Wednesday May 29th, 6 30 pm
PATRICK DENNEY talking about his new book
‘Colchester at Work’
People and industries through the years
Colchester at Work explores the working life of this Essex town. The market town of Colchester has a long history stretching back to when it was the Roman capital of Britain, Camulodunum, and earlier. The Romans also started the harvesting of Oysters from the nearby Mersea Island, which has continued through the ensuing centuries and today oysters from around Colchester are highly prized. In the Middle Ages the town prospered and grew rapidly as a centre for the manufacture of woollen cloth.
Its international fame as a centre of the textile industry, known for its high quality, and the wool trade drew a large number of weavers and clothmakers from Flanders in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Industrial Revolution brought important new industries to Colchester, including the Paxman diesel works, originally founded in the 19th century as Standard Ironworks. The Paxman diesel business was at the forefront of the production of engines particularly for naval vessels and railway locomotives, becoming part of the English Electric Diesel Group in 1966. Colchester has also been an important garrison town for centuries and although the Army’s presence has reduced in recent years, it still has a significant presence. Today the town is one of the fastest growing in the country, benefitting from its university, new residential developments, proximity to Stansted airport, Felixstowe and Harwich sea ports and good connections to London. The author includes a chapter of memories of the working lives of many of the ordinary people who worked in Colchester in the last 100 years. The book will appeal to all those with an interest in the history of this part of the country.
Colchester at Work, Amberley publishing, pbk, £14.99