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Archaeological dig to take place in Tennant Square as part of Townscape Heritage Project

20 September 2021

A rare archaeological excavation is set to take place in Stockton's Tennant Square as part of the Northern Gateway Townscape Heritage scheme and volunteers are wanted to take part.

Birds eye view of the archeaological dig in Tennant Square

The dig, which runs from Monday 27 September to Friday 8 October, will investigate historical remains of former uses of the site and will be an opportunity for the public to learn new skills and find out more about the history of Stockton Town Centre.

Tennant Square is situated between Laing Street and Tennant Street, with the last known building on it being a Congregational Church that was built in 1845.

Volunteers are wanted as part of the project, those taking part will be given training in digging, washing artefacts and recording the findings of the dig.

A public open day will also be held at 159-160 High Street on Saturday 2 October for those who wish to know more about the project and what is found on the site.

The Stockton Northern Gateway Townscape Heritage Project is a five-year scheme that began in 2019 and aims to improve the historic environment at the northern end of Stockton High Street. This is joint funded by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and a £1.88million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It focuses on a series of restoration projects of identified historic buildings and works to the surrounding area. This includes the creation of a new public open space at Tennant Square to create a high-quality design with an emphasis on providing an attractive, safe and social space.

Work on these planned improvements is set to begin in early 2022.

Councillor Nigel Cooke, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing, said: "This is a great opportunity for our residents to be involved in finding out more about an area in Stockton that has significant historical value.

"Stockton-on-Tees is proud of its heritage and it's schemes like the Northern Gateway Townscape Heritage Project that allow us to improve spaces and bring buildings back into use so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.

"The project also complements the regeneration work we are undertaking to transform our town centres to ensure they are fit for the future."

Robin Daniels, of Tees Archaeology, said: "This is a rare opportunity to carry out an archaeological excavation within the town.

"While we hope to find evidence of the 19th Century Congregational Chapel, it will be fascinating to see what archaeology can tell us about what happened on the site before the chapel was built.

"The project will also focus on providing local people with experience of archaeological excavation, with no previous experience being required to volunteer for the project."

The Northern Gateway Townscape Heritage Scheme is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.