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Watch: Buile Hill Park Hart Hill mansion archeological dig underway


SalfordOnline.com paid a visit to Buile Hill Park to see the excavation of the historic Hart Hill mansion.

The work being is being carried out by the Salford University Archaeological Unit along with a team of trusty volunteers as they excavate the site of the former park mansion house.

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.

The house built by James Dugdale replaced an earlier substantial residence, shown on a map of 1815 as the property of a Mr Simpson. It was situated in wooded grounds and by the 1840s 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.

Brian Grimsditch from Salford University explained to us that the initial digging using a JCB didn’t prove too fruitful, however they have unearthed the brick walls of the mansion and the cellars are exposed for the first time which helps give the team an indication of the size of the property and where to dig.

They are only on the third day of the dig but have unearthed tiles, glass, pottery, and a cast iron grate from one of the fireplaces.

Volunteers of all ages have come from all over Greater Manchester including one lady who was visiting Great Britain from Australia and she voluntereed for a day’s dig!

Schoolchildren from St Mark’s in Worsley have been given their own small plot to excavate and were digging away excitedly under the close supervision of school teachers and staff from the University.

The dig will finish next Friday 11 October but SalfordOnline.com will be making a return visit next week to see what treasures have been unearthed.

There will be an open day on Saturday 12 October for the general public to tour the site and see the completed work.

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Tony Flynn

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