EMPTY shop windows should be utilised to showcase Colchester's hidden historical treasures, the town's High Steward has claimed.

Inspired by a trip to Whitby, on the North Yorkshire coast, Sir Bob Russell has suggested Colchester Council set up window displays in closed down shops across the town.

Sir Bob says items could come from those stored in the authority's museum warehouse because there is no room for them to be feature at Colchester Castle, Holly Trees Museum or the Natural History Museum.


He said: "Excellent though Colchester’s museums are, the stark reality is that more is stored from public view than is displayed in the museums.

"Putting some of these items into otherwise empty shop windows would enable more of the town’s historic items to be seen, and hopefully for both residents and visitors it would encourage more people to visit the museums.

“I also suggest such cross referencing could also involve some of the smaller museums to be invited to display some of their historic items.

"I am thinking perhaps Boxted Airfield Museum, and those at West Mersea, Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea and Kelvedon plus Munnings Museum from Dedham.”

Colchester town centre has a lower than average vacancy rate, with around eight per cent of units being empty, however business leaders are still working to improve things.

Our Colchester Business Improvement District is working on a project with artist Mark Titchner and Firstsite to produce a series of public artworks under the heading "Is this the place of your dreams?".

Once complete, the artwork will initially go on display in three vacant shops including the former Superdrug in Priory Street, Geller Butchers in St John’s Street and a vacant retail space in Culver Square.

A spokesperson for Colchester Council said artefacts could only be displayed in the right circumstances.

He added: “We welcome opportunities to showcase our collections and have considered using other premises on condition the objects are displayed securely and in appropriate environmental conditions.

“The Castle, Hollytrees and Natural History Museum currently have ongoing exhibition plans that regularly sees new displays installed, where visitors can view a variety of objects from the museum collections."