Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

This page is part of a site tour of the Coleshill estate during WW2. Click here to start the tour. 

Please Note: The Coleshill House site and grounds are owned by the National Trust. The woods and grounds of the house are all strictly private and access is limited to set days a year. See our events page for their official open days. Attempting to access the site outside of these times is not only trespassing but could damage the future of our work and relationship with the Trust and villagers. Please respect this.

Structure 2 - Suspected Generator Room

This page was last updated at 4:25pm on 13/2/12

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Picture of the structure taken by CART Jan 2011.

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Picture of the structure taken by CART in July 2011.


The following information is an EXTRACT from an archaeological report produced in January 2012 following CART's Coleshill Uncovered project. A range of people contributed, including CART. The report was edited by John Winterburn and Anna Gow.

We have extracted the key info for this area but would suggest you read the full report here

STRUCTURE 2 - SUSPECTED GENERATOR ROOM

The clearance work carried out in January 2011 had not provided any clues as to the original function of the two concrete plinths. It was therefore decided to open up two trenches by these structural remains; the first just north of the eastern concrete plinth (Trench 1) and the second around the eastern of the two concrete plinths (Trench 5) - see Drawing No. 10 in Appendix A (Below).

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Trench 1 - the topsoil (which varied in depth from 0.05m - 0.12m) was removed and a layer of rubble (1.2) was uncovered across the full area of the trench. Made up of medium lumps of broken-up concrete, rocks and some small pieces of brick, in a dark brown sandy soil, this layer extended beyond the limits of excavation in all directions. This rubble layer was removed, as was the layer of dark friable soil (1.3) that sat below it, again across the full extent of the trench. Below context (1.3) were a compacted layer of clunch (rough chalk rubble or building blocks) (1.4) and a light brown dirty clay (1.5). Located only on the western side of Trench 1, the clunch layer runs the full width of the trench (1m), runs 1.10m - 1.28m into the trench from the western side and extends beyond the trench in a northerly, southerly and westerly direction. Context (1.5), the dirty clay, sat at the eastern end of Trench 1 and was 0.60m - 0.75m long. Again it ran for the full 1m, width of the trench and extended beyond the trench boundaries to the north, east and south. Investigation at the juncture between the two contexts showed that the clunch sits on top of the clay and has therefore been laid down at some point in the past.

Trench 5 - here the topsoil was removed to a depth of between 0.04m - 0.13m south of the eastern concrete plinth, and between 0.04m - 0.07m north of the plinth. Below this were a rubble layer (5.2), similar in composition to that found in Trench 1 (1.2) that sat to the north and west of the concrete plinth, and also an orange brown sandy clay (5.4) that was located south and east of the plinth. The rubble layer was removed, as it had been in Trench 1, and below it was a dark friable soil, similar to context (1.3) in Trench 1. Excavated to a depth of approximately 0.14m this context was not fully removed.

Trench 1 extension - the layer of clunch (1.4) that had been uncovered in Trench 1 was not found in Trench 5, so it was decided to dig a 0.5m wide sondage from the western end of the south side of Trench 1 to connect with Trench 5, to see how far this context continued. Below the topsoil, both the rubble layer (1.2) and the friable soil (1.3) continued across the full dimensions of the sondage. The clunch layer (1.4) also continued south out of Trench 1 and along the sondage towards Trench 5. However it stopped approximately 0.30m from the northern edge of Trench 5 and again appears to overlie clay. There were three potential stake holes (all approximately 0.07m diameter) located within this layer in the sondage (see Drawing No. 10 in Appendix A for locations). Significant finds
A 3d coin, dated 1933, was found in the topsoil of Trench 1. All other finds came from contexts 1.1, 1.2, 5.1 & 5.2 but none were significantly dateable.

Conclusion
The rubble layer that was located in Trench 1 (1.2), through the sondage and north of the concrete plinth in Trench 5 (5.2), has been interpreted as a dumping/collapse layer consisting of elements of the broken-up structure, and as such is likely to be post WWII. The clunch layer (1.4) yielded no dating evidence and did not appear to have any direct relationship with the eastern concrete plinth, it sits below the rubble layer which suggests that it is pre WWII. Maps from the 18th century indicate that the road alignment from Coleshill to Farringdon may have been located here. The sandy clay (5.4) could be part of a formation deposit for the concrete revetment that appears to surround the exterior of the structural remains. During the investigation of this area, no further structural remains were found and we do not have any new information that will help us understand whether or not these structural remains were originally part of a Generator Room.

Read more about the house pre war here and during the war here.