Gildersome Primary School has a reputation for innovative approaches to history teaching, Last year, the school carried out a garden pottery survey with the help of the members of South Leeds Archaeology. So when the schools asked them to help with a project again this year, they were only too willing to help.
Mark Scott, the school’s deputy head has been researching the history of the village for several years. He had identified a feature on the 1850 Tithe Award Map which may have been a pond with and island in the middle. Matching it up to the modern map he found it coincided with the present location of Park Crescent. In the grassy area at the centre of the Crescent is a shallow depression which looks like the arc of a circle.
There was only one thing to do: put in a small trench and try to see if this depression formed part of the pond or not. So on the 14th of June 2012, 26 Year 6 pupils assisted by members of South Leeds Archaeology excavated a 6.0 x 1.0 m trench across the edge of the depression.
The pupils were hoping to find a revetment wall or perhaps a pond lining but if these things were there they were too deep to find in the time the school had available. Nonetheless the energy and the enthusiasm of the pupils seemed boundless and all of them were on task till the very last minute of the dig.
A Record Find
All the same the children did make a record find – literally! Among the many modern items recovered from the site was a 7-inch extended play record with one of those centres which could be knocked out so the disc could be used in a jukebox. The label had rotted away so it was impossible to identify the artist but it still has a legible reference number – DRF-31066-TI-IC. Perhaps there’s a record buff among the Heritage Forum readers who could tell us who it was.
The children also found a variety of other objects which related to leisure activities in in the 1960s. These included glass, marbles, a toy spud gun and a “MATCHBOX” style truck. There was also a die-cast tank, which was a playing piece from a Monopoly set. All of which fascinated Year 6.
If readers would like to see the children at work video footage of the excavation can be found on the schools home page at http://www.gildersomeprimary.org.uk/ or on YouTube.
A formal report is now being worked on. Anyone interested in receiving a pdf copy of the finished report should contact Dave Weldrake using the form at the bottom of this page.
Gildersome Primary School and South Leeds Archaeology would like to thank Aire Valley Homes for giving them permission to work on the site.
Freelance Heritage Educator
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