Monday, 24 July 2017

What was lost is found .........down in Didsbury with a forgotten house and a team of archaeologists

I doubt that there are that many people today who will remember the two houses buried under the car park in the old Didsbury College. 

Down in Didsbury with cellars, archaeologists and lots more
They date from at least the 1840s, and were demolished sometime in the 1960s and have been brought out of the shadows by an exciting archaeological dig by a team from CgMs who are working on behalf of P.J. Livesey the company which will be developing the site now that the college has moved down to Birley.

When the dig began no one was quite expecting what was found.

It began as it always does with a trial trench, stretched to two and by degree an extensive set of stone flagged cellars, some bits of marble fireplace the odd bit of electrical equipment and a gas fitting have been revealed.

The site in 1844
All of which suggests that one of our two houses was fairly high status.

So now I am off on a bit of a hunt to find out more.

The archaeologists will be finished by the end of the week and their report on the site and the finds will follow in due course but I can’t wait and so have begun trawling the census returns and street directories looking at clues for who lived there.

And as so often happens it was a chance conversation with Noel who was walking his dog that offered up a tantalising first clue in the form of a picture which may exist of the house and his memory of its demolition sometime in the 1960s.

So in the fullness of time I shall go looking for the story behind the houses, and close with a thank you to Robert and Pascal who are two of the archaeologists who took us round and to P.J. Livesey who allowed us down there and supplied the pictures.

The site today

Pictures; the dig down at Didsbury, courtesy of P.J. Livesey and detail of the area in 1853 from the 1841-53 OS for Lancashire, courtesy of Digital Archives, Association,

* P.J. Livesey



  1. I used to work there (til we moved to Birley). This was the Laurel car park behind Didsbury House.