Brockham Archaeology

Archaeology is a fascinating subject and every object discovered, large or small, provides us with a wealth of information of bygone times.

As many of you are aware, the Wealdon Cave and Mine Society have been expending a great deal of effort and energy in the task of re-opening the Hearthstone Mine at Brockham which is located within the old limeworks area.

Progress in digging down the shaft has been somewhat slow due to the nature of the material used to fill it following the closure of the mine in the mid-forties. This for the most part was lime kiln waste which over the years has solidified into a heavy mortar like product.

Within the top section of the shaft, a great deal of rotten timber was taken out together with pieces of ironwork which on closer inspection proved to be parts of bedsteads (they turn up everywhere)! Flat iron strips confirmed the type, maybe from a World War II Anderson air raid shelter nearby.

However, from the -30ft level, two small metal boxes were found and these each measured 2.75" x 1.5" x 0.75" high. From the printing on the underside of the tins we were able to establish that at one time they contained Oxo cubes. The address showed that Oxo Ltd were at Thames House, London, EC4.

Unilever, who were most interested, stated that whilst they do get a great number of letters from people who have dug up tins and jars from their gardens, these were the deepest found so far. The two tins were probably produced between 1912 and 1929. They have to be post 1912 as Oxo did not move into Thames House until that date, and in 1929 the cubes became larger as so did the tins.

An interesting thought is where were the tins between the date of their manufacture and being thrown into the shaft during the late 1940s?

Ray Walker
Don Wood