Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Excavations at Bridgnorth

After the problems with flooding a couple of weeks ago the river levels have now dropped and so we have been able to get on with work. The main aim of the trench has been to try and find the line of a former bylet. We were successful in locating the eastern edge of this feature, which was marked by a revetment wall.

Keith recording the trench section. He is standing on the line of the former bylet, with the revetment wall in the foreground.

The wall itself is made of sandstone blocks, which are ashlared on the western (river front) side. However the wall has also been given a front facing of brickwork which protects the relatively soft stone from erosion. The brick facing is quite late, but we have recovered an earlier brick from the core of the wall.

Detail of the wall const- ruction, from the river side.

We have found a wide range of artefacts, including nineteenth century bottles and drying floor tiles from the period when the site was in use as a malthouse. We have also recovered a number of earlier pieces, including seventeenth century slipware and tin-glazed earthenware. Photos of the finds will be posted once cleaning and cataloguing is completed.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The End

Sad scenes on site at Wednesbury Forge as the final stage of demolition of the upstanding structures is nearing completion. These are mainly twentieth century buildings, but still containing memories of high-quality English manufacturing industry. Having come to know the site well over the last five years, it is heart-breaking to see the once fastidiously clean managers' offices being pulled apart and thrown on the bonfire by demolition workers.

Plant room to the tool shop, during demolition.

Posters advertising quality on the wall of the former conference room.

Foundation stone laid by Edward Elwell, saved from the crusher.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Flooding at Bridgnorth

Work has started today on our evaluation in Bridgnorth. The main objective is to locate a 'bylet' - a small subsidiary channel of the River Severn. This may have medieval origins, and was certainly present for most of the post-medieval period. However recent rain has resulted in high water levels which have made progress somewhat difficult. Last week the floodwaters were very high so we postponed opening the trench until this week.

The site backs onto the river, and water levels were still rising when this photo was taken last week...

However despite a couple of dry days the water has been slow to recede. Part of the problem is that the relict reiver channel we are looking for will of course hold water for much longer than the surrounding landscape.

Water seeping up through the trench. So far we have only removed rubble layers tipped in the 1960s.

We have decided to postpone the work for another week in the hope that the river levels fall further. At present there is no point pumping out the excavation as it would re-flood very quickly.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Happy New Year

Well 2007 has already kicked off to an exciting start with projects up and coming from all directions. This includes new building recording and excavation projects in the west midlands region and further afield, plus more work in the Ironbridge Gorge, the continuation of excavations at Wednesbury - and further research projects in Coalbrookdale. In addition we will be launching our new monograph series, featuring a series of important metallurgical and ceramic production sites.

Malthouse tiles recovered from excavations in Coalbrook- dale.

Watch this space for further updates!