Another one from times gone by in full picture postcard glory because it is indeed a picture postcard.
Colchester – England’s oldest recorded town.
Colchester, Essex, England’s oldest recorded town, is a far cry away from the hubbub of the County town of Chelmsford or the new money vulgarity of places like Brentwood. I lived in a far corner of Suffolk for a couple of years way back in the mid-1980s and, if you threw a stone hard enough from our front garden, it would literally land in Essex.
If you wanted to do some serious shopping beyond the constraints of Sainsburys or the East Anglian Co-Op, me mam and dad would hurl us into the back of the Montego to either Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds or my favourite – Colchester. My reasons (that still exist) for a soft spot for the Garrison town of Colchester revolve around a few industrial or motor industry-related themes.
It felt like a proper town with its own proud municipal bus company – as can be seen above the Colchester Borough Transport (CBT) Bristol VRT double decker in the photograph above, the James Belcher-designed Town Hall features a searing baroque tower, while the clock was a gift from a local Engineer and Industrialist, James Paxman, in 1902. The locally-based Davy-Paxman company became famous for its diesel engines, which found homes for example in the BR Class 43 High Speed Train.
So, tell us about the vehicles
As you would expect for an image taken almost 35 years ago, there is plenty of hot BMC>Rover action going on for your delectation. Furthest away on the right we have a Mk1 Leyland National of the NBC-operated, Norwich-based Eastern Counties company, a CBT-owned Bristol VRT and an unidentified Bristol RE single decker all plying their trade. Readers of taste will appreciate the brace of Austin Allegros divided by a Morris Marina Mk1 not to mention the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 Estate just going out of shot in the front left foreground.
Behind that, we see a recently launched, all-new Renault 5 being admired by the couple heading into The George for a swift half – what was yours called by the way?
Keith, bless him, is kept happy by the noting of a Citroën CX (below) behind the Renault. Oh… hello… what’s that I spot with an eagle eye behind the buses? It’s only a Nissan Sunny learner driver with a Honda Quintet bringing up the rear and, as for that Mercedes L811 Luton box van, when did you last see one of those babies, eh?
Someone build me a time machine please!