Time team dig deep at old bleach works

First published in News

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.

Comments (4)

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10:52am Wed 30 Jan 13

Phil from Smithills says...

Near Baroow Bridge chimney on Smithills Croft Road, you can see quarter shaped stones running along the inside of the road where it meets the wall either side of the road.
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This was for the horse carts to rest when being used to transport bleached cotton from the bleach works nearby.
Near Baroow Bridge chimney on Smithills Croft Road, you can see quarter shaped stones running along the inside of the road where it meets the wall either side of the road. . This was for the horse carts to rest when being used to transport bleached cotton from the bleach works nearby. Phil from Smithills
  • Score: 1

11:09am Wed 30 Jan 13

berushka says...

Yes, and a little lower, where the road bears right, opposite what was once a small wood, with a large house on the corner, heading towards the old britallium works, was a small opening into the hillside, with a well. This had an inscription which I cannot remember, but I do know that there was also a tunnel that ran from around here directly under the fruit and vegetable store on the edge of the park, been there a couple of times and nicked a few oranges! I think this is where they should be looking for the well.
Yes, and a little lower, where the road bears right, opposite what was once a small wood, with a large house on the corner, heading towards the old britallium works, was a small opening into the hillside, with a well. This had an inscription which I cannot remember, but I do know that there was also a tunnel that ran from around here directly under the fruit and vegetable store on the edge of the park, been there a couple of times and nicked a few oranges! I think this is where they should be looking for the well. berushka
  • Score: 0

1:11pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Phil from Smithills says...

The newish stone houses facing Barrow Bridge chimney, is where the stables where. As a little lad, my father would show me the stable ( now a house ) where my grandfather stabled his horse when he worked as a cartier for the bleach works.
The newish stone houses facing Barrow Bridge chimney, is where the stables where. As a little lad, my father would show me the stable ( now a house ) where my grandfather stabled his horse when he worked as a cartier for the bleach works. Phil from Smithills
  • Score: 0

10:36am Thu 31 Jan 13

berushka says...

Phil from Smithills wrote:
The newish stone houses facing Barrow Bridge chimney, is where the stables where. As a little lad, my father would show me the stable ( now a house ) where my grandfather stabled his horse when he worked as a cartier for the bleach works.
spot on Phil, I think you and I are from the same era and may even have known each other. Used to love the smell of the stables and the farrier making shoes. Now I have two horses of my own, and still love the smell. Pity everything has gone to housing down that way.
[quote][p][bold]Phil from Smithills[/bold] wrote: The newish stone houses facing Barrow Bridge chimney, is where the stables where. As a little lad, my father would show me the stable ( now a house ) where my grandfather stabled his horse when he worked as a cartier for the bleach works.[/p][/quote]spot on Phil, I think you and I are from the same era and may even have known each other. Used to love the smell of the stables and the farrier making shoes. Now I have two horses of my own, and still love the smell. Pity everything has gone to housing down that way. berushka
  • Score: 0

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