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About Colchester
More Recent History.
As you walk up one of the hills Colchester is built upon, you come towards the town centre and the Town Hall (pictured right), built in 1902 with its imposing 164ft clock tower, at the top of which is a status of the patron saint of Colchester, St Helena. This can be seen clearly from around the town and looks superb when lit-up at night. Below the statue of St Helena are 4 ravens representing the harbourmaster, signifying Colchester's past history as a major port, and 4 statues representing agriculture, defence, building and industry. There are also 6 further statues representing people who have been significant in the history of the town.

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'Jumbo' the water tower

Another famous Colchester landmark is a Victorian water tower, known locally as 'Jumbo' (pictured left). Built in 1882 it was nicknamed after an elephant which was controversially sold by London Zoo to the American showman P.T. Barnam at about the time it was built. It is a building that locals either love or hate! It does however make a very useful landmark being visable from much of the town. It is built near to the Balkerne Gate which is believed to be the original main entrance into Colchester in Roman times. Also nearby Jumbo are the Mercury Theatre where shows and plays are staged all year round and the Colchester Arts Centre which stages music concerts to suit tastes as varied as blues, jazz, folk and rock, plus comedy & drama.
During the Second World War the area around Colchester was one of the most important in Britain for air defences. Nearby were the airfields of Boxted, Wormingford, Earls Colne, Rivenhall & Birch where planes from both the RAF and USAAF were stationed. The airfield at Earls Colne is still in use today for light aircraft.



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