This morning we were joined by teacher Parbinder Dhillon from Manchester Academy (literally on the Park’s doorstep!), and students who have selected to do a GCSE in History. They were full of ideas about Park, relating major changes to the Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars. We talked about different classes, and their housing, thought about how dress and diet reflected people’s identity, and discussed the role of parks in shaping their physical and moral well-being. The pupils braved souring temperatures and hard-baked clay to excavate on site, discovering glass, china, slag and building materials. Some of the boys had to be prised off site after finding bricks of contrastive colours and textures, which will help us reconstruct the Lakeside Pavilion!
The star find, made by Sukhvinder Kaur, and assisted by Khadra Abdullah Somali, was a small disc of fired cream clay, with a concentric wave or spiral design and traces of red pigment at its edges. We have no idea what it is! A small hole pierces the disc, just off-centre. Any ideas? Please leave us a comment…
Meanwhile, work continues on the silts of the lake, revealing new and rare insights into parklife in the past. Numerous bottles have been prised out of the mud, leaving inverse imprints of their writing in the sticky silts. We’ve also found a remarkable clay pipe which may tell us about Manchester’s important Irish communities: a harp on one side and a heart on the other, with the inscription ‘Erin’, recalls the many families who emigrated to this industrial city in search of a new life.
(Image of imprint in clay, and clay pipe images)