HUNDREDS of people turned out to the opening of new railway museum in Harwich on Sunday.

The Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre signed a 25-year lease on the Harwich town train station buildings last November.

Seven rooms have now been transformed into a rail and shipping museum, set in 1924.

The rooms are complete with a range of historic memorabilia donated to the project.

The aim is to charge for entrance into the new mini-museum, which includes a cafe area for drinks and refreshments, to help fund the yard.

Tony Elliston, chairman on the Mayflower Heritage Centre, said: "It went really well.

"We had about 150 to 200 people on the platform to great the train coming in and then 450 people on the train.

"They all piled out and we did the opening of the museum."

The ribbon was cut by Essex County Council chairman John Aldridge, with Harwich Mayor John Brown, Tendring Council chairman Mark Platt, Town Crier James Cole, and deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex Nigel Spencer also on hand.

Mr Elliston added: "Tribute was paid to Bob Clow who donated a lot of the museum content and also curated the museum for us.

"It only represents about 20per cent of the whole collection, which will go in the other buildings.

"Some of the artefacts are grade one listed, we have the only surviving Queen's Guard uniform from the 1920s and a desk used by Queen Victoria.

"I did a talk on the Mayflower Heritage Centre generally.

"This is the first brick in the wall - we've laid a great foundation for building of the replica of the Mayflower Shop, which we are now focusing on."

Mr Elliston said the response from the opening has been brilliant, saying people have been "blown away" by it.

He added: "There are several other projects we are going to open, including the Hazelton collection, in the next few months too.

"The Hazelton collection is artefacts collected on the foreshore around the area - there are Roman pots and clay pipes from the 1600s."

For more information about the Mayflower Heritage Centre or to volunteer visit or call 01255 318023.