The survey and dig will be carried out in the grounds of The Lakes School (built on the site of the former Calgarth Estate), from 15 to 27 July 2019.

May 2019

The archaeologists initially made a site visit to the former site of the Calgarth Estate with the Lake District Holocaust Project, and examined areas of the land surround the Lakes School, that might be suitable for possible surveying and excavation.

Will, Kevin and Caroline with Trevor Avery (LDHP) and Alan Katz, a Governor at the School
Will, Caroline and Kevin with Andy Cunningham, Head Teacher at the school

The archaeology will be led by world renowned archaeologists Caroline Sturdy Colls, Kevin Colls and William Mitchell, and will include a cutting edge technological survey to identify those remains of the estate that still lie hidden below the ground. This will be followed by excavations that will focus primarily on uncovering the remains of some hostel accommodation on the estate, that initially housed workers at the Sunderland Flying Boat factory nearby and in 1945, 300 Jewish child Holocaust Survivors.

Each of the six hostels on Calgarth Estate housed fifty people in small individuals rooms, and each room had a bed, chest of drawers and bedroom furniture. For the children, who arrived in August 1945 and who had experienced the horrors of concentration camps, the rooms and the hostels were utterly luxurious.

Some of the child Holocaust Survivors in the canteen at Calgarth Estate

Initially the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University will carry out a desk-based assessment of the site, using maps, plans, aerial photographs and testimony to build a detailed picture of how the landscape has evolved since the 1940s. Using both a magnetometer and GPR, the archaeologists will then survey the land during the first week beginning 15 July to look for the remains of buildings, rubble and other traces.  The magnetometer scan will cover most of the possible area/land surrounding the Lakes School and is useful for detecting changes to the earth’s magnetic field (for example, any remaining brick constructions) at a shallow level.  The GPR (ground penetrating radar) can detect disturbances at a deeper level.

Towards the end of the first week, there will be a few test pits and very small scale, minimally invasive excavations.  The second week, the archaeologists will concentrate on excavating part of the remains of a hostel.  The two photographs below show possible areas of the school grounds that will be scanned and/or excavated.

Volunteers will be required for a variety of tasks from 22 to 27 July. For further details please visit the Volunteers’ page on this site.