Excavations in 2014 at Wade Street, Bristol - a documentary and archaeological analysis

Nick Corcos1 with specialist contributions by Kamal Badreshany2, Alejandra Gutiérrez3, Rachel Heaton1, Lorrain Higbee4, Sarah Newns1 and Rachel Tyson5

1. Avon Archaeology Ltd, Unit 36, Avondale Business Centre, Woodland Way, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 1AW, UK. Email:
2. Archaeomaterials Research Centre, University of Durham, South Rd, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.
3. Dept of Archaeology, University of Durham, South Rd, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.
4. Wessex Archaeology Ltd, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wilts SP4 6EB, UK.
5. Independent Specialist

Cite this as: Corcos, N., Badreshany, K., Gutiérrez, A., Heaton, R., Higbee, L., Newns, S. and Tyson, R. 2017 Excavations in 2014 at Wade Street, Bristol - a documentary and archaeological analysis, Internet Archaeology 45.


General view of Area A almost fully excavated showing a collapsed brick vault of a cellar probably belonging to 6 Little Anne St; the cobbled surface of Pratten's Court and kerbing

A staged programme of historical research and archaeological fieldwork, involving a desk-based assessment in 2000 (Smith and Erskine 2000), an evaluation in 2013 (Mason 2013), and an excavation followed by a watching brief in 2014, the latter two by Avon Archaeology Ltd, was undertaken in order to mitigate the archaeological impact of a proposed residential development on a site of 1,260m² at the corner and on the north-west side of Little Anne Street and Wade Street, St Jude's, Bristol (UK). The site was formerly occupied by residential dwellings, originally established in the very early 18th century as part of a then newly planned development of artisans' houses. In combination, the data from these studies indicate that the Wade Street site has a history of continuous occupation, from c. 1700 until the buildings on it were removed in the years on either side of the Second World War as part of a so-called 'slum clearance' project. A very small assemblage of medieval pottery recovered from the lower contexts of the site during the excavation hints at some level of activity in the vicinity during the medieval period.

This publication offers an opportunity to link the results of the fieldwork to an outline study of a sample of the 19th-century census records, to give a picture of the social dynamics of a highly diverse community in the second half of that century, and which presents a surprisingly mixed picture of both long stability, and incessant change in terms of the movement of people into and out of this part of Wade Street.

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