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No.196 September 2016

Monthly Newsletter

Summer Trips

At the end of July Trevor Boardman took a small group of us on a short tour of Borsdane Wood. Trevor had previously mentioned that there were some puzzling features in the wood that perhaps we weren't aware of and maybe we could suggest explanations for.

Trevor's first subject was the tunnel system at the Hindley end of the wood. He suggested that this was not the masterpiece of Victorian engineering we all admired but a botch job with changes of design having to be made throughout its construction. He backed his assumption by pointing out a number of anomalies in the tunnel's architecture which would not otherwise be there. We could see these changes but not knowing the full history of its construction it's difficult to say whether Trevor is right. At the time of their construction, however (in the mid 1840's), the tunnels must have been quite a feat of engineering (still working after 170 years).

Trevor next took us to look at the site of the cotton mill that was demolished soon after the turn of the 19th century. In its day it had both water and steam power with a large mill pond to the north which was still evident. The mill site itself is completely overgrown; however Trevor was keen to point out that the leat leading off to the north mill pond had no obvious feed (Borsdane Brook is too low). A little further into the wood however Trevor showed us the remains of a bricklined culvert, the head of which was a small dam. Trevor's contention is that this stream was the source of the water, which seems quite feasible as the stream actually comes all the way from Hall Lane where there is a reservoir in the grounds of Hindley Hall. To read more about this trip, visit our blog site here.

Lancaster Trip

Great turn out last month for our trip to Lancaster. This year we were joined by a contingent from the Wyre Group and some friends from the Bolton Historical Society. Our trip began with a guided tour of Lancaster Castle which only stopped being used as a prison in 2011. It's a fascinating complex of buildings, some dating as far back as the 12th century. The highlight was probably the Shire Hall and Court Room, which is still in use today for Crown Court proceeding.

After our tour we were met by Andy Reilly from the Lancaster Heritage Group who took us to the George and Dragon on St George's Quay for lunch. The proprietors, Mike and Anne Stewardson are also members of the Heritage Group and in the afternoon Anne and Andy showed us around Quay Meadow where the Heritage Group excavated last year. Andy then took us to the remains of the Bathhouse in Vicarage Field. After the Bathhouse we ventured further up the hill to where excavations had taken place earlier in the year as part of the City Council's Beyond the Castle project. Chris Birkett, from the Wyre Group, having worked on the site, was on hand to give us an in depth review of what they found.

We finished off our trip with a quick visit to the City Museum. Of particular interest here was the section on the King's Own Royal Regiment which was based in Lancaster. All in all it was a great day and if want more details, you can find it here.

Garstang Dig

In July we carried out a GPR Survey in a field just south of Garstang High School (Newsletter 195). The survey showed possible evidence of the Roman road connecting Ribchester with Lancaster. The Wyre Group, who organised the survey, have now been able to arrange a 4 day excavation of the site. It will run from Friday 23rd to Monday 26th September and they are looking for volunteers - so please contact me for more details if you fancy joining in.

Next Meeting

Wednesday 7th September. - in the Standish Suite at the Brocket Arms (7.30pm as usual). Our speaker this month is Steve King whose talk is entitled Historic Sites of Western Turkey. Steve, who is a member of the Lytham U3A, once worked as an EFL Teacher in Ankara and elsewhere, which enabled him to travel extensively. His many interesting experiences in Turkey certainly left their mark and Steve is keen to share them with us along with his knowledge of this fascinating country. Looking forward to what sounds like a great talk - hope to see you there, BA.