.M.; John Rowland, P.M.; F. Wiseman, P.M.; E. Crate, P.M.; United, drc.

(​The Freemason and Masonic Illustrated. A Weekly Record of Progress ..., Volume 9, 19th August 1876​, p.373)​ 

Harwich Regatta Celebrations (1834)


MARCH OF REFINEMENT!! – The following choice performances are announced to take place “in honour of His Majesty’s Birth-day” at the Harwich Regatta on Thursday the 21st instant. The Bill of Fare first gives the sailing and rowing matches, which are followed by a duck hunt, a horse race, a pony race, and a donkey race – the whole of which is to be concluded by the following list of elegant and delightful amusements:- “Jumping in sacks by six men” – “New market baulk.” – “Climbing a greasy pole for a leg of mutton;  the first man climbing and touching the prize to have it.” – “A giggling match.”“Tea drinking! By six old women, for one pound of strong tea, or 6s: each to drink six cups, the first one done to be the winner. – The last cup will be flavoured with a drop of brandy.”“A grinning match – four men to grin through horses collars, for 5s.; the ugliest face to have the prize. – The men to find their own collars.” – For entrance of poneys and rustic amusements, apply to Mr. Wm. Bull, at the Three Cups Hotel. (The Essex Standard – Friday 15 August 1834)

The Essex Archaeological Society (1929)


At the annual general meeting of the Essex Archaeological Society, held at the Town Hall, Colchester, on Wednesday 4th May 1929. Mrs Valentine asked if anything could be done to secure the preservation of the oak crane in the Old Naval Yard at Harwich, as the yard was now up for sale. Attention was also drawn to the dilapidated condition of the "Nelson Room" at the Three Cups Hotel. The Hon. Secretary said that he hoped to visit Harwich shortly when he would take the opportunity to look into these matters.  

Regatta Dinner at the Three Cups as Usual (1853)


UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE HARWICH YACHT CLUB. EASTERN COAST SECOND REGATTA will take place in Harwich Harbour, MONDAY 29th August, 1853. A Piece of plate, value 50 Guineas, to be sailed for by yachts of any rig or tonnage belonging to a Royal Yacht Club. Time Race. The winner to pay £5 to the Regatta Fund.  A Arcedeckne, Esq., Vice-Commodore, has again kindly consented to allow his yacht “Novice” to be the Committee and Starting Vessel. A Full Band will be in attendance. A Regatta Dinner will take place as usual, at the Three Cups Hotel. In the above Matches no Entrance Fee to be paid, and Three Vessels to start or no Race. All Vessels intended to compete for either of the Prizes must be entered at the Club House by Nine o’clock a.m., on the day of the Regatta. The Committee reserve to themselves the right of making such alterations in Terms and Conditions of the Matches, as, from the state of the weather or other causes, they may think desirable. (The Court Journal: Gazette of the Fashionable World, Literature, Music, and ..., p.567)

Nelson Centenary Celebrations at Harwich (1905)

There was no official demonstration of this event but many residents had bunting displayed from their windows, whist the Bells of the Harwich Parish Church, rang merrily. At night an event which will be long held in happy memory, took place at Harwich in the shape of a public dinner, and it was only fitting that the same should take place at that famous old hostelry, The Three Cups Hotel, which has in its past decades sheltered many notabilities. The promoters, viz, The Mayor (W. H. Elwell, Esq), and the proprietors of the hotel, (Messrs T. West Carnie and C. F. Cartmale), are to be congratulated upon the success of their undertaking, 60 ladies and gentleman were present. Mr. Cartmale is also to be congratulated upon the recherche repast, which was well placed on the tables, a la continental style, whilst the menu carts were indeed works of art, printed in gold and on Oak from the old pulpit of Burnham Thorpe Church, in which Nelson's father preached. The after dinner speeches were but few and commenced with the loyal ones, after which the Mayor proposed " The immortal memory of Nelson," speaking on the result of the battle of Trafalgar, which was, he said, the turning point in the history not only of England, but of Europe. Nelson bequeathed a heritage which must be rendered up untarnished. [Applause.] - The toast was drunk upstanding, and in silence. - The Rev. E. F. Frayling, vicar, in giving the toast of "The Mayor and Corporation," spoke in favour of the proposed ferry from Shotley to Harwich, and paid a tribute to the mayor who he hoped would allow himself to be offered for re-election. The toast was honored with music, and the Mayor in reply, said he would not put himself forward to the office, having had recently a spice of what the Corporation's opinion was. The concluding toast was that of "The Ladies," which was proposed in happy turns by Col. A. J. H. Ward, and humorously acknowledged by the Mayoress. Afterwards the company adjourned to the famous Nelson room decorated with many a Nelsonian relic, here in the quaint surroundings admirable program of musical and elocutionary efforts was presented by several London artists, which included Mr. Edgar Hulland, the brilliant pianist, associated with the Serenaders, Miss Clara Alexandra, Miss Ann Mather, and Mr. Guy Pertwee. A bowl of punch was brewed, and the function - distinct success - was concluded at twelve o'clock by "Auld Lang Syne." 

