Welcome to Lich Street. It’s not often in the middle of a busy modern city that it's possible to unearth the history of what came before, but for a short period in 2015 that’s what happened. It had been decided that an area opposite the Cathedral, that was at the time a roundabout, could be re-developed to better server both road users and pedestrians alike. Now this was a stroke of luck, the roundabout itself was just a big circle of grass that cars drove around. Nothing had ever been built on it or foundations dug into it. So when the plans were drawn up the local archaeology group (Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service) took the opportunity to document what was below, and it turned out plenty still was.
Of course being an active roundabout presented a number of unique problems, but due to there being 2 lanes circling it, closing the inside lane sorted out access issues. Once a mechanical digger had peeled back the surface layers it was soon clear that plenty of the street and houses still existed. Unfortunately for the houses what was left was mainly basements and backfill from when they were demolished in the 1960’s. But even from the backfill glimpses of the history of the area were found from glass bottles, tiles and pottery to a hand carved bone spoon and a military police cap badge dating from between 1936 and 1946. In the panorama you're standing above the curb stones on the Northside of Lich Street, able to spin around and look down into the cellars.
Once the majority of the dig was complete and it was down to documenting what had been found it was decided to open up the site up to the public, but in managed groups. You see again being in the middle of a roundabout presented its own health and safety issues. So to visit you had to meet up on the pavement opposite before being ushered across the road when the pedestrian crossing lights turned green. This was all over too soon and the re-development of the area had to continue. It was decided that what had been found needed to be preserve for the future and each cellar was carefully lined with a protective cover before being filled with concrete. Once this was complete the whole area was leveled over before being returned to the developers. Today the work on the site is complete, the roundabout was removed and a larger pedestrian area created. At my estimation the location of my panorama is now directly below the new road and so this really is a “Once Upon a Time”.
The Dig Lich Street Blog
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