Monthly Archives: January 2018

Prostitution in Victorian Colchester

In the mid nineteenth century the army camp was built just outside Colchester and soon it was the largest garrison in the country. The town benefitted from an economic boom but with It came problems. There was drunkenness, brawling and, with only 7% of soldiers allowed to marry, prostitution rocketed.  Colchester’s existing red-light district could not cope. The ladies of the night spread all over town.  Records show that half the pubs and beer houses were associated with prostitution. And outside town into the countryside –  the expression police had for those activities in places like Abbey Field was ‘flattening the corn’!

A report in 1857 recorded the number of soldiers incapacitated by an ‘insanitary condition’ across the country. Colchester Garrison came bottom of the table with almost half soldiers at some time hospitalised – the equivalent of the loss of two regiments.

This fascinating and well researched book looks in detail at the lives of some of the 350 women working as prostitutes at the time and explores the medical, religious and social impact on the life of Victorian Colchester.

University of Hertfordshire Press paperback £18.99.

Art Exhibition: Brightlingsea Art Group

Just for us,  the Brightlingsea Friday Art Group have put together a selection of recent paintings all on the theme of books and reading.

The Brightlingsea Art Group has been meeting for over ten years. Members share their experience and talents and contribute towards the general friendly ethos ad pleasant atmosphere of the group. As well as working together as a group, we visit exhibitions and meet socially.

Over many years we benefitted from the expertise of our tutor, Pam Booker, who assisted in the development of our basic skills in drawing, colour, mixed media and composition. Simon Peacock, our current tutor continues to do the same.

We have exhibited locally at the Waterside Gallery and the Coffee Shop. This time we are happy to be exhibiting at the Red Lion Bookshop with a collection of painting on the theme of books and literature.

We hope you enjoy looking at our pictures.

Colchester: A History

This is a new, much revised edition of leading historian, Andrew Phillips’ major work on Colchester.

Colchester boasts 2,000 years of history. Few towns in Britain can equal that. Yet this new book, by a local author, is the first full and concise history of Colchester to be published for over half a century, during which time our knowledge of the town’s past has grown immeasurably.

The Iron-Age capital of King Cunobelin (Shakespeare’s Cymbeline), Colchester was the target of the Roman invasion in AD 43. Where the Emperor Claudius received its submission, the Romans built a legionary fortress, the framework of which still forms the centre of Colchester. As capital of Roman Britain, Colchester was overrun and burnt by the warrior queen Boudica (aka Boadicea), then rebuilt and ringed by its famous walls. 

After Rome fell and the Saxon incursions began, the Saxon King Edward the Elder made it the leading town in Essex. The Normans raised its profile higher, when an Abbey, a Priory and a great castle gave it the strategic defence of Eastern England. It was besieged only once, when King John was in conflict with his barons over Magna Carta.

For 400 years Colchester’s cloth industry placed it among the top fifteen towns in the kingdom. It saw Protestants burnt at the stake, withstood a Civil War siege, was ravaged by plague and stood in the front line against invasion, first by Napoleon, then by the Kaiser, then by Hitler. An important engineering town since Victorian times, it is today a regional shopping centre, a major garrison town and a popular tourist attraction.

The History Press, paperback £14.99.


On This ColU Day

Written by historian, statistician and long time ColU fan, Graeson Laitt, this book recalls some of the greatest moment in the club’s history, along with those days we’d all rather just forget.

From the FA Cup victories over Leeds United and promotion at Yeovil Town to embarrassment at Bedlington and relegation out of the Football League. From Peter Wright and Lua Lua to those for whom history and recollections have perhaps not been quite so kind.

Each day of the year has at least one entry and includes all the big matches, promotions, cup runs and significant events in the life of Colchester United.

Paperback, £12.00