ONE of Colchester's shopping precincts, named after a Roman mosaic, has a hidden history that most have forgotten with time. 

The bustling shopping centre known as Lion Walk in Colchester has a rich history that stretches back to Roman times.Gazette: History - pictures of the Church close to Lion WalkHistory - pictures of the Church close to Lion Walk (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Tons - residents on old Lion Walk photosTons - residents on old Lion Walk photos (Image: Newsquest)

Named after a magnificent Roman mosaic which lay hidden for centuries, the area's roots run deep, showcasing a captivating journey through time.

Archaeologists first unveiled the secrets buried beneath the surface during an extensive excavation from 1971 to 1974.

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Gazette: Celebrating - Christmas decoration in Lion WalkCelebrating - Christmas decoration in Lion Walk (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Shopping - old pictures of residents shopping at the Lion WalkShopping - old pictures of residents shopping at the Lion Walk (Image: Newsquest)

They unearthed evidence of a grand Roman house that once occupied the site during the 4th century.

Among the treasures discovered was a stunning mosaic that would have adorned the home's floors.

Gazette: Shops - Old picture of Lion WalkShops - Old picture of Lion Walk (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Sunny - residents enjoyed good weather at the Lion WalkSunny - residents enjoyed good weather at the Lion Walk (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Christmas - stunning decorations at Lion WalkChristmas - stunning decorations at Lion Walk (Image: Newsquest)

The centrepiece of this historic artwork was a depiction of a regal lion, a symbol of strength and majesty.

Discovered just beneath the ground where the Boots store now stands, the mosaic captured the imagination of archaeologists and history enthusiasts alike.

Gazette: Centre - Red Lion Shopping centre entryCentre - Red Lion Shopping centre entry (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Officers - Officers on old pictures at the Lion Walk Shopping CentreOfficers - Officers on old pictures at the Lion Walk Shopping Centre (Image: Newsquest)

In recognition of its significance, the lion mosaic found its way to the Colchester Castle Museum, where it became a testament to the area's ancient origins.

To commemorate this remarkable discovery, a replica of the mosaic was erected within the Lion Walk shopping centre in 2009.

This symbolic gesture served as a bridge between the past and the present, allowing shoppers and visitors to connect with the rich history beneath their feet.

Gazette: Lion - Lion Walk mascot with shoppersLion - Lion Walk mascot with shoppers (Image: Newsquest)

As centuries passed, Lion Walk evolved into a vibrant street lined with houses and businesses.

Notably, it led to the iconic Red Lion coaching inn, which became a hub of activity.

The street's identity was further shaped by the presence of the Lion Walk church, a structure that emerged in 1863 and added a spiritual dimension to the evolving landscape.

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Colchester Civic Society's 1968 report marked a turning point, outlining 14 years of developmental changes in Colchester.

Lion Walk, Culver Street, St. Peter's Street, and St. John's Street were all earmarked for redevelopment.

This transformation marked the end of the original streets and buildings, making way for the new Lion Walk precinct.

The original design featured a bridge that connected units in Culver Street East and Culver Walk, enhancing the shopper's experience.

However, the landscape underwent a significant transformation during a £20million revamp in 2009, which saw the removal of the bridge.