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Plumley Limebeds, Cheshire. Interim Survey Report

Quartermaine, Jamie (2000) Plumley Limebeds, Cheshire. Interim Survey Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Lancaster University Archaeological U11,it (LUAU) were invited by Cheshire County Council Environmental Planning to create an identification map of the surviving remnants of the Plumley Limebeds, Northwich, Cheshire (SJ 708750), to undertake a fabric survey of a large warehouse, and, subject to the results of the identification survey, to undertake an archaeological evaluation of selective elements of the landscape. The programme was designed in accordance with a brief by Mark Leah, Archaeology Officer (Development
Control) for Cheshire County Council. The land is presently a nature reserve but is on the site of a former ammonia soda works complex, which has been highlighted as being of particular importance in a recent step 1 report on the Chemical Industry for the Monuments Protection Programme (MPP) ', of English Heritage (D Cranstone pers comm). Early ammonia soda plants are rare; the Plumley site is one of only ten recorded by English Heritage's MPP programme for the Chemical Industry, and of these the remainder have either been destroyed entirely or have been severely altered by later use (UMAU 1999).
The results of the survey, undertaken in November 2000, have demonstrated the extensive survival of remains associated with all phases of the chemical plant, through both its civilian and war-time use. The fabric survey created a ground-plan of the warehouse, and the elevations of the building were recorded photographically. The potential for undertaking trial excavation was discussed with the client and the Archaeology Officer for Cheshire County Council, and it was agreed that localised trial excavation of the physical remains would not significantly add to our understanding of the complex, and therefore the
evaluation phase was not implemented.
As a result of the walk-over survey the remains, which are at present at risk of becoming engulfed by the ensuing vegetation from the surrounding _woodland, can be broadly equated with the buildings shown on the historical mapping (UMAU 1999). However, the interpretation of their function and purpose is still unclear as documentary evidence was limited in terms of the function of all the buildings. This lack of clear understanding regarding the function of the buildings is an issue which requires resolution; and it is recommended that further research be undertaken, particularly regarding the use of the plant during the years of the First World War (1914-18). It is recommended that a programme of detailed survey be carried out, which will enable a direct comparison with other First World War chemical plants in Britain. The fieldwork can then inform any further management decisions which need to be made as regards consolidation and interpretation of the remains.
Any attempts at forest clearance within the environs of the remains will have an impact on the remains themselves. The warehouse is at not at immediate risk, though structural weaknesses, observed during the fabric survey, suggest that further deterioration may occur should consolidation work not be unde1iaken within a short period.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cheshire
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Depositing User: barker
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2022 08:16
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 08:16
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6683

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