Norwich heritage success to teach Colchester a history lesson

Norwich will teach an Essex town how to make the most of its past.

Norwich's Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) has won a contract with Colchester Borough Council to replicate its Norfolk success.

Since forming seven years ago, HEART has helped attract thousands of extra visitors to the city's most historic sites through heritage open days, set up the Norwich Lanes, and helped save Colman's Mustard Shop from closure. Now they hope to replicate this success in the oldest recorded town in Britain.

Chief executive of the trust Michael Loveday, pictured, said: 'For Norwich, it is very encouraging because we have done a lot of local distinctiveness work in Norwich Lanes, the Cultural Quarter and the Castle Quarter. It is about doing good practise locally and then migrating to other towns and cities. The chance to try it on Colchester is really exciting.

'We will use a similar approach but everywhere is different. We are not going to take the Lanes' blueprint and shoehorn it into Colchester. It is about looking at the essence of the place and seeing what we can do to them to give them more profile and promotion.'

Colchester is famous for its Roman past and cabinet member for economic development, councillor Nick Barlow, said they were looking to link that history with the town's shops.

'We are working on a road that follows the path of the old Roman Wall,' he said. 'Most of the shops are small independent ones.

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'It is about how we link the heritage of the wall with the wider heritage of the town centre. A lot of that work has been done in Norwich.' HEART will draw up a plan by the end of March showing Colchester how it can make the most of its past. But the group also has ambitions to spread the word of the work it is doing in Norwich further afield than Colchester. Their work has been picked up on through partnerships and conferences in Canada, Norway, China and Japan.

They have also worked with the World Bank in Washington, the Indian and US National Trusts and run programmes with the European Union.

For more information about HEART's work, visit

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