Wednesday 19 October 2011

Maltings in Stockwell Street

A member visited the Stockwell Street dig and writes as follows

Yesterday evening residents living in close proximity to the site of the new architecture school and campus library for the University of Greenwich on land to the south of the railway line bounded to the east by the rear gardens of properties in King William Walk, to the south by Nevada Street and to the west by Stockwell Street, were given a talk by Duncan Hawkins of CgMs Consuilting on the archaeological dig which took place during the summer.

No great discoveries were made perhaps understandably for a site which has undergone a whole sequence of urban development and which had been subject to a V2 rocket in early 1945. This landed in the northern part of the site close to the railway and in time new development took place.

Development also continued on parts of the site not affected by bomb damage, the most recent being the construction of John Humphries House for Greenwich Council in the 1960s.The earliest finds were medieval - a 14th century boundary trench - then later finds up to the mid 1800s - stoneware bottles, clay pipes, discarded domestic pottery etc, even the part skeleton of a horse from rubbish pits dotted around the site.

The most interesting aspect of the excavation, which at its deepest went down to close on 3 metres, was the evidence of buildings dating back to the mid 1800s associated with the maltings which were in the centre of the site.

One of these original buildings, in its position and two-storey form, remains on the site but it has, over the years, been given new floors and roof. The three malt kilns which had been part of the maltings operations on the site were also excavated, as were the outlines of more buildings associated with the maltings, including wells. The maltings were established by Frederick John Corder and Alfred Conyers Haycraft towards the end of the 1800s. The partnership was dissolved in 1900 with Haycraft continuing the business until selling out to Hugh Baird and Sons in 1906 or 1907.

Demolition will now proceed and the first part of the new development proposals will be the excavation for, and construction of, a basement which will occupy virtually the whole of the site.

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