A MUSEUM will be the first location on either side of the Atlantic to host an exhibition which gives a new perspective on the historic Mayflower ship.

The Mayflower, captained by former Harwich resident Christopher Jones, sailed to America with the Pilgrim Fathers 400 years ago.

Many of the crew were also from Harwich.

Centuries later, in 1957, an Englishman called Warwick Charlton built a replica of the Mayflower and sailed it to America, where he gave it to the American people.

Since then the Mayflower II - as it was named - has been visited by more than 25 million Americans and the ship is now regarded as a national treasure.

The story of the Mayflower II has been committed to the pages of a book by Mr Charlton’s son, Randal, and highlighted through an exhibition at Gainsborough Heritage Museum, in Lincolnshire.

Mr Charlton said: “Gainsborough has a very impressive, well managed museum and is at the heart of the Mayflower story.

“The majority of those first settlers who travelled on the original Mayflower in 1620 were from the area around Gainsborough and many of them worshipped in this town.

“The southern ports which are often thought of as central to the founding of the United States were actually just stopping points of the Mayflower and other ships on their journey to the new world.

“The first settlers were mostly from Lincolnshire and north Nottingham.”

The museum was ready to open the Mayflower II exhibition earlier this year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the facility had to close.

An announcement will be made when reopening is possible.

“The story of Mayflower II has often been inaccurately portrayed over the years,” added Mr Charlton.

“Which is one reason why I wrote my father’s biography.

“I thought it was important to recognise Warwick Charlton’s unique gift to the American people.

“And when we get through this current health crisis I expect both British and American tourists will come to Gainsborough and the Lincolnshire area, where they will get a fresh, truthful look at the history of Anglo-American relations as they learn about my larger than life father, a self-described Wicked Pilgrim.”

The Wicked Pilgrim, published by Three Sisters Publishing Ltd is available via Amazon and selected bookstores in England, the US and Canada.

This year marks 400 years since the original Mayflower embarked on its momentous journey to the New World.

Harwich, the home of the ship’s master Captain Christopher Jones, is part of an international group of destinations leading on the commemorations of the anniversary.

Attractions linked to the ship in the town include the home of Christopher Jones, Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre, in George Street, a visitor centre at Esplanade Hall and a Mayflower Trail around the town.

With Mayflower 400 events disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, there has been major concern that Harwich - and the other destinations - would miss the boat.

The events were expected to provide a major tourism boost.

However, feedback from tour operators has revealed cancelled trips are being rescheduled for 2021, which can give a renewed focus to the Mayflower 400 compact.

Charles Hackett, chief executive of Mayflower 400, said the delays were “hugely disappointing”, but added: “The opportunities arising from Mayflower 400 remain as strong as ever.”