Keep Colchester Cool is delighted to hear that Colchester has been confirmed as a candidate for World Heritage Site status. The application – organised by local community group Destination Colchester – has been formally accepted by the UK’s Department for Culture Heritage and Sport and will now go forward to the next stage of the application procedure.

Colchester is one of 38 places from the UK (and its overseas territories) on the list. Others include: the cities of York and Lincoln, the Lake District and Jodrell Bank Space Telescope.

“It looks like a great list to be on” said one of the organisers of the application, Bill Hayton. “We have about a year before the result of our application is known so it’s time to make the most of being a ‘World Heritage Site candidate’.   Everyone in the town should tell the world why we deserve to be on the list.”

“Colchester is a where UK history began. The jewels in Colchester’s vast crown include a wealth of heritage treasures which delight visitors and residents daily” says Chairman of Destination Colchester, Wendy Bailey.  

Some of the jewels in Colchester’s Heritage crown include:

  • Britain’s only known Roman Circus found in 2004
  • Roman town walls which surround the town to this day
  • Roman Theatre
  • Roman Temple dedicated to the Emperor Claudius
  • Gosbecks Archaeological Park – once the focus of the extensive pre-Roman settlement of Camulodunum (present day Colchester) and the royal seat of a succession of native Kings.  

There is an opportunity to learn more about Destination Colchester’s World Heritage Site bid in the Colchester’s Town Hall from 6.30pm  tonight (Thursday 8th July). There will be a short explanation during the meeting to launch the Friends of Colchester Roman Wall and the new report on Colchester by Save Britain’s Heritage.

At Colchester Borough Council Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 30th June 2010, Council deputy leader Martin Hunt said that, while conditions might change in the future, the Council has no money to spend on the bid at the moment.   Destination Colchester accept that position.  

In December 2009, Destination Colchester spearheaded a successful fundraising campaign to Save Colchester’s Roman Circus to raise funds towards buying the adjacent derelict former Army building and grounds where the 8 Roman Stating Gates lie hidden. The target of £200,000 was reached within 3 months.  

A host of celebrities including Dan Cruickshank, Tony Robinson and Tony Benn backed the Roman Circus Appeal.   The appeal caught the imagination of the town and worldwide via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.   Children dressed as Romans for the day at school, Roman Charioteers entertained Colchester United fans driving their horses around the carpark, people organised their own events – to Save Colchester’s Roman Circus