Abstracts of Volume XXXII 2010

Issue No 1, Spring 2010

Industrial Archaeology and the Archaeological Community: Fifty Years On

This paper is an expanded version of the annual Beatrice de Cardi lecture presented at the Council for British Archaeology’s weekend meeting held in October 2009 to celebrate both their involvement in the discipline of industrial archaeology and the 300th anniversary of the first successful smelting of coke by Abraham Darby at Coalbrookdale in 1609. It discusses in depth the CBA’s championship of the fledgling discipline of industrial archaeology in the early 1960s, together with the highly significant but frequently neglected developments in Northern Ireland. The paper then considers the development of industrial archaeology in public and professional archaeology in the second half of the 20th century and concludes that the definition of industrial archaeology adopted by the CBA in 1959 helped to pave the way for its considerable growth in that period.

The 19th-Century Suspension Footbridges of Harpers of Aberdeen

Harpers of Aberdeen, Scotland, developed a light suspension footbridge that had little connection with the ‘blacksmith bridges’ of the earlier part of the 19th century. Apart from scale, they differed in having a unique tensioning device together with an arched deck. Of perhaps 60 built, only a handful survive. They have not previously been described. These bridges provide a valuable insight into the affordable and adaptable engineering solutions, easily exported to all corners of the empire, which were adopted for small-scale projects during the course of the 19th century.

The Emergence of Municipal Baths: Hygiene, War and Recreation in the Development of Swimming Facilities

Public bathing facilities were one of the many new urban monument types of the Industrial Revolution. This paper examines the changing role, function and provision of baths and swimming pools from the Victorians to the post-war consensus of the 1950s and 1960s. It details changing rationales from cleansing, through preparation for war to post-war recreational use. It places these changes within the archaeological and historical record, utilising examples from across the United Kingdom, and explores how such buildings as well as being functional were simultaneously physical manifestations of the municipal grandeur and pride of the new industrial cities.

Nash Mills – The Endless Web Revisited

A watermill is known to have existed on the river Gade since the 11th century on the site of Nash Mills, Hertfordshire, where a purpose-built paper mill was constructed in the late 18th century. In 1810 the mill was purchased by John Dickinson, one of the great innovators of the paper industry. The mill evolved significantly during the 19th and early 20th centuries as part of Dickinson’s expanding business, which at one stage comprised five mills in the locality. Nash Mills remained in the ownership of John Dickinson and his successors until 1990, ceasing production in 2006, the last of Dickinson’s mills to do so. Using documentary and building evidence, this article examines the development of the mill, emphasising the relationships between personalities, events, structures, processes, and changing business and technological influences.

Issue No 2, Autumn 2010

Excavation on the Brunton and Shields Railway at Weetslade, North Tyneside

Excavation and recording of a section of the Brunton and Shields Railway, near Wideopen, North Tyneside, has revealed remains of two phases of trackbed, both dating to the first half of the 19th century. The original 1826 line, which was horse-drawn, lay in a cutting over 1m deep. The line was relaid in 1839 for the introduction of a locomotive. Clear evidence was found for the construction method of both the 1826 and 1839 tracks, although no sleepers or rails were found in situ.
The excavation has shown that, despite continual use of the line for over 150 years, significant remains survived of the earlier trackbeds, the depth of the cutting being the principal factor in their preservation. The excavation is one of comparatively few investigations of an early railway to examine a single section of line in detail. The remains uncovered date from the era of iron rails and stone sleepers, which distinguishes it from other published excavations from the north-east, where earlier wooden waggonways were revealed. The work demonstrates the wider potential for early railway remains to lie beneath later lines, even those in recent use, and emphasises the need to examine the routes of early lines archacologically.

The Conservation of Operational Steam Locomotives

The steam railway locomotive is one of the iconic machines of the Industrial period. This is reflected in the many examples that have been preserved in museums as static exhibits, and in the replicas that have