There has been a steady stream of studies and developer-funded work on sites associated with trade, exchange, and interaction since 2006. The study of workers’ housing, in particular, has provided ceramic assemblages which should go some way to identifying the various trade and social links that were emerging during the 18th, 19th, and early-20th centuries. Current national research on industrial urban finds assemblages is focussing in on issues such as domestic house building quality, household mobility, localised production, overcrowding, poverty, sanitation, and disease (Cassella 2009; Cessford 2009; Connelly 2011; Crook 2011; Nevell 2011; Nevell 2014; Owens & Jeffries 2016). Whilst it remains difficult for individual developer-funded projects to provide an overview of the trade, exchange, and interaction from individual sites, retaining the relevant archaeological assemblages is very important for future synthetic studies in these subject areas. Yet, this material, which is scattered amongst many archaeological contractors, museums and voluntary groups, remains a largely untapped resource whose long-term future is threatened by the regional and national crisis in the lack of storage facilities.
In North West England recording, research, and publication over the last decade has been across three main areas; warehouses and commercial premises; ports and harbours; and new industrial transport systems (canal, railway and cars).