Digging your scene

They’re building a new library, it’s going to be shorter than they first said (but still contain the same amount of space – how so?). But despite the planning app not having been submitted as yet, digging has commenced.

It’s okay though, it’s not building it’s archaeology. The diggaging at the site is in the hands of proper archaeologists and everything:

“Plans held in the Central Library’s Archive already gave us pretty accurate ideas as to what would be uncovered during the excavations, and so far there have been no surprises.

The excavations have revealed a former canal arm and extensive remains of Winfield’s Cambridge Street Works which was built in the 1830s. Robert Winfield was principally a brass manufacturer and the works produced items such as brass bedsteads, but also carried out metal rolling, gas fitting, carpentry and wire manufacture.”

Is there a time delay before “digging” is archeology? Less than a hundred years doesn’t seem worth getting Baldrick and his Time Team involved — especially when you’ve got the plans — I just couldn’t work out what the fuss was about. I’ve searched hard for a conspiracy theory — digging to make the site look in progress before it is? archaeologists  cheaper than a JCB? — but I don’t think there is one, maybe just a case of starting the inevitable library publicity machine rolling.

You can look at photos of the hole in the ground on Flickr, or even go and have a look yourself at some point, there’s a viewing platform and everything.

Also amusing is that they’re digging for water:

another team are drilling down towards the Birmingham Aquifer(sic), a potential source of water for heating and cooling systems for the new library.

They are about 75 metres down so far, about halfway, spewing out chocolate coloured water as the borehole proceeds. If we can establish a strong enough flow from the ground water source, this will be a very environmentally friendly way to supply energy to the new library.”

Interesting, but “energy”? They’re going to run a water wheel? Or is it going to be hot water and geothermal energy is going to com into play? I think they might mean “source of some water for heating and cooling systems for the new library”.

  • Name

    Why does Aquifer get a “sic”. Surely that's the correct spelling?

  • erm, because it's not a proper noun and shouldn't be capitalised?
    Can't remember to tell you the truth.

  • I do believe it's part of the thing for building, you have to get some archaeology done, which just seems to mean digging and finding some old bricks underneath.

    It's actually quite depressing though because no matter what they find, they build over it anyway. Colchester (from whence I have the pleasure of coming) is utterly crapular in this regard. It's a Roman town and was actually the capital of Roman Britain at one point. When I was a child they decided to build a shopping centre and when they did the archaeology they found stone and brick remains of the old Roman town. It was really very exciting to see – there was loads of it and you could see the layout of the roads and everything. But they still built a Debenhams over it. Then more recently they found the remains of the only Roman chariot race stadium in Britain. Baldrick & Co. turned up, there was an artist's impression of what it would've looked like, and then they built a load of Barratt homes over it.