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More on the Cellar

The stairway leading down to the cellar, as it was being excavated, during the summer of 2005. This may look like most of the work was done but the excavations at that time were merely the start!

The discovery details can be found here

The semi-circular arch leading to the cellar is about 5' 0" below the present ground level, it forms the entrance passage to the cellar and is accessed via a stone staircase which descends from the former ground floor level. Below is the ground floor plan, drafted by George Fowler-Jones Architect in 1885; the highlighted section shows the cellar, and passageway location. The stairs are directly beneath a flight of stairs shown at ground floor level which lead up to the first floor.

Cellar Plan

Cellar under the Small Drawing Room

At the outset, whilst it was obvious that the arch was within a passageway, contained by parts of the house structure on both sides. It was not evident that there was a stairway beneath. Therefore I elected to increase the excavation northwards along the line of the passage, to attempt to discover its length. In so doing the steps started to be uncovered as seen below. The second tread below the ground floor level is seen here, this step was the first to be uncovered, so at that time it was not known which step in the flight it was, as the top of the stairway was further north.

First Step Uncovered

Cellar steps during excavation

To excavate the site it would have been easy to get an excavator and fire away, but that would potentially have destroyed many of the artifacts that could lie in the demolition material and remains of the structure. Therefore the whole excavation has been undertaken with spades, trowels, and a large number of plastic buckets! At the top level of the excavation it was easy to fill a bucket with spoil and lift it to the ground level for further disposal. Sadly as the excavation got deeper the lifting of buckets got a lot harder!

Buckets Awaiting removal

Buckets filled with spoil awaiting emptying

Digging continued through the late summer and autumn of 2005, however works were suspended during the winter and were only restarted in the early summer of 2006. To make the excavation easier it was clear that the north end of the dig if extended in a gradual slope would benefit the removal of the buckets with spoil. However in so doing the top of the stairway was discovered and this led to the discovery of a landing or passageway at ground floor level in york stone paving.

Landing at head of stairway

Landing at head of stairway

Looking Back down the stairway from the Landing

Mid August 2006 and the excavation is down to the tenth step, probably only three more to go.

12' 0" (3.600m) Deep

Cellar passageway excavation August 2006

The fill within the cellar passageway below 6' 0" was largely made up of loose material which was easy to dig, occasional large pieces of masonry or brick were encountered, some so large as to be extremely difficult to manhandle to the surface. It was surprising that whole bottles were lying unscathed, the photograph below shows some of the glassware recovered, most of the glass

Bottles found in the excavation

Old Glassware found in the excavations

The tall bottle at the rear of the collection is shown below, it is embossed with the name Proprieters Finsbury Distillery Co which I have discovered was the former name of the distillers of Stone's Original Green Ginger Wine

The second bottle below is a beer? bottle with an intact screw stopper, the name B Chapman Leeds is embossed in the glass, and the glass manufacturer is noted on the foot of the rear of the bottle inscribed, Redfern Bros Ltd, Barnsley

Continued on page Two

Parlington Hall in the late Nineteenth century. Taken from a photograph provided
by the Garforth Historical Society.