300-year-old artefacts discovered beneath site of Preston Youth Zone

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Artefacts that could be up to 300 years old have been uncovered on the site of Preston’s forthcoming Youth Zone.

The finds were made during work to clear and prepare the plot for the new £11m facility, which is being built on grassland bordering Lord Street, Tithebarn Street and Crooked Lane, close to the city's bus station.

As part of the planning permission for the scheme, granted almost 12 months ago, contractors were ordered to carry out an archaeological dig and record and retain any items of interest.

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The archaeological dig on the site of Preston Youth Zone The archaeological dig on the site of Preston Youth Zone
The archaeological dig on the site of Preston Youth Zone | OnSide

Amongst the subsequent discoveries were a coin from the 19th century, a ceramic bottle - believed to date back to the 18th century - and some coloured tiles. The perimeter of an old mill building was also uncovered. 

The 19th century coin found on the Youth Zone plotThe 19th century coin found on the Youth Zone plot
The 19th century coin found on the Youth Zone plot | OnSide

A full report into the significance of the items is being drawn up and, when complete, a decision will be taken about how and where the findings will be preserved.

The development site lies within the area once earmarked for the city’s ill-fated Tithebarn retail regeneration project.  During preparation for that scheme, a desk-based archaeological assessment was undertaken which concluded that historic remains of a local or regional significance could lie beneath the ground. 

This cermaic vessel could be three centuries old This cermaic vessel could be three centuries old
This cermaic vessel could be three centuries old | OnSide

In a statement to the Lancashire Post about the artefacts that have now been revealed, a Preston Youth Zone spokesperson said: “While Preston Youth Zone is all about the future and our young people, it really is interesting to see our great city’s history within our site. We’re excited to learn more about the history of the items.

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“With this section of our activity on site coming to an end, we’ll soon be moving towards the beginning of construction and we’ll celebrate this milestone at the end of June when our Young People’s Development Group will reveal the Youth Zone’s new brand.”

As the Post reported in March, two names are on the table for the long-awaited Youth Zone - ‘Base’ and ‘Vault’.

The remnants of a mill have also been uncovered The remnants of a mill have also been uncovered
The remnants of a mill have also been uncovered | OnSide

The state-of-the-art facility is due to open next year, with up to 2,000 youngsters a week expected to attend.   It has been part-financed with a share of Preston's £20.9m allocation from the government's Towns Fund.

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