Tuesday 8 December 2009

Well, well, well...

Walking along Giffen Street yesterday I saw a brace of our estate caretakers peering down through the fence into the ground where land is being cleared for the new Tidewell* school. ''Admiring a hole in the ground?'' I quipped. But what they were looking at was this:

Three circles of old brickwork in different sizes had become exposed after perhaps centuries in hiding. Reassuringly, the excavators seem to have done a pretty careful job once they had been uncovered - none of that ''Quick, get rid of it before an archaeologist finds out!''

I wondered whether they might have been kilns or the bases of small chimneys but it appears more likely that they are the remnants of old wells.

I gather that they are now waiting for archaeologists to come and inspect. According to the caretaker I spoke to this morning, he'd been given an approximate age of a couple of hundred years.

*Writing Tidewell instead of Tidemill was a purely unconscious rebranding - and it's not as though I don't know the school; I know it very well.

UPDATE: And now it's gone. I passed by this morning - one day later - and the exposed remains had been completely buried by at least a metre of soil. They must have done that only hours after I took the photos above. I've no idea whether archaeologists had been and gone or whether the workpeople had quietly swept it under the carpet so that they could get on with their work. Whichever, this little part of Deptford's history made only a fleeting reappearance before being reinterred - a relic of the past standing in the way of the future.

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