Our restoration works at Worsley Delph, the entrance to the underground canals that serviced the Duke of Bridgewater's Worsley coal mines from the 1760s onwards, unearthed some astonishing discoveries. During early demolition and excavation works to the old viewing platform in 2018, two previously unknown tunnels were uncovered along with a stone quay and winch mechanism.
Construction works were immediately stopped to facilitate a visit from Salford University's Archaeology experts who have laser-scanned, photographed and recorded these finds.
The first tunnel can be seen in this photograph. A second tunnel was discovered to the right of the first one (behind the rubble bags), although this had a skin wall which prevents access into it.
As the tunnels lie directly in front of where the new viewing platform has been sited they would be hidden from view once the works were complete. Following the thorough investigation by local archaeologists, the tunnels have been in-filled with compacted stone and a reversible foamcrete - this will ensure they will remain safely intact should a decision be taken in future to uncover them.
The tunnels have been referenced on the interpretation panels on the new viewing platform and the winch has been restored for display on the new viewing platform at the Delph.
Although work on the Delph island, the new viewing platform and the perimeter of the site are now complete, research is still ongoing as to the exact provenance of these recent discoveries in the Delph.
Local historians John Aldred and Judith Atkinson (who examined the tunnels, the quay and the winch on site) have been very intrigued as to the finds and you can read their thoughts here.