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New 'Britain's First City' signs for Colchester

PUBLISHED: 13:24 18 March 2019

The new signs welcoming people to Colchester, Britain's capital in Roman times Picture:  COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

The new signs welcoming people to Colchester, Britain's capital in Roman times Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

New signs welcoming people to Colchester and which celebrate its ancient status as the capital of Roman Britain are to be installed around the borough.

Sir Bob Russell, left, Cllr Tim Young, Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture and Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council, Cllr Gerard Oxford, and Cllr Beverley Oxford, Colchester Borough Council�s Portfolio Holder for Customers, by the first of the signs Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCILSir Bob Russell, left, Cllr Tim Young, Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture and Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council, Cllr Gerard Oxford, and Cllr Beverley Oxford, Colchester Borough Council�s Portfolio Holder for Customers, by the first of the signs Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

The signs inform visitors they are entering the Borough which was Britain’s First City.

They are being introduced following a project led by the Borough’s former Mayor Cllr Gerard Oxford, and agreed as part of his mayoral legacy following increased awareness and use of this important historic fact over the last few years by local historians and Destination Colchester.

Colchester was established as the first Roman colony in their new province of Britain in about AD49.

It is likely its formal name was Colonia Claudia Victricensis, which loosely translates as City of Victory.

The council says renowned historian Philip Crummy wrote in his book City of Victory that a colony was the foremost type of Roman city, therefore putting claim to Colchester as Britain’s first City.

Among the areas the signs will be installed in include:

• Bromley Road

• Ipswich Road (Junction with A12)

• Via Urbis Romanae (Junction 28)

• Nayland Road

• Parsons Heath

• Spring Lane Roundabout

• St Andrews Avenue (A133 approach to the traffic lights)

The use of the term by tourism group Destination Colchester, local historians and the former Mayor for his welcome signs project have prompted calls for the council to incorporate Britain’s First City into a new Visit Colchester strapline. A decision by the council’s cabinet is understood to be imminent.

Cllr Oxford said: “During my mayoralty I came up with this project supported by local historians and Sir Bob Russell, the High Steward.

“I took my project to the cabinet who liked it and agreed to support it. I am delighted because so many people don’t realise Colchester is Britain’s first city and the former capital.”

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