Newsletter 191 January 1987 Edited by Liz Holliday
Wednesday 7 January LECTURE CANCELLED
We have just heard from the library that the lecture hall is to be redecorated and will not be available for:our January meeting. An alternative venue was suggested, but we felt this would not be satisfactory at such short notice.
Wednesday 4 February “London in the Mid-Saxon and Viking Period” by Dr. Alan Vince, Museum of London. At Hendon Library. The Burroughs, Hendon. Coffee available from 8pm. Lecture begins at 8.30pm.
AFTER IRON a note from Dr.E.H.T. Hoblyn
“I was very interested in Percy Reboul’s page in your December issue but was puzzled by his reference to Parkesine. My organic chemistry is now more than rusty but I wonder if chloroform and castor oil would produce a sub-
stance ‘hard as horn’, I have therefore, done some digging and have found from Sylvia Katz who wrote ‘Plastic Plastics’ that Alexander Parkes in his early work in the 1840s mixed cotton fibre and wood flour with nitric and sulphuric acids (which would give him nitro-cellulose) and he then mixed the ‘resulting product with castor oil and wood naphthna to produce his original ‘Parkesine’. It was, however, when he moved to mixing camphor with nitrocellulose and alcohol that,’ in 1865, he produced the better known form of ‘Parkesine’, the forerunner of celluloid orxvlonite as it was better known in thiscountry.(‘Plastics in the Service of Man’ by Couzens and Yarsley).The British firm manufacturing celluloid was the British Xylonite Company founded in 1877 which, in 1887, built a factory at Brantham on the banks of the River Stour opposite Manningtree, Essex. They made artificial ivory and tortoiseshell for combs (functional and decorative) and hairbrushes; tubing for bicycle pumps and bodies for fountain pens; handles for toothbrushes and shaving brushes; and a large tonnage of piano keys and knife handles in the form well known before the modern dishwasher led to metal handles.
They were made in the plain-and excellent grained ivory forms. Another popular product was the celluloid collar and shirt front (or ‘dicky’) which comprised a sheet of linen sealed between two sheets of white celluloid. I do hope that Percy Reboul will keep us posted with his findings.”
SOME ANSWERS TO THE GREEN PUZZLE
The borough archivists are grateful for two helpful replies to the enquiry concerning ,green lanes, one recommending W.G.Hoskins’ comments in The Making of the English Landscape and the other pointing out that in 1764 Hendon Lane/Finchley Lane was not a particularly major road.
This month’s accessions to the Local History Collection include archives from the Mill Hill Highwood Townswomen’s Guild; copies of deeds and photographs concerning the Alexandra public house, East Finchley and the surrounding area; albums of photographs of Chas. Wright & Co.’s factory, Hendon and a booklet of photographs of Barnet and Hadley produced in about 1900 by J.Cowing.
Herbert Norman’s donation of his drawings of local buildings was mentioned in the Newsletter last month members may like advance notice that these will be on display in an exhibition of his work to be held at Church Farm House Museum from March 28 to April 26 this year.
A STORM IN A VESTRY TEA CUP
Nell Penny uncovers a rebellion by the Hendon Vestry
Local rates, be they parish, borough or county, have ever been matters of controversy. In 1820 the vestry of Hendon parish, conscious of having to set ever increasing poor rates (in 1821 they were to set three rates at 6d in the £ – 7.25p in the in all) began to look at rating valuations. They found that these had not been changed since 1722, and promptly appointed a committee which revalued the parish at a total of £24,470.
At the same time the Vicar, the irascible Reverend Theodore Williams, was also doing his sums. Since 1722 Hendon vicars had been accepting a 3d rate in commutation of their “Great and Little Tythes”:- “always excepting Surplice. Fees and other Perquisites”. Mr. Williams gave notice that he was putting an end to this system. The vestry therefore had the vicar’s property and his tithes assessed. The vicar protested – the parish persisted. In 1822 the Reverend Williams and Thomas Street appealed to a General Quarter Sessions against the assessments. Mr. Street was presumably a newcomer to the district – his name does not appear in .the 1821 census. The vicar chaired the vestry meeting in September, a function he very rarely performed; the officers of the parish did not feel bold enough to contradict him to his face. They appointed a sub-committee of William Geeves, Thomas Shettle and Mr.Goodchild, all farmers and office holders, to reconsider the valuations. By ‘December the vestry had decided to let the valuations stand and to pay their solicitor to defend them against the vicar at the Quarter Sessions.
Meanwhile, the vestry had taken steps to turn itself into a Select Vestry according to legislation of 1818. In theory a vestry had been a town meeting of ratepayers in practice it had been a monthly gathering of half a dozen office holders, churchwardens, overseers of the poor and surveyors of the highways who accepted the accounts of the overseers of the poor. There might be a few more ratepayers at a meeting where the poor rate-was to be- set. The crowded meeting in the parish church in November 1822 decided by 200 votes to 165 that a Select Vestry should be elected. Henceforward a vestry meeting could not be larger than twenty members, but a minimum of five was necessary for a quorum.
But back to our storm in the vestry tea cup. Eventually Quarter Sessions reduced the assessment on Mr. Williams’ property from £672 to £640 and on his tithes by a similar percentage. But Williams did not wait for the outcome of his appeal. It seems that he regarded the Vestry Clerk, James Goodyer as his arch enemy and the leader of the vestry rebellion. I think James disliked the vicar as much as the latter disliked him. Preserved among the parish archives are meticulous copies of most of the letters to and from the vestry at this period – all in Mr.Goodyer’s beautiful copperplate handwriting. There is also a list of Goodyer’s own property: five houses in the Burroughs and one in Brent Street. On the new valuation he had secured rating reductions which averaged 11 per cent.
On January 29th 1823, the vestry met and read a letter from the vicar to Mr. Greeves, one of the churchwardens The letter attacked James Goodyer on three counts: a) that Goodyer’s personal property was wrongly rated; b) that the vestry clerk had been appointed to his job in 1796 by “private appointment” and that his salary of £40 a year out of the poor rate was “extravagant and unwarranted” and c) “I will submit to your own good feeling whether a man who is capable of making a false entry in a Parish minute book be not morally incapable of fulfilling any public trust”. The vestry held a Special meeting next day and replied to the vicar a). all rating appeals were up for arbitration so the parish would not comment in the meantime; b) Mr. Gooyer’s appointment as Clerk had not been a private appointment but by a “valid public vote” and the parish was obliged to “those gentlemen.— for the discrimination used in the selection of a gentleman to fill that office whose conduct in and great attention to the Duties thereof, have given general satisfaction… the salary paid to Mr.Goodyer’ is neither extravagant nor unwarrantable”. c) the charges of falsifying the accounts against Mr Goodyer were so serious that the vestry asked the Reverend Williams to produce his evidence for their consideration.
Unfortunately this letter was in Goodyer’s beautiful handwriting. The Vicar would not open it and returned it to the vestry. This provoked the vestry to write to the Bishop of London regretting that “Communication between the Vicar and themselves had been cut off” and asking for the Bishop’s guidance. At the next vestry meeting in February 1823 the Vicar took the chair, but stormed out when the Vestry would not endorse his accusations against Goodyer. A churchwarden had to preside so that he could sign the minutes and announce the date of the next meeting. Another letter to the Bishop of London told him the vestry would like “Counsel’s opinion” about the Act of 1818 which they thought laid down that if the Vicar took the chair at a vestry meeting he must sign the minutes.
In April of the same year the Vicar and the vestry were at it again. A parishioner had paid what she thought were agreed fees for a tombstone of brick and stone to be erected in the churchyard. Disputing the fees, the Vicar had it dismantled – immediately – and “thrown into the Public Road”. Again to the Bishop the vestry regretted “the varience unhappily existing between the Vicar and his Parishioners which promotes secession from the Church” .
At the same April meeting James Goodyer resigned as Parish Clerk. Perhaps he felt that over twenty-five years of copying accounts and taking minutes was enough – perhaps he felt he must leave the fight against the Reverend to a younger man. He pleaded ill health. The vestry paid they were very sorry to lose him. There is no record of what the Reverend Theodore said.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SERVICE
Gerrard Roots outlines the current exhibition at Church Farm House Museum
The St. John Ambulance Brigade – the uniformed branch of the Order of St. John, which has itself existed in Britain since c.1148 – celebrates its centenary in 1987. Founded •to promote knowledge of first aid amongst the general public, its first division in this area was set up in 1903 and was based upon. Queen Eizabeth’s Boys School in Barnet. Since that time numerous divisions have been created in the Barnet area.
The activities of the Brigade have greatly expanded since its inception. The Brigade numbers increased significantly during World Wars I and II when members of the St. John volunteered for active service with the Royal Army Medical Corps or provided emergency first aid at home with the air raid patrols.
The Brigade, as well as continuing its first aid training, provides first aid assistance at public gatherings, gives an aeromedical service to bring the sick home from abroad, and through the St. John Air Wing, transports vital organs and medical supplies for transplants.
This exhibition presents through photographs, documents, costume and other memorabilia, the wide range of St. John activities in the Barnet area over the past 80 or so years. It also shows something of the history of the origins of the Order of St. John from its first hospice in Jerusalem in AD 600.
The exhibition will be on show from 3 January until 8 February.Please remember that there will be no lecture in January. The next lecture “London in the Mid-Saxon and Viking Period” will be on Wednesday 4 February
LETTERS FROM HADRIAN’S WALL
Anne Cheng summarizes a recent article in Omnibus by Alan K. Bowman and J. David Thomas.
At the Roman fort of Vindolanda, a mile to the south of Hadrian’s Wall, a unique collection of writing tablets is being unearthed. The texts, which date to around AD 100 include both official documents and, the private correspondence of military personnel. They are written in ink on thin slivers of wood, which was used instead of papyrus as this would have, been expensive and difficult to obtain in Britain. The deposit of writing tablets appears to extend to at least twenty metres and over 500 new finds have already been catalogued.
Many of the new texts belong to the archive of one FIavius Cerialis, a commander of a unit at the fort. However, the outstanding discovery of 19.85 must be the archive of Cerialis’ wife, Sulpicia Lepidina. Two texts in this archive contain closing lines written by Claudia Severa, Lepidina’s correspondent. This is certainly the earliest known example of writing by a woman in Latin.
Claudia’s letter is written in two columns side by side as is normal in these tablets. She invites Lepidina to a birthday party:
“Iii Idus Septembr[e]s, soror,ad diem
sollemnem natalem meum vogo
libenter facies ut venial
ad nos incundiorem mihi
diem?] interventu tuo factures si
After transmitting various family greetings she adds the following lines in rather an awkward hand:
“sperato te, soror
“I shall expect you sister. Hail and farewell, sister, my dearest soul, as I live in health”.
The processing of these finds is extremely time-consuming and demands painstaking attention to detail, but with the amount of material already found, there is hope of yet more exciting discoveries to come.
No. 572 NOVEMBER 2018 Edited by Sue Willetts
HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events Lectures, the finds group course, and the film are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Buses 13, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes’ walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line). Tea/coffee and biscuits follow the lecture.
Sunday 9th December – HADAS Christmas Lunch at Avenue House. 12:30 – 4 p.m. £30 including full Christmas dinner. See p.2.
Tuesday 8th January 2019 NO LECTURE
Tuesday 12th February 2019. Jon Cotton Prehistory in London – some Problems, Progress and Potential
Tuesday 12th March 2019. John Clark Lost and Found: the Rediscovery of Roman London
Tuesday 9th April 2019. Gustav Milne The CITiZAN Project
Tuesday 14th May 2019 Lyn Blackmore (but waiting for final confirmation) Crosse and Blackwell factory excavations
Tuesday 11th June 2019 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Tuesday 8th October 2019 To be arranged. Tuesday 12th November 2019 Bob Cowie Shene and Syon: a royal and monastic landscape revealed
For your diary – 2019 Long Trip
We have booked the hotel for our long trip in 2019. Details will follow in due course.
The hotel is: Best Western Aberavon Beach Hotel, Aberavon Beach, Port Talbot, SA12 6QP
Dates Monday 23rd to Friday 27th September 2019
Cost will be slightly higher than 2018 because of the increasing cost of fuel for the coach.
If you are interested, please let Jim Nelhams know (email@example.com)
Battle of Barnet Project
We were pleased to receive from the above a card saying: “Thank you for being part of the Battle of Barnet Project”. This is in recognition of our help with the test-pitting and other associated actions.
Although no site for the Battle of Barnet…….
Remember, Remember, Remember to sign up for the HADAS Christmas party.
The party is on December 9th, 2018, between 12.30pm and 4.00pm at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, N3 3QE. The party is for HADAS members and their guests. The price is £30 per person.
Send remittances to Peter Pickering, 3 Westbury Road, Woodside Park, London N12 7NY
Or pay directly to: Account title: HADAS, Bank code: 40-52-40 Bank account: 00007253
Please title the payment “HADAS Party 2018”
As Jim Nelhams, who has been HADAS treasurer for the last ten years plus, has decided to stand down at next year’s AGM, HADAS is in dire need of a replacement.
Could you manage HADAS’ treasury function? If you could we would love to hear from you.
To discuss this vacancy and what the role entails please contact me (Don Cooper) by any of the various methods below. (See last page of the newsletter)
PS An assistant editor to help Sue Willetts in preparing the newsletter for printing would be very welcome. Please contact Don Cooper to discuss this role.
Exciting archaeology news from the Black Sea and Pompeii Sue Willetts
A merchant ship, thought to be Greek, dating back more than 2,400 years has been found lying on its side off the Bulgarian coast. The 23m (75ft) wreck, found in the Black Sea by an Anglo-Bulgarian team, is being hailed as officially the world’s oldest known intact shipwreck. See the BBC website for more information: It was discovered with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile below the surface. A lack of oxygen at that depth preserved it, the researchers said. The principal investigator of the Black Sea Maritime Project (MAP) is Professor Jon Adams – his view is that this will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.
In Pompeii a new coloured fresco has been discovered in the House of the Enchanted Garden, so called due to the variety of animals and plants that decorate its walls, which was partially excavated in the 19th century but the frescoed room has only now been found. The director of the site is Massimo Osanna. The frescoes include the figure of a horse, birds in flight and a strange human figure with a dog’s head. The main room is believed to be a lararium, a room designed to hold the images of the lares, divine protectors.
For more information and images from the Daily Telegraph – click here – or look out for more coverage to come in the archaeology press.
New Publication Information from Don Cooper The Roman Pottery Manufacturing Site in Highgate Wood: Excavations 1966-78 by A. E. Brown and H. L. Sheldon.
This book co-authored by our president Harvey Sheldon has, after a long germination, finally been produced. It is being sold by Archaeopress and is priced at £60. I know it is expensive, but you can also download it as a pdf from the link to the Archaeopress site below.
Perhaps one of our Romanists would like to write a review in due course.
See http://www.archaeopress.com/Public/displayProductDetail.asp?id=%7B7915E40D-7B87-49DD-B1CC-08D5FDABB505%7D The following text is taken from the publicity for this volume.
Excavations over a period of eight years uncovered at least ten pottery kilns, waster heaps, ditches and pits, but only a few definite structures. The pottery from the site indicates a period of operation extending from the first half of the 1st century AD to the later 2nd century. The pottery made at the site included initially a vegetable tempered handmade ware, but subsequently the bulk of it consisted of a grog tempered ware and then pottery in a sandy fabric which is well known from assemblages in London. The type of kiln varied with the pottery fabric; there was possible evidence for a pre-Roman pit firing, and later kilns set in ditches were of the twin flued type, eventually replaced by the more familiar above ground kilns with raised floors. Changes in pottery fabric were reflected in different methods of clay preparation, which led to changes in the function of the various ditches, the stratigraphy of which, along with the variation in the fabrics, was significant in enabling the four broad phases into which the site has been divided, to be proposed.
The report includes a very detailed analysis of the forms and fabrics of the pottery made at Highgate. Finds of prehistoric flintwork and pottery during the excavation, and of material of later date, together with the observation of earthworks and historical research, have been used to show the place of the pottery kilns as an element in the exploitation of the woodland of northern London over the last eight thousand years.
