Tuesday, 22 March 2011

West End Pier, Morecambe

Postcard postmarked 1905

The archaeology of relatively modern lost features also interests me and it is to that area that I want to dedicate this post.

As a child of the sixties and seventies I spent a lot of time in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. Recently, whilst clearing out the garage of my late mother I came across two pieces of a structure that was largely destroyed in 1977 and finally demolished in 1978 - West End Pier. They were picked up from the sand and even now, having being submerged in seawater and then left forgotten in the garage, retain the pale blue paint that was their final colour.

Work began building the pier in 1893 and it opened in 1896 when it had a length of 1800 feet and was extended in 1898.

Postcard no date

It was breached in two places by a storm in February 1903 and further storm damage occurred in 1907, washing away 180 feet of the extension.

1903 storm damage

The pavilion was wrecked by fire in 1917. After a further storm, on 18th October 1927, the pier measured just 900 feet. It remained, however, a centre for a variety of entertainment despite the loss of the concert building.

Postcard postmarked 1943

In November 1977, further storm damage wrecked a third of the pier and isolated the open-air dancing and roller-skating area. Repair costs were estimated at a prohibitive £500,000 and the pier was demolished in 1978.

Postcard postmarked 1917

Monday, 7 March 2011

Derventio Roman Fort

Towards the end of January I had the opportunity to visit the remains of the Roman fort at Malton in North Yorkshire on a wonderfully crisp winter morning.

Sadly at this site, located on the Pickering Road on the outskirts of town on a piece of land known as Orchard Field, there are only earthworks remaining and a single stone erected in the corner of the site commemorating the structure.

The fort was probably known as Derventio, a name recorded in the Antonine itineraria and it is this that I want to comment on. The town of Malton is located on the River Derwent and this got me thinking..... is the fort named after the river or the river named after the fort?

In the itineraria Iter 1 shows the road from Bremenium (High Rochester) to Praetorio (assumed to be Petuaria, now known as Brough on Humber). The Antonine itinerary is quite accurate to Eboracum (York), but then a discrepency creeps in:

Eboracvm - Derventio: 7 Roman miles, 6.5 modern equivalent miles, 18 actual miles
Derventio - Delgovicia: 13 Roman miles, 12 modern equivalent miles, 13 actual miles
Delgovicia - Praetorio: 25 Roman miles, 23 modern equivalent miles, 19 actual miles

The most plausible explanation that has been put forward is that there is a copyists error in the itinerary of vii for xvii and this would then accurately follow the known Roman road network.

I'm on my way back........

Hi, the blog has lapsed after a torrid time at the end of last year and the beginning of this. I am now going to be posting more regularly again in the next day or so.

Thanks for sticking with this,