A project unearthing some of Sunderland’s history is into the third phase.
The Forgotten Stones team are currently digging in North Hylton for the remains of the Maling pottery industry.
Maling Pottery became one of the largest and richest in the world in its time after it moved from the site by the Wear to Newcastle.
Holly Ann-Carl, who’s from Ford Estate, is an archaeologist with Wardle Armstrong:
The proposed third phase of the project is to be carried out at Nab’s End after access to the site was granted by the private landowners and Sunderland City Council.
This is land that forms a headland projecting southwards in an extended loop of the River Wear at North Hylton. The A1231 runs east/west to the north of the site and the A19 runs north/south across the river nearby via a high level bridge.
At present Nab’s End consists of mainly woodland with an area of rough undulating grassland on the eastern end of the promontory where the formershipbuilding yards were located.
They would have had their associated saw pits, cranes, smithies and sheds around them. A wagonway is believed to run along the base of the steep cliff that abuts the heugh on it’s western edge.
There is an old quarry located here.
Several brick and stone buildings in various states of collapse are dotted across the site. The demolished remains of residential and industrial properties are abundant in the area. The remains of the old Earl of Durham pub can still be located near to the quarry and pottery site.
On the northern edge of the site is a steep, tree covered bank and at this point at low tide archaeological features are revealed consisting of large timbers, stone surfaces and stone embankments.
A clay pit, brick kiln and brickfield (for drying bricks) can be identified at the north western edge of Nab’s End from old maps.
The land was formerly owned by the Maling family and the original Maling Pottery was located on this site. Maling Pottery became one of the largest richest potteries in the world in its time after it moved from this site to Newcastle at Ouseburn, but not much is known about where it all started.
There is a large collection of Sunderland Pottery in Sunderland Museum but only two examples in the Museum’s collection are thought to have come from this site.
Ian Stewart (pictured above) is the project leader and tells Sun FM some of their discoveries so far:
The work at Nab’s End will focus on three defined sites within the area:
Site 1: The excavation of a substantial spoil heap of pottery that possibly dates back to the min-nineteenth century. Pottery wasters, kiln furniture and evidence of saggars (large coarse pots where pottery was placed during the firing process) have already been found in this area.
Site 2: Excavation of the old brick kiln adjacent to the former clay pit.
Site 3: An area on the headland on the western bank of the River Wear will be excavated to investigate a possible tip site for pottery waste as well as features relating to shipbuilding yards.
Volunteers will be helping at the site until the close of the phase on Monday.
John, who’s originally from Sunderland, has come from Leeds to help out: