Public dig of demolished former iron pig furnace houses to reveal history of Telford

By Culture24 Staff | 14 April 2010
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A black and white photo of an industrial town in countryside

(Above) Hinkshay Row in the 1960s. The dig will take place on the site of the main row of houses in the centre. Photo: Library and archives of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Investigators are hoping to find out more about the hidden history of a town lying in the shadow of Shropshire's 18th century Ironbridge Gorge in a series of public digs starting next week (April 21 2010).

Hinkshay Row, a housing estate built for workers at a pig iron furnace by Thomas Botfield in the early 19th century, will be excavated by archaeologists and residents in the four-day campaign at Telford Town Park.

Former residents of the homes, which were demolished in two stages during the early 20th century and 1960s, will be assisting experts by discussing their memories of the grounds throughout the project.

"This is a really exciting project to work on," admitted Paul Belford, Head of Archaeology and Monuments at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.

"We will be able to look into the daily lives of the people who made Telford’s history. We can bring to life the industrial and economic history with the everyday objects left behind by individuals and families."

Funded by the Parks for People Project, the scheme aims to link the Town Park with the more illustrious set of ten Gorge Museums, which are accessible from the site via a canal footpath to the Blists Hill Victorian Town attraction.

"The history of the Town Park is often overlooked, but this archaeological project has shown that the area is just as rich in history as the Ironbridge Gorge," said Jo Ridgway, Project Manager for Telford and Wrekin Council.

"There is still lots more to discover."

The dig will be open to schools on Wednesday and Thursday (April 21 and 22), but limited spaces for the public are available for Thursday and Friday (April 23 and 24). Former residents are also encouraged to contact the team. For further information call Jo Ridgway on 01952 382602.

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