Waterloo Street, Kidderminster

A trenched evaluation and excavation were carried out on land at Waterloo Street, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, in relation to the submission of a planning application for a new medical centre, with associated landscaping, access and infrastructure. The archaeological work complied with requirements set out by the Worcestershire County Archaeologist and followed the completion of an earlier Desk-based Assessment of the site.

The Desk-based Assessment demonstrated that the site had been predominantly open fields up to at least the mid-18th century, with structural occupation beginning at end of the 18th or during the early 19th century. By the mid-19th century the site was occupied by a carpet factory belonging to Richard Smith and Sons, along with ancillary structures and domestic housing. Kidderminster experienced considerable urban expansion during the later 18th and 19th century, largely due to the textile industry, of which factory-based carpet production was an integral part. The factory remained in use until the early 20th century.

Following consultations with the County Archaeologist and the client, a program of archaeological works was devised, which comprised hand excavation within seven machine-cut trenches of different lengths, spaced at various locations across the proposed development site.

The results of the archaeological investigations were largely consistent with those of the Desk-based Assessment, although with the proviso that 20th century demolition and levelling activities had removed substantial amounts of earlier structural remains, in particular those relating to the carpet factory. Evidence of two phases of pre-20th century activity was uncovered: features, including a probable pond, associated with late 17th / 18th century agricultural use of the site and 19th century housing from plots along Waterloo Street.

Subsequent detailed consideration of the proposed foundation plans, including the locations of footings and the depth of formation levels, resulted in the development proceeding without the need for further archaeological interventions.

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