A Town With A Past --- And A Future
Page 4



Hidden Clues

Archaeological Investigation Continues

Following earlier trench investigations, Caroline Atkins has been completing the archaeology survey, which is a Planning requirement. Caroline has meticulously recorded the significant historical features. David Lee Photography Ltd undertook a complete photographic survey and additional photographs will be taken as work progresses. Caroline will monitor the contractor’s works as part of a watching brief and will be able to record any new findings as they are uncovered.

Caroline has spent a great deal of time investigating how the Wilderspin gallery might have been constructed. By removing parts of the wall plaster she has uncovered fixing holes and paint evidence to suggest the exact dimensions and structure of the gallery, confirming earlier conjecture of Keith Miller and





A number of doors have survived which can be reused. The door screens, shown here, and the classroom folding doors will also be restored.

John French based on the school log books and preliminary measurements.A new find is a blocked-up window, previously unrecorded, under the gallery. It must have provided light beneath it when it was used for coal storage and as a cloakroom. Evidence for the coat rails has also been found. This information will help re-create exactly the appearance of the Wilderspin Infant Schoolroom as it was in 1844/45.Extensive areas of wall and ceiling plaster have been earmarked for retention. Some areas of tiled flooring will be conserved. Doors and other woodwork have been kept, catalogued and put to one side ready for reuse or to use as patterns for making replicas.







Archaeological investigation is revealing the precise way Wilderspin's gallery must have been fitted in the Infants’ Schoolroom.

Once floors are lifted we hope to find additional evidence of the playground and, internally, the Wilderspin teaching posts around which small groups of children would be taught. A limited look above the ceiling of the ground floor of the former Master’s house suggests we may be in for further exciting discoveries. The bedroom layout, patches of wallpaper and the fireplace can just be seen. As soon as possible, Caroline will investigate to what extent details of the original (1844) layout, fixtures, fittings and decorative treatments have survived the remodelling of the Master’s House in 1879 when it was converted into a ground floor classroom. The first floor will be reinstated to create a plant room and archive space.

Paint analysis was undertaken by Lisa Oestreicher, Architectural Paint Analyst, to uncover evidence of the School’s decorative changes. Lisa’s report will guide restoration design of the principal historic rooms. Following the 1950s the building appears to have been painted no more than twice, compared to having been painted thirty four times in its first one hundred year history – or approximately every three years, reflecting changes in paint quality as much as maintenance budgets.



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