Dozens enjoy fresh look at industrial past

  • Date created: 26 April 2011

Archaeologists have unearthed long-hidden railway tracks and the remains of a hydraulic power plant during their excavations of the UKCMRI site to the west of St Pancras International. The experts from the Museum of London also discovered domestic items which probably came from the slum housing which was cleared in Victorian times to make way for the Goods Yard. The objects include a candle snuffer, comb, white clay rabbit, marbles and a button.

More than 250 people came to the site to see the archaeologists' work during the 'Digging up the Past' initiative, sponsored by UKCMRI. The week of tours was the culmination of  a month-long dig as part of the process of preparing the 3.6 acre site next to St Pancras International station for construction.

The site used to be home to the Somers Town Goods Yard which was built in 1887. Parts of it were still in operation as late as the 1960s. The archaeologists uncovered the foundations of a hydraulic system which helped to lift and load the heavy cargo from goods trains.

The event attracted local residents, some of whom were able to share their own family stories of life in the area, railway enthusiasts, archaeologists and many others.

Young visitors were given a chance to experience the thrill of discovery through digging for archaeological 'treasures' in specially-built sandpits.

Construction of the UKCMRI building is scheduled to start this year and is expected to be completed in 2015.

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