London Archaeologist 50 (1968-2018): an archaeological conference held in London
I went to an archaeological conference on 6th October 2018. The conference, at King’s College London, was attended by some 200 amateur and professional archaeologists, and others, and was held to celebrate fifty years of the London Archaeologist magazine that had been founded in 1968. I saw at least two other members of HADAS there, including Harvey Sheldon who was co-chairing the proceedings.
The publication is an A4 sized quarterly magazine that presents archaeological research and excavation reports; interviews; finds, artefact, and bioarchaeology studies; book reviews and an events diary, and it is probably well known to our members.
The magazine contains articles from writers across the archaeological spectrum in London, on topics ranging from human skulls in the Walbrook, to community archaeology in Fulham, to Tudor bee boles in Greenwich.
London Archaeologist is run by a completely voluntary team elected annually each May at the AGM. The production of the magazine, marketing, membership and financial matters are handled by the officers. The officers are joined on the Publication Committee by up to six further ‘ordinary’ members, drawn from the professional and voluntary side of archaeology. The organisation is a registered charity, no 262851.
The presentations by various speakers at the conference included considerations of the development of archaeological practice in London over the last fifty years, and specialist contributions on finds, public engagement, health and safety, and commercial archaeology carried out to satisfy town planning requirements.
It may be that developers, planners, and construction professionals would find it interesting and worthwhile to subscribe to the magazine, as well as local society members and other archaeologists, if they are not already doing so: https://www.londonarchaeologist.org.uk/ . One of the themes at the conference was the importance of archaeology in enhancing development schemes and this is one of the threads in commercial archaeology, in amongst the fact that archaeology is a material consideration in the planning process. The reality that a developer may be faced with ten, twenty or more planning conditions, of which the historic environment is just one of these.
The left-hand image shows the front cover of a recent issue of the magazine, featuring the reverse of a gold coin minted in London of the Saxon king Coenwulf who ruled Mercia (the Midlands down to London), from AD 796 until his death in 821. The legend reads DE VICO LUNDONIAE (‘from the wic of London’). A wic was, of course, a Saxon trading settlement or emporium, usually on a navigable river or on the coast, and the place-name element can be present in some in modern place names, such as in Sandwich on the Kent coast, or it may be preserved in the archaic names for places such as Hamwic for Southampton, Jorvic for York, and Lundenwic for London. These places were all important Saxon trading settlements, and in London and York’s cases they overlay former Roman towns there.
The right-hand image was taken during the conference. Clive Orton who edited the magazine for 40 years from 1976 can be glimpsed at the lectern on the extreme right facing the audience as he reads a paper written by Peter Marsden on the latter’s important work on Roman London. Peter Marsden is on the left on the slide on the screen, taking notes from Mortimer Wheeler who, with his arm raised, is declaiming the history of an archaeological site in London in the 1960s. Wheeler (1890-1976) was a big figure in archaeology in England, publicising many discoveries, latterly on television, and founding the Institute of Archaeology in London, now part of University College London, in 1937.
A speaker at the conference explained how some archaeological sites in London are now being displayed for public access, notably the Temple of Mithras in the City of London. Another speaker told how a Roman sarcophagus has formed a central element of an exhibition on Roman Dead at the Museum of London (25 May – 28 October 2018) at its Docklands site. A room of displays at the conference featured books for sale, and t-shirts, though with the weather as it was on the day umbrellas would have been more appropriate!
HADAS Long trip to East Anglia Jim Nelhams
Monday 17th September and a quick tour around the borough to pick up 34 travellers for our trip, with five more to join us later at the Hotel in Brome, just south of Diss.
Cressing Temple Peter Pickering
A comfort break at a service station apart, our first stop out of London was at Cressing Temple, which I remembered having visited on a HADAS day trip in 1990, when there were ‘crowds milling around Women’s Institute competition entries’, and before the walled garden had been restored. The temple is not, as its name would imply, a place of worship, but rather a group of enormous barns with ancillary buildings and a beautiful walled garden. It is called ‘temple’ because the two largest barns were built in the thirteenth century by the Knights Templar, the famous, indeed unfairly notorious, military order who fought in the Crusades and got some of the finance for these operations out of agriculture. The ‘Barley Barn’ is the first, built early in the thirteenth century, and the ‘Wheat Barn’ came some fifty years later. Magnificent barns like these are often compared to cathedrals, and because they do not have stone or much-decorated vaults it is easier to comprehend from barns how the carpenters covered great buildings. Add to these two barns from the thirteenth century one rather similar from the seventeenth and another, smaller, from the eighteenth – and a seventeenth century farmhouse – and the true value of this complex emerges. But that is not all; Essex County Council, to whose stewardship we owe it, have, since the 1990 HADAS visit, restored the walled garden, with lots of (clearly identified) interesting and attractive plants, which looked glorious in the balmy autumnal sunlight. Oh, and there was a cafe run by Tiptree, which leads on to . . .
Tiptree Jam Shop, Tea Room and Museum Deirdre Barrie
The second stop on Day One allowed HADAS to shop early for presents (albeit weighty ones!) at the Tiptree jam shop and museum. There was also an outdoor exhibit of farm machinery. Tiptree not only manufacture jams, but also chutneys and delicacies such as an addictive lemon curd – and there are FIVE varieties of raspberry jam alone. (One preserve is actually called “Traffic Jam!”). Most of us will be familiar with the handy little 28 gram mini jars of jams and honey available in restaurants and supermarkets (and later at our hotel).
Those who could bear to postpone their trip to the tea shop could visit a small museum about the history of the firm. The Tiptree business was founded in 1885 by the Wilkin family. Peter John Wilkin (who lives nearby in a house unsurprisingly called Tiptree Hall) is the fourth generation of the Wilkin family to join the board. One of their early, witty company mottoes was “By their fruits shall ye know them.”
The management appear to have been caring employers. Houses were built for their workers, and whole families have and still do work for the company. “Wilkin & Sons Limited”, says the sign outside the factory. Present management are watchful that modern slavery does not play any part in their suppliers. Production methods continue to improve. Before the Killie Jam Filler machine was introduced in 1950, an employee could manage to fill only 20 jars of jam in an hour by hand. Now 200 jars whizz along the production line in the same time.
Jam was sent to the troops in World War I, and Tiptree was awarded a Royal Warrant for jam in 2008.
Part of the Tiptree secret is that they grow all their own fruit. Twelve mulberry trees not far from the factory were planted 120 years ago. Tiptree even have their own variety of strawberry, named “Little Scarlet”. Apparently Little Scarlet Conserve is a favourite of James Bond – it is mentioned in the Ian Fleming novel, “From Russia with Love”.
East Bergholt Church Peter Pickering
We arrived in East Bergholt fortified by Tiptree and walked from the coach past many reminders of the artist John Constable (whose parents’ house had stood there) to the imposing church of St Mary. The church signalled at the same time the wealth produced by the wool industry that had paid for it and the ferocity of the reformers who had despoiled it. Was the strange half-built but clearly ambitious tower outside the west doors evidence of a recession in the wool industry or an early sign of the reformers’ zeal?
Inside, the austere appearance left by the Puritans, who were strong in the area, is only partly softened by the Victorian reintroduction of stained glass. Careful exploration, however, reveals many features of interest – the parish chest, a fifteenth century wall-painting of the Resurrection, a seventeenth century brass (the only survivor of many once on the church floor), and a monument to Edward Lambe listing his merits in two columns – one of those beginning with E and the other of those beginning with L. But perhaps most striking was the monument to John Mattinson, schoolmaster, who was ‘unfortunately shot’ in 1723; he is described in a Latin verse as ‘a terror and a delight to his pupils’.
We were also amused by a repeated notice in the choir stalls reminding those inhabiting them to be careful what they say because the microphones mean that it will be heard throughout the church; one wonders what libellous or ribald remarks made such a reminder necessary. On our way out of the church we noted various tombs, including those of Constable’s parents, and a free-standing bell-cage, needed because there was no tower.
Flatford Mill Don Cooper
And so to Flatford Mill, the last visit of the day before we went to the hotel. Flatford Mill is rightly famous for being the site of many of John Constable’s paintings. John Constable (1776-1837), one of the greatest British artists, was the son of the owner of Flatford Mill. The mill itself is sited by the river Stour in a beautiful landscape now often referred to as “John Constable country”. Constable created many of his more famous paintings in the area of the mill and its surroundings. Below are a couple of my photographs, I hope they convey some sense of the beauty of the area.
Figure 1 Stour river at Flatford
It was fascinating to see the actual landscape which has hardly changed from the time it was painted by Constable. The sun was shining, and the late afternoon light highlighted the colours of the trees, vegetation and reflections on the water.
Figure 2 Willy Lot’s cottage
There is a small museum with poster illustrations of some of his paintings as well as a tea and gift shop on the site. For those, like me, that love Constable’s paintings this was an exciting and rewarding visit.
Further reports on the trip will follow….
Queen Eleanor’s Journey – Part 3 Jim Nelhams
After leaving Geddingstone, the procession made its way to Hardingstone, where another of the surviving crosses remains.
The route continued across to Watling Street (A5) and southwards along it to Stony Stratford, now part of Milton Keynes.
No trace remains of this cross – it was destroyed during the civil war by troops on their way to the Battle of Naseby. The town has many Royal connections including King John, Edward IV and Richard III.
A house at the north end of the High Street displays a plaque with the following wording.
“Near this spot stood the Cross erected by King Edward the I to mark the place in Stony Stratford where the body of Queen Eleanor rested on its way from Harby in Nottinghamshire to Westminster Abbey in 1290”
Further south along Watling Street, the cortege made a slight diversion to the Cistercian Abbey at Woburn. The original Abbey is thought to have been somewhere near the west side of the current Woburn Abbey. In 1547, Henry VIII granted the land to the first Earl of Bedford, John Russell. The building was rebuilt in 1744, and remains the residence of the Dukes of Bedford.
No trace of the Woburn Cross remains.
This is situated on the A508 London Road on the south side of Northampton. It is at the edge of Delapré Abbey, or more properly, the Abbey of St Mary de la Pré, which was a monastery, originally founded as a nunnery about the year 1145 devoted to the congregation of the great Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy, France.
Its expansive sloping grounds are a nationally-protected Wars of the Roses battlefield, as a one-time site of the advance of the Yorkists during the Battle of Northampton (1460).
This cross is octagonal and stands on some steps. The steps have clearly been replaced. When erected, there was a cross at the top, but this was lost before 1460.
Continuing along Watling Street, the next stop was at Dunstable, where overnight custody of the coffin was taken by the canons of Dunstable Priory and placed on the High Altar. The carriage was kept near the crossroads. There is a plaque on the wall of the NatWest Bank by the traffic lights.
In High Street North, there is now a modern statue of the Queen.
Nearly there. Only three more stops before Charing Cross.
OTHER SOCIETIES & INSTITUTIONS EVENTS, compiled by Eric Morgan Please check with the organisations before setting out in case of any changes / cancellations
Friday 16th November 7.30 pm Wembley History Society, English Martyrs’ Hall, Chalk Hill Road, Wembley, HA9 9EW. Talk by Camilla Churchill. Brent archives revealed, Visitors £3. Refreshments
Monday 19th November. 6.00 pm Council for British Archaeology. London Archaeological Forum, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. An opportunity to hear about London archaeology in recent months – the sites currently under investigation, recent discoveries and to discuss the issues that matter for the protection and promotion of archaeology in the capital.
Thursday 22nd November. Mill Hill Preservation Society. An evening meeting held at The Hub, Hartley Avenue, Mill Hill Library Building, Hartley Avenue, NW7 2HX – doors open 7.15 pm for coffee / subscription payments. Individual membership is £13.00 per year. The meeting will start at 7.45 pm when Chris Beney, chair of the Open Spaces Society (OSS founded 1865) will be giving a talk on the important work it does – including the protection of footpaths, common land, green spaces and parks. OSS is the oldest National conservation body in the country.
Sunday 25th November 11:30 – 16:30 Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Frost Fair with the Finchley Women’s Institute who are hosting their 7th Annual Frost Fair, with art and craft stalls.
Wednesday 28th November. 7.45 pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. Film about Britain’s past. Coast and Sea. Non-members £2.
Thursday 29th November. 8.00 pm Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Lane, N3 3QE Lecture VAD Nurses in WWI. Jean Scott Memorial Lecture given by John Drewry + actors. Non-members £2. Refreshments
Thursday 6th December. 8.00 pm Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park, Pinner, HA5 1AB. Talk by Brian Thompson. West Hertfordshire in the Footsteps of Herbert Tompkins on exploring with a Victorian Guide. Visitors £3.00
Friday 7th December 7.30 pm Wembley History Society (address as above). Talk. Turning the pages of History – on a historical oddity (Or Odyssey?) by Philip Grant (Brent Archives) Refreshments & mince pies. Visitors £3.00
Tuesday 11th December 6.30 pm LAMAS. Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London. (address as above) The Everyday Heroes of Postman’s Park. Talk by Dr John Price (Goldsmith’s College, University of London) Refreshments 6.00 pm Non-members £2.00
Tuesday 11th December, 7.45 pm Amateur Geological Society, Finchley Baptist Church Hall, East End Rd, N3 3QL (opp. Avenue House): Talk on enigmatic minerals of the UK by Mike Rumsey (Natural History Museum)
Wednesday 12th December, 2.30 pm. Mill Hill Historical Society. Trinity Church, 100 The Broadway, Mill Hill, NW7 3TB. Talk. Richard III: the body in the carpark. Dr Barry Walsh.
Thursday 13th December, 7.30 pm. Camden History Society. Burgh House, New End Square, Hampstead, NW3 1LT. Käthe Strenitz’s Camden Town and the Railways Lands. Talk by Peter Darley on how KS’s drawings are a unique record of Camden’s past and deserve far greater recognition. Visitors £1.00 Wine and nibbles from 7.00 pm.
Saturday 15th December. 1.30 – 3.30 pm Barnet 1471. Battlefields Society. St. John the Baptist Church, Barnet Church, junction High St. / Wood St. EN5 4BW. Mad Monk of Mitcham. Talk by Andrzej Lubienski on Medieval jewels and gemstones. Non members £5 + donation for refreshments. Pay at door.
Wednesday 19th December. 7.45 pm for 8.00 pm Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane at the junction with Chase Side, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. Christmas traditions. Talk by Howard Whisker. Wine and nibbles. Visitors £1.
With many thanks to this month’s contributors:
Deidre Barrie, Don Cooper, Robin Densom, Eric Morgan, Jim Nelhams, Peter Pickering, Sue Willetts
Hendon and District Archaeological Society
Chairman Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8440 4350)
Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams 61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8449 7076)
Hon. Treasurer Jim Nelhams 61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8449 7076)
Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning Flat 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,
East Barnet EN4 8FH (0208 440 8421) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the HADAS email discussion group via the website at: www.hadas.org.uk
Tuesday 9th October 2018 7.45pm for 8pm: Motor Launch M.L. 286-The Not So Silent WWI Movy
Hulked at Isleworth Ait by Suzanne Marie Taylor. The talk/lecture will describe Motor launch M.L. 286-also known as a Movy, a veteran of World War I
and World War II. Built for speed in 1916, she began her adventurous life as a spirited submarine chaser as a part of The Grey Patrol in World War I. In World War II, M.L. 286 was one of the Dunkirk Little Ships, which took part in Operation Dynamo in 1940-by which time, she was named Eothen. In the 1980s Eothen was a houseboat until she was abandoned on the Thames foreshore at the back of BJ Wood & Son Boatyard at Isleworth Ait. In the present, it would seem that M.L. 286 lies stationary in the boatyard of Isleworth Ait. Yet, is she stationary? This talk will examine M.L. 286 as vibrant material culture which is continuously moving and evolving, and becoming a dynamic part of the boatyard landscape. This talk will highlight how M.L. 286 continues to evolve through the dedicated volunteer work of The Thames Discovery Programme, and what the future could possibly hold for her. This talk will aim to highlight how M.L. 286, is still very much a Movy.
No. 571 OCTOBER 2018 Edited by Robin Densem
HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events
Lectures, the finds group course, and the film are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3
3QE. Buses 13, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes’ walk from Finchley Central
Station (Northern Line). Tea/coffee and biscuits follow the lecture.
