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by Patrick Denney

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.

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