As an historic passenger ferry sails out of Harwich for the last time on Sunday, the Standard takes a look back at the town’s illustrious shipping and ferry history.

THE peninsula of Harwich has long been a vital trade point.

Its unique position at the mouths of both the Stour and Orwell estuaries, coupled with its location close to the continent, made it an ideal place for travel.

And, as the only safe anchorage between the Thames and Humber, the town thrived as a port.

But while goods flowed in and out of the town, in the 1400s ship masters were indulging in piracy.

Harwich historian Brian Woods said: “It was okay as long as the boats went further afield and plundered foreign ships – that was okay with the crown.

“But when they started to prey on ships in the coastal protection trade in more local waters, that wasn’t deemed acceptable.

“In 1457 the lord of the manor was Thomas Howard – he sent word to an agent in Harwich to arrest a chap and impound his boats because he was suspected of being a pirate.”

For more see this week's Standard.