New signs to welcome visitors to Colchester

New signs welcoming people to the borough are to be installed at a number of key locations by Colchester Borough Council over the next few weeks.

The signs are designed to clearly inform visitors they are entering the Borough which was Britain’s First City. They are being introduced following a project led by the Borough’s former Mayor Cllr Gerard Oxford, and agreed as part of his mayoral legacy following increased awareness and use of this important historic fact over the last few years by local historians and Destination Colchester.

Colchester was established as the first Roman colony in their new province of Britain in about AD49. It's likely, its formal name was Colonia Claudia Victricensis, which loosely translates as City of Victory.

As renowned historian, Philip Crummy says in his book, City of Victory (p53), a colony was the foremost type of Roman city therefore putting claim to Colchester as Britain's 1st City. 

Colchester has a wealth of history and heritage to explore from Europe's largest Norman Keep, Colchester Castle, to St Botolphs an extremely well preserved Augustinian priory, to the oldest and longest surviving Roman town wall in Britain. 

The use of the term by Destination Colchester, local historians and the former Mayor for his welcome signs project prompted a call for the Heritage Task and Finish Group to consider a new Visit Colchester strapline and a decision by Cabinet this week to adopt Britain’s First City.  

Cllr Gerard Oxford said: “During my mayoralty I came up with this project supported by local historians and Sir Bob Russell, the High Steward. I took my project to the cabinet who liked it and agreed to support it. I am delighted because so many people don’t realise Colchester is Britain’s first city and the former capital.”

Notes to Editors 

Attached are pictures from the unveiling of the first sign. From left to right: Sir Bob Russell; Cllr Tim Young (Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture and Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council); Cllr Gerard Oxford; Cllr Beverley Oxford (Colchester Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customers).

Among the areas the signs will be installed in include:

·         Bromley Road

·         Ipswich Road (Junction with A12)

·         Via Urbis Romanae (Junction 28)

·         Nayland Road

·         Parsons Heath

·         Spring Lane Roundabout

·         St Andrews Avenue (A133 approach to the traffic lights)

For further information about anything included in this press release please contact communications@colchester.gov.uk or call 07815 088150.

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