In these grounds in 1845, John Bagshaw built himself a mansion called Cliff House, which had extensive grounds. At that time there was open country between the lighthouse at Harwich and the Green at Dovercourt. He therefore bought land at Lower Dovercourt for development as a 'new town'.
In the park surrounding his home he located a chalybeate spring, reputed to possess medicinal properties and decided to make Dovercourt a place to which the gentry would come to take the water. On the site Bagshaw also built the spa which opened on the 28th august 1854 and incorporated a library, , museum, pump room and a conservatory which was used as a reading and smoking room. Hundreds of people came to drink the waters from the chalybeate (a natural spring containing iron salts). At the bottom of Orwell Terrace he built the Assembly Rooms.
John Bagshaw also built Orwell Terrace, laid out the cliff slopes as far as Mill Lane and constructed a promenade as far as Dovercourt lighthouse at a cost of £10,000. Unfortunately this all left Bagshaw in severe financial difficulties and he was declared bankrupt in 1859. He died in 1861 after the contents of his house and the Spa had been sold and his estate broken up. After remaining empty for some years, Cliff House was demolished in 1909 and the Spa suffered the same fate in 1920 after the medical officer of health suspected the purity of its water.. Orwell Terrace is now John Bagshaw's chief memorial.
The park itself was officially opened on June 2nd 1911 to coincide with the coronation of King George V. It included a bandstand (with deckchairs to hire), lawns, flower beds and weekly firework displays.
Rock & Co. London. No. 2445 Dovercourt from Beacon Hill, Harwich, 2 Aug 1860.
Dovercourt New Town, from Beacon Hill, near Harwich with Cliff House, the residence of John Bagshaw Esqr. M.P. 1st June 1854.
- Postcard of the week (12.06.2016)
- The Shelter, Cliffe Park, Dovercourt, Essex. c.1911.
- This shelter sat upon the mound behind Orwell Terrace and as a child I always wondered why the mound was there, perhaps a secret bunker, storm tunnel or more likely just an elevated terrace to give a better view, from which to watch the shipping going in and out of Harwich. A military map of 1811 shows that the Cliff Park area of Dovercourt was originally a military exercising ground, but within these grounds around 1845, John Bagshaw built himself a mansion called Cliff House, which had extensive grounds and gardens. Cliff House was eventually demolished in 1909 The park itself was officially opened on June 2nd 1911 to coincide with the coronation of King George V. It included a bandstand (with deckchairs to hire), lawns, flower beds and weekly firework displays.
The Avenue and Pleasure Gardens
The Avenue and Shelter