An archaeological dig at Rotherham’s Forge Island uncovered a treasure trove of ancient industrial artefacts.

17.10.22 3 min read by Ryan Devlin

n archaeological dig at Rotherham’s Forge Island uncovered a treasure trove of ancient industrial artefacts. 

We joined partners from Rotherham Council and West Yorkshire Archaeological Services, to take part in the dig, with residents and community groups invited to join in. 

Forge Island, soon to become a new family-friendly leisure destination, has most recently been used as a car park and town centre supermarket. However, research shows the area has been well used over the years. 

Created through the excavation of the Don Navigation in 1740 by 1753, the area had been made into a garden belonging to the Earl of Effingham – a current hereditary peerage in the UK that dates all the way back to 1510. 

Industrial development began at the site in 1754 with the Walker & Co. Forge and a range of forges,  

Andrew Fairest, said:

With any successful regeneration, it’s vital to harness and celebrate an area’s rich history, then blend it seamlessly with its aspirations for the future. Our collective vision for Forge Island will demonstrate this and really deliver something special for the Rotherham community.”

Rotherham Council’s Cllr Denise Lelliott, said: “We’ve long known Rotherham has had a rich industrial background and wherever we build in the borough others have gone beforehand. 

“With the changing times we are having to look at what Rotherham town centre needs to thrive and that means thinking differently and looking at how people will live in and use the town centre in years to come but it’s been fascinating to get a glimpse of the area’s past through these wonderful finds.” 

We’re working with the council to create a vibrant family destination, with a boutique cinema, The Arc, Travelodge hotel and a range of family orientated restaurants. 

A new public square and pedestrian bridge will connect Forge Island to the wider town centre, alongside a riverside park with play equipment and greenspace. 

Find out more about the plans: www.rotherhamtowncentre.co.uk

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