Adding Colour – a brief history of the stained glass at The Sixth Form College, Colchester

Between 2006 and 2018 there were several commissions for stained glass panels to be designed for various parts of the Essex college.

Art and Photography tutor Andy Brooke, who was part of Colchester Glass Artists at the time, was first commissioned by College Principal Ian MacNaughton in September 2006 to create a pair of windows to be installed on the third floor of the main building overlooking the Concourse. The Principal was keen to involve college students in the design process and to this end a dozen students came forward with their ideas for individual logos representing each Department of college. These were incorporated into each window by various methods from glass paint to fused and etched glass.

2007 – The Twenty Years Anniversary Windows

Cool Blues window – Maths, Sciences and Economics

Designed and made by Andy Brooke and Colchester Glass Artists with input from college students for the department logos.

Hot Reds window – Arts, PE and Humanities                                           

Designed and made by Colchester Glass Artists with input from students for the department logos

These windows were installed as part of the celebration of success of the first twenty years of the college (1987-2007). They featured in the anniversary college prospectus that year.

They also helped to usher in the introduction of a practical programme of stained glass tuition at the college which enabled students to directly experience the designing and making of stained glass themselves (see later windows).

Many students enjoyed creating their own stained glass objects over a period of eight years, with some work resulting in permanent places at college and at least one student passing on his skills to younger learners beyond college.

Performing Arts Department Window – 2008 Designed by Andy Brooke, made with help of Colchester Glass Artists

Performing Arts Studio window – 2009 – outside

Performing Arts Studio window – 2009 – inside

Early morning light through the stained glass – detail

Leaded light for Mid-site Building – Nick Rowe (student) – 2012

Leaded light for Mid-site building – Nick Rowe – 2013

Faith Ressmeyer Memorial window – Mid-site – Andy Brooke – 2015

The window represents Faith’s love of India and her role as a founder member of the Russ Foundation, also her basketball skills, her involvement with CND, her prowess at darts, her love of literature and finally her sailing exploits with husband Tom Fenton. She was Head of English and Senior Tutor at the college for many years before retiring in 2012.

Roman Colchester Window Triptych – IT Building – students Amy Wright (St Botolphs) and Nicola Ingram (Colchester Castle) and Andy Brooke (Balkerne Gate)     2014-18.

The window is located near to the site of a Roman Bath with a well preserved Roman tessellated floor, excavated in 2005/6 by Colchester Archaeological Trust.

Performing Arts Window – 2013 – from left side – Andy Brooke, Pascale Penfold, Polly Kennedy

Performing Arts Window – 2013 – from right side

Group student window made for the 2008 College Arts Festival, installed in 2018.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. So wonderful that this school valued the role of art in enlivening and adding meaning to its campus, and that you rose to the opportunity with such inspiration and dedication to quality. For the students involved the experience would be formative and no doubt we will eventually see the effect in one form or another in their careers; that’s one of the great privileges of teaching. Thank you for sharing these beautiful windows Andy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aljbphoto says:

    Thanks for the the generous comments James – very much appreciated.


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