Month: June 2014


As part of the ongoing refurbishment of Colchester’s historic Red Lion Yard to create a boutique shopping & café quarter, painstaking work has started restoring brickwork and wooden beams dating back hundreds of years that form part of the Grade I listed Red Lion Hotel.

Thanks to a special chemical treatment that dissolves and washes away layers of modern paint, the original features are gradually being revealed behind the hoardings at the High Street entrance to Red Lion Yard. Dating back to 1465, the hotel is one of the oldest inns in Britain.

The process has already uncovered previously hidden historic features including areas of wood charred by the flames of candles, which would have been used to light the hotel before electricity was installed.

Once the paint has been stripped away from the listed brick and wooden beams on the underside of the entrance to Red Lion Yard, the surfaces will be treated to create a brighter and more historically authentic appearance.

The process, which is being carried out by Norfolk-based specialists The APR Company, is designed to be kind to very old buildings and is approved by The National Trust.

John Fleming, centre manager, said:

“Red Lion Yard is being completely transformed through the refurbishment. Treating the underside of the entrance will create a brighter, more inviting entrance from the High Street.

“This is the final phase of work and we’re already seeing lots of interest from retailers and restaurant/café operators wanting to take space in Red Lion Yard and look forward to announcing further details very soon.”

The sympathetic refurbishment of Red Lion Yard has included the installation of attractive new shop fronts, improved lighting and signage and complete redecoration throughout. The floor has also been repaved with a traditional York stone.

Works are due to complete next month. The official relaunch of Red Lion Yard will take place from Thursday 24 July to Saturday 26 July with three days of family fun and an exhibition about the Yard’s fascinating past and exciting future.

Colchester-based Nicholas Percival is acting as letting agent for the available units at Red Lion Yard.


A giraffe statue commissioned as a legacy to Colchester Zoo’s 50th birthday Stand Tall For Giraffes campaign is settling into its new home at Lion Walk Shopping Centre.

The colourful two-metre tall giraffe, which has been named Zoe, was designed by Lauren Connell from St Luke’s Primary School in Tiptree.  Her creative design reflects several animal species supported by the zoo, including Amur Tigers and Leopards.

Stand Tall For Giraffe’s formed part of Colchester Zoo’s 50th birthday celebrations in 2013.  The large-scale public art event saw more than 100 giraffe sculptures sited across the county with 1.3 m high giraffes created by schools and 2.5 m giraffes painted by local artists.

The new legacy statue has been painted by Jenny Leonard, a local artist who also created the ‘Jungle Jenny’ and ‘Stan’ giraffes which were on display as part of the original Stand Tall For Giraffes campaign last year.

John Fleming, Lion Walk centre manager, said: “We were lucky enough to host one of the hugely popular giraffes in 2013 and didn’t hesitate when the zoo asked if we could find a permanent home for the legacy statue.  Our new arrival looks superb and we’re looking forward to showing her off to shoppers.”

Alex Downing, Development Director at Colchester Zoo, said: “People told us how much they missed the Stand Tall For Giraffes statues so we’re pleased to be celebrating our 51st birthday by revealing the legacy statue.  We’d like to congratulate Lauren Connell for coming up with the fantastic design and are delighted to see Zoe the giraffe proudly on display at Lion Walk!”