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History is uncovered in work on Finsbury baths facelift

PUBLISHED: 12:44 19 April 2011

The Ironmonger Row Baths.

The Ironmonger Row Baths.

Archant

A TEAM of archaeologists studying the Ironmonger Bath site during its £16million refurbishment have discovered medieval items.

Experts have discovered tiles and pottery which are hundreds of years old while examining the grade-two listed facility in Ironmonger Row, Finsbury.

Peter Moore, project manager from Pre-Construct Ltd which is carrying out the work for Islington Council, said: “The biggest surprise has been the fact the archaeology has survived under the basement of the bath house which is amazing.

“The high value of the materials was also surprising. We were expecting run of the mill stuff but these items are very rare.”

Archaeologists have unearthed a glazed and decorated medieval floor tile which dates back to before 1390 .

They have also found pottery dated to 1480-1550 and a patch of clay which contains decorated English pottery from a period between 1170 and 1350.

The investigation has also pinpointed the location of a medieval manor house which belonged to St Luke’s Church.

The Ironmonger Row Baths was turned into a bathing venue in 1931 and later upgraded to Turkish baths.

There were terraced houses on the site from the 18th century.

Mr Moore said the expensive tiles and pottery suggest that wealthy individuals were living in a manor house on the site before the 18th century. He said: “The items are the modern day equivalent of bling and would be in a property to show high status.”

The redevelopment of the Ironmonger Row Baths is due to be finished by June next year.

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