Colchester, Essex is one of the oldest towns in Britain history. As previously established, Colchester is rich in history and culture. It’s the place one would love to visit to see picturesque places that will take you back centuries prior. Aside from all of these, local historian Andrew Phillips proves that there is more to Colchester than just the obvious facts everyone already knew of.
Here are seven facts about Colchester that most might not know.
- Ever sung “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”? The world-famous nursery rhyme was written by a 23-year-old Jane Taylor in 1806. Taylor wrote it in her attic, which still exists in Stockwell Street, Colchester.
- Colchester is Britain’s first ever city.It has the oldest town walls in all of Britain. These walls were built by the Romans after Boudicca wrecked the place in AD 60. To this day, about a mile of the same wall is still there.
- The second oldest continuously-used site in all of Britain for making powered engines is the Paxman Works (which is now known as MAN Diesel). The site is 140 years old, and still works today. It was opened at Hythe Hill, Colchester back in 1874. The factory is still currently building the Paxman 18VP185. It is the largest diesel engine, and the only one designed and made in Britain. The 18VP185 carries 5,000 horsepower.
- The immortal Second World War song, ‘There’ll always be an England’ was written by Ross Parker, co-author of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ in 1940. Parker wrote it in a Second World War pillbox while he was stationed at Roman Way Camp. It was documented that the camp was so noisy, Parker retreated to the pill box for some quietness while composing.
- The oldest Hot Cross Bun in the whole world was baked in Wyre Street, Colchester. It was baked on Good Friday, 1807 and is now rock hard. The bun was owned by a couple in Wormingford, it beats one kept in the British Museum which was baked in 1869.
- Gosbeck’s Archaeological Park in Colchester is Britain’s least known major archaeological site. It was actually the royal centre of Camulodunum, the Iron Age fortress of King Cunobelin, whom Shakespeare called Cymbeline, and the Roman historian Dio Cassius called ‘king of the Britons’. Camulodunum was enormous, defended by 15 miles of defensive dykes. The Romans added a temple, (where Cunobelin may be buried), and a ceremonial theatre. Both have been marked out on the site.
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