Lake District Holocaust Project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support for archaeology dig at emotional WW2 site.
Another Space, which produces and manages the Lake District Holocaust Project, has received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of a project to carry out an archaeological survey and dig at the site of Calgarth Estate, a unique historical Second World War location with a dramatic link to the Holocaust. It was home to three hundred Jewish child Holocaust Survivors on their arrival in the Lake District in 1945.
The survey and dig will be carried out at the Lakes School in the summer of 2019. The school stands on the former site of the wartime workers housing scheme of Calgarth Estate. The estate was originally built in 1942 to house workers at the nearby Short Sunderland “Flying Boat” factory at White Cross Bay, and was gradually demolished over time until it finally disappeared in the mid 1960’s.
The survey and dig will take place over the summer and autumn of 2019 and will see wide ranging opportunities for people to work closely with one of the country’s leading archaeologists. There are great opportunities to get involved as volunteers to learn about all aspects of excavation, conservation, and exhibition work.
The archaeology will be led by world renowned archaeologists Caroline Sturdy Colls and Kevin Colls, and will include a cutting edge technological survey to identify what remains of the estate lie hidden below ground. This will be followed by excavations that will focus on uncovering the remains of hostel accommodation on the estate that slept single workers from the factory.
Caroline Sturdy Colls is an acknowledged expert in her field and is Professor of Conflict Archaeology and Genocide Investigation at Staffordshire University. She completed the very first archaeological surveys of the former extermination camp at Treblinka (Poland), the sites linked to the Nazi slave labour programme in Alderney (the Channel Islands), and sites in Serbia. Kevin Colls is the lead Archaeological Project Manager at the Centre for Archaeology at Staffordshire University and has directed and published archaeological projects throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. He has 20 years’ experience in research and professional development-led archaeology and his specialist subjects include archaeological field techniques, urban archaeology and forensic archaeology.
Calgarth Estate stood from 1942 to around 1964. It was home to two hundred families and three hundred single workers. It had a school, shops, entertainment hall, and laundry. The single storey houses were nicknamed “Shorts Palaces” by the residents and had indoor bathing and central heating facilities, still rare for working class people in the Lake District in the 1940’s. The estate was eventually demolished and Lakes School opened on the site in 1967, and most of the former residents were rehoused on the then newly built Droomer Estate in Windermere.