Buried city cen­tre path dates to 18th cen­tury

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes

AHISTORIC cob­ble­stone foot­path found buried un­der Birm­ing­ham’s his­toric Vic­to­ria Square has been dated to late 18th cen­tury.

Staff work­ing on the ex­ten­sion of the Mid­lands Metro tram line un­cov­ered the path and called in ex­pert arche­ol­o­gists to ex­am­ine the re­mains.

And hun­dreds of vis­i­tors have been to see the site since it was re­vealed by the Mid­lands Metro Al­li­iance (MMA) last week.

At first it was thought the pe­riod pave­ment could date as far back as the Saxon or me­di­ae­val era.

But now it ap­pears the cob­bles are more likely to be about 250 years old dat­ing to the mid18th cen­tury when Birm­ing­ham was a rapidly grow­ing city.

Lau­rence Hayes, ar­chae­ol­o­gist for RSK, said: “This is a very in­ter­est­ing find in the heart of the city cen­tre. The arte­facts we have re­cov­ered from the sur­face of the path and be­neath it in­clude porce­lain, clay pipe and build­ing ma­te­ri­als which date to the post-me­dieval pe­riod.

“The road is prob­a­bly part of the city’s ex­pan­sion in the mid18th cen­tury, and went out of use in the Vic­to­rian pe­riod.

“We will be car­ry­ing out fur­ther work in the com­ing months to ex­am­ine his­tor­i­cal maps and the arte­facts we have re­moved from the site in or­der to build up the full pic­ture.”

The team also sug­gest it once may have been part of an ear­lier ex­ten­sion of Pin­fold Street.

The path was on show to the pub­lic un­til Wed­nes­day, af­ter which it is be­ing ex­ca­vated for fur­ther work on the tram line be­tween Grand Cen­tral and Cen­te­nary Square and Broad Street.

Mr Hayes added: “The Mid­land Metro Al­liance works closely with the lo­cal com­mu­nity and these pieces will make a great case study and ed­u­ca­tional piece for schoolchildren which high­lights the hid­den his­to­ries which are all around us be­neath our city streets.”

Project di­rec­tor Steve Grimes added: “There is al­ways po­ten­tial for items of his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance to be un­cov­ered dur­ing con­struc­tion, and the dis­cov­ery of the foot­path pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing look at Birm­ing­ham in days-gone-by.”

This is not the first time that a his­tor­i­cal find has been un­earthed dur­ing the works to ex­tend the West Mid­lands Metro. Roller shut­ters, also from the Vic­to­rian pe­riod, were dis­cov­ered at a shop in Pin­fold Street ear­lier this year.

We will be car­ry­ing out fur­ther work to build up the full pic­ture

> An ar­chae­ol­o­gist works with the Mid­land Metro Al­liance site team af­ter the his­toric foot­path, be­low, was dis­cov­ered

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.