This year’s Heritage Open Days takes place across the weekend of Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September 2015. The Heritage Days gives residents and visitors the opportunity to discover Colchester’s heritage in a weekend of free activities and entry to historic buildings.

In addition to the activities, there is also now a Celebrate Heritage Event on the Saturday. The family fun day will be taking place in Upper Castle Park and on Colchester High Street from 9am-5pm.

Here’s a list of events taking place over the weekend.

Saturday 12th September

Celebrate Heritage, Upper Castle Park and on Colchester High Street
A free Town Centre family fun day to celebrate Heritage Day.
Upper Castle Park – Multi period living history, Historic market stalls, Talks and demonstrations, Castle will be open for free on the 12th.
Colchester High Street – Closed to traffic on the 12th, Performance area with historic music, dance and drama, Historical characters and entertainers, Large food area and seating.
9am-5pm

Star Turns, Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, CO1 1JH
Tours will be led by Firstsite’s staff who will talk about their own responses to this remarkable building. Interim director Anthony Roberts will kick off with The Director’s Cut at 11.00am on Saturday and Sunday.
Tours start at 11am, 12pm, 1pm & 2pm

East Anglian Film Archive Screening, Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, CO1 1JH
A superb selection of archive footage from the outstanding collection held by the East Anglian Film Archive including Pastures Olde, Working in the East of England, Fish and Clips, the Pleasure of Leisure, UFO Encounters and Bygones is Back.
10am – 1pm

Free Family Saturday, Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, CO1 1JH
Paint for Heritage Open Days. Working with a brilliant artist, families can create your own paint with their own hands using techniques which artists have used for centuries.
11am – 1pm & 2pm – 4pm

Roman Circus Roman Circus Walk, CO2 7GZ
Guided tours of the site of Britain’s only known Roman Circus – a horse racing stadium that seated thousands – and Roman Circus House.
A guided tour (about 30 minutes) around the circuit of the Roman circus site starting on every full and every half hour from 10.00 am to 4.00pm. A guided tour (about 15 minutes) of Roman Circus House every quarter of an hour throughout the day. Roman Circus House was formerly a NAAFI and is now the offices and stores of the Colchester Archaeological Trust. Archaeologists will be on hand to explain how they work.
10am – 4pm

Colchester Garrison Tour, Roman Circus House, CO2 7GZ
A guided walk (about 45 minutes) around the surviving buildings of the Victorian and Edwardian buildings of Colchester Garrison led by the very knowledgeable Peter Hall. Tours leave from Roman Circus House. The Colchester Garrison was established in 1855-6 when a temporary camp of demountable huts was erected between Mersea Road and Military Road. The first permanent buildings were erected in 1862 including the unique surviving cavalry barracks.
Tours start 11am & 1pm

St Helen’s Chapel St Helen’s Lane, CO1 1UR
Medieval chapel, first mentioned in 1076. Saxon in origin, built on Roman foundations and rebuilt several times. Now used as a Greek Orthodox Church.
10am – 1pm & 2pm – 4.30pm

St Peter’s Church, North Hill, CO1 1PG
A multi-period church with surviving medieval features.
10am – 4pm

Quaker Meeting House (St Mary’s House), 6 Church Street, CO1 1NF
Grade 2 listed half-timbered building dating from 1802, originally the home of William Mason, a leading solicitor in the firm serving painter John Constable.
10am – 4pm

Mersea Barrow, East Mersea Road, CO5 8EX
A Roman child’s burial mound from the 2nd century AD. Visitors can enter the barrow via a passageway to the burial chamber. 10am – 5pm

Roman Theatre, Maidenburgh Street, CO1 1UB
Small area of the foundations of the Roman theatre that featured in the destruction of Colchester by Boudica in AD 60. Originally had capacity for 3000 spectators. Discovered in 1981 during excavations by the Colchester Archaeological Trust and now in the care of Colchester and Ipswich Museums.
9.45am – 4.30pm

Colchester Castle Museum, Castle Park, CO1 1TJ
Europe’s largest Norman keep, built on the foundations of the Roman Temple of Claudius. Colchester Castle was built around 1070 by William the Conqueror and has been a royal fortress, prison and, since 1860, a museum. It reopened in May 2014 following a major redevelopment. Visitors can see the new displays, interactives and impressive son et lumiere projection. Tours into the Roman temple vaults and onto the roof are also available at extra charge.
10am – 5pm (last entry 4.30pm)

