Mystery uncovered by Time Team
Amongst the usual artefacts you might expect from an excavation on an historic site - bottles, coins, bits of bone china and floor tiles - is one which has had the experts scratching their heads.
It is metal, has a handle and is adorned with a decorative leaf design. But despite numerous suggestions, no-one, it seems, can say just what it is.
“Some people think it might be a lid for something, or a door stop or an ink blotter,” said genealogist Ruth Jenkins, project officer for the £1.2m garden restoration project. “It would be nice to get a definitive answer.”
The mystery object, together with a 1950 Pepsi bottle, a 1942 threepenny bit and an assortment of other “finds” have gone on show as the charity Groundworks holds guided history walks around the gardens as the redevelopment is going on.
The work, which began in August, is on schedule to be completed mid-November.
“It’s going very well,” said landscape architect Ste Allan. “The drainage work has now finished and the ground is going to be seeded. So, weather permitting, that should start to grow before the winter sets in. Over the next couple of weeks it will be really transformed. We have been adding some extra bits, like additional lighting on all the pathways and we have upped the specifications on a few things.
“All being well it will be ready in the middle of November, as long as we don’t suddenly get a prolonged period of bad weather.”
One key feature of the restoration work will be a replacement nose for the statue of Sir Robert Peel on the edge of the square. Damaged years ago and repaired with a dollop of concrete, the former Prime Minister is to be given a new hooter in granite.