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The Ship Street Centre Ship Street Oxford

Griffin, Rebecca and OAU, OAU The Ship Street Centre Ship Street Oxford. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

During late December 2008 and early January 2009 Oxford Archaeology (OA) carried out a field evaluation at the former Oxford Story buildings, 2 Ship street, Oxford. Ben Wallis of Architects Design Partnership LLP, Oxford commissioned the work on behalf of the Clarkson Alliance Ltd (Oxford). Two archaeological test pits (ATP’s) were excavated within the former Bakers warehouse. The earliest feature encountered during the evaluation was a N-S aligned wall within ATP 1. The wall is probably a continuation of the eastern side of Bastion 4. The extant remains of which are incorporated into the northern wall of the warehouse. The 1879 OS plan indicated an E-W continuation of the city defences to the east of Bastion 4 but no evidence of such a structure was located during the works. Although evidence for a robber trench was observed within ATP 2, it is more likely that this is the removal of a 17th century structure later mistakenly assumed to be part of the city defences. To the west of the wall in ATP 1 undisturbed 17th century deposits were recorded, the top of which were at 64.62m AOD.The later surfaces dating to the 18th century, were probably related to the use of the site as stables for the former Ship Inn, which stood on the site from c 1756. During the mid 19th century development of the site was evident through a significant truncation event and then the construction of the former Bakers Warehouse in 1882. During the excavation of the warehouse foundations within ATP 2 it appears that the possible robber cut was also incorporated as part this work. A sequence of make up layers, floor surfaces and drainage features were also observed and relate to the use of the site by William Baker & Co and subsequent development into the Oxford Story. These were contemporary with a sequence of floor layers observed within ATP 2 and truncated by the possible robber cut. The floor sequences within ATP 2 began at a height of 62.56m AOD and continued to a height of 63.41m AOD.Oxford Archaeology (OA) undertook a programme of archaeological investigation at Ship Street Oxford during redevelopment of the former Oxford Story for Jesus College. The Oxford Story was housed in a former 19th-century warehouse which incorporated Bastion 4 of the Oxford city wall. Following historic building recording and the stage 1 trenching of the archaeological evaluation, carried out by OA in late December 2008 and early January 2009, it was agreed with David Radford of Oxford City Council (OCC) that the remaining groundworks would be subject to an archaeological watching brief. The watching brief covered the excavation of piling caps and underpinning slots necessary for the redevelopment of the property into a conference venue and student accommodation for Jesus College. Stone walls were uncovered on the north and east edges of the site. The wall to the east was parallel to the existing property boundary and was almost certainly the remnant of an earlier post-medieval boundary wall. The rubble walls on the north were only seen in a small area, and were not very substantial. They were adjacent to the current property boundaries but in a location that in 1878 (as seen from the first edition OS plan) was in the centre of a garden stretching behind three properties on Broad Street. These walls were abutted by a deposit interpreted as a buried post-medieval garden soil and may represent insubtantial post-medieval outbuildings demolished prior to the creation of the garden.A small section of the east face of the existing west wall of the cellar was uncovered in a piling cap slot. This wall is thought to be a section of the city wall where it turned north from the Saxon wall line to detour around St Michael's church, the bastion being at the corner of the rerouted section. The small area of this wall seen in the trench is in the area where a blocked arch is visible in the wall within the cellar and this section consisted of further rubble blocking of the arch. The north side of the arch appears to have been truncated by the construction of the existing cellar access opening through the wall. Any relationship of the blocking to the south jamb of the opening was, however, covered by render on the area exposed in the slot. The arch may be a relieving arch rather than a former opening; parts of the city wall are built on relieving arches but they are generally larger than this one and not necessarily filled with masonry. A 19th-century brick well was exposed just north of the warehouse and east of the bastion; this had a lead pipe within it and is just north-east of a square brick cistern seen in excavations in 1986. The two features were probably part of a water supply system and if not connected with the warehouse are within the area of the garden existing to the north in 1878. A sequence of make up and levelling layers consistent with those recorded during the evaluation were also observed, relating to the use of the site by William Baker & Co and the subsequent conversion into the Oxford Story.

Item Type:Client Report
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
ID Code:1967
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:18 Sep 2014 09:52
Last Modified:17 Mar 2015 16:09

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