The completion of the painstaking refurbishment of Colchester’s historic Red Lion Yard to create a boutique shopping and café quarter will be celebrated with three days of entertainment and family fun starting on Thursday 24 July.
Work began on the £600,000 revitalisation in January this year (2014) and 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.
The refurbishment also included the restoration of brickwork and wooden beams dating back hundreds of years, in the arch that forms the High Street entrance to Red Lion Yard and is part of the Grade 1 listed Red Lion Hotel. A special chemical process stripped away layers of modern paint to reveal the original features that have been treated to create a brighter and more historically authentic appearance.
The celebrations will get off to a roaring start on Thursday with a Chinese lion parade through Red Lion Yard at 1pm, performance from Theatretrain stage school at 1.30pm and a children’s treasure hunt.
From Thursday to Saturday, shoppers will be treated to live music and children can enjoy free face painting, see the Lego lion, take part in Lego building challenges or lion craft workshops and meet Larry the Lion as he gives out balloons.
There’s also a chance to find out more about Red Lion Yard’s fascinating history at a special exhibition open to the public from 11am to 3pm on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 July.
John Fleming, centre manager, said:
“Red Lion Yard has been completely transformed over the last few months. It really does look fantastic and the results are already speaking for themselves with a silver jewellery specialist, nail bar and women’s fashion boutique signed up to open new stores in the near future.
“This is the start of an exciting new era for Red Lion Yard and we’re looking forward to celebrating in style at our special events this week.”
Colchester-based Nicholas Percival is acting as letting agent for the available units at Red Lion Yard.