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The Harwich Redoubt was built between 1807 and 1809 on the orders of Major Bryce, Royal Engineer in charge of the Eastern District. It was designed as a bomb-proof fortification with effective artillery power to withstand lengthy siege. The redoubt became operational in 1810 with the main role of protecting this important deep water harbour in the event of invasion or attack by Napoleon's forces. It is situated on a slight hill towards the eastern side of the Harwich peninsula, flanked by Harbour Crescent to the north and east, Main Road to the west, and Mayflower Avenue to the south. It was remodelled in 1861 to the same basic plan, however military use of the redoubt ended in 1910.

The redoubt is built of brick with masonry details and exterior facings. It is circular in plan with an internal courtyard, brick vaulted chambers and is encircled by a dry moat. The ground floor has 18 rooms or casemates radiating from the open central parade ground (the Parade). These served as stores for ammunition and general supplies, a cookhouse, ablution room, latrines and accommodation for a garrison of 250 men and six officers. The upper level contains the batteries, originally for ten 24-pounder cannon, one of which dated 1865 has been excavated from moat. Some original fittings including iron railings, hoists and lanterns in the magazine walls have survived.

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