Archaeologists from the University of Salford and Manchester Communications Academy will be working together with volunteers, local residents and school children to uncover the forgotten past of Collyhurst next month.
The first site chosen for excavation is Collyhurst Hall, one of the finest buildings of its time. The Hall is now buried beneath a playing field on the corner of Rochdale Road and Collyhurst Street.
Historic documents suggest that Collyhurst Hall once housed the Mosley family, an influential clan that were heavily involved in the history and economy of Manchester during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, however there is no concise history of the Hall itself.
Research has suggested there was a hall on the site from at least 1649 along with several outbuildings, extensive gardens and a possible moat. But the first edition of the Ordnance Survey map of 1848 later highlighted that the hall had been demolished by the end of the 19th century and had been replaced by terraced housing. This housing was later demolished in the 1960s and the site has been vacant ever since.
It is hoped this excavation project will not only encourage community togetherness by way of local residents working together, but will also inspire future projects in the area.
Vicky Nash, a Senior Archaeologist from the University of Salford, said: “The University’ Archaeology Centre has a national reputation for delivering innovative heritage based community engagement projects.
“The Collyhurst Hall project is unique partnership between Salford Archaeology and Manchester Communications Academy which aims to empower local residents and school children by providing them with the means and skills to connect with their heritage.
“We hope that this will lead to further heritage based projects within Collyhurst and provide a model for developing partnerships with other communities across Greater Manchester.”
Kieran Power, Community Archaeologist from Manchester Communications Academy, added: “I believe archaeology provides a unique model for community cohesion and bonding. It has been show to foster and develop a sense of place and belonging.
“From the early days of I Dig Moston to the heady days of Dig Manchester, I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of enthusiastic amateur archaeologists.
“These were not only local residents and schools but they were drawn from as wide a sweep of the larger community as possible. “
“Our aim is to be inclusive as possible and to enable people to make a real hands-on and personal connection with their own history, by literally digging it up!
“We look forward to welcoming as many people as possible to our Open Day on Saturday 16th July which will be a key event in North Manchester to coincide with the beginning of the national Festival of Archaeology 2016.”
The project has support from Collyhurst Big Local, Manchester City Council, Tameside Archaeology Society and Manchester Museum.
The project will run from Monday 4th July to Friday 15th July 2016 (Monday to Saturday Only). There will be a free public open day on the site (on Saturday 16th July – 10am to 4pm), for members of the public to come and take a look at what has been uncovered, receive a guided tour of the excavations and find out more about the history of Collyhurst. There will also be some children’s activities, including a small area where, along with their mums and dads, they can have a go at digging.