Councillor digs deep to reveal industrial heritage
10:05am Thursday 25th April 2013 in News
THE team from Channel 4’s Time Team has some competition as a councillor has unearthed some of Bolton’s history in an archaeological dig.
Cllr Christopher Peacock, Bolton Council’s cabinet member for sport, youth and culture, spent three days trying to uncover the mysteries of the town’s industrial past at Moss Bank Park.
Archaeologists from the University of Salford and a group of volunteers set up an excavation site in Moss Bank Park to shed light on how workers and masters lived during the Industrial Revolution.
The aim of the two week dig earlier this month was to unearth the remains of workers’ cottages and a mansion, which was built by the owners of the Halliwell Bleach Works in 1786 and demolished in the 1951.
Cllr Peacock said: “When we were there we didn’t realise what we were uncovering. I found it really rewarding taking part as I have grown up here and I remember having picnics in Moss Bank Park on the piece of grass where the dig was.
“I was asked to dig a hole and I found what I thought was a blue pot but it turned out to be a torso of a figurine. It was a gentleman in a military uniform with his arm out. For those 10 minutes I felt like I was on Time Team.”
All the items found on the dig will be analysed.
He added: “I would definitely do it again. I have probably done more digging in those three days than I ever have in my garden.”
He and the team also dug out a window, which they initially thought was a wall.
It is believed the group may return to the site after discovering a number of interesting items, including a servants bell and servants’ passage, which experts were not aware existed.
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.
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