01206 842032 info@tfocm.org.uk 142 New York

Latest News

Take a look at our latest programme of lectures.  Here’s a reminder of some of our earlier lectures from 2023…

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News about the display of the John Constable sketch at Colchester Castle has appeared on the BBC website.  The 216-year-old pencil drawing of St Botolph’s Priory dates back to 1808 and was brought home by the Friends after going on sale at a fine arts auctioneer house in London!  

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Our most recent newsletters can be found here.

You can also revisit some of our earlier lectures on Zoom (scroll down).

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Attendees at the last lecture will be aware that Andrew Phillips was unwell at the conclusion of his fascinating and well-researched presentation. Colleagues accompanied him to A&E and after thorough examination he returned home.  We wish him well.

31st October 2023: The Mark Davies Memorial Lecture

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We were sad to hear of the death of Mark Davies who served for many years as a Trustee. The last talk of the Autumn Season on 31st October 2023 at which he was to have spoken, will now be “The Mark Davies Memorial Lecture” delivered by Andrew Phillips.

Mark Davies

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3rd October 2023 lecture: Art in the Town Hall

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19th Sept 2023 lecture: The Town Watch

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Watch out for the Autumn Newsletter 2023 and our 73rd Annual Report arriving soon! Read our 22/23 FoCM Annual Report.

For all previous reports and newsletters visit our Archive pages.

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7th Sept 2023: Gladiators Exhibition at Colchester Castle.

A private viewing for Friends of Colchester Museums.

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5th Sept 2023 lecture: Frinton & Walton Heritage Trust

… Its future plans and new Heritage Centre by John Barter

Visit Lectures for a full list.

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June 2023 is our summer break.  Next event is to Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome on 20th July 2023.  Visit Excursions for more.

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4th July 2023 lecture: The Journey to a New Museum for Brightlingsea by Margaret Stone 

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20th June 2023 lecture: Old Heath by Patrick Denney, author of many local history books

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8th June 2023 lecture: Essex Industrial School 1872 by Emma Palmer

Visit Lectures for full list.

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21st May 2023 lecture: The Great Essex Earthquake 1884 by Peter Jones

When panic and destruction swept across north Essex

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9th May 2023 lecture: The Low Countries to New Hall and Beyond by Sr Moira O’Sullivan and Sr Margaret Mary Horton

A history of the Canonesses who now live in Chelmsford and Colchester

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For previous newsletters visit Archive.

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25th April 2023 lecture: The Colchester Royal Grammar School Pool by Dr Paul Byrne

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11th April 2023 lecture: Under Siege – Colchester and the Civil War by Prof. Pamela Cox

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Spread the word about the Friends by liking or sharing our Facebook page

Visit www.facebook.com/ColchesterMuseumFriends/ 

We’ve now passed 550 followers – let’s try for over a thousand!

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1st November 2022 lecture: The Changing Face of Ordnance Survey One Inch Maps of Essex by Peter Walker

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18th October 2022 lecture: The History of St. Leonards at the Hythe by Joy Hopkinson

The rise and fall of one of Colchester’s finest medieval churches.

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Help spread the word about the Friends by liking and sharing our Facebook page:

Visit www.facebook.com/ColchesterHistoryFriends/

We’ve now passed 500 followers.  Let’s try for over a thousand!

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4th October 2022 lecture: Essex Lighthouses Maritime Safety off the East Coast of England by Peter Jones

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From Ray Cantrell: Due to the speaker being unable to attend, the first lecture of our Autumn series, on 6th September 2022, has been changed. The speaker is now Mark Mitchels, well known as a popular speaker and also author of several books, mainly concerning East Anglia. His subject will be “The Lost City of Dunwich” (which is also the title of one of his books). We are very fortunate to have been able to book him at short notice and anticipate an excellent evening.

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19th July 2022 exhibition: Wicked Spirits at Colchester Castle

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21st June 2022: AGM followed by lecture on A brief history of 45 Colchester schools by Sir Bob Russell

Please note the church lift has been repaired and is now in operation.

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12th April 2022 lecture: Essex Rock by Ian and Roz Mercer

FOCM held their first live meeting since lockdown.  Seventy members listened enthralled to retired professional geologists Ian and Roz Mercer’s talk covering a 500 million year history of Essex.  This told of when Essex was in Antarctica, when the dinosaurs roamed, Essex a seabed, ice and volcanoes and how the River Thames once ran around Colchester and met with the River Medway at Clacton.  It was an inspiring evening and a fitting start to our new season of talks at Lion Walk Church.

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Statement from the Castle Museum 23rd February 2022 regarding the Museum Estate and Development Fund application:

We were very disappointed not to receive an award from MEND, Museum Estate and Development Fund, which would have supported the repairs and decoration of Hollytrees and the Castle. We felt we had submitted a strong, clear application, but are aware of the many applications that would have been received by the Arts Council, perhaps from organisations that don’t have the support structure that we do. We are now looking at other ways to finance these essential repairs, which of course will be supported by Colchester Borough Council and Colchester Borough Homes. A repairs programme will be defined soon, and we’ll update you on progress when we can. We’re very sorry, we know the buildings concern many of you, please be assured that the planned repairs and decorative work will still take place. And we won’t stop trying to secure external funding where we can, despite this recent outcome!

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The following lectures along with their links can be seen again:

Sutton Hoo

Hitchin Corner Shop Killings

History of Perrywoods Garden Centre

Reviving Gainsborough’s House by Emma Boyd

Medieval Colchester: Evidence from Wills by Sue Howlett of Mersea Museum

The Genteel Class of Georgian Colchester and their Homes by Patrick Denney

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We have a proud history of informative illustrated talks.

For a list of presentations over a decade see Archive

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 Colchester Museum’s collections are now searchable online.

Lots of information and pictures of artefacts and photographs through which you can explore thousands of years of history.

Visit cimuseums.org.uk/collections

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New Turner Exhibition at the Castle.

Message from Pippa Pickles:

Our grateful thanks again to the Friends for the generous contribution enabling us to exhibit the Turner in the arcade space of the Castle.  My photo does not do it justice, but it is a beautiful display.

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We’re now on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/pg/ColchesterHistoryFriends/

If you ‘like’ us and share with your friends and family it’ll help spread the word and help us assist the museums even more! Thanks.

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Len Drinkell (1927-2013)

Len was an original member of the Friends, founded in 1949.

His memories in the form of a beautifully-illustrated Friends’ 50th Anniversary Address (1999) are now available from our Archive pages above.

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Acquisitions: Paintings “Portrait of Mrs Daniell” & “View at the Hythe”

A charming portrait of Ethel Daniell was painted 100 years ago by Frank Daniell. It was found in the attic of 8 East Hill, Colchester by Betty & Norman Warner (pictured with Mr Warner’s Hythe painting) , who bought the house. It was damaged and they arranged repairs.  The Friends have acquired it to join the 22 other works by Frank Daniell in the Museum collection. Further details in 2016-17 Annual Report in Archive

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Frank Daniell plaque

The Colchester Civic Society arranged for a blue plaque to be placed on the wall of 8 East Hill.

The plaque reads “Frank Daniell, (1866-1932) artist and portrait painter lived here and 15a High Street”. At the same time Norman Warner presented his own painting of a scene of the Hythe (above). The Museum has few views of industrial Colchester so it is very welcome.

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Acquisition: Mediaeval Seal Matrix

This was found in September 2015 during a metal detecting rally on farmland at Boxted, Essex.  Made of silver, set with a cornelian intaglio, or engraved gemstone, it dates to the period 1200 – 1400. Further details in January 2018 Newsletter in the Archive section.