Colchester Town Hall, High Street, CO1 1FR
Exciting design by John Belcher, constructed between 1897 – 1902. The clock tower, built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee and named the Victoria Tower, is surmounted by a bronze figure of St Helena, 162 ft (50 metres) above the street. Inside is an imposing staircase with seated statute of Queen Victoria, the mayoral suite and the Council Chamber. On the top floor is the Moot Hall with stained glass windows and the newly restored civic organ. Property open via guided tours, including private rooms, the courts and the cells.
Tours start at 10am & 11.30am

Sparlings Solicitors, 3 West Stockwell Street, CO1 1HQ
Late-15th century, half-timbered building with remarkable exterior wood carvings of angels. Inside original screens passage doorway, on the right of which lay the hall. Formerly a merchant’s house, now a solicitors office.
Tours start at 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm

Audley Chapel, Berechurch Hall Road, CO2 9NU
16th century burial chamber of the Audley family, managed by the Churches Conservation Trust. Fine hammer beam roof with superb monuments and other original features.
10am – 1pm

St Martin’s Church, West Stockwell Street, C01 1HQ
Medieval church with impressive 14th century roof, wall paintings and Norman tower which was badly damaged in the 1648 siege of Colchester during the English Civil War. The church was partially restored in 1891 in an Anglo-Catholic style. In the churchyard is the grave of Jacob Ringer, a cloth weaver or bay maker.
10am – 5pm

St John’s Abbey Gatehouse, St John’s Green, CO2 7HA
Early 15th-century gatehouse, with flint flushwork, a vaulted roof and battlements flanked by pinnacled corner turrets. A narrow winding staircase leads up to the main room. The Gatehouse is the only building to survive from the Benedictine St John’s Abbey completed 900 years ago in 1115. Badly damaged during the 1648 Siege of Colchester it was extensively restored in the 19th century. There are historical associations with Richard III and Catherine of Aragon.
10am – 4pm

GfB: the Colchester Bookshop 7 Trinity Street, CO1 1JN
This building was originally the hall range of the building later to be know as Tymperleys. It retains its original roof with Queen posts. The frontage was rebuilt in the
late 18th century to form a suite of offices for the Francis family, who were solicitor’s.
10.30am – 5.30pm

The Queen Street Brewhouse, Queen Street, CO1 2PG
The Queen Street Brewhouse is 14th century and Grade 2 listed. It has been many things in its time including a stone mason’s home and workshop, a bordello, and many bars and clubs. It is now Colchester’s newest place to try over 50 types of beer from Britain, and Belgium , and play an album of your choice on their turntable.
11am onwards

Bourne Mill, Bourne Road, CO2 8RT
Originally built as a fishing lodge in 1591 with stepped Dutch gables. Converted to a mill in 19th century for cloth manufacturing, and later flour milling. Working water wheel.
11am – 5pm

Heritage Walk with Martin Newell, Firstsite
Guided walk with local pop poet and rock musician Martin Newell. Starting at firstsite the tour will include St James the Great Church, a small section of the Roman Wall near Land Lane, Martin’s old band HQ at 90 East Hill (the former Ship Pub), the K6 telephone box outside Greyfriars, the site of the Poll Tax Riot at the Castle Park gates, St Helen’s Chapel in Maidenburgh St, St Botolph’s Church and Priory, and Colchester Town Station. The tour will finish at firstsite where refreshments will be available.
Tour starts at 11am and runs until 12.30pm

SuperHome Open Day, 66 Station Road, Alresford, CO7 8AA
SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners for greater comfort, lower bills and fewer carbon emissions – at least 60% less! Measures installed to green this house include loft and floor insulation, wood burner, PV and the property is heated by an Air Source Heat Pump. Visitors can expect to come away with plenty of ideas for greening their own properties.
10am – 4pm

St James the Less and St Helen’s Church, 51 Priory Street, CO1 2QB
Built in 1837 and designed by John Joseph Scholes, a leading Roman Catholic architect and scholar who was a friend of A. W. N. Pugin. Built in white brick in the Norman style, without a tower but with Gothic style turrets. The wide interior consisting of ‘Norman’ columns. The stained glass windows include two by A. W. N. Pugin in the North Chapel from a redundant church in Derbyshire, installed in 1987.
10.30am – 4pm

Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Square, CO1 1JB
Built by the Saxons around 1000 AD, the church tower is the oldest standing building in Colchester. The tower features a small doorway and recycled Roman bricks. Later additions include the 14th century chancel and Victorian extensions. An elaborate memorial to William Gilberd (1544 – 1603), Colcestrian, physician to Queen Elizabeth I and the first great European experimental scientist, is mounted on the North Wall. The church is now run by GO4 Market Café and this weekend will include craft activities, tours and live music plus displays on William Gilberd. The tower is not accessible to climb, but visitors can look inside.
9.30am – 9pm

