Survey of St. Michaels and All Angels Tower

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.

TAS_1888w

Detail underneath

TAS_2014w

Well protected on site

TAS_1874w

Fearsome creatures

TAS_2003w

Exquiste carvings

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

WW2 Air raid shelters discovered at Ashburys railway yards Manchester

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

ash 1

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.

ash 2

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

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Open day Cheetham park

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.

TAS_1742w

Site being prepared ready for the day.

TAS_1744w

Marlene giving tour of the site, giving an opportunity for an aerial photo of the site which was terraced into the hillside.

TAS_1746w

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.

TAS_1748w

David giving a tour of the site, pointing out the deep cellars.

TAS_1749w

Mike a TAS member enjoying his last day digging on the site with a collection of high quality tile fragments

TAS_1751w

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Penultimate Day

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.

 

TAS_1741w

Kerry delicately revealing high class plaster work with gold leaf decoration.

TAS_1740w

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.

Scan1w

Small area of trench two indicating deepest waterlogged deposits and a stone drain.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Day 10

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.

TAS_1717w

‘Careful Steve watch you dont reverse the stratigraphy!’

TAS_1719w

Drain top stones removed Trench two

TAS_1724w

Inside drain Trench two

TAS_1726w

Overall view of site with trench one in foreground.

TAS_1731w

Spot the later phase drain

TAS_1735w

One in the eye!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Day nine, sun is back and everyone is happy!

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.

 

TAS_1700w

Chris clearing clay slime now cornered and submerged in modelling clay!

TAS_1702w

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.

TAS_1706w

Birnt waterlogged deposits centrally in slot, smelly deposits to the right and drain also on right.

TAS_1714w

Recording, sun too strong thus used plastic over harris fencing to provide shade to aid contexts recognition for planning ( this is me..kevin)

TAS_1716w

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.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Day 8 no time for artist use of the trowel today!

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.

TAS_1687w

Context sheet and then a practical afterwards on site

TAS_1691w

Brick work near entrance now cleared. Appears not to be a later phase path.

TAS_1692w

Looks to be a collapsed wall?

TAS_1693w

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?

TAS_1694w

Note blocked in opening on left behind sarah. In foreground later phase drainage associated with conservatory ( possibly after the demoplition of the house).

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Day 7

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 morning work

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

TAS_1669r

Resistivity

TAS_1672r

Gradiometer

TAS_1681r

Undated brick on left and waterlogged wood deposits on right in possible ditch cutting earlier drain

TAS_1664r

Stone line drain, covered by large broken capping stone.

TAS_1684r

Doulton ware, undated but linked to Lambeth pottery

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Visit to St Leonards, Middleton

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.

Spot the Norman arch having been reduced in width when this part of the church was rebuilt.

TAS_1643

Stunning windows.

TAS_1649

Boar war

TAS_1654

Bell tower adorned with wood

TAS_1644

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Cold Saturday

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.

TAS_1597w

Trench two extended

TAS_1613w

Large Egg and darts design suggest a georgian / regency style interior

TAS_1611w

Encaustic style tiles probable victorian updating of flooring

Most of the finds have now been cleaned. TAS_1612w

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off