Remains of old Kenilworth Tannery found by archaeologists

The remains of the Tannery found during the dig. Photo: Robin Leach
The remains of the Tannery found during the dig. Photo: Robin Leach

Remains of the old Kenilworth Tannery were discovered by archaeologists as work to start building new student flats in Talisman square began last week

Brick walls and flooring of the old Kenilworth Tannery, which closed in 1961 and was demolished in 1963, were found underneath ground near the temporary car park in the square after it was dug up on Monday February 12.

Developers Cobalt Estates are building a five-storey development with 65 flats housing 121 bedrooms after planning permission was granted in January.

Kenilworth historian Robin Leach was pleased he was finally able to see the Tannery with his own eyes.

He said: “From my point of view, it was very interesting, because I’ve never seen it the Tannery before. I’ve been researching it for 40 years.

“They found a variety of walls and some substantial flooring. I think they were hoping to find some medieval stuff.”

And Norman Stevens, of the Kenilworth History and Archaeology society, said he was not that surprised at what was found, but he heard there were other structures that were not discovered.

He added: “Quite honestly, it’s what you’d expect to find. But I was told by someone that there’s an 80-foot well on the site somewhere. It’s possible it was backfilled years ago.

“They do need to know if they’re likely to hit something.”

Hugo Hawkings, chief executive of Discovery Properties, which Cobalt Estates is a part of, did not say if the project would be delayed as a result of the discovery.

He said: “We were aware that this is the site of the former Kenilworth Tannery and the archaeological investigation was instigated by us.

“We understand following the initial investigation there may be further archaeological works that need to be undertaken but we are currently awaiting the report of our consultants.

“Following receipt of the report we will in conjunction with the county archaeologist decide how best to go forward.

“The programme of the development will not be finalised until we have the detailed results of the site investigation that took place at the same time as the archaeological survey.”

Although planning permission for the building was granted by Warwick District Council’s planning committee, many Kenilworth-based councillors had expressed concerns in the past.

Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s) called the plan ‘greedy’, and Cllr Felicity Bunker (Con, Park Hill) said it would make the square very dark.