What We Do

Duncans Gate before

Eyes & Ears

‘Eyes and Ears’ is an initiative that aims to make a real difference to the everyday ‘look and feel’ of Colchester. It encourages everyone to keep their eyes and ears open on their daily travels around the town and to be on the look-out for things that need flagging up for action.

Work is in progress to restore the public art in Colchester's Southway subways.  The concrete art murals were placed in the subways to brighten up the area in the 1970s.  The murals by sculptors  Henry Collins and Joyce Pallott, the husband and wife team who lived and worked in Colchester have weathered the passage of time well, but were in need of restoration.
Colchester Civic Society and Colchester In Bloom started fundraising in 2014 to raise the funds needed.  Essex Heritage Trust gave a grant for the initial restoration of the Abbeygate Mural. Now with an award of funds from the Heritage Lottery which was made possible by National Lottery players, and an additional grant from The Harvey Benham Trust the restoration of all of these murals is ensured.  The murals were made by making a detailed reverse mould and filling that with concrete. Maxwell Malden and Simon hawkins from orbis conservation work on the plaques near Colchester Town Station.


Colchester Civic Society has a long history of involvement in conservation projects, from the Scheregate Improvement scheme and the Cannock Mill/Bourne Mill project of the 1960’s, through to the Southway Murals Restoration in 2018 and the current project to  repaint Colchester’s  Cast Iron Lampposts.


Commemorative Plaques

The Civic Society is keen to commemorate important people, places and events in the town and has been involved with the erection of several blue plaques and the restoration of others plaques including one which commemorates John Ball, one of the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt.

Assorted pictures for Colchester Civic Society Web Site.


The society feels that Colchester should be for everyone and that a balanced evening and night-time economy is best for the town. Accordingly, we monitor applications for licences and object to those we feel would disrupt that balance.

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The Society encourages the best modern architecture and is prepared to comment on planning matters at every level. We respond to consultations on planning issues, from specific sites to the more general Local Plan. We also support the conservation of our older buildings of merit – buildings that are of historical importance, add to a street scene, are architecturally pleasing or simply of sentimental value within the community.

Cut th Bus Lane Feb


This is a recent addition to our activities. The first campaign began on our Facebook Page in January 2017 with a video calling for Essex County Highways to stop the U turns outside the Minories, in Colchester High Street.


Public Footpaths

Colchester Civic Society believes that the network of Public Rights of Way should be protected, cherished and expanded. It believes it’s important to properly consider rights of way issues as an integral part of local planning and development work  and wherever possible to seek to extend and link up the network of Public Rights of Way in order to increase public access and environmentally friendly travel options.

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The Civic Society recognises the importance of trees. We encourage the preservation of trees, remind developers of their responsibilities to ensure the survival of newly planted trees and plant trees ourselves.

Assorted pictures for Colchester Civic Society Web Site.  Castle Road


The society takes a keen interest in all matters appertaining to highways, including future new road plans serving the Colchester area, issues for local residents regarding local roads, pavements, signage and any changes. We meet periodically with Essex County Highways to represent the views of the Society and its members and gain valuable insight into strategic highways plans.


Street Naming

The Civic Society is a consultee of Colchester Borough Council when there are new streets to be named in the urban part of the Borough. Our concern is that our street names reflect Colchester’s rich heritage, both recent and in the further past. This was not always happening until we became involved.

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Publications & Films

Colchester Civic Society is occasionally involved in the publishing of books, research and films. 2018 has been a productive year with the publication of the book The Historic High Street, a website and two films about the work of Henry and Joyce Collins, with particular focus on their concrete murals in the Southway subways. Also just published through this website is a major survey of Colchester’s war memorials commemorating the Great War 0f 1914-18

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Heritage Open Days

The Colchester Civic Society, like Civic Societies throughout the country, is deeply involved with Heritage Open Days. Our members steward many of the properties open to visitors during this event at the beginning of September each year.

Assorted pictures for Colchester Civic Society Web Site.

Interpretation Boards

The Society believes that interpretation boards are extremely important. We have contributed to the cost of a number of boards around the town and with Colchester In Bloom we have also erected interpretation boards to provide information about the recently restored Southway Murals.