Research Report

Whitworth Park Community Archaeology and History Project: An Evaluation Report for the Heritage Lottery Fund



Jones S, Cobb H, Giles M, Shone K & Colton R (2015) Whitworth Park Community Archaeology and History Project: An Evaluation Report for the Heritage Lottery Fund. University of Manchester.

The Whitworth Park Community Archaeology and History Project took place between 2011 and 2015. The project investigated the material, social and natural history of Whitworth Park through archaeological survey and excavation, archival research and oral history. At the same time it engaged present-day communities with Whitworth Park’s rich past and its contribution to their urban heritage. The results of the project contributed to a wide range of activities and outputs that promoted public understanding well beyond the original project brief. These included tours of the excavations and the park, open days, a project blog, a Live Tweet, an exhibition, a public leaflet, a park display board, three short films, a series of lectures and workshops, and a number of preliminary publications addressing popular, professional and academic audiences. The project touched the lives of numerous people in diverse ways, ranging from the intensive participation of c.50 volunteers in the excavations and post-excavation work, to workshops for various classes from 6 schools, to some 44.5k visitors to the exhibition, to approximately 3.5k blog visitors and approximately 44.5k twitter accounts. Collectively, the volunteers dedicated 252 days and 1763 hours to the project.The project has contributed a great deal to our knowledge and understanding of Whitworth Park, providing intimate insights into the everyday lives of those who used it in the past. It equipped volunteers with new heritage-based skills as well as generic skills in team-working, communication and public engagement. Most importantly, it provided a strong sense of camaraderie in the shared excitement of discovery. School workshops facilitated connections and comparisons between childhood past and present, and gave children ranging from primary schools to 6th form colleges a taste of the significance and excitement of history and archaeology. Diverse and rewarding partnerships were created and fostered, many of which will be sustained beyond the lifetime of the project. Above all, the project has made a contribution to the work of those who care for public parks – their heritage and their future – ranging from the Friends of Whitworth Park to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other national organisations.

Public Park; Community Heritage; Archaeology; History; Place; Urban Cultural Landscapes

Publication date31/12/2015
PublisherUniversity of Manchester

People (1)


Professor Sian Jones

Professor Sian Jones

Professor of Heritage, History