Wednesday 3rd October – Finds Group Course recommences. The weekly meetings are on Wednesdays,
from 6.30 to 8.30pm. There may be one or perhaps two places available. Please contact Don Cooper if
you would like to discuss and learn availability– if there is space it is possible to enrol after the course has
Tuesday 9th October 2018 7.45pm for 8pm: Motor Launch M.L. 286-The Not So Silent WWI Movy
Hulked at Isleworth Ait by Suzanne Marie Taylor
The talk/lecture will describe Motor launch M.L. 286-also known as a Movy, a veteran of World War I
and World War II. Built for speed in 1916, she began her adventurous life as a spirited submarine chaser
as a part of The Grey Patrol in World War I. In World War II, M.L. 286 was one of the Dunkirk Little
Ships, which took part in Operation Dynamo in 1940-by which time, she was named Eothen. In the 1980s
Eothen was a houseboat until she was abandoned on the Thames foreshore at the back of BJ Wood & Son
Boatyard at Isleworth Ait. In the present, it would seem that M.L. 286 lies stationary in the boatyard of
Isleworth Ait. Yet, is she stationary? This talk will examine M.L. 286 as vibrant material culture which is
continuously moving and evolving, and becoming a dynamic part of the boatyard landscape. This talk
will highlight how M.L. 286 continues to evolve through the dedicated volunteer work of The Thames
Discovery Programme, and what the future could possibly hold for her. This talk will aim to highlight
how M.L. 286, is still very much a Movy.
Thursday October 11th – Quiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.
HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning if you would like to be involved.
Tuesday 13th November 2018: The Rose – Shakespeare’s Secret Playhouse – a film made by Suzanne
Marie Taylor, Anthony Lewis and Siegffried Loew-Walker. The documentary film will be introduced by
one of the filmmakers, Anthony Lewis. The film’s highlight is HADAS member Suzanne Marie Taylor’s
interview with one of the world’s greatest and most respected actors, Ian McKellen, who speaks about his
own personal experience during the 1989 Save the Rose Campaign when the Rose was partially excavated
by the Museum of London. The film was premiered at Canada House on February 2nd 2017.
Sunday 9th December – HADAS Christmas Lunch at Avenue House. 12:30 – 4 p.m. £30 including full
CHARING CROSS Stewart Wild
Jim Nelhams pondered in the last newsletter, with reference to Charing Cross station and the nearby
Eleanor Cross, on the origin of the name Charing. I must say, I think an etymology of “chère Reine” (dear
Queen) is rather ludicrous.
The Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names (2001) may be more helpful: Charing Cross
Westminster. The first part of the name is recorded early, as Cyrringe c.1100, Cherring 1198, La
Cherryng 1258 and’ La Charryng 1263. Derivation Old English c(i)erring (turning or bend), which may
refer either to the bend in the River Thames here, or to the well-marked bend in the old main road from
London to the West (Akeman Street, the Great West Road).
Personally I prefer the river derivation, as the Thames at this point makes a spectacular 90-degree turn
from a northerly to an easterly course which would have been unmissable, and significant, to eleventhcentury
Londoners settled nearby.
CHARING CROSS, AND THE EQUESTRIAN STATUE Robin Densem
Jim Nelhams wrote in the last issue (no. 570) that the folk etymology is that the place-name was perhaps
derived from “Chère Reine”. I took his mention of folk to be a warning that the derivation may or may
not be reliable – as it was folk etymology. It post-dated earlier variations of the place-name for the place.
The site (Site) of the original wooden Eleanor Cross is where the equestrian statue of Charles I stands, at
the south end of Trafalgar Square. The stone replacement cross on the Site was destroyed in 1647.
There is a story about the statue, cast by Le Sauer in 1633, and said to be the earliest equestrian statue in
England. The bronze statue had been ordered by Charles I’s Lord High Treasurer, Richard Weston, for
his garden at Roehampton. In 1649, John Rivett, a brazier or bronze-smith, was ordered to destroy the
statue, but instead he buried it in his garden. Rivett made a fortune by selling fragments of bronze,
purportedly from the statue. These were purchased by Roundheads and Cavaliers, respectively to either
rejoice in the destruction of the image of the king, or to have and treasure a memento of him.
Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, eight of the regicides who had signed the death
warrant of Charles I were executed at the Site. The Site was chosen so these regicides would look south at
the Banqueting House on Whitehall where their order to execute Charles I had been carried out in 1649.
Meanwhile also in 1660 the equestrian statue was unearthed by Rivett from his garden. He refused to give
the statue up to Lord Weston’s son, and by gift or purchase it came into the hands of Charles II, and was
erected on the Site in 1675, where it still stands, the earliest equestrian statue in England.
The execution by beheading of Charles I on a makeshift scaffold in front of Banqueting House in January1649. The king called for two shirts so he wouldn’t shiver in the cold. He
is reported to had said “the season is so sharp as probably may make me shake, which some observers may imagine proceeds from fear. I would have no such imputation.”
SOME EARLY DAYS IN ROMAN SOUTHWARK Robin Densem
I arrived again at Montague Close, SE1 one Sunday in late May 1972 to volunteer on what would have
been a third season for me on the local Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society excavation on a
17th century delftware pottery site. Their site was full, but they thought there might be space down the
road at Harvey Sheldon’s site at 207 Borough High Street (207BHS). There I was set to work shovelling
what I later realised was natural sand and gravel! I asked about coming back another day, and there was
some discussion in the background, out of my earshot – the site supervisor said they would be open again
on Wednesday, so I returned. The site supervisor was the late Eric Ferretti who was to be my mentor for
the next fifteen months. Apparently there had been some concern I was too noisy but he had felt I might
just be useful. This site was being excavated on behalf of the Southwark Archaeological Excavation
Committee, SAEC, founded in 1962, for which Harvey was their Field Officer. Later I discovered that
Harvey led a band of archaeologists who had excavated several Roman sites, including Highgate Wood
(with A. E. Brown), and various rescue sites, in advance of redevelopment, in the East End of London, a
site in Clapham, another in Cambridge, and a major site, Toppings Wharf, in Southwark, by London
Bridge. I eventually realised much of this work was funded by grants from the Directorate of Ancient
Monuments and Historic Buildings (DAMHB) of the Department of the Environment, working in liaison
with the Inspector and Assistant Inspector of Ancient Monuments for London, and by grants from the
county archaeological society, the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society.
At 207BHS we had other volunteers on site on the weekends, working alongside a few full-timers who
were funded, and on Wednesdays to Fridays there were far fewer, if any volunteers, apart from me! So,
after a few days Eric said he would like me to open a trench, and it was suggested I should purchase a
double-sided notebook, with graph paper alternating with lined paper.
We worked in imperial scale and drew plans at one inch to two feet, so at 1:24. I remember being worried
that it was difficult to record relationships, as we generally only drew the extents of features, not layers –
all this was to change in the early 1980s with our adoption of the ‘single context recording system’ that
involved the planning of all layers and features, so plans could be overlain to discern relationships.
My trench, and I was so proud to have a role, was trench 4 and it contained the eastern edge of the gravel
metalling of the Roman bridge approach road, Stane Street, and its underlying ‘agger’ or bank of dumped
sand and silt, laid of a raft of timbers. The seriousness and commitment to recording was all-present, and I
began to learn about the complexities of archaeological stratigraphy, and a little about finds.
207BHS on a week-end day in summer 1972. I am sitting on the end of the far trench
wearing a white helmet, and writing in one of my notebooks.
BARNET IN CONTEXT: DATA FROM THE GLHER Robin Densem
Archaeology Advisors and Greater London Historic Environment Record (GLSMR) staff at
Historic England Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service (GLAAS). Photo: Robin Densem.
I had great plans to study the historic environment record (HER) data for the extent of the London
Borough of Barnet, but have only just started! My idea was to quantify the HER entries by period, and
see what this told me about the archaeology and history of Barnet. This idea goes back to 1976 when
Harvey asked me to look after the archaeology of Lambeth for his archaeological unit, the Southwark &
Lambeth Archaeological Excavation Committee, and I began researching local archaeology then.
Meanwhile in the City, John Schofield and Brian Hobley of the Museum of London’s Department of
Urban Archaeology began from 1978 “suggesting to every developer that they should pay for the
necessary archaeological work on their redevelopment site.” (John Schofield 1998 Archaeology in the
City of London 1907-91 (Museum of London). Harvey established the Museum’s Department of Greater
London Archaeology in 1983, having been instrumental in establishing the Greater London Sites and
Monuments (GLSMR) record that saw the employment of its first staff member, Pete James, in 1982.
We had achieved some developer funding for prominent sites from 1983, and then, largely George
Dennis, developed the use of archaeological planning conditions in Southwark from 1985, including for
the Rose Theatre in 1989. That year saw several sites in the news, as archaeological excavation work
found sites that needed preservation. In the reorganisations that followed, the GLSMR was taken into
English Heritage and is now the GLHER that is a marvellous and essential source of archaeological
There is some information about GLAAS and its constituent GLHER on the internet at:
. The website explains “The GLHER is a comprehensive and dynamic resource for the historic
environment of Greater London. From the earliest human occupation to the present day, its data supports
the work of the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service. Our computerised record contains over
87,000 entries providing data on archaeological sites, historic buildings, historic parks and landscapes,
finds and heritage features, and supporting sources of information.” (accessed 22nd September 2018).
My hope is to use the GLHER data for Barnet to identify historic houses and mansions, and maybe to
give some lectures about them. Some of the buildings still stand today.
As part of my background reading I counted the number of archaeological projects in each London
borough from 1972, the first year for which the London Archaeologist magazine took to publishing an
annual round up of archaeological fieldwork. The full table is a bit too big to publish here but if you email
me, email@example.com, then I should be able to email the table to you. Some extracts:
My conclusion is that I have more work to do. I have been a great believer in a theory that there is more
archaeology on sands, silts and gravel then on London Clay, but is this true? And how much of Barnet is
on London Clay? A problem is that such theories can become self-reinforcing, as if sites on London Clay
are rarely investigated, then the truism that there isn’t much there appears proved! And I haven’t started
looking at Rocque’s map of London and Ten Miles Round of 1746 that I expect covers at least part of
Barnet. And there are many more maps that I hope to look at. Meanwhile I am very grateful to Laura
Hampden of the GLSMR for providing Table 1, and to her colleague Rebecca Seakins for my visit.
HADAS AT THE HENDON PAGEANT Don Cooper
HADAS had a stall at the Hendon Pageant which was held at the Royal Airforce Museum on Saturday
15th September 2018. It was a well-attended event. Andy Simpson, Bill Bass and I were there to represent
HADAS. The highlight of the event was a fly-past by the last surviving airworthy Lancaster Bomber in
Britain – a splendid sight.
QUEEN ELEANOR’S JOURNEY – PART 2 Jim Nelhams
When Queen Eleanor died in Harby in Northamptonshire on 28th November 1290, King Edward decreed
that her body be carried back to London for burial. The procession could only move in daylight, so it took
12 days to reach London. The King also ordered that a cross be erected at the places where they stopped
for the night, the first now being in Lincoln. There being not that many suitable stopping points on the
journey south, most were at religious establishments. In Lincoln her body was embalmed, probably at
the Gilbertine Priory. Parts of her body were sent to the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral for burial,
where they still rest, and part of the cross which was erected is now in the grounds of Lincoln Castle.
Next stop was Grantham, though no part of this cross remains. Following this, stop three was in
Stamford’s cross stood for approximately 350 years, and to confirm this we have two eye-witnesses. The
first was Captain Richard Symonds of the Royalist army, who visited Stamford briefly on his way from
Newark to Huntingdon on Saturday August 22nd 1645. He wrote the following in his diary,
‘In the hill before ye into the towne stands a lofty large cross, built by Edward I in memory
of Eleanor whose corps rested there coming from the north.’
The cross was probably destroyed by Cromwell’s forces during the commonwealth.
On January 16th 1745 William Stukeley wrote to a fellow antiquarian:
‘Our surveyor of the turnpike road opened up a tumulus half a mile north of Stamford on the brow of a
hill by the roadside and there discovered the foundations of the Queen’s Cross, the lower most tier of the
steps intact and part of the second, tis of Barnack stone, hexagonal, the measure of each side thirteen feet
so the diameter was thirty feet. It stood on a grassy heath called by the towns people Queens Cross’.
Stukeley also noted that the Grantham Cross decoration almost certainly contained Eleanor’s coat of
In the 1960s, a stone spire was erected at Castle Dyke, Stamford. Is this connected?
Stop 4 was at the village of Geddington, in Northamptonshire, where there was a Royal hunting lodge.
The cross is the best preserved of the remaining crosses and is unusual having 3 sides.
(Hadas visit to this
cross is recorded in
Newsletter 257 –
EXPLORING THE OCEANS (PART 2) Jo Nelhams
James Cook’s Second Voyage
Having returned safely from his first voyage, much of the praise was directed to Joseph Banks, a useful
passenger and wealthy landowner from Lincoln and an amateur botanist. He had provided most of the
scientific personnel for the first voyage.
A second voyage was planned and the Admiralty’s instructions were to sail south from the tip of Africa to
search for the Great Southern Continent. Cook needed the summers in the Antarctic and suggested
circumnavigation in the higher latitudes in the winter months.
Joseph Banks was very keen to go on a second voyage and this time two ships would sail. The ships
selected were the Resolution, 462 tons and a smaller one the Adventure, 336 tons. Since the Resolution
had been selected, Joseph Banks wanted modifications to be made for his large party of naturalists,
scientists and the artist Joseph Zoffany to be accommodated. After some work had been done on the ship,
it proved to be unstable. Joseph Banks also thought that he should be in charge on the ship. After these
disagreements, Joseph Banks and his party withdrew and the Resolution and the Adventure, with
replacement naturalist, artist and draughtsman left Plymouth on July 13th 1772.
An artist and astronomer were included with those aboard. The artist was William Hodges and the
astronomer a Yorkshire man named William Wales. He took care of the chronometer, a copy of the
invention of John Harrison, which gave accurate time for the calculation longitude. Harrison’s
chronometer had been used on other ship’s voyages and had proved to be very successful. In later life
William Wales became a tutor at the Royal Mathematical School, located within Christ’s Hospital School
in the city. He was the first master there to have had considerable practical experience of navigation at
sea, which needed real mathematical knowledge.
Wales had kept a detailed logbook on board. One of his students at Christ’s Hospital was Samuel Taylor
Coleridge, and his poem, “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”, has significant parallels with Wales’
descriptions of the voyage.
The Antarctic waters were very different from the Arctic waters. In 1773 Cook sailed across the Antarctic
Circle, the first man ever to do this. Penguins, seals and whales were not good for eating. Visibility was
often poor and there was much ice and the area of sea free to sail gradually decreasing. He had come as
far as a sailing man could go. In the poor weather the Resolution and Adventure lost contact. They knew
that a possible parting was long foreseen and the Adventure, if adrift, had her orders to make for Queen
Charlotte Sound, New Zealand.
When the Resolution reached Queen Charlotte Sound the Resolution and Adventure were reunited. The
Adventure had scurvy aboard the ship. Cook made sure that they consumed fresh food and the Adventure
was restored to being scurvy free.
The circular plan was an ideal method of investigating the South Pacific. They sailed to the east of the
longitude of Tahiti. From first crossing the Antarctic Circle in January 1773, Cook spent the next 2 years
exploring the southern oceans. On March 21st 1775 the Resolution anchored at the Cape of Good Hope.
During that time he had discovered new groups of islands in both the Atlantic and Pacific. The Resolution
had not lost a single man to scurvy or anything else avoidable. Three were lost by drowning and one from
a disease brought aboard. After 5 weeks at the Cape of Good Hope Cook sailed for England and in July
1775 dropped anchor off Spithead, but “Terra Australis” was still a mystery so there was great
disappointment at the results from this second voyage.
To be continued: Third Voyage next newsletter.
OTHER SOCIETIES & INSTITUTIONS EVENTS, compiled by Eric Morgan
Until 4th November 2018, Museum of London Bluecoats in the City: 350 Years of Christ’s Hospital, a
small, free display open daily at the Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2 5HN, 10am to 6pm.
October 2018 is Huguenots Month in Spitalfields, London. For programme visit:
http://www.huguenotsofspitalfields.org/walks-events.html or contact: Charlie de Wet at
firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7247 0367. Huguenots of Spitalfields is a registered
charity promoting public understanding of the Huguenot heritage and culture in Spitalfields, the City of
London and beyond.
