THESE commemorative postcards show scenes from a celebration of Colchester’s history that took place more than 100 years ago.

110 years ago in fact.

Having been organised to mark 2,000 years of the town’s history, the Colchester Pageant of June 1909 now holds its own place in the town’s rich past and inspired its own commemorative exhibition in 2009 to mark the centenary.

They are part of a souvenir booklet of postcards produced at the time of the week-long event which was two years in the planning and designed to be a moment for the townsfolk of Colchester to join together.

Altogether more than 3,000 were involved in the pageant, based in Lower Castle Park, which marked six points in history through a variety of plays, musicals and parades.

In the end it is thought it was watched by around 60,000 spectators.

The performances began with the dedication of the Temple of Claudius and ended with the Siege of Colchester and there were about 200 speaking parts, many of which went to prominent members of the community.

Louis Napoleon Parker, a playwright, composer and translator who had already staged two previous pageants elsewhere in the country, directed the pageant and special train services from London to Colchester were laid on to get people to the events.

The postcards, which came in a special envelope and cost 6d, and a commemorative programme were among souvenirs kept by Freddie and Florence Fitch who themselves were prominent figures in Marks Tey and Colchester where they lived and ran a successful photographic business at the time of the pageant.

The postcards were among a number produced by the Royal Studio in Colchester and include scenes representing Roman soldiers, the trial of the Royalists and King Sighere, who along with his brother Sebbi Ruled Essex from 664 to 683, and his wife Osyth who was the daughter of his rival King Wulfhere of Mercia.

The event itself ran from June 21 to 26 and featured a cast of thousands who re-played major events.

other tableaus included re-imaginings of the Siege of Colchester and each scene was scripted and rehearsed before the event itself.

A host of specially made props were also created for the seminal event - with one going on display in recent times having been discovered at an auction in Sussex in 2011.

The pageant shrine, a wooden carving of the town’s Patron Saint, St Helena, has been stored in Deep Freeze to help preserve it and went on to display at Colchester Castle in Colchester in 2011.

* Do you have any memorabilia, photographs or postcards from the pageant or other major events in Colchester’s history?

Please contact Lauren Oldershaw on 01206 508186.