Saturday, 8 September 2012

Heritage Town

You may have gathered I have a soft spot for my home town, so when the opportunity presents itself I can't resist getting a related blog post in.  This weekend the Heritage Open Days are on across the country, and in Colchester it is always a treat, with so much to see.


We have been to the Castle hundreds of times, as well as visiting Peake's House last year and the bus tour was beyond us with two active children in tow.  But we did mange to get to Colchester Royal Grammar School which we have missed in previous years, and I'm so glad we went.  


The library dates from the 1850s, but was built in an Elizabethan style to match in with the rest of the building.  Originally, it was the dining hall, but it changed use in the 1950's to a library in memoriam of those lost during the war.  Walking around there as interested visitors with our cameras, phones and relatively care-free lives you forget that more than sixty years previous this was a moving tribute to the all too raw scars from the recent war.


It is always atmospheric wandering about an old building thinking about people who used to live, work or study there and the Grammar School is no exception.  The images of old classes line the walls, lists of past head boys and Colchesterian Society adorned the reception area and a collection of portraits of past head teachers can be seen all around the library.  You can almost see the pre-war school boys chucking a rugby ball and the robed teachers sweeping down the corridors in days gone by, before you spot the all too modern computers and students with mobile phones at their hands.  It is a beautiful building and well worth a look around.


Walking around the rest of the town today, something I do almost every day, was a little different.  There was a sense of celebrating our lovely little town- the wandering tourists and locals alike with cameras and maps hoping to experience something different, the sounds of local musicians at different venues, and even the unveiling of Firstsite's latest modern art exhibition added to the atmosphere of celebration.  And I was struck afresh with a sense of privilege that I was able to experience so much history and character during my formative years.  Perhaps it was this, growing up in Britain's oldest recorded town, which contributed to a love of history which had never left me and which has continues to be an ever present part of my life now with the running of a vintage shop.  Next year I have promised myself (and the kids) that we will do the vintage bus tour of Colchester and head down towards some of the sites at the Hythe.





12 comments:

  1. Wow..!! Such a nice post. I like the way you write. Keep posted...

    Regards,
    Ray
    Grimm

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  2. I love that vintage bus. And the library, wow! Just showed it to Frank and began to talk to him about how he might go to that school if he wanted to one day. His response was to lick my face and run off. Sigh ...

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    1. It sure wasn't like the Gilberd ;-), I could happily live in that library....

      Frank is genius- I may start using that tactic when someone asks me a question I don't know how to answer! x

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  3. My word that library is striking. I've always had a fondness for Victorian libraries, but add to it the fact that this one was styled after the Elizabethan era and I'm positively swooning.


    ♥ Jessica

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    1. It is pretty stunning, there was a picture of what it looked like a the dinning room which I tried to get a picture of but it came out too blurry to post.

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  4. How gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I am somewhat addicted to my little home town so I can't resist sharing some of its stunning history here! Glad others like it too!

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  5. I went to school there. Can't say I enjoyed my school years that much, but I liked the buildings, esp the library.

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  6. ahhhh... to have a castle in your town... that must be the most wonderful thing of all time. So incredibly beautiful!!! You are so lucky.
    It's funny.... Here we think a building built in 1840 is "soooooo old". it's so hilarious to think when you put it in perspective.
    what wonderful photography opportunities you have, i'm very jealous!

    hugs, Vanessa ReadyDressedGo

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  7. So interesting and wonderful history and photos! If I get to England one day I’d like to visit this lovely area! Especially Love that old library!! :)

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  8. The book pictures are beautiful but libraries always capture me. You are lucky to have that opportunity.

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Thank you so much for your comments, it is very much appreciated. we read each and every one of them. x

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