Voyages to the House of Diversion 
Seventeenth-Century Water Gardens and the Birth of Modern Science

November 2018 -The West End

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October was a hugely productive month and although there were still things to do at foundation level we decided to stop pumping and let it all flood until next summer when hopefully with low water tables we can resume on these lower levels. For the rest of the winter attention really focuses on the west side of the octagon where we forecast the site of a possible bridge... read on to see how it all turned out.


Not Hanwell but the final session at Packwood recording seventeenth-century timbers sitting in a tank up to my knees in icy water - no photograph available fortunately.

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At Hanwell the moat is left to flood and Peter helps cleaning off the spread of broken roof tile and plaster/mortar fragments, we've seen it all before... sort of.

Work continued into the second week of November with more topsoil and some subsoil shifted to clear down onto the uppermost surface of a spread of destruction debris, all the time working round the roots of a particularly annoying sycamore or two. With the occasional wet and windy day it was time to install some new shelving in the tool store and change things round a bit to give the finds department a little more room to work plus the great campaign to create a photo archive of all our finds together with extra special shots for publication of our champion finds is well underway, thanks to Chris M. and Verna for this.

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Peter and Chris followed by Ian and Helen persevere amongst the falling leaves.


Assorted glassware photographed from every conceivable angle thanks to the magic of the light box... and Chris and Verna.

The following week was an unexpected bonus as yet again the Chastleton work had bee postponed until the last two weeks before Christmas! This did mean that we were able to complete a couple of key tasks on the western extension. First and foremost was the removal of a couple of tree roots from some stands of Sycamore which although hard to wrestle out proved not to be as deeply rooted as we had feared. We also we able to extend the extension a little further south to ensure we saw the whole of the west  side of the octagon and then to the west in an attempt, eventually, to identify the far side of the moat and discover if it too was lined in stone. Once that was done it was time to shut up shop for a couple of months putting the tools in store and taking the gazebo down to give it some respite from the worst of the winter weather.

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The southward extension cleared except for... one sycamore root which Peter sorts out.

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He also sorts out the second root leaving the ground clear for Helen to check over whilst the western extension runs into roots.

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And all the while the old trenches fill with water.