(Harwich & Dovercourt Free Press, Saturday 28 October 1905, p.4.)

Tradesman's Dinner (1906)

A preliminary meeting was held at the Three Cups Hotel, Harwich, on Wednesday, to consider the question of holding a tradesmen's dinner. Counciller Brewester presided, and the meeting desired to hold a dinner on 31st. A committee was formed to carry out the necessary arrangements. 

(Harwich & Dovercourt Free Press, Saturday 6 January 1906, p.4.)

The official and business life of Harwich and Dovercourt were represented by a company of about 60 gentlemen at dinner at the Three Cups Hotel, Harwich, on Wednesday night. The Mayor (Councillor W. McLearon) presided, and Alderman R. Hill filled the vice-chair.

The toast-list was interspersed with a most diversified and highly entertaining programme. Mr. Douglas Beaufort, of London, treated the company to a number of highly-finished card tricks and sleight-of-hand manipulation. Songs were contributed by Mr. G. D. Hugh Jones, Mr. Jno. Everett (although just 81 years of age), Councillor Johnstone, Mr. A Greenwood, Mr. Haggar, and Mr. Wm. Tyrrell, the latter gentleman performing the duties of accompanist. 

The loyal toasts having been honoured, the Mayor submitted "The Town and Trade of Harwich." He said he knew where the town was, but he was afraid the trade was missing. (Laughter). Trade in Harwich had been very slack, and there, had been nothing doing for a great number of years now, and until some great development took place, he did not think that the trade of the old town would look up. What they wanted was the big dock scheme (applause), the scheme they had heard so many rumours about. Another matter he desired to mention was that of the communication between Harwich and Shotley. It was absolutely essential that something should be done, but for the present the hands of the Corporation were tied, because the Marquis of Bristol had given the to understand that he was intending to run a ferry over. If he were to do so, it would be no use the Corporation going to the heavy expense. The trade of Shotley, which would develop now they had the barracks there, was a trade which really belonged to Harwich. (Applause). The longer the ferry was deferred, the more chance Ipswich would have of securing the trade of Shotley. He hoped that before very long  the Marquis of Bristol would have the ferry running over. One of the most necessary amusements at seaside town was a good golf links. (Applause.) They would be pleased to hear that there was a scheme on hand which should work out very well. The ground had been let to them, and although there were at present one or two small obstacles in the way, they would soon be removed, and he hoped the work put in hand. The ground they had would make splendid golf links. He was of a opinion that a splendid nine-hole course could be made. 

Mr. John Everitt responded in a witty speech. He said he could tell them a good deal about old times when Harwich was governed by 24 people and when these 24 use to send two members to Parliament. (Laughter). That was a good time, although it was a hard time sometimes.  The principle part of the trade of Harwich at the time was the stone trade. The stone was brought into the town and made into Roman cement, and that gave shipwrights and blacksmiths plenty of work. (Laughter). There was now quay at that time, and one had to go down steps to get to the beach. Where the Pier Hotel now stood there used to be a brewery. Where the Great Eastern Hotel stands stood at that time what was called The Alley, where smuggling was carried on. He also could recollect when there was no railway. He also remembered the time when it cost 8d. to send a letter to London , and sometimes it took two days before it got there. (Laughter). A coach- and- for used to run from the Cups Hotel four times a week, the fair inside being a guinea and outside 16s. for a single journey only. 

Councillor John Stone propesed the toast of the Mayor. - The Mayor, in reply, said he would endeavor to carry out the duties with the same amount of dignity as they had been carried out by his predecessors. He was following the chain of a lot of very old and experienced predecessors, and of one notably - his father. (Applause). He was highly respected in the town - the town of his adoption - and had he been alive, he would have filled the position which he (The Mayor) was now occupying. He was proud to follow in his footsteps, and he hoped to carry out the duties in the same manner he did. 

