Thursday June 6 2019

Northern Powergrid Uncovers Item Thought To Be From Medieval Times

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News Release
Northern Powergrid
Decorated fragment of leather thought to be from medieval times

Northern Powergrid, the company that powers everyday life for 8 million people, has uncovered a highly decorated fragment of leather thought to be from medieval times. The artifact, which features a dragon or other mythical beast design, was discovered as part of the electricity distribution network operator's £300,000 investment in York city’s power network.

Northern Powergrid has completed the first of four schemes two weeks ahead of schedule, which will see some 2.5km of high voltage underground cable replaced across the city centre during 2018/19, improving the resilience and reliability of York’s electricity network.

Mike Hammond, Northern Powergrid’s General Manager for the North Yorkshire region, said: "To find a piece of York’s past as we invest in the city's future is really exciting.

"We’ve been working closely with the York Archaeological Trust as part of our work to replace high voltage cable on Aldwark, Goodramgate and Deangate, the first scheme of work to improve the reliability and resilience of the electricity network, but were not expecting to unearth anything quite so interesting. We are working with the York Archaeological Trust to ensure the restoration and conservation of the leather fragment, which looks like it could be straight out of Game of Thrones, with it medieval dragon design."

The second scheme of work, which will take place on Grosvenor Road, Bootham Crescent and Queen Anne's Road, has been brought forward and is now due to start on 10 June, ahead of schedule as the electricity distributor works with City of York Council to coordinate work in the area to reduce disruption for local businesses, residents and commuters.

Toby Kendall, Project Officer from York Archaeological, said: "Good early communication with the team from Northern Powergrid and the contractors completing the excavations has allowed us to archaeologically monitor and record the works without causing any delays. The incredibly well preserved, and fantastically decorated, leather fragment had probably been disturbed from its waterlogged, deeper, burial conditions when the sewers were first installed over 100 years ago. The recovery of the artifact shows the value of observing the works underway, even though they have not directly disturbed the waterlogged archeology lower down."

The electricity network operator will actively share information through local and social media and via its website and is writing in advance to any local residents and businesses in the immediate vicinity of works to explain what is happening, when and why. Northern Powergrid is also reassuring local people that it will work, wherever possible, to minimize disruption and is not expecting to affect local peoples’ electricity supply or need access to their properties.

Media Contacts

Northern Powergrid
Dawn Parlett
+44 191 787 7234