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ECf digs into Salford's industrial heritage

Posted by Tony Flynn on 26th September 2012 at 01:05 PM
ECf digs into Salford's industrial heritage

An archaeological dig, aimed at uncovering Salford’s industrial past, is underway on a site off Chapel Street as a part of the Salford Central regeneration scheme.

A series of trenches is being dug by a team of archaeologists from the University of Salford on the location of Plot E3 – the first area up for development – in a bid to uncover the hidden history of the site.

The first set of trenches, which are being dug this week (w/c September 24), are all situated between Chapel Street, Barrow Street, Wroe Street and Islington Way, close to St Philip’s C of E School. The initial stages will see heavy machines breaking through rubble and concrete before a team of archaeologists moves in to conduct careful hand excavations.

It is believed the site was packed with housing for factory and mill workers during the Industrial Revolution, and the dig may help to build a picture of the day-to-day lives of the families who lived there.

Phil Mayall, development director at ECf, said: “Salford was at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution and thousands of families flocked to the area in the 19th Century to seek work in mills and factories.

“We hope that the dig will reveal some artefacts and buried information about the lives of the people who lived in Salford.”

The dig is being run by The Centre for Applied Archaeology at The University of Salford, which has significant experience in commercial research, community archaeology and teaching.

Adam Thompson, Director at the Centre for Applied Archaeology, said: “This is a hugely exciting project and the main aim is to establish what’s under the ground, its extent and significance.”

The excavation is expected to last for around four weeks and the University team is hoping to invite schoolchildren and members of the local community down to the site during this time to see the work taking place for themselves.

Councillor Derek Antrobus, Assistant Mayor of Salford, with responsibility for strategic planning, said: “The Salford Central regeneration project is one of the city’s flagship urban renewal schemes. But this archaeological dig is also an important glimpse into Salford’s past. I hope we can discover how the city’s residents went about their daily lives during the historic Industrial Revolution period.”

Once approved, the proposals for Plot E3 will see the construction of a complete block of new buildings, ranging from six storeys fronting onto Chapel Street, to three storeys facing Barrow Street. These buildings will contain new apartments, townhouses and commercial premises, including a local convenience store.

The new development will also see the main façade and distinctive roof of the Bell Tower building being retained and refurbished to ensure the character of the street remains.

Salford Central – a major 44 acre regeneration scheme – is set to transform a key area of the city. The scheme is being delivered by ECf – a joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal & General and The Homes & Communities Agency – working closely with development partner Salford City Council.

When complete, Salford Central – which is made up of two inter-dependent, but distinct areas, Chapel Street and New Bailey – will create around 11,000 new jobs, 220,000 square metres of commercial space, 849 new homes and 390 hotel rooms.

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