On the weekend of 15-16 November, 2014, with the permission of Lord Howard, students from the UEA and members of the Castle Rising History Group, under the supervision of CEAS Director Dr Tom Licence, and with the assistance of Sophie Cabot of the Norfolk Young Archaeologists Club, excavated a rubbish dump in the former sand quarry in the copse to the rear of 5 Lynn Road. Four trenches were dug, with a view to establishing 1) the origins of the refuse; 2) the extent of tipping; 3) a date for the operations. Trench 1 was 4m x 4m; the other three were 1m x 2m.
(Left: UEA diggers get to work in the quarry.)
Origins of the refuse.
Fly-tipping from adjacent labourers’ cottages (5,6, and 7 Lynn Road) was soon ruled out as the sole dumping activity, for, whereas it may have gone on, the discovery of high status items, including a fragment of a large umbrella stand, part of a broken tea cup from Harrod’s, numerous pieces of broken crockery with very fine decoration in gold leaf with finely hand-painted designs, and bones from expensive butchers’ cuts, provided evidence that some of the rubbish, at least, had come from upper middle or upper class individuals in the village. The presence in trenches 1 and 2 of thick layers of ash confirmed that this had been a carting operation, with a dust-cart collecting the contents of dust-bins (or ash pits), and other dry waste, and emptying it in the quarry. No evidence of the tipping of night soil, i.e. cess, or other wet organic waste emerged.
Two pieces of advertising tableware, promoting local ales (including Young’s) must originally have come from the pub, although they may have been taken home before being discarded by a customer. Fine dolls made by Armand Marseilles and find gold-decorated tableware, found in the same context, had come from a middle/ upper class family with a young girl. The two households that fitted this description were that of Charles Howard, the Lord of the Manor, then resident at Home Farm with his young daughter Diana (b. 1909), and the rectory, home to the rector’s daughter Marjorie (b. 1902). It is possible that all the rubbish came from one of these households, although the alternative, of a dust-cart visiting several properties, is also plausible. The site of the quarry itself belonged to Charles Howard, and either he or his agent would have been responsible for reserving it as a tipping ground, and for providing a cart for the operations.
The extent of tipping.
Access to the site for the dust-cart was either via the original trackway into the quarry or down the track between the garden of 5 Lynn Road and the copse where the quarry is. At the end of the latter track is a brick shed, with a large entrance facing the quarry and suitable for a large, low cart. It is likely that the shed was built to facilitate carting operations when the quarry was operational, with labourers at the adjacent cottages (5, 6, and 7 Lynn Road) being charged with carting sand when necessary. After quarrying ceased, the sand cart would have served as a dust-cart, kept on-site.
Tipping was confined to a limited area in the centre of the former quarry pit. Although there was capacity in the hollow for much more tipping, this terminated abruptly, and the pit was never filled. In the centre of the dump, at its thickest, the layers of ash and cinders were no more than two-three feet deep, thinning towards the perimeter. Waste was tipped directly onto the natural (Sandringham sand), and no attempt was made to cover it. As a result, dry waste lay scattered about on the surface of the site, and most of the bottles, lying near the surface, were broken up over subsequent years by freeze-thaw action in combination with roots. Nettles and elders, which thrive on soil rich in phosphates, delineate the dumping area.
(Below: Filming the dig. Sophie Cabot and Kavita Kapoor.)
Date of operations.
Rubbish can be dated by a number of indicators, including pottery marks, registration and patent numbers, the history of the firms who embossed or printed their names on waste packaging, and methods of manufacture. A large sample was obtained, showing consistency across the four trenches. All the indicators confirmed a date in the early 1910s. The two latest datable indicators were a paste jar, with a design registered late in 1912, and a bottle stamped Lovatt and Lovatt Ltd, datable no earlier than 1913, the year in which the firm became a private limited company. A randomly chosen sample of a hundred glass bottle necks revealed that 71% were hand-made and 29% made in automatic bottle machines (ABMs). This too was consistent with a date of c. 1913-14, for whereas in 1910, the vast majority of bottles (up to 90%) were still being finished by hand, by 1917, upwards of 90% were manufactured in ABMs.
The limits of the operation and consistency of the material suggest that dumping went on for only a short period, perhaps no more than a couple of years, before a premature cessation. The dating evidence, and abrupt termination of operations, further suggest that the dust-cart may have ceased its rounds at the outbreak of World War I, when it is known that Charles Howard, an army officer, and a number of labourers went away to fight. The labourers included George Drew at 5 Lynn Road, who may have had the responsibility for the dust-cart, since the shed for it was adjacent to his house. (Both shed and house were the property of Charles Howard.) In any event, the war created a shortage of labour in the village, which may have prevented further carting operations. Except for a few bucket-loads of rubbish from much later decades, no waste was tipped on the site after c. 1914.
(Below: the shed that may have housed the quarry-/ dust-cart.)
Fresh Sandringham sand lay under the rubbish, and this, together with a map of 1905 showing an open access route to the quarry, shows that quarrying may have continued until shortly before tipping began in the early 1910s.
Patterns of consumption.
