Colchester Tramways

In Colchester transport policy is always controversial and decisions can take years.  A hundred years ago things were different. In February 1903 the council voted to proceed with proposals for a tramway and just eighteen months later, in July 1904, the first tram set off from the town hall. Driven by the mayoress Mrs Gertrude Barrett it made its way to North Station via Lexden. On the first Saturday the trams had 10,000 passengers.

At 1 in 12, North Hill was the steepest section of the route and trams sometimes struggled to get up when the rails were slippery. Rather more worrying was the danger that they might not be able to stop on the way down and so speed was limited to 4 mph.

Eventually the faster, quieter, more comfortable motorbuses took over and in 1929 the trams were sold off for £5 each, becoming garden sheds, summer houses and even a café

This book celebrates the short period in Colchester’s history when trams ruled the roads.

Middleton Press hardback £18.95

Colchester at Work

Whether you call it Britain’s oldest recorded town or its first city, there is no doubt that Colchester has a long and fascinating history and has enjoyed national and international prominence in many fields. Most well-known is probably its importance for the wool trade which dates right back to the thirteenth century when surnames like dyer, weaver and fuller became common.

In the eighteenth-century Colchester was one of the most important provincial clockmaking centres in the country with over a hundred watch and clockmakers working in the town. More recently in the mid 1860’s James Paxman set up an engineering works manufacturing steam engines and boilers which were delivered all over the world.

 From the manufacture of pottery in the Iron Age and Roman periods to the closure of the Hythe as a port in 2001, here is a book that explores Colchester’s history through the occupations and industries that people have worked in through the years.

Amberley Publishing, paperback £14.99