In March 1924, the weather provided one of the driest months on record. In a month when wet weather is normally expected, Colchester measured just 0.5mm of rainfall. Essex is the driest county in England and records show that Colchester often receives the brunt of the water shortages. Between 1989 and 1992 there were no less than four years that broke records for their averages in temperature and the scarcity of water due to the hot, dry weather. Colchester did not escape the terrible weather event of 1953, however, when the damage caused by the raging flood water around the county caused the town to lose its entire gas and electricity supply for days on end.
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Colchester is thought to be the oldest town in Britain. It was a major Celtic settlement prior to the Roman invasion of Britain and is probably most famous as the site of the rebellion against the Roman occupiers by Boudica, who led the Iceni tribe and their allies as they sacked the town and the Temple of Divine Claudius in 61AD. Needless to say, there is a rich archaeological record in the town that is held at the museum in Colchester Castle. Colchester was the site of another famous battle when, in 1648, during the English Civil War, Sir Thomas Fairfax besieged the town with the Parliamentary Army for eleven and a half weeks until he received the surrender of the Royalist Army, led by Lord Goring, who were occupying the town on 27th August 1648. Since Roman times, the town of Colchester has housed a military garrison and it is currently home to the 16th Air Assault Brigade of the Parachute Regiment. Colchester is probably one of the most important towns in Essex and boasts excellent facilities of all kinds. Among its leisure facilities are Colchester Zoo, Leisure World, the Colchester Community Stadium (home of Colchester United Football Club) and the Mercury Theatre.
Colchester has been the home to many notable men and women who have made a significant contribution to the history and culture of the United Kingdom. Cunobulin, King of the Britons in the 1st Century BC is known to have come from the town. Among more recent notables are Sir George Airy (1801-1892), who became Astronomer Royal, Sir William Gull (1816-1890), Physician to Queen Victoria, and Sir Roger Penrose (1931- ), distinguished mathematical physicist. Colchester is also the home town of the influential pop band, Blur.