Wednesday 10th October 2018, 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Supporting Churches for 200
Years, The National Churches Trust, by Eddie Tulasiewicz, Head of Communications and Public Affairs.
The talk will be held at Trinity Church, 100 The Broadway, London NW7 3TB.
Saturday 13th October 2018. Local London Guiding Day. There are free walks, lasting up to 60
minutes by guides from Camden, Clerkenwell and Islington and Westminster.
Friday 19th October 2018, 7.30pm. Wembley History Society, 7.30pm, Power Play, a tale of Victorian
values (the life and times of Mary, Dowager Duchess of Sutherland), by Bruno Bubna-Kasteliz. The talk
will be at English Martyrs Hall, Chalkhill Road, Wembley,HA9 9EW. Visitors £3.
Thursday October 25th 2018, 8pm. Finchley Society, Major Cartwright’s obelisk … and other fine
tombs in Finchley Churchyard by Dr Roger Bowdler. Major Cartwright was an early advocate of
American independence, universal (male) suffrage, the abolition of slavery and many other causes. The
talk is at 8pm in St. Mary-at-Finchley Church, Hendon Lane, London N3. Visitors £2.
Thursday 1st November 2018, 8pm. Pinner Local History Society, Watford’s Bronze Age Hoard, by
Laurie Elvin, a local archaeologist. The talk will be in the Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner
HA5 1AB. A £3 donation from visitors would be appreciated.
Saturday 3rd November 2018, 10am to 6pm. Aldenham Transport Spectacular, an indoor transport fair,
held at Allum Manor House & Hall, 2 Allum Lane, Elstree and Borehamwood, WD6 3PJ. Admission £3.
Saturday 3rd November 2018, 10.30am – 4.30pm. Geologists’ Association Festival, including exhibitors
from the world of geology, including fossil and mineral displays. University College London, Gower
Street, London WC1 6BT. Free event.
Saturday 3rd November 2018, 1.30-3.30pm. Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society, The Knights Templar, by
Robert Stephenson. The talk will be held at St John the Baptist, Barnet Church, Junction of High Street
and Wood Street, Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN5 4BW. Visitors £5, and the Society asks for
donations/money in the hat towards tea/coffee and cake.
Wednesday 7th November 2018, 8pm, Stanmore and Harrow Historical Society, The Ellen Burgin
Lecture: Historic Greenwich, by Diana Burnstein. The talk will be held at the Wealdstone Baptist
Church, High Street, Wealdstone, Harrow, HA3 5DL. Visitors £3.
Friday 9th November 2018, 8pm (doors open 7.30pm), Enfield Archaeological Society, Walbrook
Mithras Temple Reconstruction, by Sophie Jackson, MoLA. The talk will be held at the Jubilee Hall at
the junction of Chase Side and Parsonage Leane, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. Visitors £1.50.
Wednesday 14th November 2018, 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, The Oldest House in London, by
Fiona Rule. The talk will be held at Trinity Church, 100 The Broadway, London NW7 3TB.
Wednesday 14th November 2018, 7.30pm for 8pm, Hornsey Historical Society, The Folklore and
Traditions of the Tidal Thames, by Mark Lewis. The talk will be held at Union Church Hall, (corner of
Ferme Park Road/Weston Park) N8 9PX. Doors open at 7.30pm for the sale of refreshments and
publications and talks start promptly at 8pm.
Thursday 15th November 2018, 7.30pm, Barnet Museum and Local History Society, How to Capture a
Castle by Julian Humphrys, from the Battlefields Trust. The talk will be at Pennefather Hall, St Albans
Road, EN5 4LA. Tickets on the door: member £3, visitors £5; 18 & under free. Refreshments included.
Thursday 15th November 2018, 8pm, Historical Association (Hampstead and Northwest London
Branch), Harold Godwinson: his family and career, by Dr Ann Williams, FSA, FRHistS. The talk will be
held at Fellowship House, 136A Willifield Way, NW11 6YD and are followed by free refreshments.
Visitors £3.00. “There is no difficulty with parking.”
Friday 16th November 2018, 6.30pm for a 7pm start, City of London Archaeological Society, A
Sarcophagus and a Roman Road in Southwark, by Ireneo Grosso. The talk will be held at St. Olave’s
Church Hall, Mark Lane, London EC3R 7BB. The lecture is followed around 8.30pm with an opportunity
to chat with the lecturer and fellow members over tea and biscuits, with an optional extension to an
adjacent pub. Visitors are asked to sign the visitors’ book and to donate £3 toward expenses.
Saturday 17th November 2018, London & Middlesex Archaeological Society, 10.30am to 6pm,
53rd Local History Conference: “An Emporium for many Nations”: London shaped by trade. Various
speakers. The conference will be held in the Weston Theatre, Museum of London, London Wall, London
EC2Y 5HN. Tickets £12.50 until 31st October 2018, and £15 from 1st November 2018. Tickets can be
purchased using PayPal via the LAMAS website http://www.lamas.org.uk/conferences/localhistory/
local-history-conference-2018.html or by post from Patricia Clarke, 22 Malpas Drive, Pinner,
Middx. HA5 1DQ, and do provide your name and address, a cheque for the requisite amount, and a
stamped addressed envelope so your ticket(s) can be posted to you.
Saturday 17th November 2018, North London & Essex Transport Society, 11am to 2.30pm, Enfield
Transport Bazaar. The bazaar will be held at St. Paul’s Centre, 102, Church Street, Enfield EN2 6AR.
There will be no bus display at this event, but up to forty selling stalls. Light refreshments available.
Admission £3, accompanied under 16 years of age free.
Wednesday 21sat November 2018, Willesden Local History Society, 7.30pm, First World War in
Willesden, by Margaret Pratt. The talk will be held in St Mary’s Parish Centre, St Mary’s Parish
Centre. Neasden Lane NW10 2TS. There is limited parking in Church Path.
Saturday 24th November 2018, Amateur Geological Society-North London, 10am to 4pm, Mineral,
Gem & Fossil Show. The show will be held at Trinity Church, Nether Street, Finchley, London N12 7NN.
Admission £2, accompanied children under 12 years of age free.
With many thanks to this month’s contributors:
Don Cooper, Eric Morgan, Jim Nelhams, Jo Nelhams, and Stewart Wild
Hendon and District Archaeological Society
Chairman Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8440 4350)
Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams 61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8449 7076)
Hon. Treasurer Jim Nelhams 61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8449 7076)
Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning Flat 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,
East Barnet EN4 8FH (0208 440 8421) e-mail: email@example.com
Join the HADAS email discussion group via the website at: www.hadas.org.uk
No. 570 September 2018 Edited by: Sandra Claggett
HADAS DIARY 2018/19
Thursday September 13th – Quiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.
HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning if you would like to be involved.
Saturday September 15th. RAF Centenary event. Hendon Pageant. See p.2 for details
September 17th – 21st – Long trip to East Anglia staying in Brome.
Wednesday 3rd October – Finds Group Course recommences.
Tuesday 9th October 2018: STOP PRESS: Gabriel Moshenska has moved from the UK and will be unable to give the lecture on Unrolling Egyptian Mummies in Victorian London. Membership Secretary will arrange for another speaker on a different topic to be announced.
Thursday October 11th – Quiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.
HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning (see p.12) if you would like to be involved.
Until 12th October – Bluecoats in the City – FREE Exhibition at Museum of London.
Until 28th October – “Roman Dead” at London Docklands Museum.
Tuesday 13th November 2018: The Rose – Shakespeare’s Secret Playhouse – a film made by Suzanne Marie Taylor, Anthony Lewis and Siegffried Loew-Walker. The documentary film will be introduced by one of the filmmakers, Anthony Lewis. In the film Ian McKellen speaks about his own personal experience during the 1989 Save the Rose Campaign when the Rose was partially excavated by the Museum of London. The film has been shown at Canada House and the Birkbeck Archaeology Society in 2017.
Sunday 9th December – HADAS Christmas Lunch at Avenue House. 12:30 – 4 p.m. £30 including full Christmas dinner, quiz. Application form to follow with next newsletter
Until 30th December 2019 – Star Carr exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) in Downing Street, Cambridge. See article below.
All Lectures are held at Stephens House & Gardens (Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8.00 pm, with coffee /tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central Station (Northern line) is a short walk away.
RAF Hendon Pageant Saturday 15th September 2018 11am – 5pm Free
The pageants of the past drew huge crowds and were a chance for spectators to see aircraft fly, to experience technology they had never seen before and to see the Royal Air Force in action.
This Centenary year we they will be bringing this tradition back to the Hendon Aerodrome, which is now home to the newly transformed Museum. This family festival will capture some of the magic of the past with re-enactors, traditional fairground games, live music from the 1930’s and much more! The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be flying the Dakota ZA947 over the Museum, times are still to be confirmed and the flypast is subject to change. It is possible that HADAS will have a display stall. https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/whats-going-on/events/hendon-pageant/
Fifty years of archaeology in London
This year marks the 50th anniversary of London Archaeologist magazine and there is a conference to celebrate. Speakers include Harvey Sheldon, Peter Marsden, Jane Sidell and Jelena Bekvalec. The venue is the Waterloo campus of King’s College from 10.00am to 5.30pm on Saturday 6th October. Ticket details and the outline programme are at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/50-years-of-londons-archaeology-tickets-45718893441
London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Conference
Saturday 17th November. 10.30 – 6.00 pm. “An emporium for many nations: London shaped by trade” Tickets before 31st October are £12.50, thereafter £15.00. Also Local History Societies will have displays. Afternoon tea / biscuits included. www.lamas.org.uk.conferences/local-history
Forthcoming exhibition: Sue Willetts
The British Library have announced Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War which will run from Friday 19th October until Tuesday 19th February 2019.
The following text is taken from their website: Treasures from the British Library’s own collection, including Beowulf and Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, sit alongside stunning finds from the recently discovered Staffordshire Hoard. Domesday Book offers its unrivalled depiction of the landscape of late Anglo-Saxon England while Codex Amiatinus, a giant Northumbrian Bible taken to Italy in 716, returns to England for the first time in 1300 years.
Read some of the earliest-surviving words inscribed in English on objects large and small. Come face-to-face with manuscripts of Old English poetry and prose and the first letter written in English. Wonder at the wit and wisdom in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Encounter handwritten books intricately decorated. Discover finely crafted metalwork and sculpture unearthed in recent times. See the deep artistic connections between Anglo-Saxon England and its European neighbours. Glimpse into the past through original manuscripts to explore the corners of the kingdoms. Many books were produced, but few survive – this is your opportunity to follow the journeys of these magnificent manuscripts, brought together for a major landmark exhibition.
Full Price: £16.00; Senior 60+: £14.00; Concessions £8.00; National Art Pass Full member £8.00 and Senior National Art Pass rate: £7.00; Child 0-4: Free; Child 5-17: £5.00
Finds in Focus
Hendon & District Archaeological Society Finds Group
Course tutor: Jacqui Pearce BA FSA MCIfA
A 22-week course in post-excavation analysis to be held at Stephens House (formerly
Avenue House), East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE on Wednesday evenings, 6.30–8.30, starting on 3 October 2018
This year we will conclude our recording of the finds from the Birkbeck training excavations at Lant Street in Southwark (LNT99). Some pottery and other finds remain, and we will aim to produce a short article summarising the work of the Finds Group on this site over the past two years. Regular presentations and professional tuition will be provided throughout the course. This is an ideal opportunity to gain – or increase – your experience of working with and handling a wide variety of archaeological finds. We will also embark on the recording of smaller new sites in Barnet, excavated by HADAS. The aims will be the same – to introduce the various types of finds and provide opportunities to become more familiar with post-excavation procedures, while working toward publication.
All are welcome – it doesn’t matter whether or not you have experience of working with archaeological finds! There are only a couple of places left on the course.
Course fee: £295 for 22 sessions. To book, contact Don Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org; tel. 020 8440 4350) or Jacqui Pearce (email@example.com; tel. 020 8203 4506). Please make cheques payable to HADAS and send to Don Cooper, 59 Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS.
Hornsey Historical Society
This organisation has a local history surgery for those conducting their own local history research. This takes place on the first Saturday of every month from 10.30 am – 2.30 pm. Members of the public are invited to attend as well as HHS members. Please phone 07531 855714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a half hour appointment.
The Old Schoolhouse, 136 Tottenham Lane, Hornsey, N8 7EL
Further details at www.hornseyhistorical.org.uk/whatson.
Exploring the Oceans Jo Nelhams
An exhibition of the achievements of Captain James Cook was recently displayed at the British Library. The story of Cook’s three round the world voyages was told through original journals, maps and artwork, which were the records compiled while on board the ships.
The first voyage was from 1768 to 1771 in the Endeavour. The Endeavour was a Whitby Coal Cat, the type of boat in which Cook learnt his skills sailing down the east coast to London delivering coal. They were strong, comparatively shallow draught, good carriers with plenty of room for men and stores, which was Cook’s description.
The Endeavour set sail carrying 94 people in the 109-foot vessel, also loaded with supplies.
Cook had instructions from the Admiralty and the Royal Society to observe the Transit of Venus across the face of the sun in Tahiti in June 1769. The route was to sail south through the Atlantic Ocean, round Cape Horn across the Pacific and search for land in the South Pacific.
Although there had been many previous explorers who had sailed to the Pacific, half of it remained quite unseen and wholly unexplored. Cook had experienced sailing across the Atlantic, but the voyage of the Endeavour was far longer than anything he had done before.
Supplies need to be replenished and many naval ships would stop over in Madeira. The Endeavour stopped here for six days and replenished supplies taking on fresh fruit that would keep well, water and a large quantity of Madeira wine. The voyage continued round Cape Horn and on to Tahiti.
Cook was not only a very competent sailor, but a navigator and astrologer, which qualified him to understand the significance of the Transit of Venus. Also, on board were scientists and artists who were to document information of wildlife and flora and fauna.
Leaving Tahiti and sailing south, after six weeks on October 6th 1769 land was sighted. This was the beginning of Cook’s circumnavigation of both main islands of New Zealand. New Zealand’s coast was familiar to no man. One of Cook’s skills was cartography and his maps have proved to be extraordinarily accurate. It took over six months to chart the coasts of both islands.
They sailed on westwards and came to the east coast of ‘New Holland’ (Australia) and turned northwards following the coast. The only way to properly examine this was by using smaller boats and going ashore frequently. As the coast was about 2,000 miles, to do this would take years. Much was missed such as Jervis Bays and Sydney Harbour. He landed at Botany Bay (first called Stingray Bay and then Botanists Bay), which was not the best harbour.
Further north off Queensland, the Endeavour became grounded on the coral. She began to leak but at the top of high water she floated again. Although leaking she was gently sailed to a harbour to beach and somehow to repair the ship. A large piece of coral broken from the reef was found. It took many weeks to make the hull sound again and eventually leave the Great Barrier Reef. The passage had been a nightmarish, nerve-wracking experience for months. In his subsequent voyages Cook never approached the area again.
They made their way via the Cape of Good Hope back to England arriving in July 1771 having been away for nearly 3 years
To be continued: Second voyage next newsletter.
The Star Carr Mesolithic exhibition at the (maa) Sandra Claggett
Although not a large exhibition the Star Carr Mesolithic exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge is very interesting. It focuses on the Mesolithic site of Star Carr (in Yorkshire) on the shore of Lake Flixton from around 11,500 years ago. This site has remarkable preservation due to waterlogging which means there is more than the typical lithic remains and it has preserved bone, antler and wooden objects. This makes Star Carr one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe.
This link to the Wikipedia page shows the location of the site. It was discovered in the late 1940s by John Moore and then excavated by Grahame Clark from 1949-1951. There were more excavations between 2003-2015, directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor who were investigating the nature of the site and its use. They found evidence that the site was in use for Figure.1 shows the location of the site. It was discovered in the late 1940’s by John Moore and then excavated by Grahame Clark from 1949-1951. There were more excavations between 2003-2015, directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor who were investigating the nature of the site and its use. They found evidence that the site was in use for around 800 years despite climate change during this period. Structures for houses and three large wooden platforms were found along the lake edge and lithic activity areas with intensive manufacture and tool repair.
