Jumbo Summer Events

The latest events in Colchester’s Jumbo Summer will take place on Saturday, May 11, with youngsters being invited to join a fun model making workshop. Later in the day, a unique collection of experts will give free talks about the construction, operation and heritage of the town’s Victorian Jumbo water tower.

North Essex Heritage (NEH), formally Colchester and North East Essex Building Preservation Trust, has organised Jumbo Summer and is working with partners, including the building’s owner, Paul Flatman, towards preserving Jumbo and bringing it back into sustainable use. 

Award-winning Colchester based architects HAT Projects, will be leading the Design Your Own Water Tower model making workshop between noon and 4pm on Saturday at Firstsite. The free drop-in event is for children aged eight and over. Pre-booking is not needed, but youngsters must be accompanied by an adult. 

Celebrating Jumbo and its impact on life in Colchester, the event will highlight the challenges 19th century civil engineers faced in building the tower. The workshop will explore water tower design and demonstrate the principles of their engineering through live testing of the models. Materials will be supplied. Email info@hatprojects.comfor further information.

Between 4pm and 5.30pm on Saturday at Firstsite experts, including historians and writers Andrew Phillips and Patrick Denney, will give a series of short talks about Jumbo. The free talks will cover the construction, operation and heritage of Jumbo and include the fascinating facts behind the many stories and fables which surround the Colchester landmark. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Supported through a grant award of £10,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Jumbo Summer is enabling people of all ages to learn about the heritage of Colchester’s historic water tower. The activities have also received support from Colchester Borough Council, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), local history experts and Signals.

Jumbo Week will take place on the run-up to the final celebration event at Firstsite on July 21. Town centre shops and traders will be encouraged to display posters and other decorations designed by children and to decorate windows with a Jumbo-themed displays. The celebration event will be open to everyone and will provide a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to learn about Jumbo and see material gathered as part of Jumbo Summer.


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