I am meeting Jess and Theresa Jephcott at the pub which has a sign that shows a hen laying abrick: the Bricklayer's on Bergholdt Road. Jeff has been researching the history of pubs and inns in Colchester extensively, and publishes updated versions every few years. The latest was the "Smoker's Edition" from 2007 and you can download it here.
Since our project is called "Colchester Inn" it is obvious that local pubs and inns are related - in as much as they are public meeting places and get shaped by the interests, taste and activities of their guests. Jess and Jeff know a lot about pubs. The fact that the pagans go to the New Inn, the goths go to The Hole in the Wall, Guardian readers meet at the Fat Cat, football clubs like the Abbey arms, Rock music lovers go to the Monday night Jam sessions at The Bull and they think that arty types like the Hospital Arms.
Jeff's publications are detailed surveys of the history of Colchester's pubs, with the changes in law and legistlation and social changes.
We talk a lot about pub games, and how they are something that makes different pub groups meet - during darts, pool or other sport sessions. This is organised in leagues and sessions are weekly. the hosting team provides food for the guests at their pub.
Towards the end we all agree that a pub or an inn needs a pub-sign. Something that tells everyone what it is.
Jeff suggests that I should meet John, the publican and freeholder at the Odd one Out - one of the few pub that is not contracted to a brewery. He might be a good person to meet and find out about locally produced beer and cider and non-alcoholics - so maybe the Colchester Inn gets its own drink.