Sunday 13th September

Star Turns, Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, CO1 1JH
Tours will be led by Firstsite’s staff who will talk about their own responses to this remarkable building. Interim director Anthony Roberts will kick off with The Director’s Cut at 11.00am on Saturday and Sunday.
Tours start at 11am, 12pm, 1pm & 2pm

St Helen’s Chapel St Helen’s Lane, CO1 1UR
Medieval chapel, first mentioned in 1076. Saxon in origin, built on Roman foundations and rebuilt several times. Now used as a Greek Orthodox Church.
10am – 1pm & 2pm – 4.30pm

St Peter’s Church North Hill, CO1 1PG
A multi-period church with surviving medieval features.
10am – 4pm

Peake’s House, East Stockwell Street, CO1 1HQ
Timber framed house, originally three buildings, the earliest dating from the late 14th century.
10am – 4pm

Mersea Barrow, East Mersea Road, CO5 8EX
A Roman child’s burial mound from the 2nd century AD. Visitors can enter the barrow via a passageway to the burial chamber.
10am – 5pm

Tymperley’s, Trinity Street, CO1 1JN
A Grade 2* listed timber-framed building dating from the late 15th century. Originally the service wing of the large house known as Tymperleys. Associated with William Gilberd, the ‘Father of Electricity’, scientist and physician to Queen Elizabeth I. Interior with late 17th-century staircase. Restored and altered in 1956. Formerly a clock museum, but now in use as a Restaurant/Tea Room. There will be Tudor musicians, dancers and singers providing entertainment at 2pm
10am – 5pm

GfB: the Colchester Bookshop 7 Trinity Street, CO1 1JN
This building was originally the hall range of the building later to be know as Tymperleys. It retains its original roof with Queen posts. The frontage was rebuilt in the late 18th century to form a suite of offices for the Francis family, who were solicitors.
10.30am – 12pm and 2.30pm – 4pm

The Queen Street Brewhouse, Queen Street, CO1 2PG
The Queen Street Brewhouse is 14th century and Grade 2 listed. It has been many things in its time including a stone mason’s home and workshop, a bordello, and many bars and clubs. It is now Colchester’s newest place to try over 50 types of beer from Britain, and Belgium , and play an album of your choice on their turntable.
11am onwards

M J Gillingham, 10 Trinity Street, CO1 1JN
The building dates back to the 15th century. It was re-modelled in the Victorian period when the roof height was raised. Inside there is some 17th-century panelling and exposed timber framing. There is a garden to the rear of the property.
2pm – 4pm

Icarus Hairdressing, 13 Trinity Street, CO1 1JN
Grade II listed, 16th-century building, formerly the Fleur de Lys public house traditionally said to have been built around 1500. Three storeys, timber-framed and plastered with tiled roofs. There will be an opportunity to visit the cellar which has original Roman bricks and the attic with a horseshoe beam. 11.30am – 3.30pm

Colchester Natural Health & Beauty, 14 Trinity Street, CO1 1JN
Probably 17th Century in origin, this two-storey timber-framed and plastered house has tiled roofs and a two-window range of double-hung sashes with glazing bars. There will be an opportunity to view the small walled garden of the property.
11.30am – 3.30pm

Tindalls Arts & Graphics, 25 Trinity Street, CO1 1JN
A 17th-century timber-framed and plastered building with two storeys. Upper projection on the west front on curved brackets. Attic and cellar, opportunity to view a small walled garden.
11.30am – 3.30pm

Eclettico, 26 Trinity Street, CO1 1JN
17th-century small building with upper storey projecting on the front. The north part of a group of buildings which formed the Clarence Inn, now demolished. Two storeys, with a cellar and attic, the roofs are tiled.
11.30am – 3.30pm

Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Square, CO1 1JB
Built by the Saxons around 1000 AD, the church tower is the oldest standing building in Colchester. The tower features a small doorway and recycled Roman bricks. Later additions include the 14th century chancel and Victorian extensions. An elaborate memorial to William Gilberd (1544 – 1603), Colcestrian, physician to Queen Elizabeth I and the first great European experimental scientist, is mounted on the North Wall. The church is now run by GO4 Market Café and this weekend will include craft activities, tours and live music plus displays on William Gilberd. The tower is not accessible to climb, but visitors can look inside.
10am – 3pm

