The Duke's Head

Status:Closed. Now a private residence with no public access. Please respect the owners' privacy when viewing the exterior of this building.

The Duke's Head is a now a private house and is to be found at number 22a Church Street, on the corner with Currants Lane. It closed as a pub in 1971.

The Duke's Head, Harwich
The Duke's Head.


Like many old buildings in Harwich the building that became the Duke's Head was probably built as a house in the late 15th Century but has been adapted over the years and shows signs of 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th Century alterations and additions. It was almost certainly once a large house along with no. 22 and in early phases probably formed a complex with nos. 20 and 21.

It is difficult to pinpoint the date when the house became a pub, it was certainly a dwelling in 1632, but the mid to late 18th Century seems about the right time. Certainly it formed part of the estate of the Harwich Brewery by the 19th Century and is listed in the Universal British Directory of 1791 as being occupied by Richard Cork, victualler.

By 1837 in the sale document relating to the Harwich Brewery the premises are described as a Capital Freehold Public House and contain Bar, Tap Room, and Parlor in front, with two good Closets, a large Club Room, for Bed Rooms, Loft, and Cellar under ground; Yard, a detached Scullery, Wash-house, with Room over; also a detached Cooperage. A Small Shop, with Bed Rooms over, (being part of the Public House in the rear,) underlet to Thomas Wenn, and the Cooperage underlet to Naylor. In the occupation of Mary Feller.

In December 1883 the East Anglian Daily Times records the transfer of the licence of the Duke's Head from William Jacklin to Charles Burroughs and in March 1885 the Star of the East records a fatal accident:

On Saturday Night , Mr. Charles Burroughs, landlord of the Duke's Head Hotel, Church Street, fell down the steps leading into the cellar of his house and received injuries from which he died at eleven o'clock on Sunday morning". An inquest later recorded a verdict of accidental death and that Burroughs had died of a fracture to the base of the skull. In April 1885 the licence was transferred to his widow Diana.

In 1891 Diana Burroughs was still running the pub/hotel with the assistance of her niece, Kate Alexander, as barmaid and a young domestic servant, Alice Gooch. They had 3 lodgers, James Pipe, a Ship's Carpenter, and his wife and John Herbert, a Steamship Engineer, from Liverpool. Ten years later Diana and Kate are still running the pub and John Herbert is still boarding with them. Diana continues to run the Duke's Head until 1905.

The Duke's Head was listed Grade II by English Heritage in 1964.

Notable Facts, Things to Look Out For

Historic Harwich Pub Trail is a collaboration between the Tendring Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale and the Harwich Society.
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