Tennis courts, Rainford, St Helens

large excavated site

Excavations revealed dumps of pottery in field ditches and pits

From the late 16th century and into the 20th century Rainford was a major centre of pottery and clay tobacco pipe production and both were traded nationally and internationally. An extension to Rainford Tennis club lay close to a Conservation Area and in an area of known archaeological potential. On the client’s behalf we negotiated with the Local Authority to secure a watching brief during the construction of new tennis courts.  

Although the project did not find direct evidence for pottery production, it recovered large quantities (about 3 tonnes) of pottery waste which had been dumped into field ditches and sand pits. The assessment of these ‘wasters’ from the 17th and 18th century will have a major impact upon our understanding of this important part of Merseyside’s past.

We worked closely with the commercial client to minimise the cost of this project.  We enabled members of local archaeological societies and volunteers to work with us to process finds from this site.

Select the images below to see some of the finds from the excavation.

Two tall drinking cups, sometimes known as 'tygs' Sgraffito plate with decoration etched into the surface of the clay before firing Two-handled drinking cup Ceramic candlestick with handle Flared darkware drinking cup