Mesolithic people made use of the natural environment such as iron pyrite for making fire at Star Carr. Iron pyrite would be struck with flint to make sparks. Bracket fungus that grew
naturally on trees was also used as tinder when dry it becomes flammable. Tightly wound birch bark rolls could be used as portable tinder, one showing signs of burning. Birch bark can also be
heated to make resin to fix flint arrowheads and barbed points to wooden shafts. Another use of the natural environment is flora, a drink which can be made from pine and other plants could also be eaten such as crowberry, yellow water lily and bogbean. Tools were made from animal bones; Antler harpoons were used to hunt pike and perch. Other animals hunted in the landscape were deer, elk, wild boar and aurochs which were large cattle now extinct. The animal bones and hide were used for food, clothing and tools such as pins from elk antlers. A wooden paddle has survived from a boat. Another famous find from Star Carr was the Antler headdresses made from deer skulls with holes bored into them. Twenty-four have been found these are thought to be used for hunting and or ritual Shamanic purposes. More than 90% of all European prehistoric headdresses come from Star Carr.
Fig. 1 Antler headdress from Exhibition Fig 2. Author’s photograph of engraved pendant Both mages reproduced with kind permission from the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (maa)
There have been other recent examples of the use of Antler headdress including from about 100 years ago by shamans of the Orochen culture of Inner Mongolia.
The earliest Mesolithic art in Britain is found here in an engraved pebble of shale with a deliberate perforation. As in Figure 2. Other engraved motifs on Mesolithic pendants are rare and found only in Amber pendants from southern Scandinavia. The engravings were hardly visible until computer imaging techniques were used. Analysis shows barbed lines typical of Danish motifs and it is suggested that the lines may have been made visible by the use of pigment as possibly for the Danish amber. Near Star Carr at Seamer Carr and Flixton School House an ochre crayon and pebble have been found. An ochre crayon measuring 22mm has been discovered with heavy striations caused by scraping to remove the red powder.
According to Dr Needham the tip is faceted and has gone from a rounded to a sharpened end through use. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-42831463
Why not make a trip to Cambridge and go along to the MAA, there is plenty of time to plan your trip as the exhibition is on until the 30th December 2019!
Links to Star Carr information and publication details for further reading:
Milner N., Taylor B., Conneller C., Schadia-Hall., T. (2013) Star Carr: Life in Britain after the Ice age. (Archaeology for all) Council for British Archaeology.
Exhibition details are entitled ‘A survival story- prehistoric life at Star Carr on until the 30th of Dec 2019. http://maa.cam.ac.uk/a-survival-story-prehistoric-life-at-star-carr/
Here is a link to the Star Carr website where it is possible to download the two monographs produced for the site for free. http://www.starcarr.com/
An academic article on the pendant. http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue40/8/index.html
An academic article on the analysis of the Red Deer headdress from Star Carr. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0152136&type=printable
An academic article on the fish remains. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352409X1630044X?via%3Dihub
Charing Cross Jim Nelhams
When Jo was teaching, each year she would take her class on an outing into London. One year, it was decided to take all three classes from Year 1 (5/6 years old) to investigate Queen Eleanor, Eleanor of Castile, the wife of King Edward I as part of a history project.
When Queen Eleanor died in Harby in Northamptonshire on 28th November 1290, King Edward decreed that her body be carried back to London for burial. The procession could only move in daylight, so it took 12 days to reach London. The King also ordered that a cross be erected at the places where they stopped for the night, the first being at the Castle in Lincoln and the last at what we now call Charing Cross.
Eleanor’s tomb is in St Edward the Confessor’s chapel at Westminster Abbey, behind the High Altar, as is that of her husband, so Westminster Abbey was the start of our self-guided walk.
From there, we crossed Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge stopping to admire the statue of Boadicea on the north east corner of the bridge, then along by the river in front of the old County Hall, now the London Aquarium, to have lunchtime sandwiches on the grass on the old site of the 1951 Festival of Britain where the London Eye now stands. A quick toilet stop at the Royal Festival Hall before crossing Hungerford Bridge to reach Charing Cross Station and look at the stone cross in the forecourt. Those that have been on our HADAS trips might recognise that we try to know where there are toilets available, though the children on our trips are a little older.
Finally, we went back to the Embankment to re-join our coach by Cleopatra’s Needle. Quite a distance for 5/6-year olds. In fact, one mother was concerned that her daughter was not good at walking and came with us. To our surprise, we discovered later that she and her daughter had so enjoyed themselves that the following weekend they repeated the walk with the rest of their family.
The original wooden cross stood on an island at the south end of what is now Trafalgar Square which is occupied by an equestrian statue of Charles I see Figure 1.
If you look at the street names at that point, there is a short section of road named Charing Cross between Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall. It must be one of the shortest roads in England, though it was at one time longer.
The cross was replaced by a stone cross which was demolished in 1647.
Charing Cross Station and the Charing Cross Hotel were built in 1864, and it was decided as a marketing initiative to erect on the station/hotel forecourt a replica of the stone cross based on drawings in the British Museum. See Figure 2. It is 70 feet tall and octagonal. Next time you are in the area, why not take a closer look.
Opinion about the place name varies. Some say that there was a small village named Charing at the spot, very near to the Palace of Westminster. Folk etymology is that it was actually named “Chėre Reine” – ‘dear Queen’ in French. The royal court at that time spoke Norman French and the inscription on Queen Eleanor’s tomb is in this French dialect. But we cannot ask those involved.
What about the other crosses? Well they are the subject of another article to be published later.
Figure 1 Author’s own photo
Figure 2 Author’s own photo
Below is some information from the Historic Buildings and Conservation Committee
We have spaces open – come and find out what we do!
The historic built environment disappears – sometimes by outright demolition, at other times by disfigurements by new owners; or adjacent redevelopments ruin the setting of a building or a whole area. Important internal as well as external features of Listed buildings can be at risk. Does this cause you concern?
LAMAS has many new members and we hope some may be interested in assisting the Society with one of its important activities – the work of the LAMAS Historic Buildings and Conservation Committee. This Committee reviews applications for listed building consent and seeks to ensure a sustainable future for vital aspects of London’s built heritage.
The Committee’s remit fills the gap between amenity societies working within boroughs and national amenity societies who consider only the more high-profile cases.
The Committee is composed of individual members of LAMAS, or members of its Affiliated Societies, and meets monthly to consider cases. The meetings take place on a Tuesday evening from 6.30 to 8.30 pm and are held at 75 Cowcross Street, close to Farringdon Station. The Committee secretary sends an agenda out in advance.
This is one of LAMAS’s important activities and cannot work without the co-operation of its members in bringing their knowledge of buildings across London, and particularly in areas with which they are familiar.
An interest in historic buildings is all you need. Although some Committee members have an architectural or heritage background, others are just ordinary interested people who will give some time to the matter.
If you wish you could come to a meeting to see how it works. If you are interested please contact Vicki Fox (e-mail: email@example.com) for more information.
Details of other societies’ events Eric Morgan
Tuesday 11th September, 7.45pm. Amateur Geological Society, Finchley Baptist Church Hall, East End Road, N3 3QL. Sharks in the desert, Laboratory and ocean by Charlie Underwood.
Tuesday 15th September, 10.50am. Mill Hill Historical Society visit to the London Transport Museum Depot, Acton Town, 118-20 Gunnersbury Lane, W3 9BQ. A behind the scenes private tour of over 370,000 objects including rare road and rail vehicles spanning over 100 years. Members £13.50, Non-members £15.50 to book send a cheque payable to Mill Hill Historical Society and s.a.e. to Julia Haynes, 38 Marion Road, Mill Hill London, NW7 4AN. Contact Julia Haynes on 020 89060063 or Haynes.firstname.lastname@example.org (see also 22-23 Sept, Open weekend.
Wed. 19th September, 6pm. Gresham College at the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Painting, patronage and politics under the Tudors by Professor Thurley. Free.
Friday 21st September, 7pm. CoLAS St. Olives Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7BB. The archaeology of Fulham Palace by Alexis Haslam. Visitors £3. Light refreshments after.
Friday 21st September, 7.30pm. Wembley History Society, English Martyr’s hall, Chalkwall Road, Wembley, HA9 9EW talk on the Shree Swaminorayan Mandir building by Somar Savani. Visitors £3. Refreshments.
Saturday 22nd – Sunday 23rd September,11am-5pm. London Transport Museum Depot, W3 open weekend admission £12, concessions £10. https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/museum-depot/open-weekends
Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September. Open House weekend buildings not normally open will be open and it is free. Local buildings included are Myddelton House Gardens and the Old Vestry House both in Enfield.
Saturday 22nd September, 11:00 – 4:00pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society with Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society – St John the Baptist Church, Wood Street, Barnet EN5 4BW. Day conference including –
12:00 “Warwick & Edward IV” with questions at 1:00. By David Santuiste.
1:30 Lunch break
2:30 “Richard III, man or Myth”. Gillian Gear memorial lecture by Alison Weir with questions.
Tickets on door – £3, non-members £5.
Wednesday 26th September, 7:45pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. “Hendon School Excavations” by Don Cooper (our chairman). Non-members £2.
Saturday 29th September, 11.30am-4.30pm CoLAS and Totally Thames, Fulham Palace, Bishops’ Avenue, SW6 6EA. A day of family archaeology activities as part of the Mayor’s Thames Festival.
Thursday 4th October, 8pm. Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Pinner, HA5 1AB. Pinner’s old roads and paths, tracks, travellers, turnpikes and tarmac. By the research group. Visitors £3.
Saturday 6th October, 2pm. London Parks and Gardens Trust. Humphry Repton and the Wembley Park Barn Hill landscape. Wembley Park and Barn Hill guided walk by Leslie Williams and
Susan Darling. Details on www.londongardenstrust.org This is part of Repton 200 and is one of the events planned in and around London to celebrate landscape designer Humphry Repton who died 200 years ago.
Sunday 7th October, 2.30-4.30pm. Heath and Hampstead Society. Flagstaff, Whitestone Pond, Heath St. Hampstead Heath from the 1820’s to the 1920’s. Guided walk by Thomas Radice. £5.
Monday 8th October, 3pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Church House, Wood St, Barnet, EN5 4BW. Katebrygge: 100 years of East Finchley by Richard Selby. Visitors £2.
Monday 8th October, 6.20-7.50pm. Finchley Church End Library. 318 Regents Park Road, N3 2LN. An evening with Dr Fraser in association with the RAF Museum Hendon. The story of the established British Jewry’s involvement with the royal flying corps in WWI. A mystery prize for the best question after the talk. Book by email on email@example.com
Saturday 13th October, 1.30-3.30pm. Barnet 1471 Battlefield Society. St John the Baptist, Barnet Church, High St, Wood St, Barnet, EN5 4BW. English fashion and art of the 1470’s by Mario Carvana. Non-members £5.
Monday 15th October, Museum of London Docklands, Canary Wharf. Finds of the dead in roman London and beyond. Roman finds group autumn conference with MoLA. Info at www.romanfindsgroup.org.uk email firstname.lastname@example.org Details were in the HADAS August newsletter.
Friday 19th October, 7pm CoLAS. Address as above. Respect your elders: old swords in Anglo-Saxon England by Dr Brunning. Visitors £3.
Wednesday 24th October, 7.45pm. Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. North Middx Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. The history of almshouses by Simon Smith. Non-members £2.
Thursday 25th October, 8pm. Finchley Society. Major Cartwright’s obelisk … and other fine tombs in Finchley Churchyard. Dr Roger Bowdler NB venue is St. Mary-at-Finchley Church, Hendon Lane, Discussion and tea. Visitors £2. Free for members – but if you join at the same meeting, the charge is waived.
Thursday 25th October, 8pm. Heath and Hampstead Society. Burgh House, New Square, NW3 1LT. John Constable and Hampstead Heath: in the foot-steps of a contemporary artist. The Springett lecture by Lindy Guinness exploring Constable’s passion for Hampstead Heath. Free.
Saturday 27th October, 10.30am. Enfield Society. Relaunch of Pymmes Brook trail. Part 1: High Barnet to Arnos Grove. Guided walk by Colin Saunders. Meet at High Barnet Station to depart at 10am. 6-mile linear walk ending at Arnos Park.
Sunday 28th October, 10.30am. Part 2 of above. Arnos Grove to Tottenham Hale by Colin Saunders meet at Arnos Grove Station. 7-mile linear walk ending at Tottenham Hale Station.
Thanks to this month’s contributors Jo and Jim Nelhams, Don Cooper and Eric Morgan, Sue Willetts
Apologies for the late arrival of this newsletter, which was due entirely to Sue Willetts’s holiday from 18th August – 3rd September with very limited access to email / computer.
Hendon and District Archaeological Society
Chairman: Don Cooper, 59 Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS Tel 020 8440 4350
Hon. Secretary: Jo Nelhams, 61 Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS. Tel 020 8449 7076.
Hon. Treasurer: Jim Nelhams, 61 Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS Tel 020 8449 7076.
Hon. Membership Sec: Stephen Brunning, 1 Reddings Close, Mill Hill, London NW7 4JL.
E-mail: email@example.com Tel 020 8959 6419
Web site: www.hadas.org.uk
Discussion group: http://groups.google.com/group/hadas-archaeology
No. 569 AUGUST 2018 Edited by Jim Nelhams
HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events
Thursday September 13th – Quiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.
HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning if you would like to be involved.
September 17th – 21st – Long trip to East Anglia staying in Brome.
Wednesday 3rd October – Finds Group Course recommences.
Tuesday 9th October 2018: Unrolling Egyptian Mummies in Victorian London by Gabriel Moshenska, Senior Lecturer in Public Archaeology, UCL
Thursday October 11th – Quiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.
HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning if you would like to be involved.
Until 12th October – Bluecoats in the City – FREE Exhibition at Museum of London. Article below.
Until 28th October – “Roman Dead” at London Docklands Museum. See following article Throughout October – Huguenot Month – Information below.
Tuesday 13th November 2018: The Rose – Shakespeare’s Secret Playhouse – a film made by Suzanne Marie Taylor, Anthony Lewis and Siegffried Loew-Walker. The documentary film will be introduced by one of the filmmakers, Anthony Lewis. The film’s highlight is HADAS member Suzanne Marie Taylor’s interview with one of the world’s greatest and most respected actors – Ian McKellen, who speaks about his own personal experience during the 1989 Save the Rose Campaign when the Rose was partially excavated by the Museum of London. The film was premiered at Canada House on February 2nd 2017.
Sunday 9th December – HADAS Christmas Lunch at Avenue House. 12:30 – 4 p.m. £30 including full Christmas dinner. Application form to follow.
Lectures start at 7.45 for 8.00pm in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3
3QE. Buses 13, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes’ walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line). Tea/coffee and biscuits follow the talk. .
ROMAN DEAD – Exhibition at London Docklands Museum
Piecing together burials and beliefs in Roman London Deirdre Barrie
This compact exhibition at the London Docklands Museum is well worth a visit. Not only are there the expected skeletons and cremated remains of over 30 Roman Londoners, but a great deal of other interesting material.
It was the discovery of a huge stone coffin in Harper Road, Southwark which inspired this exhibition. The coffin was for the burial of a wealthy woman – costly, because no local stone is available. Most cremations use only pottery vessels, but higher status cremations have lead or glass vessels.
The burials and cremations in London demonstrate the diversity of the local population, who came to London from all over the Empire. One gravestone commemorates a man who came from the modern city of Arezzo, in Italy. Another third century tombstone was set up in memory of Marciana, a ten-year-old girl. and hints at her origin being from the Rhine or Danube area. Roman gravestones are often discovered reused in later buildings.
Burials had to be outside the central city, and there would also have been tombs beside roads leading there. (Think of the tombs lining the Appian Way). However, babies or newborns were sometimes buried near threshholds or under the floors of buildings.
I was intrigued by a mass of clumped, corroded soil enclosing a pair of Roman sandals. The X-ray photograph beside it showed clearly the outline of the soles by their studs, and beside that was a shiny, new reconstruction of similar sandals.
The millefiori glass dish found in Prescot Street, near Aldgate was worth more than a year’s wages for a Roman army officer. Its patterned glass was once brilliantly coloured red and blue, but after 2000 years has faded.
Entry to the exhibition is free, but donations are welcome. Minimum visitor age: 8.
Open until 28th October 2018; open 10 am-6pm. The Docklands Museum entrance is two minutes’ walk from West India Quay Station. Access is good, wheelchairs are provided, but there are cobbles outside the entrance.
