An opportunity to complete a survey which started in 2013 of the Gargolyes and Grotesques of the bell tower was completed today. The tower is having repairs to its stone work and access was given to TAS to complete a photographic survey over 42 meters above the ground.
Well protected on site
Oxford Archaeology North are under taking the archaeological evaluation of the former railway yards and associated buildings to the east of manchester centre. Volunteers have also been helping from Tameside Archaeological society and Manchester Region Industrial Archaeology Society
Figure 1 Aerial view of air raid shelter wall remains
Four air raid shelters from World war two were discovered by OA. They are approximately 2m wide by 10 meters long perhaps allowing up 60 to 80 workers in each shelter. They have been partially cut into the ground with up to a meter above the original ground surface. They are constructed of corrugated metal sheets covered with concreted. Each appears to be of the same design with a stepped entrance way at one corner. Interestingly two of these were inside a massive Worksop with many stone bases for heavy machine tools.
Figure 2 Entrance cuts through original workshop walls giving access to the air raid shelter with remnants of blast door rebates.
August 1940, saw the start of German bombing in Manchester. The days before xmas resulted in an estimated 684 people killed and 2,364 injured. Railway yards would have been a high priority target to disturb communications.
Follow this link to see a film following the bombing raids: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/8208926/Unseen-images-of-Manchester-Christmas-Blitz.html
The bomb census indicates no damage to the site but several bombs landed locally : http://enriqueta.man.ac.uk/luna/servlet/detail/maps2~1~1~342661~123261?qvq=q:bombs;sort:Reference_Number,Reference_Number,Reference_Number,Page;lc:maps2~1~1&mi=2&trs=49
This was the last day for dig with events for the public. The weather was horrific with very heavy freezing showers. However some people managed to find out what had been learnt about their local park. Most people were surprised at to the extent of the remains. The Salford university team have one more day to complete recording and then the site will be back filled.
What have we learnt over the two weeks:
The extent of the residence of the benovalent Cheetham family to the people of Stalybridge. Further history research by TAS with signifcant support of the researchers for the House of Commons 1832-1945 History of Parliament team.
What is the future?
A full report will be produced by the professional archaeoloigsts in 2015.
TAS will continue to explore the park, with test pits to further extend the knowledge of the heritage of the people of Stalybridge. A report of work undertaken todate by TAS will also be stored at the The Tameside Local Studies & Archive Centre.
Site being prepared ready for the day.
Marlene giving tour of the site, giving an opportunity for an aerial photo of the site which was terraced into the hillside.
Heritage Management Director for Archaeology in Greater Manchester: Norman Redhead came to evaluate first hand the site. His job is to coordinate the advice for sites such as this through the heritage gateway. Also he provides the association of Greater Manchester Authoritieswith advice who funded the series of large scale Community digs.
David giving a tour of the site, pointing out the deep cellars.
Mike a TAS member enjoying his last day digging on the site with a collection of high quality tile fragments
A packed exhibiiton and find viewing area, even the kids get in on the act with some colouring items produced by Sarah the educational archaeologist.
Dodging a few heavy hailstone loaded showers was the order of the day. Site was cleaned ready for the open day tomorrow when everyone is welcome to come and see the site, check out the finds and also have an opportunity to check out the historic environmental register on the computer, check through the family history on line and see the exhibition.
Kerry delicately revealing high class plaster work with gold leaf decoration.
Further high class plaster work, probable moulding below ceiling in one of the rooms. A swastika symbol was a popular symbol of luck. Some flock wall covering was also discovered.
Small area of trench two indicating deepest waterlogged deposits and a stone drain.
Today more effort was put into recording. Trench two was completed and trench one started.
Vicky provided home made cake and was careful with her sectioning!
Some features were also tested today including some drains cuts.
‘Careful Steve watch you dont reverse the stratigraphy!’
Drain top stones removed Trench two
Inside drain Trench two
Overall view of site with trench one in foreground.
Spot the later phase drain
One in the eye!
Today saw some new starters. A cellar was gradually been cleared of its rubble fill exposing a blocked in cellar window. This may indicate that the ground level at this side of the house may have been much lower than previously imagined. Also the walls on one side of the cellar appear to have had large cupboard with the use of plaster to seal the back of the structure. This cellar is towards the front if the house and should have been drier. Completion of site gridding occurred and drawing started. Trench two had the mud slop removed from yesterdays down pours and drawing was started, hoping to complete tomorrow.
Chris clearing clay slime now cornered and submerged in modelling clay!
North faciong section of trench two, note two depressions possible gentle sloping ditchs. The one on the left stinks…suggesting organic materail including sulphorus smells (this was next to the stone lined drain. The one on the right contains burnt waterlogged deposits, see photo below.
Birnt waterlogged deposits centrally in slot, smelly deposits to the right and drain also on right.
Recording, sun too strong thus used plastic over harris fencing to provide shade to aid contexts recognition for planning ( this is me..kevin)
Biggest Conundrum on site so far. Latest speculation is a barrel shaped vault. However why did it not collapse completely when the building was demolished. Perhaps by saturday another suggestion will have arisen.
The day was given over to the weather (yes it rained), mainly heavier excavation methods used and gridding of the site. No attempt to work in trench 2 with its clay base.
However Stuart managed to reach the base of a cellar which appeared to have had a bricked up outer wall! Also of note were additional brick walls within the cellar which were discovered in 2012. There is a possibility that this may have been additional strengthening, possibly could be due to design faults or perhaps WW2 and the use of the cellar in case of air raids?
Some nice patterned floor tiles were discovered, awaiting Kerry to wash them and provide her analysis.
Sarah did some teaching today during one of the rain storms.
Context sheet and then a practical afterwards on site
Brick work near entrance now cleared. Appears not to be a later phase path.
Looks to be a collapsed wall?
Deep cellar, made of cut stone. Here two small brick walls appear to be designed to hold a flagstone surface. This was seen at Newton Hall. Has any one seen them at any of the other cellars excvatated?
Note blocked in opening on left behind sarah. In foreground later phase drainage associated with conservatory ( possibly after the demoplition of the house).
A connection with Doulton pottery showed up today. A possible connection with Lambeth based pottery date as yet unknown.
Trench two has now definately moved back in time to possibly the construction phase (lacking any pottery but fragments of buidling materials) for Easwood house. A stone lined drain has shown up which has been cut, possibly by a ditch which contains a brick and decorative stones. Tomorrow should hopefully show up the relationship of these new contexts.
A hungry bunch after a mornings work
TAS geophysics team came up to carry out a geophysical workshop (thanks to Keith and Greta for their time) including data collection and processing
Undated brick on left and waterlogged wood deposits on right in possible ditch cutting earlier drain
Stone line drain, covered by large broken capping stone.
Doulton ware, undated but linked to Lambeth pottery
A TAS social visit to the oldest church in Greater Manchester. Many thanks to Geoff Wellens local Historian for an excellent educational tour.
Spot the Norman arch having been reduced in width when this part of the church was rebuilt.
Bell tower adorned with wood
Today saw YAC arrive on site and another group of fresh diggers.
New cellar corridors started appearing and also the mystery of a possible blocked entrance to the cellar from the outside.
Trench two has been extended to test the central fills , next week should prove wether any pre demolition materal exists.
Trench two extended
Large Egg and darts design suggest a georgian / regency style interior
Encaustic style tiles probable victorian updating of flooring
Most of the finds have now been cleaned.