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GUIDED

TOUR

OF

COLCHESTER'S

 
This page will take you on a virtual guided tour of some of the more interesting aspects of the interior of our magnificent town hall. Located in the High Street it is one of the most imposing buildings in Colchester, built at a time when Colchester was at its peak.

We have already seen the outside of the town hall, during section B of our main tour. If you missed this, please go here to get an introduction to this page's subject and here for some old postcard pictures - but please don't forget to come back!

We intend to add much more to this page in due course.

The War Memorial in the entrance lobby of the Town Hall where a 'roll of the fallen' of two world wars is recorded. The names of these 1500 (approximately) Colchester Heroes are recorded here.

Queen Victoria I. After whom the Town Hall's Victoria Tower is named.

She died in 1901, a year before the building was completed.

 

This is a view inside the council chambers where our borough councillors meet for their deliberations over Colchester matters. The chairman's chair has an older form of our borough crest, from a time when there was religious intolerance and great suspicion of catholics. On the wall behind is a painting that depicts Sir William Gilberd, the father of electricity, making a presentation to Queen Elizabeth the first around the year 1600.

A closer view of the picture is shown above.

The interior of the council chamber is sumptuously decorated with the above view of the ceiling showing twelve pre-Raphaelite ladies to represent a year. The twelve months of the year are clearly written beneath each of the women.

This panel details the historical development of Colchester's name from the earliest times when it was known as Camulodunum.

The artists were a father and son team. Charles Edward and Charles Henry Baskett are both highly regarded in the art world and one can find examples of their work in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Charles Henry is famed for his aquatints and etchings and was commissioned to submit two etchings for Queen Mary's Dolls House, now housed in Windsor Castle. They were very much local people. (C.H. Baskett's grand-daughter, still [2013] lives near Hadleigh.) If you would like to know more of their work please click on the following links.

Charles Edward Baskett

Charles Henry Baskett

We are grateful to Alexandra O'Grady for this information as they were her great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather respectively and the beautiful young girls each side of the painted shield on the wall, high above the bench in the Council Chamber, are both her great-aunt Christobell, Charles Henry's daughter.

That's living history for you!

These two statues are believed to have come from the town's Bluecoat School that once dispensed education to the young in St Helens Lane in our Dutch Quarter. They were rescued and placed here. One would assume that they were placed separately over the girls and the boys entrances to the school.

This lavish monument records the martyrdom of those men and women of Colchester who who were put to death because of their religious beliefs, mainly at the behest of Queen Mary in the 16th century.

 COLCHESTER' S FIRST LIBRARY

Attached to the town hall is a Victorian building in Jacobean style that was originally built as Colchester's first library. It was later to become the refectory for council employees and we show some pictures of the inside of this magnificent building below.

The interior has been decorated by items from the corporation's art collection. Note the queen post style roof. The windows overlook Stockwell Street West, previously Angel Lane.

The above picture tells us that the library was opened on the 25th October 1894 by both the Lord High Chancellor of England in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London and the Mayor of Colchester, Henry Goody, as well as other civic dignitaries.

This fine bas relief sculpture also adorns the walls and I must find out more about it. Its relevance to Colchester is unknown by me but it does depict Queen Victoria, her beloved Albert and their family.

 

SITE STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Please return at a later date.

To revisit any part of the tour, please click on any of the following:

start  

  
 

 

or return to the

Home Page

 

last updated

230213