Huguenot Month Launches in Spitalfields
October is Huguenot Month! Huguenots of Spitalfields have a packed programme of events to celebrate these extraordinary, creative and talented people.
Huguenots were French Protestant refugees who fled persecution during the 16th to 18th centuries, many of whom settled in London. They contributed their skills to many fields, including silkweaving, furniture design, spinning and dyeing, silversmithing, clock making and jewellery.
Take a step back in time – Visit the unique and atmospheric ‘still-life drama’ of Dennis Severs’ House – a beautiful Georgian house in Folgate Street.
Enjoy a Georgian-Style ‘Back in Time for Dinner’
Find out how to trace your Huguenot ancestors
Hear how Queen Anne’s ladies- in- waiting prepared for her dazzling candlelit birthday ball, at the Townhouse in Fournier Street.
Hear Dan Cruickshank talk about Queen Mary II, and enjoy a gin and tonic.
Take a room-by-room tour of a Georgian house in Spitalfields to eavesdrop on those living and working in the kitchen, parlour, bed chamber and garret.
Come along to a ‘Skills Day’ for all the family : Try craft activities from collage and embroidery to paper making and plant dyes, admire and buy the work of talented artisans including textile art, stained glass and jewellery, inspired by Huguenot skills.
Saturday 20th October, in the Crypt of Christ Church and Hanbury Hall Spitalfields, 11am to 4pm.
Contact: Charlie de Wet at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7247 0367.
Huguenot Month is supported by the City of London Corporation as part of their initiative, ‘Women: Work and Power.’
Huguenots of Spitalfields is a registered charity (no. 1151801) promoting public understanding of Huguenot heritage and culture in Spitalfields and beyond.
Bluecoats in the City: 350 Years of Christ’s Hospital Jim Nelhams Museum of London until 12th October
Explore the history of the ‘Bluecoat School’ in London in this small free display.
In 1546, the former buildings and church of Greyfriars monastery in Newgate Street were given to the City of London for the benefit of the poor, elderly and sick. The buildings were used to establish Christ’s Hospital; founded in 1552 for the education of poor children. The School became known as the ‘Bluecoat School’ because of its distinctive uniform of navy coats and yellow stockings.
Two pupils in normal uniform in the cloisters which adjoin the quadrangle.
Painting of the old school in Newgate Street. The tower of Christ Church is on the right.
After 350 years in London, the School moved to the market town of Horsham in 1902, but its strong bonds to the City of London remain. Since opening, Christ’s Hospital has educated, lodged, fed and clothed more than 65,000 children. Today the School continues its mission to advance the education of children, mainly for the benefit of those whose families are in social, financial or other specific need. Although officially a public school, over 80% of the pupils do not pay the full fees, with some 15% paying nothing.
This new display delves into the history behind the School’s creation, its iconic uniform, historic practices, charitable benefactors, and some of its famous pupils including Charles Lamb and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The original site was on Newgate Street close to the Old Bailey. When the school moved to Horsham, the site was used by the Post Office. The church of Christ Church Greyfriars was used by the school pupils among others, but total attendances declined after 1902. The church was badly damaged in the blitz in December 1940, though has not been fully demolished. Part of the old churchyard became “Postman’s Park”.
The school site is now occupied by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and in 2017, they sponsored a sculpture to commemorate their predecessors on the site.
Sculpture erected in 2017 at junction of Newgate Street and King Edward Street with ruins of Christ Church in the background.
The school has a strong musical tradition and boasts a large marching band, well used since pupils march from their boarding houses to lunch on most days. The band has played at lunchtime for Lord’s test matches, and at Twickenham for rugby internationals. It takes part each year in The Lord Mayor’s Show. In addition, parts of the school march through the City of London to a church service marking St Matthew’s Day (21st September). Should you choose to visit the museum on this day, you will be able to see the march. (Check the times.)
The school also boasts its own railway station on the line between Horsham and Arundel, and had a steam locomotive in the Southern Railway “Schools” class carrying its name – 30913 “Christ’s Hospital”.
Akiva School Jim Nelhams
Members will be aware that, as a charity, we include education in our remit. This is not just the education of ourselves, it includes the wider public. Over the years, we have had much contact with schools in the borough, and have carried out digs with some of them.
Akiva School is a Jewish school in East End Lane on the site of the medieval Bibsworth Manor and a few hundred yards from Avenue House. Back in November 2017, we received an email from one of the teachers at the school asking if there was any way the children could be involved in an archaeology project or if somebody could talk to them about archaeology.
There have been previous digs on the school site and it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. School security is tight. A dig within the school was not therefore practical.
This year, when we planned a dig near the water tower in Stephens House and Gardens, I contacted the school to see if, with this dig, we might help them, though for insurance reasons, having the children dig was not possible.
During the dig, the six classes in years 3, 4 and 5 (ages 8-10) were all given a half-hour presentation on archaeology and Avenue House before visiting the dig to see what we had done, some of the finds and some of our equipment. They also used measuring tapes and the dumpy level. Some 170 children were included.
Appreciative feedback has been received from the school.
A full report on the dig will appear in a later newsletter.
Wallingford and Dorchester Abbey Don Cooper
This was a coach outing with the Barnet Museum and Local History Society (BM&LHS) to Wallingford and Dorchester Abbey on Saturday, 23rd June 2018. The coach with 44 eager passengers set off at 08.30 from the layby outside the BP garage on the Great North Road. It was a lovely sunny day.
On arrival at Wallingford we were “set free” to do our own thing. Wallingford is a pretty town by the banks of the Thames in Oxfordshire. It has a long history. In 1066 William the Conqueror came to Wallingford to cross the Thames with his army to negotiate terms for the surrender of the kingdom. The following year he ordered the building of a royal castle. It became the third great royal castle on the Thames after the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. The castle remained the main source of the wealth of Wallingford right up to the end of the Civil
War when Charles II ordered it to surrender to Cromwell. Cromwell ordered and paid for the castle’s demolition. There is little left of the castle, but it was lovely to walk along the bank of the Thames and marvel at how large the castle had been.
A stroll around the town with its market square and three lovely churches was thirsty work and a pint and sandwich at one of the many pubs was welcome.
The museum at Wallingford deserves a special mention for both good and bad reasons. The bad is it charges £5 entrance fee (although we were told we could come back as many times as we liked during the next year!). The good is that is it jam-packed with items from the area and from every period. It especially has memorabilia of Agatha Christie who lived in Wallingford with her archaeologist husband.
Then it was back on the coach at 15.30 for the short ride to Dorchester Abbey. Dorchester on Thames as its name implies was a Roman town and the seat of a bishopric from AD634 when Pope Honorius had sent St Birinus to be its first bishop.
The bishopric was transferred to Lincoln in 1085. The abbey was founded in 1140 by the Augustinian canons although there are traces on the north side of Saxon masonry. The abbey is famous for its lead font, one of the few surviving lead fonts in England; its surviving effigies, especially the well-known “Swaggering Knight”; its Jesse Tree window; and an ornately carved sedilia and piscina dating from 1330. We were given a conducted tour by volunteer guides who were both knowledgeable and helpful.
At the end of the tour we were treated to a magnificent cream tea. A beautiful abbey well worth another visit.
Then it was back on the coach for the return to Barnet. It was a splendid day ably organised by Denis Bird.
OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS compiled by Eric Morgan
Sunday 5th August, 2:30 – Finchley Society – unveiling of information panel about Octavia Hill – Green Man Community Centre, Strawberry Vale, East Finchley, N2 9AB.
Until 28th August – Exhibition at British Library – “James Cook – the voyages” – £14 entry but concessions. Booking suggested. Daily times vary. Check www.bl.uk for more information.
Friday 7th September, 7:45 – Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall Chase Side, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. Lecture “Exploring the Material Culture of Roman London” by Michael Marshall (MOLA). Visitors £1.
Saturday 8th September, 8:30 am. Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Coach trip to West Stow AngloSaxon Village and Bury St Edmunds. £25. Contact Dennis Bird, 020 8449 0705 for more information.
Monday 10th September, 3:00 – Barnet Museum & Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet, EN5 4BW. Lecture “Miss Marjorie Honeybourne – an avid local historian” by Yasmine Webb. Visitors £2.
Thursday 13th September, 2:30 – London Parks & Gardens Trust. Tour of New Southgate Cemetery, Brunswick Park Road, N11 1JJ, led by Colin Barratt. £10.
Saturday 15th September, 10:30 – 4:00. Metroline Holloway Bus Garage, 37A Pemberton Gardens, N19 5RR. Open Day. Vehicle displays and Heritage vehicles. Admission by programme. Proceeds to charity.
Wednesday 19th September, 7:30. Willesden Local History Society. St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS. “An Evening with Brent Archive” by an archive team member about resources available to local historians.
Saturday 22nd September, 11:00 – 4:00. Barnet Museum and Local History Society with Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society – St John the Baptist Church, Wood Street, Barnet EN5 4BW. Day conference including –
- 12:00 “Warwick & Edward IV” with questions at 1:00. By David Santuiste. 1:30 Lunch break
- 2:30 “Richard III, man or Myth”. Gillian Gear memorial lecture by Alison Weir with questions. Tickets on door – £3, non-members £5.
Wednesday 26th September, 7:45. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. “Hendon School Excavations” by Don Cooper (our chairman). Non-members £2.
Thursday 27th September 8:00. Finchley Society – Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Lane, N3
3QE. “The Story of London’s Buses” – talk by Dr John Hodgson. Non-members £2. Refreshments at interval.
Saturday 6th October – 10:00 – 17:30 – London Archaeologist 50th Anniversary Conference at King’s College London, Waterloo Campus, Stamford Street, SE1 9NH. Booking for non-members opens August. Book online or contact Becky Wallower on www.Londonarchaeologist.org.uk. £16.76
With many thanks to this month’s contributors:
Deirdre Barrie, Don Cooper, Eric Morgan
Hendon and District Archaeological Society
Chairman Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8440 4350)
Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams 61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8449 7076)
Hon. Treasurer Jim Nelhams 61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8449 7076)
Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,
East Barnet EN4 8FH (0208 440 8421) e-mail: email@example.com
Join the HADAS email discussion group via the website at: www.hadas.org.uk
No. 537 DECEMBER 2015 Edited by Don Cooper
Doesn’t time go quickly, here we are in the middle of November looking forward to that end-of-year holiday period again!! Do the years go faster as we get older? It seems like only yesterday that I edited last December’s one!
May I, on behalf of the HADAS community, wish you and yours the compliments of the season and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016.
Tuesday 12th January, 8pm. Royal Palaces of Enfield. Lecture by Ian Jones (EAS)
Tuesday 9th February, 8pm. Medieval Middlesex – The Archaeological Remains by Adam Corsini.
Tuesday 8th March, 8pm. The Crossrail Archaeology Project. Lecture by Jay Carver.
Tuesday 12th April 2016, 8pm. In the lift to the beach: a visit to the Lundenwic waterfront by Douglas Killock
Tuesday 10th May, 8pm. Hadrian’s Wall: Life on Rome’s northern frontier. Lecture by Matt Symonds.
Tuesday 14th June 2016 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Tuesday 11th October 2016 To be arranged
All the above events, unless otherwise stated, will be held at Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, starting at 8pm, with tea/coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members are welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 and 460 pass nearby. Finchley Central Station (Northern Line) is a short walk away.
Church Farm House, Hendon (formerly Church Farm House Museum) is STILL vacant. The museum was closed in March, 2011, so it won’t be long until the 4th anniversary of its closing. We are being assured by Barnet Council that it is secure and being properly maintained and Historic England have not felt it necessary to add it to the buildings-at-risk register published last month (October 2015). Negotiations, we are told, are proceeding with Middlesex University but have yet to result in the signing of a lease.
On 7th November I went to a conference organised by the Roman Society and the Association for Roman Archaeology. There were four lectures describing very recent excavations with remarkable new discoveries from Roman Britain. One was of a late Roman temple site in south-west Wiltshire, with a spectacular set of finds, especially miniature amphorae and hammers, and a large number of coins, over 30 of which have iron nails in them – perhaps originally attached to pieces of cloth, or hammered into a wooden post. There are also some lead curse tablets. But no indication, as yet, of what god or gods might have been worshipped there.
Professor Michael Fulford took us over the eighteen years of his excavation of part of Insula
IX of Silchester, which has finally come to an end, discovering so much more than the Society of Antiquaries had been able to find at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We were all fascinated by the evidence of a flourishing business of skinning dogs, presumably to make fur cloaks – a knife was found carved with an image of mating dogs. It seemed at the end that Professor Fulford was weaning himself and his students slowly from the excavation, having done some work on another insula, re-excavating some of the trenches of the Society of Antiquaries.
Sam Moorhead then gave an account of the Romans west of Exeter.
Although he was standing in for a lecturer who had been prevented from telling us about Binchester, the ‘Pompeii of the North’, no-one would have guessed this from his polished and fluent presentation. The discovery of the site at Ipplepen was due to two active and responsible metal detectorists (who recorded the GPS data for the many coins they found). The coins demonstrated that the Romans had not lost interest after they got to Exeter; geophysical surveying and excavation has already found many archaeological features over several acres, including a roadside cemetery. The dig has a strong community focus. Finally, Andrew Birley told us about the most recent work at Vindolanda, which continues to be one of the most important Roman sites in the country. He is the third generation of Birleys to work there. Among the finds he described were a gold coin of Nero, and the wooden toilet seat. The anaerobic conditions in parts of the site continue to reveal wooden writing tablets and other things which are usually lost. It looks as if the Vindolanda excavations will continue for many years.
Members of HADAS may be interested to know that the Sandridge Hoard has now been conserved and has gone on display at the Verulamium Museum in St Albans. The Museum is open all year round and every day (Monday to Saturday from 10.00 to 17.30 and Sunday from 14.00 to 17.30), for public holidays such as Christmas check with the Museum, tel. 01727 751 810.
The Sandridge Hoard consists of 159 gold solidi and is the largest collection of solidi ever found in this country: they date from 375-408 AD and represent more wealth than most people could earn in a lifetime. There is no trace of the original container. The guidebook suggests a connection with one of the local villas and mentions Turnershall Farm a few miles away, itself subject of a separate display. Well worth a visit.
http://www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk/verulamium/ Website gives details of entrance fees / parking etc
Our aim on our trips is to visit a variety of places without spending too long on the coach. These cover a range of interests, with twenty of our travellers submitting interesting newsletter contributions about our stops, and related topics. Our thanks to all who have put pen to paper.
Day 2 started with one of our longer excursions – one hour to Stonehenge.
Our coach dropped us at Stonehenge in time for entry timed for 10.30. As the threatened rain was holding off, most of us decided to get the shuttle bus to visit the monument first, before visiting the visitor centre. Some people walked the 1¼ miles to the site; some later also walked back.
We had all been provided with audio tour guides. There were numbers on the site which went from 1 to 8 corresponding to the audio descriptions. These descriptions also gave additional numbers for more detailed information about specific aspects. The descriptions pointed out that Stonehenge is the only stone circle with lintels; there are 300 later mounds around the circle using it as a focal point; the monument is not a true henge as the ditch is inside the defensive mound, not outside it; it was all built over a period dating 3,000 – 2,000 BC; the famous bluestones reputedly from the Preseli Hills in Wales are the smaller of the upright stones, the larger ones being the Sarsen stones from a more local area, most likely the Marlborough Downs in North Wiltshire; the stones had been rearranged at various times in the past. As you walk round the circle of the monument various features such as the Heel Stone and the Slaughter Stone are described. You are kept to the edge of the monument by barriers, as the archaeology inside the barriers is deemed too fragile to be walked on.
Talking to people who knew the site from previous visits, it was felt the new approach, whether by shuttle bus or foot, was more atmospheric and a good way to enter the landscape.
After returning to the interpretive centre (around midday), we went to the café and ate our lunch. Then we went to the exhibition, not large but with quite a few interesting video displays. After this we briefly walked round the reconstructed village of round houses. There we also saw two sample bluestones and a Sarsen stone, the latter in a frame to enable it to be moved. This was so that it was possible to feel the difference between the two stone types. The Sarsen frame was set up with a challenge for people to try and move it, with pressure gauges to highlight how much effort it would take to move it, and showing that in practice it would have taken 200 people to move it.
