Thursday, May 10, 2012

...and now for something completely different.

Today I managed to spare some time to go and look at a potential new project in Northfleet, North-east Kent. The project is run by the Northfleet Harbour Restoration Trust ( who intend to restore the old harbour into a marina and general communal centre, encouraging those interested in sports and heritage. There are some great pictures of the old harbour in it's glory days on the website. The harbour was blocked off from the sea in the 1980s by a sea wall which they hope will ultimately come down to return the natural estuary to it's former state.

1920s concrete hides a mid
19th century brick wall
The harbour was used for centuries by local industries and fishermen with evidence stretching back to the Romans and possibly beyond. An Elizabethan Mansion is rumoured to occupy one corner, but mostly the archaeology is dominated by the industrial history of the site. This harbour would have been used mostly by the cement works which used to dominate the landscape behind the harbour; and there is a beehive kiln, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, hidden in amongst the modern buildings which occupy the site today.
This project is in it's infancy and work has mostly been concentrated around clearing the overgrown vegetation away. I took some photos so you can get an idea of what they are up against! At the moment they are uncovering the 20th century slipway used by generations of fishermen as access to the Thames and beyond. This site will be a little different to the ones I'm used to working on because it will be mainly to do with Industrial Archaeology, something I've never really had much experience in until now. I'm very excited about getting involved though and once security on the site is improved we hope to get stuck into the deeper deposits to see if we can build up a better picture of the harbour over time.

Uncovering the early 20th century slipway. You can see how much work there is left to do! be continued...

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