Wooden structure in Model Boating Pond

During the removal of silt at Model Boating Pond, some wooden structures appeared in the silty mud. Buried in silt for what could have been over 100 years, the structures had been well preserved.

We asked the MOLAS archaeology team to take a closer look at these curious structures.

The most obvious from the pond-side was a box like structure which the archaeologists described as having four pit-sawn corner posts joined with two cross beams, and alternate, nailed on,  hand hewn conifer timber braces.  They survived partially clad with, pit sawn, oak planking nailed to the posts and supported by at least one additional conifer post nailed on the back. They concluded that this structure was probably some form of filter box, probably set above a buried outlet leading downhill, or to put it another way, the housing around possibly the original valve pipe which was constructed when the pond was originally dug as a reservoir 300 years ago.


Above this structure some revetments were visible. The archaeologists believe these revetments to be of late 18th century or more likely early to mid 19th century in date.  Their function is uncertain but they may have been installed  to reinforce the area of the southern bank, possibly to stabilise the ground and allow easier access to the box structure described above.


To the east side of the pond base an arc of large oak stakes was discovered, some at least cleft, and all originally vertical. The stakes may be  the base of an earlier pond reveting when the pond was of smaller extent.

When the timbers emerged, I was contacted by a man who had grown up visiting the Heath. He remembers a wooden jetty that was used for fishing and may have had a function in relation to the old valve pipe.

The below lithograph from 1864 may illustrate this structure.

11.H Pond from Millfield La 1864

Copy of original lithograph in Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution

At the end of the project, MOLAS will produce a report on all of their archaeological findings which we will make available to the public.



This entry was posted in Construction, History, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wooden structure in Model Boating Pond

  1. Fascinating, again. I really enjoy your posts (pardon the pun on this occasion!). Will all these structures remain in place as the pond is redeveloped or will they have to be removed?


    • Hello – thanks for your comment. The structure was removed to make way for the new dam but we have donated the timbers to a local artist who is going to make a sculpture, which we will then hopefully display on the Heath.

      Liked by 1 person

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