‘Fascinating’ Victorian corn mill foundations unearthed during Rochdale archaeological dig

More than 450 volunteers, trainees, and Rochdale residents took part in the latest 'Big Dig'.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 7th August 2023

The foundations of an old Victorian corn mill have been unearthed during a major archaeological dig in Rochdale.

It comes after more than 450 volunteers, trainees, and residents from across the Greater Manchester borough joined forces with a team of expert archaeologists from the University of Salford for the second in a series of fascinating ‘Big Digs’ on the Broadfield Slopes near Rochdale Town Hall this past weekend.

According to historians, the Slopes and the surrounding area played a key role in the development of Rochdale town centre.

Following the original dig – which took place at Town Hall Square back 2021 – this past weekend’s aptly-named ‘Big Dig 2’ saw the team discover the foundations of the ‘Charles Kershaw Central Corn Mill’, which is thought to date from the mid 1800s.

On top of that, the remains of a public weighing station were also unearthed.


The public weighing station is where Rochdale residents would have headed down to to check whether they had been sold the right amount of cotton, wool or, in this case, probably corn, according to Dr Colin Elder, from the University of Salford.

Dr Elder added that The Slopes site would have been “a hive of activity in the industrial period”.


He added: “People who would have worked in the corn mill living in houses, now long gone, which lined the steps which run up the Slopes to St Chad’s Church.”

‘Fascinating’ Victorian corn mill foundations unearthed during Rochdale archaeological dig / Credit: Rochdale Council

Rochdale Council says the success of the ‘Big Dig’ project has been down to the dedicated team of residents of all ages who have been working together with volunteers and trainees each day to help to uncover the borough’s “proud history”.

The ‘Big Digs’ form part of a number of Council-organised public activities organised as part of the wider redevelopment of Rochdale Town Hall – which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound restoration project.


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Rochdale Town Hall is set to reopen some time this summer.

Featured Image – Rochdale Council