Archaeology pupils’ heritage garden

Heritage dig
Heritage dig
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Sheffield schoolchildren have worked with archaeologists to uncover a secret garden behind their local library

The pupils, from Broomhill Infant School, have been busy excavating the abandoned garden at Broomhill Community Library, looking for clues as to what was once there.

The heritage garden was installed by top designer Percy Cane in the late 1920s, when the house was a private home.

A spokesman for the library said: “The garden was still in good shape when Sheffield Council took over the building to create a branch library in 1957, and retained its fashionable sunken terrace, water features, and large pergola. But the Yorkstone paving installed by Cane was stolen in 2003 and, after that, the garden gradually became little more than a wilderness.”

Members of the Broomhill Community Library group - which took over the running of the library in 2014 - have been working for two years to clear the mass of self-sown trees, bramble and ivy that had taken over the rear garden. Recently, the schoolchildren were invited to work alongside archaeological experts from ArcHeritage, and students from the University of Sheffield’s Archaeology department, to help discover more clues about the lost garden. Armed with trowels and toothbrushes, the six and seven-year-olds spent a day helping dig out the garden’s central fountain, discovering pieces of Victorian pottery and old clay pipe along the way.

Headteacher Catherine Timbers said: “Our children have had such a special experience. We are looking forward to being involved in more digging at the library.”