Monday 8th July was a very exciting day on site. Aside from a visit from Medlock School, we extended the bandstand trench to reveal another section of the foundation wall. Most excitingly the lake promises to live up to our hopes in terms of the lost possessions of past park users! We have now broken up the concrete surface and hard core of the paddling pool in a section of the trench and underneath that we have just come down to sediments that built up in the boating lake. This is a nice sealed deposit dating to between the construction of the lake in 1892-3 and the construction of the paddling pool, we think in 1927. Amongst the sediments are glass bottles, bits of leather (preserved because the sediments are wet), parts of children’s toys, buttons and other bits of clothing. Some of the Medlock children were lucky enough to see a toy model soldier just after it emerged from the ground (see images below).
And Ruth Colton, a Manchester University student studying parks and childhood, was beside herself with the discovery of a small ceramic head and a glass doll’s eye (you can see photos of Ruth with the ceramic head below).
Last but not least we found a clay pipe bowl inscribed with: ‘For Auld Lang Syne’, with an image of clasped hands. A fitting motif for the spirit of the project bringing students, volunteers and Friends of Whitworth Park together!