Summer History Visits
From May to August the WBLHG replaces its normal monthly meeting programme with a series of visits to places of local historical interest. This year the group visited:
- Halstead Museum (May),
- Sandford Mill (June),
- Maldon’s Museum in the Park (July),
- Roman Circus Centre (August).
See below (click the links) for the reports.
The Local History Group welcomes non-members to their meetings, members pay £2, visitors pay £4.
The new programme of talks starts on Wednesday 12th September at 7:30 pm when Peter Walker will be talking about “County Maps of Essex from 1576 to 1805”. Peter, a retired accountant and map enthusiast, is well known for having written on this subject. “Printed Maps of Essex from 1576” is published by the Friends of Historic Essex.
On October 10th BBC Suffolk broadcaster and entertaining speaker, Charlie Haylock, will be revealing the “History of Spoken English”. On November 14th we will be privileged to welcome local historian Andrew Philips; he will deliver the 2nd Annual Bernard Colbron Lecture on the impact of the end of WW1 on the Colchester area.
We received a warm welcome to the small but incredibly informative Halstead Museum in the Queens Hall on Chipping Hill. Because of the size of the museum, we split into two groups, one group were shown around the museum by Jim Davis. The other group was taken on a walking tour of the part of Halstead by local artist and well informed local historian Malcolm Root. The groups then swapped over. It is well worth a visit.
In June members went to Sandford Mill. This former water mill and site of Chelmsford Water Works east of Chelmsford, is part of Chelmsford Museum and is a science education centre. It hosts a number of exhibits related to the industrial development of Chelmsford. It is generally not open to the public except for special bookings and events. Although the attendance was small the visit proved very interesting.
Museum in the Park
In July a group of members ventured to Maldon to visit their “Museum in the Park” housed in the former park keeper’s lodge at the entrance to the park on the promenade. Following a slight problem with the opening time, members were able to look around the museum illustrating the local social and industrial history of Maldon.
Roman Circus Centre
We were lucky to be shown round the centre by principal archaeologist Philip Crummy. Philip was very closely involved in finding and identifying the presence of the chariot racing Roman Circus in Colchester; it is the only one currently identified in this country. It was a fascinating visit starting with the 100th scale model in the visitors centre, the 3D simulation film and the roman circus mosaic wall at the Visitors Centre and Tearoom.
Outside we were shown protected examples of the exposed foundations; we then moved on to the reconstruction of the position of the starting gates. Walking along the path on Circular Road North and Napier Road towards Mersea Road, some of the seating areas have been marked on open areas by grass banks. The central “spina” is marked by a parallel path of granite blocks in front of the old Colchester Garrison HQ. The foundations of the curved end of the Roman Circus seating is clearly marked by a block paved path.
An interesting visit followed by lunch for some of us in the Visitor’s Centre tearoom.