The Colchester Monopoly was launched today (21st October) at an event at the Mercury Theatre. Trust office manager Jules represented the Trust at the event, because the Colchester Monopoly includes the Roman circus! The Mayor of Colchester Councillor Julie Young attended the launch event. The manufacturers, Winning Moves UK, also very kindly gave the Trust a copy of the game!
We like the location of the Roman circus square on the board: it is very near one corner of the board, the GO! corner, and the start of the game – the Roman circus is, in fact, the third square on the board and just round the corner from Colchester Castle! The Roman circus square is also featured on the lid of the box. The Colchester Roman circus is the only known Roman circus in Britain and, as far as we know, it is the first Roman circus to be included on a Monopoly board. We also like the fact that, on the board, the GO! arrow is pointing towards the Roman circus…
The Trust is delighted that the Roman circus is included in the Colchester Monopoly and we think that it is great fun. We are pleased to be on the board with so many Colchester institutions, especially the historic monuments such as the castle, St Botolph’s priory and Jumbo the water-tower (see the photo. of our board below). Apparently, Monopoly originated in the United States in 1903 and was first produced in its current form in 1935. (The Trust’s HQ and the Roman circus centre are housed in the former NAAFI of the Artillery (Le Cateau) Barracks of the old Colchester garrison and the building was constructed in 1937.) The Roman circus itself was built in the early 2nd century AD and seems to have been in use for about 150 years, until towards the end of the 3rd century AD: the Trust found the first evidence of it in 2000 and we identified it as the site of a Roman circus in 2004 so, despite its antiquity, it is quite a ‘new’ historic monument! We opened the Roman circus site and centre to visitors in 2012. The image of the Roman circus on the Monopoly board is a photo. of our 4.5-metre long circus super-model from its starting-gates. The model is on display in the circus centre.
With thanks to Winning Moves UK and to the Mayor of Colchester.
The Roman circus centre and site are now closed for the winter, until April 2017.
The images show Trust archaeologist Laura Pooley holding the box and the Roman circus property card; the new Monopoly board with the Roman circus to the front, near GO!; a close-up of the Roman circus corner of the board; Trust archaeologist Robin Mathieson and Laura playing the game here at the Roman circus centre today – appropriately, they were playing with the boot and the wheelbarrow (items of archaeological equipment); and two images from the launch event today, including a Roman in the line-up of Colchester characters and the Mayor of Colchester Councillor Julie Young pointing at the Roman circus square on the board.