Local digs

by Gillian Clegg, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal 16, 2007

Three separate archaeological excavations have been taking place in our area, two in the grounds of Chiswick House and one on the old Scottish Widows site by Kew Bridge.

In advance of the project (yet to be finalised) for the regeneration of Chiswick House and Grounds, the English Heritage Archaeological Projects team was looking for more information about Chiswick House’s Stable Block/Service Building and the relationship between the Volerie (Aviary) Garden and the drying ground to the north of the building. Several walls of the Stable Block/Service Building were unearthed and evidence found to identify the western room as a laundry with a drainage channel through the outer wall leading to a brick drainage culvert.

Planting beds and gravel paths which date to the 19th and 20th centuries were found in the garden deposits north of the building. An interesting find, in the light of Ricky Pound’s article (Chiswick House – a Masonic Temple?, Journal 16, 2007) was the bowl of a clay pipe which was decorated with Masonic symbols.

The Museum of London Archaeological Service has also been digging in Chiswick House grounds. The MoLAS excavations established the original line of Burlington Lane (the 6th Duke of Devonshire obtained an Act of Parliament to have it relocated further away from Chiswick House) in a trench immediately south west of the café, the exact alignment of the western avenue of the ‘goose foot’ and the position of its terminal building, the Bagnio, built by Lord Burlington, also the layout of the paths in the kitchen garden.

Wessex Archaeology excavated the site by Kew Bridge in advance of its proposed development by St George West London Limited. Archaeologists uncovered the remains of an L-shaped building which is shown on Rocque’s 1746 map with earlier buildings below. The L-shaped building became a malthouse and belonged to Messrs Jupp. Many bottles and bottle tops with the emblem of the Royal Brewery were found which might have come from the two pubs on this site. The excavation also revealed pits and ditches which are thought to be medieval.



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