Colchester will officially become a city on Wednesday, 23 November, when the letters patent – an official document written on parchment – is presented to the mayor during a special meeting of the Full Council.
The moment will be followed, in January, with the commencement of a year of community celebrations, as Colchester becomes the 76th city in the UK and the third in Essex, alongside Chelmsford and Southend.
The historic ceremony begins at 5:30pm with a civic procession of dignitaries and councillors led by the Town Serjeant and Colchester Pipes and Drums.
The public will be able to watch the procession, escorted by the Town Watch, as it moves from the Mercury Theatre, along High Street to the Town Hall, where the Town Crier will deliver a proclamation. More than 20 Ukrainian and other refugees who have made a new life in Colchester will also join the procession and fly flags.
At 6pm, councillors will process into Moot Hall for a formal robed meeting of the Full Council – the last time they will sit as a Borough Council.
The public will be able to follow proceedings live on the council’s YouTube channel, as the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, presents the letters patent to the Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Tim Young.
Following speeches from the Mayor and Lord Lieutenant, the sole business item of the meeting will see members vote on a resolution to change from Colchester Borough Council to Colchester City Council. Once approved, Colchester officially becomes a city and the meeting will formally close – reconvening several minutes later for the first full meeting of Colchester City Council and a ceremony to confer honorary aldermanship on former mayor and long-serving councillor Peter Chillingworth.
Following more speeches, the inaugural meeting of Colchester City Council will close and dignitaries, members and special guests will process from Moot Hall to a private reception.
The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Tim Young, said: “City Day is a long time coming, a proud moment for us to celebrate all that makes Colchester what it is, what it was, and what it will continue to be: a fantastic place to live, to work and to visit.
“It will be an incredible honour for me to receive the letters patent from the King’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, on behalf of the people of Colchester, but it will also be a poignant moment as the letters patent were granted by her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“I would like, once again, to pay tribute and offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to make this historic occasion a reality.”
Cllr David King, Leader of the Council, said: “This meeting represents a significant moment in the long history of Colchester, as we change from a borough to a city.
“As our ceremonial procession will show, with the flags of many nations flying, we provide a warm welcome for those seeking a safe and supportive place to live, work or visit. Becoming a city will further raise that national profile. It will deliver a major boost to the local economy. It will create even greater social opportunities, and it will promote our rich heritage and culture – for the benefit of all our residents, businesses and the many visitors who flock here.”
Cllr Pam Cox, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Heritage, added: “The historic parade and ceremony will be followed, in January, with a year of celebrations, festivals and exhibitions, which will showcase all the wonderful things our new city of Colchester has to offer and convey to the world that we are a city of culture, compassion and creativity.
“City Day is our day, a time to come together and look to the future as we celebrate all of the great things Colchester has to offer.”
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Page last reviewed: 10 November 2022