Friday, 28 June 2013

A gem of a photograph!

Last week, we received a fantastic group of photographs of historic Bromsgrove from the Brotherton collection. Many thanks to Bob Richardson for loaning them to us! They've now been digitised by our Digitisation and Microfilming Service, and we're working through them to see if any relate to the buildings on our site.

The picture below immediately caught our eye. The accompanying notes state that it was taken in 1951, during the demolition of the houses along St John Street. Much head-scratching ensued, and we spent a long time scrutinising the historic maps and working out angles and fields of view, to try to figure out the location of the buildings being demolished.

Eventually, we cracked it, and the answer is quite exciting: they fall within our #DigBromsgrove site area! We hope to position our trench to pick up the rear wall of the building, incorporating the yard area and the boundary with the building that adjoined it to the west.

The photograph's existence is a real stroke of luck for us, as it gives us tantalising glimpses into the way this area was built and rebuilt over the years. Our buildings archaeologist, Shona Robson-Glyde, pointed out that whilst the brickwork and windows of the rear wall of the house look to date from the early 18th century, the chimney and roof structure exposed by the demolition look like they may belong to an earlier phase of building. One of the key goals for the excavation is to establish the extent to which St John Street was subject to alterations and rebuilding over the centuries, so this photograph is an encouraging indication that there may be an interesting sequence of archaeological phases on the site.

One further question remains: we'd love to know more about the cars on the left hand-side of the picture! Are you a fountain of knowledge on classic cars of the late 1940s/early 1950s? Can you help us to identify them? If so, get in touch, or leave a comment below.

Rob Hedge

St John Street during demolition, 1951. Copyright: Brotherton Collection

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