July 22 2019

We are joined by Geography Lecturer Tim Harris with his students, John and Nicholas and Sam. Frankie, Emily, Thaleia, Lauren B and Lauren J are from Forensic Science, Forensic Biology and Forensic archaeology respectively. And Joshua from the History department . Also arriving are volunteers who have applied through the site: Linda Wilkinson, Frances Rand, Elise Johnson, Gillian Macleod and Tom Palmer. Katherine joins us for a second week.

Will starts with a briefing in the sports hall and describes a brief history of the site, together with the story so far and for the newcomers, health & safety.

Trenches 5 and 6 are started in the sports field, directly in front of and behind the large test pit (No. 3) dug last week. The trenches are measured and the turf removed.

Once the turf is removed and the top soil exposed, it is carefully extracted from both trenches, placed in buckets and any possible artefacts of interest put to one side. Almost consecutively, sieving begins.

Whilst this is going on, Caroline takes some of the students into a different area of the school grounds, where the magnetometer recorded some possible areas last week that needed to be re-considered using the ground penetrating radar. This equipment “bounces” radar down below the ground and depending on what is below “picks up squiggly lines” that can be interpreted.

Accurate measuring is needed in order to pinpoint any constructions. In this case, an area of 25m by 75m is measured and Caroline explains how the information will be recorded and shows the students how to use the equipment.

Linda Dugdale and Raymond Davis arrive. They are former residents of Calgarth Estate and a few minutes later Marion Fothergill and Joyce Denny, join them.

Linda Dugdale and Raymond Davis

Linda lived at Calgarth until she was about eight. She describes inside the house “we did have a front door but we didn’t use it. We went in the back door into a little kitchen with a black leaded oven with a wash boiler in there. And then you went into the living room, which was quite a big one really…and then into the passage where there was the toilet and the bathroom – we were posh, we had a bath, then there was my brother’s bedroom, then my mother and father’s and then mine and my sister’s.”

Linda with Joyce Denny

Marion Fothergill and Joyce Denny immediately continue to reminisce about both their lives in Calgarth. They hadn’t seen one another since they left!

“That was the big hall there and that was where they did all the cooking and there was a pipe leaning out of one of those windows and we used to stand on the pipe and we used to say ‘give us a carrot’ to Mrs Warburton when she was peeling them”.

In the afternoon, Caroline interprets and explains the ‘squiggly’ lines, recorded in the morning, to some of the students. After much consideration, they decide that apart from a few very small areas that may be tested later, the main part of the foundation on the recordings is a further waste pipe.

As the dig continues, it becomes apparent that approximately half of trench 5 must extend beyond the perimeter of a building, since only half of the exposed context contains demolition. That is the half that is nearest the now backfilled test pit 3. Near the end of the day some very large stones are uncovered towards the other end of the pit, suggesting these could possibly be part of a foundation wall.

In trench 6 – the trench nearest Broadfield Road and the school – far more demolition extends over the whole area.

By the end of the day artefacts , amongst many, include bricks, different kinds of glass – some possibly from a toilet of bathroom window – and white tiles…….

…..several pieces of piping and one in particular has the word ‘Rainford’. This must have come from Rainford Potteries Ltd, manufacturers of stoneware pipes, gulleys and chimney pots.

Many smaller and interesting artefacts include a keyhole, mirror glass and patterned china. Most of these have been found as a result of scrupulously scraping, sifting and washing and by going to extreme lengths – in some cases – too!