ARCHAEOLOGISTS from the University of Salford will be digging in Moss Bank Park in a bid to uncover Bolton’s industrial past.
Now volunteers are needed to help with the dig, in March, which aims to find the remains of a series of homes linked to the Halliwell Bleach Works. University researchers want to shed light on how people lived during the industrial revolution and will be looking for the remains of workers’ cottages and a mansion, which was built by owners of the works in 1786 and was demolished in 1951.
Halliwell Bleach Works was founded in 1739 by Peter Ainsworth who acquired a bleach croft on the site of an older farm. Successive Ainsworths expanded the facility and a huge chimney built by John Horrocks Ainsworth still stands today.
Moss Bank Park is also thought to have a holy well, which gave Halliwell its name.
The well was a source of fresh water in medieval times but was filled in 1743 after the three-year-old daughter of bleacher Peter Ainsworth fell in and died.
The university is appealing for volunteers of all ages and abilities to help take part in the dig.
It is part of a larger four-year project called Dig Greater Manchester which university bosses say will help communities understand their local history.
Brian Grimsditch, from the centre for applied archaeology at the university, said: “We hope that the dig in Bolton will show us the contrasting lives of workers and managers during the industrial revolution by revealing how they lived side-by-side, but very different lives.”
A Bolton Council spokesman said: “Moss Bank Park has a rich and varied history as the site of the Halliwell Bleach Works and the chimney still stands as a testament to the area’s industrial heritage.
“We are delighted to give the university permission to excavate in the park and hope that they uncover some interesting evidence of the workers’ lives on this site.”
For more information, contact Vicky Nash on: 0161 2954009 or email v.nash@ salford.ac.uk.