Yesterday (5th July), the Trust re-opened the Roman circus site, centre and cafe. The cafe is now being run by Sandy on behalf of the Trust. Trust volunteer Neil, who leads our dedicated renovation team, was on duty during the day, giving guided tours to visitors. Trust director Philip was also on duty, and he led a guided tour for members of the Essex Archaeological Society (EAS), who made a group visit to the Roman circus after a tour of the town led by Mark Davies. The EAS came to see the recently-completed reconstructions of the stumps of the circus starting-gates and central gateway, the exposed remains of the circus itself, and our improved displays indoors. The displays are still under development but include a replica Roman racing-chariot with horses, the circus super-model which is 4.5 metres long and accompanied by a video of the 3d-modelled circus, the whole sequence of Peter Froste’s paintings of the development of Roman Colchester, and a large projected display on one wall. We have a cabinet of fascinating finds from our excavations at the old garrison, and some remarkable parts of the podium of one of the circus turning-posts.
The building itself is also pretty special: it was built in 1937 to house the barracks NAAFI, and the circus displays are predominantly presented in the two NAAFI restaurant rooms, with original 1937 features, including a small stage. The cafe is right at the heart of the open-plan circus centre. The circus centre includes a large garden area with great mature trees, so you can come and enjoy a visit to our centre and cafe, or just sit in the garden and see the wildlife…
Sandy makes all the fresh cakes and other food now available in our cafe, and she is very friendly – so come to the Roman circus and feast on cake and say hi to Sandy!
Congratulations to Sandy on your successful first day at the cafe, many thanks to Neil, and thank you to all our visitors for coming to the Roman circus on Saturday.
The circus site, circus centre and cafe are open Monday-Saturday, 10.30am-4.30pm, from the 5th July to the 30th September. Entry is free.
We look forward to seeing you!
The image shows members of the Essex Archaeological Society at our cafe counter with Sandy and her fab. fresh cakes, yesterday.