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Castle Park’s living memorial to commemorate the end of the First World War

A spectacular three-dimensional flower display, as part of its commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

Colchester Borough Council has created a spectacular three-dimensional flower display, as part of its commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

Standing proudly in front of Colchester Castle, the display symbolises the town’s important role during the First World War.

The design, which features a willow sculpture and floral WW1 tank, incorporates over 11,000 plants and is inspired by a real tank given to the town as a war trophy after the war and displayed on the west side of the Castle until the 1930s.

Colchester was a garrison town long before the outbreak of World War 1, but when war was declared the area suddenly witnessed a huge influx of troops. At its peak 20,000 soldiers were stationed in the town, doubling its population

Several battalions of ‘Kitchener’s Army’ trained at Colchester Garrison. Formed in 1914, the New Army – as it was also known – was initially made up of volunteer recruits. By early November 1914, more than 3,000 local men had enlisted, at a rate of more than 200 a day. By the end of the war 1,263 men from the borough had been killed.

In 1922 the council purchased the Castle, Hollytrees House and its estate – following a generous donation by Viscount Cowdray, High Steward and MP for Colchester. 

The town’s War Memorial in Cowdray Crescent, paid for by public subscription, was unveiled on 24 May 1923.

Cllr Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “The First World War is an incredibly significant and defining moment in our history. This stunning and evocative flower display will help us remember and give thanks to all those who fought and died for our freedom on the battlefields of Europe a century ago.”

The display was designed by Colchester Borough Council and idVerde, which also helped build it and provided free compost.

Martin Packman, idverde Regional Operational Director, said: “Our staff enjoy working in partnership with Colchester Borough Council to design and build Castle Park’s prestigious bedding display each year. This year’s display is particularly poignant and we are extremely proud to have been involved and to be able to honour our fallen heroes.”

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