We returned to the coach just after 13.00, although it wasn’t due to depart until 13.30. We were lucky, the rain had held off until just as we were due to leave the site, despite forecasts predicting an earlier start to the rain. Although not the warmest, it was a very enjoyable and rewarding visit.
The grey skies which had threatened, but mercifully held off during our visit to Stonehenge began to rain at a sprinkle on the coach trip to Old Sarum, then dampened us more and more. This curtailed both the time we spent on site and the proportion of it we explored.
The boundaries of the site are those of an Iron Age hillfort probably from about 400 BC.
When the Normans arrived, ready-made defences seemed a bonus too good to ignore and William the Conqueror raised a motte and bailey castle inside in about 1070. Our access was easy – the coach park is in the outer bailey, so no need to climb a hill as at Danebury. The view in front of us was impressive. A deep ditch was crossed by a modern wooden bridge and, rising above us, the inner bailey with rubble cores of walls of extensive ranges of buildings remaining.
Besides castles, the Normans were great cathedral builders and, at Old Sarum, they built two in quick succession inside the hill fort. The first, begun about 1075 was small by their standards with three apses at the east end. The second, larger, cathedral is shown by the rubble cores of its walls, which remain to a little above ground level. The wall lines of the first cathedral, where they do not coincide, are shown by lines of modern paving.
Time moved on and so, unusually, did the cathedral. A hilltop site exposed to extremes of weather and inconvenient for trade had obvious disadvantages. Proximity to a Royal castle, which was politically advantageous in the eleventh century, had ceased to be so in the thirteenth when the Pope had excommunicated the King. After years of dissatisfaction and discord, the foundation stone of the present cathedral, on its site in the river valley below, was laid in 1220. After the cathedral went downhill, literally, Old Sarum did so metaphorically, suffering depopulation, and eventually became notorious as one of the rottenest of rotten boroughs.
With the inclement weather, we opted to return to the hotel. The rain having relented, it gave an opportunity for a brief walk around Lyndhurst itself. The town is quite small, with roads that do not lend themselves to modern traffic with frequent queues of traffic for some 400 yards from the traffic lights onto the High Street. Our hotel was at the northern end of the town opposite some open ground.
Although the ‘view’ is now open ground where the New Forest ponies come to graze, in the 18th Century there really was a popular racecourse here that appears on contemporary maps and continued in use until the 1880s.
Opposite the hotel a turning, Race Course View, had a sign stating that it led to The Custards, which turned out to be a rather unremarkable road with houses on either side. It seemed a very strange name so I started to look on-line for an explanation. The reason given on the website for ‘Rhubarb Cottage, The Custards, Lyndhurst (I know, I know!) was that there had been orchards on the site and the apples were eaten with custard. This seemed rather an odd link until I remembered that there was a variety of cooking apple named Costard. It would seem rather more logical that ‘The Custards’ is a corruption of ‘The Costards’ and these were the apples grown in the orchards.
Report on HADAS Lecture – October 2015 by Ken Sutherland-Thomas Scientific Methods in Archaeology.
Lecture by Dr Caroline Cartwright from Department of Scientific Research at the British Museum.
The speaker’s primary areas of scientific expertise were identification and interpretation of organics such as wood, charcoal, fibres and other plant remains, shell, ivory and bones from all areas and time periods in the British Museum’s collections. She has led expeditions in many parts of the world.
The quite technical talk was illustrated with digital images of many of the objects under investigation. The many techniques used in analysis and investigation were discussed. She highlighted the fact that the processes used for this apply pre-excavation, during excavation and post-excavation as well as in conservation. Also highlighted was the need for outreach with emphasis on the requirement to publish results in an understandable form both in print and online; and to stage exhibitions.
The advance in analysis techniques including ever more sophisticated microscopes in the last couple of decades has been phenomenal and the hardware and software required mean an expenditure of many millions of pounds. Very few organisations can afford this expenditure.
The storage and archiving of objects is important as future techniques not yet discovered may well enable more information to be extracted from these objects.
The meeting, which was well attended, concluded with a question and answer session. Dr Caroline Cartwright was thanked for a very interesting lecture.
We have a lecture in March 2016 on the Archaeology discovered during the Crossrail project. Here is a taster from the Crossrail website
The Bedlam burial ground was in use from 1569 to at least 1738, spanning the start of the
British Empire, civil wars, the Restoration, Shakespeare’s plays, the Great Fire of London and numerous plague outbreaks. 2015 marks the 350th anniversary of London’s last Great Plague in 1665 and archaeologists hope that tests on excavated plague victims will help understand the evolution of the plague bacteria strain.
The Bedlam burial ground, also known as Bethlem and the New Churchyard, is located at the western end of Liverpool Street. Over 20,000 Londoners are believed to have been buried at Bedlam between 1569 and 1738. It got its name from the nearby Bethlehem Hospital which housed the mentally ill, although only a small number of Bedlam residents are believed to have been buried there.
In June last year Crossrail invited 16 volunteers to scour parish records from across the capital to create the first extensive list of people buried at Bedlam.
The resulting database of over 5,300 names and backgrounds is published on the Crossrail website and will inform Crossrail’s archaeological excavation.
The Roman remains that archaeologists uncovered at the Liverpool Street station tell a very different story from the Bedlam burial ground skeletons. Initially, skulls found in a small river channel were interpreted as wash-out from a Roman cemetery somewhere upstream. But the discovery in May 2015 of a reused cooking pot full of cremated human bones changed archaeologists’ minds…..
Be sure and put a note in your diaries for what I’m sure will be an exciting lecture.
Stewart Wild is giving a lecture to the Mill Hill Historical Society at Trinity Church, Mill
Hill Broadway, on 13th January 2016 at 14.30 to 16.00 on the following subject: “History of Stevens’ ink and its Finchley connection”
Thursday, 7th January 2016 at 10.30 am. Pinner Local History Society, Town Hall, Chapel
Lane Car park, Pinner. “Memories of the Queen’s Coronation.” a talk by Terry Jenkins. Visitors £2, Please note the earlier time.
Monday, 11th January 2016, at 15.00 Barnet Museum and Local History Society, Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite Museum). “Photographic History of Charing Cross Road.” Talk by Bob Kayne. Visitors £2.
Wednesday, 13th January 2016 at 19.45 Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Corner Ferme Park Road/Weston Park N8 9PX. “The Friern Hospital Story.” Talk by David
Berguer (Chair, Friern Barnet and District Local History Society). Visitors £2 Refreshments.
Friday, 15th January 2016, at 19.00 City of London Archaeological Society (COLAS), St Olave’s Church Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7BB. “The Temples and Gods of Roman London.” Talk by Dominic Perring (Institute of Archaeology University College London). Visitors £2.
Thursday, 21st January, 2016 at 19.30 Camden History Society, Venue details not yet available. “Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park.” Talk by Professor Joe Cain. Visitors £1. Further details, visit www.camdenhistorysociety.org or Telephone Mrs. Jane Ramsay on 0207586 4436 (acting secretary)
Thursday, 28th January 2016, at 14.30 Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, (now Stephens’ House and gardens) East End Road, N3 3QE. “Women and Medical Care in the First World War.” Talk by Dr. Susan Cohen. Non-members £2, refreshments (Please notice earlier time.
Thanks to our contributors: Peter Pickering, Jean Lamont, Vicki Baldwin, Ken Sutherland-Thomas, Liz Gapp, Peter Nicholson and Eric Morgan.
No. 549 DECEMBER 2016 Edited by Don Cooper
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year.
Sunday 11th December 2016 HADAS Christmas Party at Stephens House and Gardens (formerly Avenue House) from 12.30 to 4.00 pm
Tuesday 10th January 2017: My Uncle, the Battle of Britain VC, by James Nicolson
Tuesday 14th February 2017: London Ceramics at time of the Great Fire, by Jacqui Pearce
Tuesday 14th March 2017: Bugging the Nazis in WW2: Trent Park’s Secret History, by Helen Fry
Tuesday 11th April 2017: to be confirmed
Tuesday 9th May 2017: The Cheapside Hoard by Hazel Forsyth
Tuesday 13th June 2017: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Tuesday 10th October 2017: The Curtain Playhouse Excavations, by Heather Knight, MOLA
Tuesday 14th November 2017: The Battle of Barnet Project, by Sam Wilson
Lectures start at 7.45 for 8.00pm in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road,
Finchley N3 3QE. Buses 82, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes’ walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line). Tea/coffee and biscuits follow the talk.
Women in Medieval London – Professor Caroline Barron by Vicki Baldwin
Professor Barron’s talk dealt mainly with the period following the Black Death (1348-9) during which women appeared to become more prominent as members and practitioners of skilled trades. Her sources were Custumals, Mayor’s Court records, City Livery Company records, Parish Records, Indentures and Wills. Custumals were compiled over time and record the obligations and acceptable practises in a particular manor or town. The records of City Livery Companies mainly date from the 15th Century, although a few have material from the 14th Century. There were 100 parish churches but only around 30 have records that are Pre-Reformation. Few original Indentures of Apprenticeship survive as once the term of apprenticeship had expired they had no use. Wills could be made by married women with their husbands’ consent, and by single women and widows, and provide some indication of the financial status of a certain group of women. Personally I suspect that even though the general workforce was diminished by the ravages of the Black Death, the majority of women would never have been in a position to be apprenticed to, and subsequently follow independently, a trade.
Custumals afforded women a number of opportunities not available outside towns. If a woman followed a trade that was not that of her husband, the City Custumal allowed her to claim the status of a feme sole, a single woman, as opposed to a feme covert or married woman. This enabled her to make contracts, sue or be sued, and to take on male or female apprentices to her trade.
Girls could be apprenticed to a Master or a Mistress, and some fathers left money in their wills so their daughters could be indentured. In some cases women apprenticed themselves to a trade. At the end of the period of apprenticeship boys became Freemen or citizens, whereas the skills the girls had acquired probably made them more marriageable. As some of the female apprentices came from minor gentry, presumably their skills would help swell the family coffers until such time as they married. The City of London oversaw the welfare of both male and female apprentices, and would punish their Masters and Mistresses for mistreating them. For example, one Alice Boston who had prostituted her apprentice, was imprisoned and on three market days led from prison, accompanied by pipers or other musicians, and made to stand in the pillory for an hour with the reason for the punishment proclaimed.
The status of feme sole allowed a woman to claim the legal and economic advantages of a Freewoman and she could petition to be allowed to trade outside London, unlike a Freeman she could play no part in the political life of her guild or trade. In addition, women who were living with their husband at the time of his death could also claim to be Freewomen as long as they remained unmarried and ran their husbands’ businesses.
In conclusion, this was an interesting talk that covered the opportunities available for a relatively small number of women at a specific point in history.
From Peter Pickering
I was interested to read the reference in the November newsletter to Gildas, since I recently went to a lecture at the British Library about this gentleman by Dr Rowan Williams, who was recently Archbishop of Canterbury, and is now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge. He was talking about Gildas’s education and the books to which he had access (which was why it was appropriate to the British Library). Gildas was more a polemicist than a historian in the sense we know it to-day; his prime purpose was to excoriate the kings and clergy of the Britons after the end of Roman domination, and to blame them for the terrible state the country was in (does this remind you of today’s politicians?). He does not speak of Arthur by name, but rather of the British victory at Mount Badon, at which other writers tell us Arthur led the British.
The lecture on Gildas was the first of a series of three. The second was on Bede and his library; Bede was much more a historian in the modern sense – interested in dates, and quoting sources – though he is biassed towards the Anglo-Saxons and against the Britons, whom he regards as inferior Christians. The third lecture, which I was unfortunately unable to go to, was about Nennius, a very shadowy figure who may have been the author of a ninth-century history of the Britons which connects Arthur with the battle of Mount Badon. I hope the lectures will be published in due course.
I also look forward to the results of the excavations at Tintagel; I viewed the site in the distance from the Victorian hotel now called Camelot Castle (run by scientologists) on a trip to Cornwall in the summer.
The Greek Pompeii by Don Cooper
Akrotiri, a Minoan site, on the volcanic island of Santorini (called Thera in classical times) it is known as the “the Pompeii of Greece”. After a volcanic eruption, which destroyed the settlement and covered it with metres deep of pumice in 1627 BCE the site disappeared from view for 3½ thousand years. Although known about from the mid-19th century, excavations were not begun until 1967 and are still being carried out despite a number of pauses. They were initially carried out by Spyridon Marinatos of the Archaeological School in Athens, who died on site in 1974 and is buried by the side of it.
It seems that the volcanic eruption was preceded by severe earthquakes probably causing the population to leave the site (and go to Crete?) as no evidence of human remains have been found. The settlement was large about 20 hectares (c.50 acres), and with its sophisticated three-storey buildings, elaborate drainage system and street layouts it was an important place. It also seems to have been wealthy as witnessed by magnificent wall paintings, furniture and pottery vessels.
My wife and I visited Akrotiri in September 2005 where sadly about an hour after our visit and while we were driving back to our hotel, the “bioclimatic” roof over the site collapsed, killing one British tourist and injuring six tourists from other countries. The site staff had been watering the grass roof when one of the pillars supporting it gave way. Eight people were persecuted and subsequently jailed. The “bioclimatic” roof had recently replaced an asbestos one. The site then remained closed for seven years.
My wife went back in October this year (2016) and the change was amazing. The new entrance see (fig. 1) was landscaped and there are picnic areas and good toilet facilities.
Figure 1: The new entrance
In the interim, there have been further excavations which have highlighted the multi-storey nature of many of the buildings as well as improving the definition of the street layout. So far only about 40 buildings have been uncovered which probably represent no more that 5% of the site. The whole Akrotiri harbour has not yet been excavated.
The volcanic ash which gets everywhere, has provided great preservation but means that the place looks as though it could do with a good hoovering! (Fig: 2 & 3).
The journey around the site is now largely on raised walkways so that you are looking down on the various features.
Figure 2: Earthquake damage to staircase
Figure 3: New areas
There are information plaques on the walkways around the excavation but it is a feature of the site is that there isn’t an official guide book nor indeed any book on the site for sale locally. However, there are local human guides that will show you around for 60 Euro.
The museum associated with the site is in the islands capital – Thera. It is an excellent museum with the artefacts well displayed – but still no written literature! The museum highlights the magnificent wall paintings – many now in Athens museum, the furniture, tables and chairs as well as the extensive pottery vessels. The various imported artefacts highlight the extent of Akrotiri’s trade links with items from Cyprus, Egypt, Syria and the Greek mainland. The photos below show various aspects of the displays: a wall painting, pottery vessels and an oven.
If possible it is best to visit the museum first before going to the site as it gives you a better understanding of this amazing site. Further information can be gleaned from the many web sites that have write-ups on the site.
Report on the Gillian Gear Memorial Lecture 4th November 2016
It is hard to believe that it is over a year since Dr Gillian Gear PhD MBE died and those of us who knew her still miss her. She was the driving force at the Barnet Museum and a fountain of local knowledge.
This inaugural lecture took place at Chipping Barnet Library and between 45 and 50 people heard a fascinating lecture about Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (known as the “Kingmaker”) by Karen Clark. Karen Clark is a historian and author who has just published a book entitled “The Nevills of Middleham”, the book is for sale at Waterstones in Barnet.
The lecture was entitled “Warwick’s War” and she described the many battles that the Earl was involved in. Indeed it seems that if there was a battle then Warwick was there, he fought on both sides of the War of the Roses. He was also involved in fighting at sea. After success at the first battle of St Albans, he was made Captain of Calais, later Admiral. During his time there he acted inter alia as a pirate capturing and plundering a fleet of Hanseatic salt ships on their way to Lubeck and capturing six ships of the Castilian fleet. England was not, at that time, at war with either Castile or the Hanse.
His luck ran out at the Battle of Barnet in 1471 where he was killed. His body was brought with other nobles killed to London and put on display at St Pauls Cathedral to prove to the populous that he was dead. He was later buried at Bisham Abbey.
This was a very enjoyable lecture although the complexities of the relationships during the “War of the Roses” was difficult to understand.
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as “The Kingmaker” as a pirate.
Following the lecture, and not having known that Warwick indulged in piracy, I consulted the annuals of British Naval history notably “The Safeguard of the Sea” A Naval History of Britain 660 to 1649 by N.A.M Roger (Professor of Naval History at Exeter University) published in 2004 by Penguin Books, from which I quote.
