Circle Square

Work at Circle Square uncovers historical Oxford Road

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Work being carried out at Circle Square has uncovered some exciting findings, which give an insight into what life was like on Manchester’s Oxford Road.

Over the last few months, excavation works have been carried out on the site as part of the planning permission for a new seven-storey hotel and 1,100-capacity multi-storey car park on the south-east corner of Circle Square.

Carried out by Pre-Construct Archaeology Ltd (PCA), and commissioned by Bruntwood, the evaluation by excavation is designed to look into the existence of historical remains identified by map regression.

At present, PCA has made good progress on the site, and has now stripped back just under 50 per cent of the targeted area. In the process of getting to this stage, the team has made some fantastic findings that show what Manchester was like over one hundred years ago.

Some of the most exciting findings include cellars, which have survived surprisingly well and match maps dating back to the 1850s. These show how small residential housing, in what was then Heron Street, was laid out in the Oxford Road area back in the 19th century, and particularly when cellars were split to accommodate more families in the 1850s.

Other findings that have amazed the PCA team during their excavation include the discovery of cobbled streets, pottery shards – which are believed to have originally been pipes in the 19th century – and various printing stamps, which date back to the print works highlighted in pre-war plans of the area.

The excavations even uncovered an icon of the city buried alongside the print works materials: a Manchester bee, which shows just how intrinsically the area is tied to the spirit of Manchester as a whole.

Further excavation work at the former BBC site is still to be carried out, but even at such an early stage, it’s exciting to know that Circle Square is being developed in an area of Manchester that is steeped in history, with residential, industrial and commercial discoveries all in one place indicating just how well the project’s vision is tied to the heritage of the area.


Circle Square

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