A tall building is seen against a blue sky. Four stacks of red coloured bricks form the legs of the tower and are separated by arches. Two layers of brick alcoves sit on top of the legs. The top of the building consists of metal railings surrounding a huge square red metal water tank.
A tall building is seen against a blue sky. Four stacks of red coloured bricks form the legs of the tower and are separated by arches. Two layers of brick alcoves sit on top of the legs. The top of the building consists of metal railings surrounding a huge square red metal water tank.

The Jumbo Project: Saving a National Treasure

Our Focus

North Essex Heritage is working to save Balkerne Water Tower, affectionately known as Jumbo, and bring it back into financially sustainable use.

This unique and much-loved building has the potential to be a major heritage attraction and a focal point to be enjoyed by communities across Colchester and beyond.

A workman sits astride a metal weather vane which is topped by a shiny metal outline of an elephant. The smiling man wears a white boilersuit.

History of Jumbo

Built in 1883, Colchester’s iconic Jumbo water tower is the largest surviving Victorian municipal water tower in Britain and has a fascinating history.

After proving water to Colchester for a century, this heritage asset is currently vacant and designated as being at risk.

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A tall brick tower is viewed through the jagged edges of a Roman gateway. The tower has four stacks of red coloured bricks which form the legs of the tower and are separated by arches. Two layers of brick alcoves sit on top of the legs. There are metal railings surrounding a huge square red metal water tank. There is a green pitched roof topped by a small white square room with a window.

Jumbo Tower Tours

Why not join us for a tour of Jumbo? Walk in the footsteps of the pioneering engineers and builders who created this Victorian marvel. Tours, talks and experiences are planned for the coming months, so keep an eye on this website for more details.

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Every time I take visitors up the 157 steps of this stunning building I am thrilled by their reaction to the interior. Building preservation trusts are all about working with partners to bring about positive change. Simon Hall MBE DL Chair of North Essex Heritage

Latest News

Jumbo is a huge part of the Colchester community and is loved by people from across the world, so there is always plenty going on. Keep up with the latest news here.

Get Involved

We can never have enough volunteers, so no matter what your skill set is, there is something you can help us with! Volunteer guides, project partners, charitable doners and fundraisers are all needed as activity increases. We need Trustees who are experts or community representatives, and willing helpers to join our task force for clean-up days.

Keep Updated

Our Newsletter is published monthly featuring everything that we have been up to, along with what’s planned and going to happen next.