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Get into the bones of Salford history: Sign up for Buile Hill Park Hart Hill mansion dig

Local people are being invited to take part in a public archeological dig to unearth the unique history of Salford’s 18th and 19th century Buile Hill Park.

People of all ages can join in at Buile Hill Park during September and October, invited by experts at the Centre for Applied Archaeology at the University of Salford.

In October 2013 scores of volunteers from Salford helped excavate 27 tons of rubble to reveal the site of the park’s former mansion house, known as Hart Hill.

They uncovered a wealth of archaeological material including domestic cups, bowls, plates, jugs, bottles, animal bones, glassware, clay tobacco pipes and ceramic floor and fireplace tiles.

But this time, the dig is returning to Buile Hill Park for the final excavation of the Dig Greater Manchester project, hoping to reveal more secrets of the now-vanished mansion house, an earlier late 18th century manor and a 17th century farm.

Watch: History uncovered at Buile Hill Park Hart Hill mansion dig

Hart Hill was built in 1859 for merchant James Dugdale and comprised a house in an Elizabethan style adjoined on the west by service rooms, a glasshouse and conservatory, and a yard and coach houses.

Little pictorial evidence remains but census returns show that the house was completed by 1861 when James Dugdale was listed here at the head of a household which included more than a dozen servants. In 1891 the house was the residence of Louis Schwabe, a yarn merchant.

Watch: Dig into Buile Hill Park history underway

The house, built by James Dugdale, replaced an earlier substantial residence situated in wooded grounds. By the 1840s it was approached via a lodge on Eccles Old Road. In the census of 1841 the house was occupied by Thomas Trueman, merchant, while an Anne Jenkle, gatekeeper, presumably lived at the lodge.

The dig will run from 7 September – 9 October and is open to anybody over the age of 16, with children invited to join up on Saturdays.

Vicky Nash, Senior Archaeologist at the University of Salford, said: “Being able to get your hands on with history is something special which really brings the past back to life in a way books and television never could.

“Volunteers are able to physically interact with history by walking around the remains of the rooms and handling objects lost or thrown away by the people who lived and worked in the mansion.

“Dig Greater Manchester is a fantastic project which stimulates the imagination and gives local people us a better understanding of what life was like in their community 100 or 200 years ago.”

No previous experience is necessary as organisers will provide training on site.

The team will also hold a public open day on Saturday 10 October 2015 from 10am to 4pm to showcase the results of the dig.

Volunteers can book now by contacting Penny Dargan-Makin emailing p.r.d.dargan-makin@salford.ac.uk.

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SalfordOnline.com's Local History Editor and Senior Reporter.