A design for The Central Hall at National Railway Museum (Feilden Fowles)

York Archaeology dig for Medieval objects beneath National Railway Museum

Image: A design for The Central Hall at National Railway Museum (Feilden Fowles)

The excavations take place ahead of the construction of the museum’s new Central Hall building

The National Railway Museum has partnered with York Archaeology to carry out excavations of the museum’s Great Hall outdoor courtyard.

The exploration of the grounds began at the weekend, in search of historical objects dating back to Roman and Medieval times.

The excavation precedes redevelopment work in the museum’s grounds as a new building is created to connect its existing halls.

Former Victorian railway buildings have already been uncovered at the site, which the museum said are likely linked to coal storage for steam engines.

During the excavation, the museum offered site tours and a presentation of material found in this and other similar digs relating to railway history.

The excavation is part of the museum’s Vision 2025 project, which will see the construction of a new Central Hall linking the two existing museum halls, the Great Hall and Station Hall.


Verity Faircliffe, Client Project Manager for Vision 2025 at the National Railway Museum, said the digs were an “essential part of [its] site redevelopment programme.”

“It has been great to work with York Archaeology on this project and we’re delighted that, with them, we can offer the public an opportunity to see the dig site and learn a little more about what has been found and the history of York’s railways,” said Faircliffe.

Dr. Paul Flintoft, Regional Manager for York Archaeology, added: “You can dig just about anywhere in York and almost guarantee you’ll uncover parts of its rich history, so we’re very much looking forward to what we find here.

“As we find with any dig around the city, there is a huge interest from the general public who are keen to know what we are hoping to discover—enthusiasm shared by our team of archaeologists as we dig deeper on this fascinating site.”