Archaeologists Unearth City's Industrial History

Article excerpt


Artefacts from a lost network of 19th century factories and canals have been unearthed during an archeological dig in the city centre.

Ornate bricks, tolls, bottles, brass wires, newspaper articles and a demolition ball are just some of the items painstakingly recovered by archaeologists at what will be the site of the new pounds 193 million Library of Birmingham.

Two hundred years ago the area was a maze of waterways and foundries as Birmingham earned its reputation as the workshop of the world.

The car park next to the Repertory Theatre was once the site of Winfield Brass Works, a canal wharf and wired drawing or brass rolling factory.

Up to a dozen archeologists from the University of Birmingham are currently surveying the area, which has been underground for 90 years, and have found where workshops, loading areas, furnaces, boiler and offices rooms - all powered by a steam engine on the site - would have once stood.

The team, called Birmingham Archaeology, are also mapping out the canal route, which would have ran through Baskerville House, and been crucial in bringing materials and taking away finished goods.

For the first time the public can see the archaeologists at work after a new viewing platform, complete with information panels, at the edge of the site was unveiled today. The team are expected to complete their work at the end of Sep-temberThen following the Birmingham Half Marathon in October they will look beneath Centenary Square, where the new Library Amphitheatre is to be sited. …