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Rainford archaeology on show

3 July 2014 by Liz

Volunteer with pot he excavated in Rainford

Volunteer, Michael Chapman excavated this near-complete 16th century cup in a garden in Rainford

Some of the thousands of finds discovered in Rainford, St Helens in the last couple of years have gone on display for the festival of archaeology. At Rainford library a display of finds, ‘Pipes, Pots and People’ will be on show until 18 July; and in the Museum of Liverpool Rainford’s Roots will be on display until 31 July.

Rainford is a happy hunting ground for archaeologists and since 2013 the Museum of Liverpool’s archaeologists have run both commercial and community excavations in the village. These digs have investigated Rainford’s industrial past: a centre for the production of pottery from the 16th century, and clay tobacco pipes from the 17th century. Archaeologists based at the Museum of Liverpool run excavations before new building or development when required as part of the planning process. Before work began in 2013 to expand the Tennis Club, the team excavated the site and discovered numerous dumps of waste pottery which was misfired in the kiln and could not be sold.

Visitors learning about finds from Rainford

Rainford’s Roots project officer, Sam Rowe, shows visitors to the Museum of Liverpool some of the finds

Many people in the local community in Rainford are very aware of the village’s especially rich history. Local historians and archaeologists including Ron Dagnall, Martin Rigby and members of the Rainford Heritage Society have undertaken much research about the village’s past. When the late Mr Sid Meadows discovered a near complete tall dark ware drinking cup when digging in his garden he carefully kept the item, which he treasured, and some time later Barbara Hurst saw the object and the Museum of Liverpool’s archaeologists were informed. This find was the genesis of the Rainford’s Roots Community Archaeology Project which has since involved volunteers in more than 2000 days of activity: researching, excavating, recording, discussing and displaying the heritage of the village.

Rainford-made imitation of a German Seigberg jug

Rainford-made imitation of a German Seigberg jug

Finds from Mr Meadows’ garden have provided the evidence that dates the pottery industry as early as the 16th century. Finds include an imitation Seigburg jug, which is typical of the 1500s.  Many ceramics were imported from Europe in this period, and local potters tried to copy them. The display at the museum of Liverpool is open 10-5 daily. For Rainford Library, refer to opening times on their website. Both displays are free.

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