14 August 2012

Stirchley Furnaces revisited (I)

Today the interpid team of Town Park archaeology volunteers reunited for the second time in 2012, and the second 'bash' at Stirchley Furnaces. We were also joined by some new recruits!

Previous relationships were rekindled.

After last year's excavations at the furnace site we were keen to learn more about the different parts of the complex. Not only does this help us understand more about the operation of the ironworks, but it will also give us a good idea of how well preserved it is and how to tackle future conservation and interpretation.

As usual, the quality and quantity of the work undertaken has exceeded all expectations. Here is Trench 5 at 10.00 this morning...

... and here it is just after lunch!

What's more, we have made two extremely important discoveries today.

Firstly, we have explored some of the mysterious 'humps and bumps' in the woodland between the chimney and the furnaces which we excavated last year. We know that this area must contain the boiler house, engine house and blowing apparatus (as well as the refinery and perhaps the earliest hot air ovens in the world). However because there is no plan of the site, we have no idea where all the various components are.

Today the team uncovered two substantial brick walls, which seem to be part of the interior of the engine house. Hopefully tomorrow we will learn more about the internal arrangement of this important building.

Our second discovery was less impressive visually, but arguably even more significant. We knew there were four furnaces on this site by 1828, but so far had only found two of them. The location of the other two was not certain, but a large mound to the east of the surviving furnaces - and roughly the same size and shape - seemed a likely candidate.

Our trench here showed that they had been demolished and at least partly concreted over during the 'Stirchley Chemical Works' phase of the site - but the stonework below the concrete was identical to that of the furnaces we excavated last year. It's early days, but it looks like we have found the other furnaces!

More work tomorrow!

More information about previous work on this site.

Information about all of the archaeology we have done in Telford Town Park.

No comments:


accessibility aerial-cam aircraft Albany ALGAO antiquaries apley archaeology architecture art art nouveau Australia baltic Belgium beverley Birmingham black country Black Country Living Museum blast furnace blog borders Brexit broseley buildings cadw cambridgeshire canals cars castles charities chartership chief executive children chuches CIfA cinema coalbrookdale colonial community conferences conflict conservation contexts CPAT cracow crash cultural heritage culture cumbria cycling dark heritage dark tourism Darwin dawley devolution DGUF dialogue Dunsborough EAA earthworks england english heritage estonia EU Europe evolution excavation family family history fields fieldwalking food friends funding furnaces gardens geography geology geophysics Germany governance Habsburg heritage heritage management hertfordshire hinkshay historic environment historical metallurgy society history holiday hotel housing hull IfA india industrial heritage industry instability interdisciplinary iran iraq iron iron age iron rolling ironbridge ironworking jackfield jewish heritage Kakadu landscape landslide latvia lecture legislation linguistics Lithuania local history london manor house marylebone metallurgy middle east mill mining moat monograph moss museums national identity Netherlands Newcomen Nexus Northern Territory painting pakistan Perth planning poland politics of heritage post-colonial pottery preservation professionalism publication railways rambling religion report riga road rock art romania romans ruin salaries sandwell sardines scheduling schools scotland settlements severn shakespeare ships shropshire snow soviet stirchley stirchley furnaces stirchley ironworks stirchley slagworks stratigraphy survey Switzerland syria tallinn teaching telford tenements terrorism theatre timber-framed towns trains transport trustees turkey UK Vilnius volunteers wales west bromwich Western Australia wooden road wrexham wrexham and shropshire wroxeter yorkshire