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HS2 history lesson

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Pupils at Newall Green Primary School in Manchester were treated to a history lesson with a difference when Balfour Beatty contractors, working on behalf of HS2, presented them with a rock sample dating back over 240 million years.

The 1.5-metre-long sample, which was extracted from a depth of 58 metres from the school’s playing field, was excavated as part of HS2’s preliminary ground investigation works. Analysis of rock samples allows HS2’s team of specialist engineers to better understand ground conditions ahead of finalising designs for the construction of Britain’s new railway, which will extend from Crewe to Manchester.

Balfour Beatty’s Senior Materials Engineer, Philip Dumelow, gave a short presentation to pupils from years five and six and explained how geotechnical analysis of the sample showed that the school’s site would have once sat at the bottom of a shallow sea or lake. And much to the pupils’ delight, he confirmed that there would have been dinosaurs at that time – though they were only just starting to emerge.

Leonie Dubois, HS2’s Head of Consultation and Engagement said: “HS2’s unprecedented archaeology programme along the Birmingham to London section of the railway has led to the most extraordinary finds, and it’s exciting that we’re now beginning to discover more about Britain’s past along the Manchester section of the HS2 route.

“We hope this session has helped to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers who will support major infrastructure projects of the future.”

The rock sample and a framed copy of the accompanying borehole log, which provides a geotechnical description of the sample, were presented to Newall Green Headteacher, Mrs Rudd and will now go on display in the school.

Image credit: HS2 Ltd