A RESEARCH enthusiast has used the discovery of historic documents found in a Colchester bar to make an amazing present-day family breakthrough.

Sharon Mooney, a part-time tour guide in Colchester, became aware of letters from 19th century being found in Silk Road Bar and Lounge.

The Great Bentley history buff had seen a social media post from Ozzie Rasih, who is the owner of the venue.

It explained that letters written by two young girls in 1888 had been found during recent refurbishments.

Gazette: Historic - Letter dates back to 1888Historic - Letter dates back to 1888 (Image: Ozzie Rasih)

Sharon identified the letter writers as sisters Ada and Alice Clamp, whose family had a shop in Queen Street called Clamp and Son.

The letters are believed to be addressed to their parents, referred to as “Mama” and “Papa”.

During a commute to London, Sharon worked through the Clamp family and found descendant Andy Gill, who lives in Mersea.

Andy’s great-grandfather, Albert Clamp, was the older brother to sisters Ada and Alice as well as the “Son” in Clamp and Son.

Sharon contacted Andy on social media to share his family’s history in the Colchester area.

Andy saw the message that afternoon and was initially hesitant but engaged in conversation with Sharon.

Gazette: Nostalgic - Letter calls back to Colchester's pastNostalgic - Letter calls back to Colchester's past (Image: Ozzie Rasih)

Later, he shared her findings about the Clamps with his parents.

Just a week later, Sharon visited an open day of the Archaeological Dig in Queen Street to learn more information.

She was also able to hear stories about what the site was used for.

Gazette: Historian - Sharon MooneyHistorian - Sharon Mooney (Image: Public)

While there, she discovered that Albert Clamp had been the owner of Theatre Royal, across the street from the family’s shop.

In its prime, the theatre could hold a capacity of 1,200 people but burned down in 1918, with Albert listed as the owner.

Gazette: Family - The letters are believed to be from daughters to their parentsFamily - The letters are believed to be from daughters to their parents (Image: Ozzie Rasih)

Andy had no idea about his family’s theatre connection.

Sharon added that the open day archaeologist said the only thing recovered from the theatre fire was the night’s takings.

As for the archaeological dig, a wide selection of Roman artefacts and treasures were uncovered.

Items including bone hairpins and bone fragments, some of which date back to the 17th century, have been made available for the public to see.