Angel Meadows Archaeological Excavation – Part 3Lisa Mitchell
The excavation of Angel Meadows continues, and the team began with the backfilling of Plot 2 on Mincing Street, with the recording completed it was time to fill in the cellars and level off the ground to allow the opening the adjacent Plot 3. According to the historic mapping, Plot 3 contains a similar layout of buildings, centred around courtyards, as we have previously seen elsewhere, with two notable differences; the first is the presence of a named street and the second is that one of the buildings used to be a pub.
The name ‘Holden Street’ appears on our earliest available map of 1831 and is still named as such on the OS map of 1966, although it’s width does appear to fluctuate throughout history and it’s likely no more than a back street in later incarnations (it is not named at all on some of the early 20th Century maps). The excavation has already revealed an area of cobbles in line with where Holden Street should lie, so we should learn quite quickly the extent to which it survives.
Our pub is located in the southwest corner of Plot 3 and is first noted on the OS map of 1850. This initial reference names it as ‘The Derby Arms’ and while later mapping is not as specific, the site is still annotated as a public house on the 1922 edition. The machine excavation is still ongoing and at the time of writing we haven’t broken ground in that part of the site yet, but the team are anticipating a nice big cellar with (hopefully) some lovely old bottles. The excavation of a scuttler gang hideout (as pubs often were) may be wishful thinking, as the building seemingly outlasted the youth gangs. The activities of such gangs had begun to tail off by the turn of the 20th century due to a combination of; increased policing, the implementation of working Lads’ Clubs and the outbreak of the Boer War, and later, the First World War. That being said, a pub is an excellent motivator for archaeologists and not the one the team attend as a reward at the end of the working day!
Over on Ludgate Hill (Plot 5) the team worked very hard to finish the cleaning and have jumped straight onto the recording with another visit from our drone pilot scheduled in order to complete the necessary survey work. With everything running to plan the next stage will be to continue backfilling sometime next week, and after that, opening up the other half to continue the story.