World War Two Remains

Less attention has been paid to the remains of the Second World War since 2006. Developer-funded work, however, has led to the recording of particular sites; including a Second World War airfield remains to the north of Nantwich (C) and at Lucas Green, Whittle-le-Woods near Chorley (L), a Bofors gun (Light AA) permanent emplacement site was excavated and presented as part of a housing development close to the site of ROF Chorley. In Hapton (LA) two adjacent ‘Blacker Bombard’ (aka Spigot Mortar) positions and a possible ammunition store were recorded and protected by Listing in advance of housing development. In Greater Manchester a rare anti-aircraft battery from the Second World War at Nook View Farm, Tameside (GM), was recorded through the planning process. The fragmentary remains included a concrete magazine block and the site of the command bunker (Arrowsmith 2012).

Trenches at The Coppice, in Peel Park, Accrington (L), widely believed to be First World War practice trenches, are undoubtedly Second World War anti-glider trenches, closely comparable with examples adjacent to the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon cemetery, in Suffolk (Peter Iles, LAAS, pers. comm.).

A 900-plus housing scheme at Woodford Aerodrome, Stockport (GM), involved total demolition of the airfield buildings. The site dates to the 1920s and is famous for assembly of Lancaster Bombers, and construction of the Vulcan Bomber and Nimrod aircraft. CGMS undertook a desk-based assessment while building recording was carried out by Wessex Archaeology. Remains of the original 1920s’ hangar were found to have been extensively remodelled. An historic building record was required by BAE Systems of two buildings due to be demolished at the former Orica UK, Roburite Centre near Shevington, Wigan (GM). This report synthesised the results of a Level 3 historic building survey of two buildings on the site (known as Buildings 24 & 27) which were formerly used as magazines (AOC Archaeology 2011).

Woodford Aerodrome prior to demolition, Stockport, Greater Manchester (courtesy of GMAAS)

At 27 Buxton Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport (GM), the Tameside Archaeological Society record remains of anti-invasion defences. The site was a Second World War concrete cylinder manufactory but the numerous concrete cylinders nearby were recorded. The cylinders were used as anti-tank traps, probably on a nearby ‘stop line’ (TAS 2010). A manufactory base for these tank traps was discovered in 2016 during the excavation of a development site at the bottom of Deansgate in Manchester. This was the site of the engineering works used by Bateman and Sherratt. A large number of concrete cylinders piled on the site indicated its re-use for making such tank traps during the Second World War (Salford Archaeology 2016).

Second World War air raid shelters continue to be recorded. In Greater Manchester excavated and recorded examples include Adelphi Street in Salford (Gregory & Miller 2015), Gin Pit Colliery in Wigan (Miller & Plummer 2016), Angel Street in Manchester (Miller & Wild 2015), and First Street South also in Manchester. The latter was built on a communal scale with an area of former housing being used for a planned series of sunken corrugated iron structures with blast proof entrances.

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