TUCKED away off Old Heath Road in Colchester is a tranquil pond, surrounded by attractive new houses.

Now a peaceful spot to watch the wildlife, Distillery Pond, off Distillery Lane, is steeped in history.

Back in 1812, Messrs Bawtree and Savill pumped £40,000 into a gin distillery in Distillery Lane, which fast became one of the biggest in Britain.

It is estimated that Colchester produced 50,000 gallons of alcohol every year. Traditions involving gin live on today in Colchester, including the drinking of gin at the annual opening of the Oyster Fisheries.

Distillery pond was first created to provide a source for the gin made at the distillery, and the water stems from a sweet water spring which still exists.

Albany Gardens, which consists of 160 homes, now overlooks the pond, but originally the site was home to Distillery Mill. Back in the 1940s, the old mill was home to Old Heath Laundry.

It was here that four women workers became Colchester’s first civilian
fatalities in the Second World War when a German plane dropped a bomb. 

  • Do you have fond memories of Distillery pond? Share them in the comments below.