Work on many of the sites which around the city centre continues. This has included the completion of the main programme of building recording at Royal Worcester Porcelain, and a second phase of field evaluation at the Library site on The Butts. Additionally, archaeological work is due to start shortly on the new Sainsbury’s development on the edge of the medieval St John’s suburb.
The latest phase of field evaluation at Royal Worcester Porcelain produced very little early (pre-porcelain works) material, but remains of factory buildings and porcelain waster dumps were present in some areas, albeit very localised. Building recording has included a very detailed record of the Bone Mill or Pan Grinding House, which includes most of its original 19th century machinery (though unfortunately not the beam engine) as well as early electrical switchgear.
The additional evaluation at The Butts consisted of a number of larger trenches in the City depot area, designed to assess the extent, nature and in particular the depth and complexity of Roman remains. The trenching confirmed that the remains here are complex, including many small features as well as surfaces, larger ditches, and ironworking evidence. A watching brief was also maintained during an extensive borehole survey, and the combined evidence is building up a picture of deposition across the whole site.
Several buildings have been surveyed before proposed alterations of various sorts. 52 The Tything was mentioned in the last report. A full drawn and photographic record has now been made. The detailed recording showed that parts of the buildings date back to the late 17th century, while the tea-chest partition wall is thought to be associated with a grocer and tea-dealer, Thomas Williams, who had a shop here between 1820 and 1855. Most if not all of the tea chests are from China, with surviving paper labels and merchant’s marks, including one of the East India Company. This is an extremely rare survival, possibly unique, and would certainly repay further documentary study. At 70 Broad Street, detailed survey work has been underway on the late medieval buildings, which are being made weatherproof, though only limited other work is taking place. Finally, at Shrub Hill Station, recording of the Grade II*-listed waiting room is underway, during its restoration by Network Rail. This is a lavishly decorated structure, with cast iron work from the Vulcan Ironworks of Worcester, and tiles from Maws of Shropshire.
Field evaluation in the car park of the former Alma Inn, Mill Street, showed that remains of the settlement or industrial activity of the late Anglo-Saxon or early post-Conquest period, already recognised at other sites in the area, are also present here. A watching brief on service trenching in Lowesmoor recorded a cobbled surface at a depth of nearly 2m. This was undated, but could be part of a Roman road which is thought to have passed through this area.
The last few months have been very busy on the strategic side. The City Defences Conservation Management Plan has been adopted by the City Council and will now form the basis for an action plan which is being developed with English Heritage.
The Supplementary Planning Document on Archaeology and the historic environment has now been adopted as part of the Local Development Framework for Worcester. Printed copies will be available shortly. The policy document will be supported by practice guidance for archaeological work.
The edited version of the Archaeological resource assessment and research framework for Worcester is now available for download from the Worcester City Council and City Museum websites at:
This is a PDF document and you will need Adobe Acrobat to read it. A small number of printed copies will be available, one of which will be lodged at the Worcestershire Archaeological Society library. Copies are obtainable from the City Council on 01905 721132 or 721133; there will be a charge to cover the costs of copying and postage.
A joint report on the archaeological implications of the Worcester New Growth Point was prepared with the County Council and sent to the consultants preparing the Green Infrastructure report for the area. This will also be used to support the case for the historic environment in the South Worcestershire Joint Core Strategy, the new strategic planning document being developed jointly by the three south Worcestershire districts (Worcester, Wychavon and Malvern Hills).
city archaeology office's
contact details are:
Worcester City Council
26 The Butts
721 132 (James Dinn, Archaeological Officer)
721133 (Sheena Payne, Historic Environment Record Officer)