Although, by bulk, up to 80 or 90% of the tippings comprised cinders and ash (called ‘dust’) from domestic fires, large quantities of broken glass and pottery vessels offer insights into patterns of food supply and consumption in the village at the outbreak of WWI. Beer bottles, for example, came invariably from firms with bases in Norwich and King’s Lynn, including Nicholls & Campbell, Ltd, of King’s Lynn, Morgan’s of Norwich (who had an outlet in King’s Lynn), Peatling and Sons, of King’s Lynn and Wisbech, and Dowsons of King’s Lynn. A stoneware ginger beer bottle came from S. Codrington (King’s Lynn). Mineral waters in flat-bottomed ‘Hamilton’ bottles came from Steward and Patteson Ltd, of Norwich and Swaffham, who had outlets across Norfolk, and Caley’s Ltd, of Norwich and London. A small number of drinks bottles bore names of London firms, including Biucchi; and there were two large-size bottles for Perrier Water. Other beverages included Lipton’s bottled tea, Paterson’s extract of camp coffee and chicory (in the full range of sizes), Horlicks (two jars), Foster Clark of Maidstone’s Eiffel Tower Fruit Juices, and The Cambridge Lemonade. The last of these drinks were made by the addition of water to concentrate (a crystalline powder). These popular beverages were consumed across the country in the early 1910s. There were also a number of other drinks bottles, for ginger beer, mineral waters, spirits and whisky (including Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky), cordials, ‘Benedictine’ liqueur, and champagne. Three bottles for Bovril were all hand-made: Bovril had largely switched to machine-manufacture of its bottles by 1914.
Sauces consumed included Lea & Perrin’s Worcester Sauce, Brand & Co of Mayfair, and ‘A & N. C. S. Ltd, Worcester Sauce’ (made by the Army and Navy Co-operative Society), together with potted ‘Gorgona Anchovy Paste’, made by the same company. Potted meat had been supplied, by rail, from Robert Seager of Ipswich, in the form of ‘Fine Potted Ham’ and ‘Chicken and Ham’ (below).
Butcher’s cuts from a wealthy household included rib of beef, leg of mutton, shoulder of mutton, calf’s head and goose. Poorer cuts, including feet bones, neck bones, cheek bits and ox tail, were notably absent. A range of ceramic jars for jam and marmalade were found, many made by the potters Maling of Newcastle. Most numerous were jars for Keiller’s Dundee Marmalade and Hartley’s jams. Less common were jars for Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade. The range was typical for deposits of this date.
Medicine bottles included a couple of varieties from ‘Boot’s Cash Chemists’, a few patent cures, a large-size Dinnerford’s Magnesia (for stomach upsets), the standard medicinal bottles with tablespoon gradations and a large number with no embossing. There was also a bottle for Scott’s Emulsion – a commonly used remedy at this date.
A more unusual pattern of consumption was shown by the range and preponderance of health and beauty products, including bottles for Pond’s Extract, ‘Lait Larola for the skin’ (manufactured by Beethams of Cheltenham for a shilling a bottle), Harlene for the Hair (at least three bottles, in the small and large sizes), ‘Anzora’ (vanishing cream or perfume for the hair), ‘Crème Floreine’ (a French beauty product, sold in elegant milk-glass jars and not well known in England in the early 1910s), a ‘Floris’ perfume bottle, and part of an ornate moulded milk-glass pot which contained some sort of cream or pomade. By the 1910s, there was a tendency to retail these products in clear glass, made with manganese dioxide, and in milk glass, both of which gave the appearance of purity. All the bottles (Lait Larola, Harlene, Anzora) were in clear glass and hand-finished. Miriam Howard, the wife of Charles Howard, who lived at Home farm with a lady’s maid called Phyllis Ellam (in 1911), might have used this range of products, as would a few other ladies in the village.
(Left: Fred Cooke stands amid the nettles growing in phosphate-rich soil.)
There were also antiseptic and disinfectant products, including Listerine, Creolin and Jeyes’ Fluid, all in hand-made bottles. Several broken stoneware bottles for furniture cream would have come from a middle or upper class (servant) household.
Only three tobacco-pipe fragments surfaced across the four trenches, indicating that cigarettes, briar pipes and cigars had almost entirely superseded clay pipes by 1914. There was one toothbrush, a watch-winder, four patent ejector shotgun cartridges, a rim-fire cartridge (from the 1860s, and old when discarded), a glass bird feeder, from a bird-cage, part of the body of an oil lamp, and various lamp flues (mostly made by Hinks and Son of Birmingham and London), and fragments of leather shoes, pouches, etc.
Ceramics and tableware.
The earliest item recovered was part of a pearlware blue and white transferred platter dating before 1840. A set of plates, in dark red transfer, made by Burgess and Leigh, Ltd, of Burslem, dated after 1862, but probably before the 1890s, as did a jug with a diamond registration mark. Most of the rest of the datable pottery dated from c. 1890 onwards, including pieces by Doulton (Burslem, England, 1891-1902), Alfred Meakin (England, 1891-1897), George Jones and Sons (c. 1874-1924), Blairs China, England (after 1900), Henry Alcock & Co Ltd (1900-1910), J. Goodwin Stoddard (1898-1936) and a set of three white tureens from a dinner service by Bishop & Stonier Ltd (1891-1936). The usual range of plates, cups, saucers, tureens, jugs, chamber pots, ewers, etc was present. Utilitarian stoneware included furniture cream bottles made by G. Stiff (1840-1913) and Lovatt & Lovatt Ltd (1913- ), large flagons for wines or spirits, ink bottles, ginger beer bottles, imported stoneware for German mineral waters, large jars for jam and preserves, and a jug for clotted cream. Two broken bisque dolls head by Armand Marseille of Germany were found together in the same context in trench 2. They were of the highest quality. In the same context was part of a porcelain plate in gold and pink enamel, with a hand-painted bird, and fragments of a ewer and chamber pot in brilliant white with thick gold edging and pattern. These items too were among the very best that could be purchased at that time. (Right: Floradora -by Armand Marseille.)
(Above: bottles and other items from the quarry.)
We are very grateful to Lord Howard for granting permission for us to excavate this site, and to Fred and Sylvia Cooke for making their home available as a base. Further excavation in future, it is hoped, will refine our understanding of the rubbish and the people who disposed of it.
Tom Licence, Nov. 2014.