ONE of the oldest buildings in Crouch Street now has a new lease of life.

Many generations of people living in Colchester and its surrounding villages will remember buying meat from Frank Wright Butchers in Crouch Street

The company was set up in the late 1920s by the Wright family, whose name it still bore up until closing last year.

Dudley Wright was the youngest generation of the family to run it until around five years ago when they sold the butchers business but maintained the building.

When the company originally began its life, Colchester was a very different place to the one it is now.

Historians explain engineering was the leading industry with transport and communications close behind.

The construction industry had lost ground, the First World War having brought building almost to a standstill.

New employment opportunities were opening up in the service sector with growth in commerce, finance, and insurance, and in public administration as central and local government expanded.

More than a third of working women worked in personal service, over half of them in domestic service although the number had already started to fall slightly.

Already in the early 1920s, shops like Frank Wright and other retailers employed 495 men and 498 women, and by the early 1930s as many as 50 motor buses and coaches daily were bringing people from up to 25 miles away for shopping.

So it was a good time to be launching a business.

but with times changing. and the way in which people buy their produce, Frank Wright sadly ceased trading last year.

Now estate agents Palmer & Partners have bought the historic Crouch Street building and given it a new lease of life.

Crouch Street, one of the most distinctive shopping streets in Colchester, itself has a long history.


Known as Crouch Street since around 1748, prior to that there was a road there known as Croucher Street which can be traced back to the 1300s.

Now after 15 years Colchester, Palmer & Partners has completed its search for newer and bigger offices - in the former butcher’s shop in Crouch Street.

“It was time to move to a newer and bigger office, we wanted to have an office located in the town itself, along with a property that had character.


“The opportunity to purchase the old Frank Wright Buthcers building was an opportunity too good to miss out on.

“We have renovated the building throughout and have kept a lot of the old Character in keeping with its past.

“The comments we have received on the renovation have been great,” said managing director John Palmer.

And he was particularly delighted to have a piece of the building’s history with them on the night of the big launch - Dudley Wright himself.

Speaking after the officially launch of the new premises John added : “A big thank you to everyone that came and made it a brilliant turnout.

“A special thank you to Dudley Wright, who ran Frank Wright Butchers, for attending and celebrating with us.”

A new history is being written.