Archeologists aim to show how Industrial Age masters and servants lived side by side
8:46am Friday 15th March 2013 in News
A TIME team has moved into one of Bolton’s most popular parks to uncover the mysteries of the town’s industrial past.
Archaeologists from the University of Salford and a group of volunteers — the majority of whom are local — have set up a excavation site in Moss Bank Park to shed light on how workers and masters lived during the Industrial Revolution.
They are hoping to “dig up” the remains of workers’ cottages and a mansion, which was built by owners of the Halliwell Bleach Works in 1786, demolished in the 1930s.
The team moved on to the site on Monday and have already made discoveries.
Vicky Nash from the University of Salford said: “We have only been on the site for a few days and have found the servants' bell system and a servants' passage which we did not know about. There is no ground floor, so we are straight into the cellar.”
The Halliwell Bleach Works was founded in 1739 by Peter Ainsworth, who acquired a bleach croft on the site of an older farm. Successive members of the Ainsworth family expanded the facility, and Richard Ainsworth was one of the first to use chlorine gas for bleaching from 1807.
Later a huge chimney was built by John Horrocks Ainsworth, which still stands.
The park is also believed to incorporate the Holy Well, which gave the area its name. This source of fresh water was in use from medieval times but was filled in when the three-year-old daughter of bleacher Peter Ainsworth fell in and was killed in 1743.
The buildings fell into disrepair before demolition.
People not involved in the dig are being urged to stay away from the site for their own safety after youths are thought to have disturbed it at night despite the site being fenced off.
The dig is planned to last for two weeks after which there will be open day for visitors.