The Stockwell, West Stockwell Street
Robert Morgan, the owner of the Stockwell, sadly recently passed away and as a tribute to Robert and his family, his widow Maggie Morgan has given The Colchester Town watch her support in opening the premises for the day.  Robert and his team totally refurbished the premises uncovering a wealth of history. Many artefacts have been preserved and are on display for all to see.
Robert’s passion was unquestionable for the mammoth task ahead. The finished result is a testament to his dedication and devotion to the project at great personal expense.
The Colchester Town Watch will be on hand to guide you round the building and to give you an insight why, in 1253, Henry III commanded the ‘Watches to be kept for the preservation of the peace.’
10am – 3pm

Trinity Street Guided Tours, Tymperleys, Trinity Street CO1 1JN
Dave Stenning, an expert in Colchester’s architectural history, will be giving tours of historic Trinity Street, looking inside some of the properties. Tours leave from Tymperleys.
Tours start from Tymperleys at 11am & 3pm

Colchester Cemetery, Mersea Road, CO2 8RU
Take a tour of the cemetery, a beautiful and peaceful space, hearing about its history. The tour lasts approx. 1.5 hrs (Sunday only). Colchester cemetery was opened in 1856 and contains two chapels, one Church of England and one Nonconformist.
Tours start at 10.30am & 2pm. Meet at Cemetery gate (Opposite Bourne Road)

Colchester Town Hall, High Street, CO1 1FR
Exciting design by John Belcher, constructed between 1897 – 1902. The clock tower, built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee and named the Victoria Tower, is surmounted by a bronze figure of St Helena, 162 ft (50 metres) above the street. Inside is an imposing staircase with seated statute of Queen Victoria, the mayoral suite and the Council Chamber. On the top floor is the Moot Hall with stained glass windows and the newly restored civic organ. Property open via guided tours, including private rooms, the courts and the cells.
Tours start at 10am & 11.30am

Roman Theatre, Maidenburgh Street, CO1 1UB
Small area of the foundations of the Roman theatre that featured in the destruction of Colchester by Boudica in AD 60. Originally had capacity for 3000 spectators. Discovered in 1981 during excavations by the Colchester Archaeological Trust and now in the care of Colchester and Ipswich Museums.
9.45am – 4.30pm

St Martin’s Church, West Stockwell Street, C01 1HQ
Medieval church with impressive 14th century roof, wall paintings and Norman tower which was badly damaged in the 1648 siege of Colchester during the English Civil War. The church was partially restored in 1891 in an Anglo-Catholic style. In the churchyard is the grave of Jacob Ringer, a cloth weaver or bay maker.
10am – 5pm

St John’s Abbey Gatehouse, St John’s Green, CO2 7HA
Early 15th-century gatehouse, with flint flushwork, a vaulted roof and battlements flanked by pinnacled corner turrets. A narrow winding staircase leads up to the main room. The Gatehouse is the only building to survive from the Benedictine St John’s Abbey completed 900 years ago in 1115. Badly damaged during the 1648 Siege of Colchester it was extensively restored in the 19th century. There are historical associations with Richard III and Catherine of Aragon.
10am – 4pm

Costumed Tours, War Memorial, CO1 1YG
Explore Colchester’s amazing past with an entertaining and knowledgable Town Guide.
Siege of Colchester Tour 11am
Roman Colchester Tour 3pm

Roman Wall Walk, War Memorial, CO1 1YG
Take a guided walk around the oldest and most complete town wall in the country. Built in response to Boudica’s attack on Colchester in AD 60, over two-thirds still remain, including the largest Roman gateway in Britain. Approx 1.5 hrs long.
Tour starts at 3pm

Bourne Mill Bourne Road, CO2 8RT
Originally built as a fishing lodge in 1591 with stepped Dutch gables. Converted to a mill in 19th century for cloth manufacturing, and later flour milling. Working water wheel.
11am – 5pm

St Mary-at-the-Walls Church, Church Street, CO1 1NF
A late 19th century church with a medieval tower, which was badly damaged during the Civil War in 1648. Tours of the tower are available, from where you can see clear views of Colchester. Site is now used as an arts venue, Colchester Arts Centre.
12pm – 4pm
Tours start at 1pm, 2pm & 3pm

Colne Light Ship, King Edward Quay, The Hythe, CO2 8JB
Colne Light is a steel lightship built by Philip & Son Ltd of Dartmouth in 1954 and is 138 feet long and weighs 538 tons. There are three decks and six cabins. The light, when in use, could be seen from 11 miles away. She served as a navigational light ship until 1988. Now used as a training ship for the Colchester Sea Cadets.
Take a look around the ship, meet some of the cadets and staff.
10am – 5pm

All information has been collated from the Colchester and Ipswich Museums website.


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