Sep 02, 2023
Community dig reveals Rochdale's Victorian corn mill
The foundations of a Victorian corn mill and a public weighing station have been found at a major archaeological dig in Rochdale. Archaeologists and volunteers are digging on the Broadfield Slopes.
The foundations of a Victorian corn mill and a public weighing station have been found at a major archaeological dig in Rochdale.
Archaeologists and volunteers are digging on the Broadfield Slopes.
Over 450 volunteers and trainees have joined experts from the University of Salford as part of the Big Dig 2 in the town.
Dr Colin Elder said the finds show the area would have been "a hive of activity".
The Slopes and the surrounding area played a key role in the development of Rochdale town centre, and the team have discovered the foundations of the Charles Kershaw Central Corn Mill.
"This site would have been a hive of activity in the industrial period, with people who would have worked in the corn mill living in houses, now long gone, which lined the steps which run up the Slopes to St Chad's Church," Dr Elder said.
"We've also found part of a public weighing station, where people, including merchants, would have gone to check whether they had been sold the right amount of cotton, wool or, in this case, probably corn."
The event is one of a number of public activities which are part of the wider redevelopment of Rochdale Town Hall.
It is undergoing a multi-million pound restoration project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the council.
The area is earmarked for redevelopment and proposals include the restoration and repair of the Grade II listed Packer Spout fountain and installing new lighting and landscaping.
A similar community dig took place in 2021 in Town Hall Square which revealed remains of Victorian homes and businesses.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for equity, safety and reform at Rochdale Borough Council, said volunteers had "shown a passion for uncovering the history of their town".
"This dig has been another example of the wonderful community spirit which has characterised the project to redevelop Rochdale Town Hall as a whole, with so many participants and volunteers getting stuck in."
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