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Halstead High Street
Halstead shown within Essex
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
The town is near Colchester and Sudbury, in the Colne Valley. The town originally developed on the hill to the north of the river. The name Halstead is said to have derived from the Old English hald (refuge, shelter, healthy) and stede (site, place or farm), meaning 'healthy farm' 'safe place' or 'place of refuge'.
The single wide High Street is dominated by the 14th-century church of St Andrew, which was extensively renovated during the Victorian period but retains much earlier decoration including tomb monuments dating from the 14th century and earlier. The town's other attractions include a local Antiques Mill.
Halstead has a number of restaurants, bars and pubs including:
- The Locomotive in Butler Road
- The Bull Hotel in Bridge Street
- The White Hart in the High Street
- Whispers Wine Bar in the High Street
- Scenarios nightclub in Trinity Street
A historical society holds regular monthly meetings throughout the year and a town museum attached to the town council offices features some historical artifacts and various objects of limited local interest. The Empire Theatre in Butler Road hosts occasional bingo nights.
The historic core of Halstead can be observed on a walk up the market hill. A River Walk runs through the town from east to west, and just outside the town is Broaks Wood, a popular area for walking owned by the Forestry Commission. Halstead Public Gardens were established in 1900 and is noted for its floral displays. The beautiful Townsford Mill that spans the river at the bottom of the town houses the Antiques Centre, with thousands of interesting pieces ranging from clothing to household items. Halstead has a great library, situated in a large open-plan building that used to be the Corn Exchange and which dates from 1864-1865.
- Matt Cardle - 2010 winner of X Factor: resident.
- Steve Lamacq - Radio 2 DJ: former Ramsey School pupil & resident.
- Richard Bryant - photographer: resident, since 1957.
- Sheila Jacobs - well-known author and writer of Christian novels, including Watchers: sometime resident.
- Christopher Portway - war hero, explorer and author: born in Halstead in 1923. Joined the Army straight after leaving school, to fight in the Second World War. Captured in Normandy, he later escaped from three prison camps in Eastern Europe. Whilst on the run from the Germans in Czechoslovakia, he met Anna who was later to become his second wife. After 1945 he made repeated attempts to reach Anna, but her home was now sealed off behind the Iron Curtain. On one such attempt, he was caught after cutting his way through electrified fences and crawling over a minefield, and was sentenced to 104 years in jail by the Communist authorities. Portway was a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, as well as being a recipient of the Winston Churchill Award for biography and travel. He was a frequent contributor to various magazines and newspapers and was the author of seventeen books.
- Michael Portway - poet and brother of Christopher: chairman of Halstead in Bloom, the local charity dedicated to floral displays in the town.
- Stephen Mann MIoD founder of Essential Safety Services Limited and International Speaker, spoke at the HSE conference, East West Summit in Moscow in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Stephen also won top trainer of the year at the HSE national conference in March 2013 in Southend-on-Sea.
Halstead is the home to three Primary schools:
- Holy Trinity
- Richard de Clare
There are many secondary schools within easy travelling distance. Most pupils opt for either Sible Hedingham, Braintree or Colchester.
The Ramsey Academy (formerly The Ramsey College) is another school, to the north of the town centre. Statistics published by the UK Government for the Ramsey College in 2011 show the percentage of pupils with special needs at 18% of the school population. Only 44% of all pupils attain 5 or more GCSE's at A+ to C. This data suggests a degree of social deprivation uncommon in the relatively affluent South East of England.
Yellow House School is an independent school for children with special needs.
The town is home to Halstead Cricket Club. The side field three teams in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship.
During the 2011 season the club, with the help of club member and former Bangladesh bowling coach Ian Pont brought in Bangladeshi international cricketer Syed Rasel. Other players to have played both first class cricket and for the club include former Essex and Leicestershire man Darren Robinson, international coach Richard Pybus and New Zealand U-19 and Canterbury bowler Matt Henry.
- Halstead Then and Now in Old & Current Photography
- Halstead and District Local History Society Website
- Connect Halstead
- Halstead Webcam
- Halstead Residents' Association
- Halstead Gazette
- Braintree District Council
- Halstead Town FC
- Halstead CC