Project uncovers hidden past of Dovercourt

Monday, 15 August, 2022
lemonade bottles and a stone jar


A construction project in Dovercourt has unearthed historical items including 19th Century lemonade bottles and a stone jar – as well as two petrol tanks.


Tendring District Council (TDC) is turning the derelict and eyesore site of the former Queen’s Head Hotel, known as Starlings, into a new events space and car park.


Ground works started in early May with the contractors Gipping Construction making the sloping site level and digging out foundations.


The works uncovered hidden treasures from Dovercourt’s 19th Century past, including a lemonade bottle that could have been sold from the bar of the Queen’s Head Hotel which traded on the site from 1856.


The bottles bear the name F Kettle as well as Harwich, while the stone jar has J. B Kinsbury on it. F Kettle and Son was a mineral water manufacturing business established in Harwich in 1891, selling other drinks too.


Workers also found evidence of the Starlings company – which gave the site its current name – which began as a taxi service operated before the advent of the car. This includes two unexpected petrol tanks, both still containing fuel, while other finds include four wells.


Mary Newton, TDC Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Growth, said the tank discovery would lead to some delays while the contractors took every precaution to ensure any contamination was properly cleared up.


“This regeneration project will build towards the future of the town, but rest on the rich tapestry of Dovercourt’s past,” Councillor Newton said.


“I was intrigued to see the project uncover evidence of the companies that existed on the site for more than 100 years, which is just fascinating.”


The project is expected to complete in the Spring of 2023. Any artefacts found will be donated to local history groups.


Last updated on: 15/08/2022 - 13:00