(Harwich & Dovercourt Free Press, Saturday 3 February 1906, p.4.)

Friendly Societies Meeting (1897)

A meeting of Friendly Societies was held at the Three Cups Hotel on Thursday evening, and was presided over by P.C.R. Bro. A.J.H. Ward, supported by Col. R.S. Barnes, and the Vicar (Rev. H.L. Norden), honorary members of the Order. There was a large attendance of Foresters and Oddfellows. - In opening the proceedings, the Chairman suggested the singing of the National Anthem, which was sung heartily. After a few appropriate remarks from the Chairman, also Col. Barnes and the Rev. Norden, it was unanimously decided to have a church parade on Jubilee Sunday morning to St. Nicholas Church, Harwich. - Col. Barnes, represented the Jubilee Day Procession Committee, asked the members to assemble on Jubilee Day and form a procession to march in order in company with the Mayor and Corporation, this was also agreed to. - An Executive Committee was then appointed to carry out the details, viz., R.F. Till and W. Sealey from Court 2,578, G.T. Helsdon and A. Philo from Court 4,415, and J. Farthing and J. Thornhill from Excelsior Lodge of Oddfellows. Information can be obtained from any member of the Committee. (Harwich & Dovercourt Free Press, Saturday 19 June 1897, p.4)

Three Cups Firework Display on Harwich Green (1885)


FIREWORKS. - On Thursday evening Mr. J. Tye, of the Three Cups Hotel, gave his annual display of fireworks on Harwich Green. There was a large number of people present, but on account of the unfavourable state of the weather it was decided to postpone the same. The Excelsior Band, under Mr. J. Coombe, were engaged to perform a selection of music, but this also had to come to an abrupt termination from the same cause. (Harwich & Dovercourt Free Press, Saturday 12 September 1885, p.4)

Marconi’s Employees at Harwich (1902)

On Saturday a number of employees of Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co., Ltd., Hall St. Works, Chelmsford, held their annual outing, Harwich being the place of rendezvous, where at the Three Cups Hotel, the party enjoyed a capital dinner prepared under the able superintendence of Mr. And Mrs. J. Broadbent. After dinner numerous toasts were given, after which the party went by steamboat to Felixstowe, returning later to the Three Cups Hotel for tea, leaving Harwich by the 8.10 train, expressing themselves well pleased with the outing arrangements made by the hon. Sec., Mr. W. P. Burdon. (Harwich & Manningtree Free Press, Saturday 6th September, 1902, p.4)

Formation of the Royal Harwich Yacht Club (1843)

The Royal Harwich Yacht Club (RHYC) has a long and fascinating history; it was formed in 1843 under the name of Eastern Yacht Club by a group of yachtsmen at the Three Cups Hotel in Harwich. Today it is an integral part of the local community, offering regattas and racing events, attracting children, adults and everyone in-between from far and wide. In 1845 the club was renamed Royal Harwich Yacht Club and an Admiralty Warrant was also awarded for giving its members significant privileges in the form of mooring rights, exemption from lightage fees and free pratique in various foreign ports. RHYC moved into new clubhouse next to the Navy Yard, which was ideally placed, offering views across Harwich Harbour. (New Era for Royal Harwich Yacht Club, published on eaux.co.uk, 2018, lifestyle)

A Veritable Fairyland at the Three Cups (1891)

AN ILLUMINATION AT THE CUPS.- On Friday evening the annual illumination of the Three Cups Hotel Yard took place. The weather was most favourable for the display, which was certainly a more important affair than has been witnessed at the Three Cups for many a years past. The annual event usually takes place in September, but owing to the unfavourable weather Mr. Tye, the landlord, has posponed it again and again. There were over 400 fairy lamps of various colours ranged about the famous clematis,k which covers the courtyard. Mr. Tye this year introduced a novelty in the shape of some magnificent Japanese lanterns of enormous size. The whole place resembled a veritable fairyland. Fireworks and rockets were discharged during the greater part of the evening. The Harwich Artillery Volunteer Band, under bandmaster Salter, gave a gopod selection of music. (The Essex Telegraph, Saturday November 14, 1891, p.8)