Work will begin this week to excavate the former bus depot site on Queen Street, as part of the development of the site into a new digital creative hub for Colchester.
The bus garage building was demolished earlier this month, and work is now beginning to explore the site, allowing archaeologists to understand how the area may have contributed to Colchester’s rich and unique heritage.
The work is being completed by Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT). CAT’s previous investigations have shown the archaeological remains at the site to be relatively poorly preserved. However, CAT still expects to find the remains of a Roman street that ran alongside the inside of the town wall, evidence of occupation and industry from the medieval and post-medieval periods, and perhaps even some remains of the Theatre Royal, which occupied the site until it was destroyed by fire in 1918.
Depending on what is found, the excavations could last for up to 12 weeks, during which time CAT is hoping to hold open days on the site to allow members of the public to view the remains and learn more about what has been found.
Adam Wightman from Colchester Archaeological Trust said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for us to learn more about the layout of the Roman Town, and to boost our understanding of Colchester’s unique heritage. We’re excited to see what we might discover and look forward to sharing our learnings with the public.”
Cllr Pam Fox, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Heritage said: “Ensuring that all our sites are thoroughly examined is an important part of the development process – making the most of the opportunity to find out more about the history and heritage of our area as we take the city into the next chapter.”
The development is funded primarily by the South East Local Economic Partnership and the Town Deal. The building will be transformed into a creative hub for creative businesses and emerging talent in Colchester, unlocking the economic, social and cultural potential of the area. This supports the Town Deal Funding goals of improving connectivity in Colchester, ensuring the city is at the forefront of digital skills development.
Page last reviewed: 17 February 2023