IN its heyday, thousands of people worked at the docks in Harwich.

Parkeston Quay was buzzing with business and that, in turn, meant the town was thriving.

Long-standing town councillor Garry Calver said: “I would say throughout the 1960s until 1984 and the privatisation of Sealink was when Harwich was really thriving. There were thousands of seafarer jobs, providing employment for the whole of the eastern region.

“Harwich Dock Company was thriving. There were all the car trains and transporters, auxillary work with lorry drivers “In the 70s, there were all the shipping agents who dealt with all the complicated customs documents. There were Customs and Excise and marine shops at Parkeston Quay.”

Ford cars came through the dock, as did general cargo like potatoes and frozen chickens, containers of British-crewed ships, and a big British Rail goods yard handling container trains/ferry wagons from the train ferries.

Mr Calver added: “In the mid-70s, you could leave school at 16 and think where do I want to work, not will I find a job?

“People left school and started apprenticeships, they got a trade. The local economy flourished, as everyone was working, so people had money to spend at all the shops and pubs.”

At the time, there were also major factories in the town, including Bernards Uniforms, which had cutters and machinists making uniforms for the Royal Navy, and Trinity House, which employed hundreds on board ships and in its buoy yard.