“The Earl of Warwick became Captain of Calais in 1456, and soon showed himself a skilful and unscrupulous exponent of sea power, building his squadron on the revenue of the Wool Staple* and the plunder of unrestrained piracy. In 1458 he took six prizes out of a Castilian fleet. They at least were enemies, which the Hansa and Genoese, whom he plundered soon after, were not. All this was extremely popular in England where people cared nothing for legality or diplomatic consequences and saw only an English commander whose bold deeds did something to restore battered national esteem.” P153.
“In May 1460 Warwick’s squadron met the Lancastrian fleet under the Duke of Exeter at sea in the Channel, and Exeter ran away. The next month Warwick raided Sandwich, where the royal fleet lay and captured the entire force.” P154
In 1469 Warwick was at war with the Hansa. He captured a Flemish fleet in the Channel and was blockaded in Honfleur by an English and Burgundian fleet from which he escaped.
The Hansa and the Burgundians had their revenge when in March their fleet brought Edward 1V back to England and on 14th April 1471 Warwick was killed at the Battle of Barnet and his fleet surrendered.
In between all this piracy Warwick found time to change sides and help to install Henry V1 in October 1470 having previous helped to install Edward 1V after the battle of Northampton in 1461 – thus earning the title of “The Kingmaker”
N. A. M. Roger, 2004. ““The Safeguard of the Sea” A Naval History of Britain 660 to 1649” London/ Penguin Books. P153-154
The Wool Staple
The Wool Staple was a trading stratagem whereby a government required that all trade in certain designated goods could only be transacted at specific towns or ports. Calais was designed as the port for wool. All wool sold overseas was taken first to Calais, then under English control. Under this system, Calais itself was called ‘the Staple’. The trade was dominated by the Merchants of the Staple who, from 1363, had been granted the exclusive right to trade raw wool in Calais.
The English system remained in place for nearly two centuries, though it would decline in importance as exports of finished cloth were substituted for exports of raw wool. With the fall of Calais to the French, in 1558, the staple moved again to Bruges.
Warwick was able to impose and extract levies on the trade.
Jenckes, A L. 1908. “The Origin, Organisation and the Location of the Staple in England” Philadelphia/ University of Pennsylvania
Report on the lecture by Lyn Blackmore by Peter Pickering
Many thanks to Lyn Blackmore of Museum of London Archaeology for stepping in at very short notice when Hazel Forsyth cancelled the advertised lecture. Lyn took as her subject From Londinium to Lundenburgh – the development of Anglo-Saxon London. Her talk, well-illustrated with slides of pottery and other artefacts was, actually, almost as much an account of the steady development since the war in our knowledge of the area between the City of London and Westminster as it was of the development of Anglo-Saxon London itself.
The defences of the Roman walled city of Londinium were being strengthened as late as the beginning of the fifth century, but for whatever reason, the early Anglo-Saxons avoided it, though St Paul’s cathedral is mentioned in a seventh-century charter. For a long time where actually the Anglo-Saxons had lived in the London area was a mystery. Then, from the 1960s, when excavations at the Treasury site in Whitehall uncovered a well-preserved ninth-century settlement, the real Anglo-Saxon London began to emerge. In 1972 Saxon pottery was identified on the site of Arundel House on the Strand; evidence accumulated over the next ten years, and from 1984 the major excavations at the Royal Opera house, Covent Garden, found Lundenwic, a planned town established from AD 670s by Wulfhere of Mercia, or Hlothere and/or Eadric of Kent, which became the port of Mercia. Here, then, was the metropolis described by Bede in the early eighth century. To the east of Lundenwic, towards the Treasury, recent discoveries of sarcophagi and a tiled structure (perhaps a temple) near the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields have confirmed antiquarians’ accounts and show that Anglo-Saxons did not avoid this significant late Roman site. There were major fires in Lundenwic late in the eighth century, but it continued to flourish into the ninth century; then came Viking attacks, and people began to return to the old Roman city, which was re-established and refortified by Alfred the Great in 886. Lundenwic was forgotten, though some memory survived in the name ‘Aldwych’, (the old ‘wic’).
Lyn believes that there is still more evidence of the Anglo-Saxons waiting to be discovered; the small excavation for a lift-shaft in the Adelphi building, described for us at our May meeting, which found some of the Lundenwic waterfront, is a good omen. But Lyn thinks there is unlikely ever to be another site like the Royal Opera House – the Law Courts in the Strand will not be redeveloped for a long time, and shall we ever know if there was a temple of Apollo where Westminster Abbey now is?
BRADFORD Trip – Day 2 Jim Nelhams
Unlike Henrietta Barnet, who had long visits to Bristol (see November newsletter), the HADAS contingent had only a few hours to explore, starting at SS Great Britain.
“SS Great Britain” Kevin McSharry
Day 2 of the HADAS expedition to Bradford-on-Avon and environs, was to Bristol.
The highlight for me was the visit to the “SS Great Britain”. The story of this mighty vessel, and the many, many people associated with this ship, is both epic and heroic.
Fig: 5 Launch of the SS Great Britain by Prince Albert 18th June 1843
Fig 4 Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a visionary engineer designed “SS Great Britain”. The “Britain’s” supersize hull made her, at that time, the biggest, strongest ship ever built.. She was fitted with a ground-breaking steam powered screw propeller, instead of the conventional paddle wheels, the very latest in maritime technology; the most powerful steam engine ever afloat; a balanced rudder, designed to make steering the ship easier for the crew … …. I could go on but suffice it to say “The Britain” was at the cutting edge of technology for its day.
“The Britain” had a long working life from 1845 to 1933. A working life brilliantly recounted in the inter-active exhibition that tells the life-story of this Leviathan of the seas from its inception to its abandonment in Sparrow’s Cove in the Falklands in 1937.
“The SS Great Britain” has been lovingly and meticulously restored, as a result one experiences what the “Britain” was like in its heyday for the crew and the passengers, 1st Class to Steerage. It would take days to do justice to this magnificent restoration of our heritage. My appetite was whetted for further visits.
Just as it was ground-breaking technology that enabled the building of the “SS Great Britain” it was ground-breaking technology that enabled its rescue from Sparrow’s Cove in the Falkands and its later restoration e.g. the floating pontoon which returned the “Britain” to Bristol, her birthplace, to the desert-like moisture reduced atmosphere that prevents the deterioration of the iron hull.
The visit left me with a kaleidoscope of reflections and emotions. The heroism of the men, who crewed the “Britain” through the “roaring 40s”, the genius of those who collaborated with Isambard Brunel to bring his brain-child to fruition; the intrepid daring and boldness of our Victorian forbears. In these post-Brexit days and the hysteria about immigrants, I pondered the fact that Brunel was the son of an immigrant and how Isambard enriched and garnered with honours this land of Britain that his father had adopted. I believe there is a message, a lesson for us.
Hoorah! For the “SS Great Britain” and for all that the “Britain” and the people associated with it, from its birth to its honourable retirement, stands for. An epic saga filled with heroes.
I heartily commend a visit to the “SS Great Britain”.
SS Great Britain as she is today.
Clifton Suspension Bridge Sylvia Javes
Figure 6: The Clifton Suspension Bridge
The Clifton Suspension bridge is an elegant structure almost 75 metres above the Avon Gorge, between Clifton and Leigh Woods, Bristol. It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who won a competition to design a bridge in 1830 at the age of 24. Work began, but the Bristol riots in 1831 caused investments to dry up. However, work resumed and by 1841 towers on the Leigh side were completed, but again money ran out and work was abandoned.
Brunel died in 1859, and it was decided to complete the bridge in his honour. Two engineers, John Hawkshaw, a railway and bridge engineer, and William Henry Barlow, who designed the St Pancras rail terminus, picked up the brief and completed it. The bridge finally opened in 1864.
Four wrought iron chains from Brunel’s Hungerford pedestrian bridge (demolished to make way for a rail bridge) were used, together with new ones for the uppermost layer. They built a more robust deck than Brunel had planned and there were other variations caused by the reuse of the existing chains. Its 214m span was the longest in Britain at the time.
The towers, 26.2 meters high, are in unadorned rough stone, rather than Brunel’s formal Egyptian style, complete with lions.
The bridge was constructed by workers working from a ‘traveller’ suspended on ropes, from which they joined individual links to make up the chains. The chains are anchored in tunnels 25 metres long at each end of the bridge. Suspension rods were hung from the links in the chains, girders hang from these to support the deck. The deck is almost a metre higher at the Clifton end than at Leigh Woods, but it appears horizontal.
The Bridge is a Grade 1 listed structure which still has around 99% of its original parts. When maintenance work takes place, care must be taken to replace parts like for like. It is maintained by the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, a non-profit making charity. The Trust receives no financial assistance and all maintenance and operating costs must be covered by the toll, £1 for cars and motor cycles. Pedestrians, cycles and horses cross free of charge. About 11-12,000 vehicles cross every day. There is a weight limit of 4 tons, which meant that our coach had to park on the Clifton side and we walked across to the visitor centre on the Leigh Woods side, enjoying the view along the gorge as we crossed.
BRISTOL MUSEUM and ART GALLERY Jeffrey Lesser
It was with a depressing feeling of déjà vu that I entered the 1st floor of the Museum by the side entrance. The exhibits of glass cupboards stuffed with tableaux of stuffed animals and birds were very similar to those in the pre-War local museum of my childhood; they might have been taken over directly. My spirits were only slightly lifted by an irrelevant, but donated, fully furnished Gipsy caravan.
But my mood was instantly changed by going up to the top floor to the Ceramic section. One could see why Bristol in the 18th century was a noted centre of production and many examples were displayed with appropriate explanations. Particularly of note were specimens of the famous Bristol blue glass. An explanation of soft and hard porcelain was given together with some beautiful Chinese and Persian pieces which had stimulated British production. There were also examples of modern design including those from the 1930s.
The Museum was formed from two neighbouring buildings on a steep hill so there was a half-floor difference of level on each of the floors – a source of confusion when following the ground plans of the three floors. But the French Art, Old Masters and Age of Enlightenment galleries were comprehensive, the French Impressionists being well represented. In contrast there was an 17th century 4X3 metres piece of English art; it was a representation of all the animals entering the Ark and was marked by the ping-pong bats and balls which had struck it when displayed in the hall of its aristocratic owner. It was noticeable that there were many art students attempting their own versions – some very idiosyncratic. Reluctantly it was time to hurry on, lingering to see one of the earliest experimental aircraft, suspended in the central hall; a Bristol Boxkite. It was accompanied by an equally experimental – it seemed – short film of the ‘plane in flight. One can only marvel at the bravery of its pilot.
The ground floor is notable particularly for the section on Egypt, covering several periods with explanations of their developments. This, with the neighbouring display of Assyrian reliefs, seemed designed to stimulate the interest of children older than those for whom the nearby ‘Curiosity’ gallery was intended. I was interested to see this as it might have been similar to an 18th century ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. But it was intended to whet the appetite of young children to ask “What” and “Why” and “When” by means of carefully designed interactive displays. From this approach, they could gain so much more from the otherwise static displays of geology and maps, metalwork and art, dinosaurs and sculpture that had tempted me.
After a stimulating afternoon, it was time regretfully to leave the Museum and literally go downhill towards the Cathedral and it’s Green.
Bristol Cathedral by Peter Pickering
Figure 7: Bristol Cathedral
When we got down the hill from the art gallery, Bristol Cathedral appeared prominent across the grass, colourful flowers and water feature of College Green. The building is rather deceptive, in that the large nave, through which we entered, is much more recent than the eastern parts; it dates from the nineteenth century, and is the work of G E Street, architect of the Law Courts on the Strand.
Visiting Bristol Jim Nelhams
Our reconnaissance to Bristol for the trip proved an interesting exercise. How better than to use God’s Wonderful Railway as the GWR was known, and follow the route designed by Brunel. His grand plan was that you left London on his railway to Bristol, where you would board one of his ships to complete your journey to New York. So we started at Paddington without our marmalade sandwiches, but with time to visit Paddington’s statue on Platform 1 and his shop on Platform 11 before boarding our standard gauge train.
A bonus on reaching Brunel’s Temple Meads station: Bristol busses accepted our London freedom passes for the ride to the city centre.
Our trips only provide a flavour of possible places to visit, during the Hadas trip we scheduled only four, but there are lots of other places, museums and churches worthy of interest. And a day trip by train is very straightforward.
Our return journey was by a different route (with work going on elsewhere), and included an unscheduled stop at Bradford on Avon for 5 passengers who had boarded the wrong train.
Other Societies’ Events by Eric Morgan
Thursday, 16th December, 7.30pm, Camden History Society, Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 1LT. “Images of Camden Past and Present”. Talk by Gillian Tindall & Richard Landsdown. Visitors £1 with wine and mince pies from 7.00pm
Sunday, 18th December, 2.00pm, Jaywalks Enfield, Bush Hill Park, Meet Bush Hill Park Station, Queen Anne’s Place, Enfield. History guided walk lead by Joe Studman. Discover a conservation area with a surprising selection of historical associations. Cost £5 (Concessions £4). Lasts 90 minutes.
Thursday, 5th January, 10.30am, Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner, “Cassiobury – The ancient seat of the Earls of Essex”. Talk by Paul Rabbitts on the untold story of the estate and family behind the Watford Park. Visitors £3
Monday, 9th January, 3pm, Barnet Museum and local history society, Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opp. Museum). “The B to Z of street furniture”. Talk by Rob Kayne. Visitors £2
Wednesday, 11th January, 2.30pm, Mill Hill Historical Society, Trinity Church, The Broadway, NW7 “Fair shares for all – rationing in Britain during and after the 2nd World War”. Talk by David Evans.
Wednesday, 11th January, 7.45pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, cnr Ferne Park Rd/Weston Park, N8 9PX. “Hornsey in WWI”. Talk by Nick Allaway. Visitors £2 Refreshments & Sales% information from 7.00.
Thursday, 12th January, 8.00pm, Historical Association (Hampstead and N W London Branch), Fellowship House,136a Willifield Way NW11 6YD (off Finchley Road in Temple Fortune). “Why was there no Socialism in America?”. Talk by Professor Lawrence Goodman.
Monday, 16th January, 8.00pm, Enfield Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. “Alms of Enfield and Edmonton between 1930’s and 1970’s”. Presented by Film London incl. Edmonton & Enfield charter days, Joint Meeting with Edmonton Hundred Historical Society.
Thursday, 19th January, 7.30pm, Camden History Society, at Camden local studies and & archive centre, 32-38 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8PY. “Twenty extraordinary Buildings on Primrose Hill”. Talk by Martin Sheppard. Visitors £1. (For further details visit www.camdenhistorysociety.org
Friday, 20th January, 7.00pm, COLAS, St. Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7BB. “Creating the Museum of London’s –Fire! Fire! Exhibition”. Talk by Meriel Jeater (MoLA). Visitors £2, Refreshments after.
Friday, 20th January, 7.30pm. Wembley History Society, English Martyr’s Hall, Chalkhill Road, Wembley, HA9 9EW9 (top of Blackbird Hill, adj. to the church). “From fire to fountain – Film and Television at Wembley Park”. Talk by Philip Grant (Brent Archives) commemorating over 100 Years of cinema and TV programmes made at Wembley, as its last TV studio closes. Visitors £3
Wednesday, 25th January, 7.45pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. “New Southgate”. Talk by Colin Barratt. Visitors £2, Refreshments including bar.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to our contributors: Eric Morgan, Peter Pickering, Vicki Baldwin, Jeffrey Lesser, Sylvia Javes, Jim Nelhams, Kevin McSherry
Number 515 February 2014 Edited by Andy Simpson
Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8 pm, with coffee/tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members: £1. Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central station (Northern Line), is a 5-10 minute walk away.
Tuesday 11th February 2014
Ian Blair – Senior Archaeologist (MOLA) Anglo-Saxon finds at Southend.
This covers the investigations at Prittlewell near Southend. An Anglo-Saxon burial was discovered along with a large collection of ornate grave goods. This led the experts to believe they were dealing with a 7th century prince.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
David Thorold – Curator, Prehistory to Medieval. Verulamium Museum; The Sandridge Coin Hoard
Tuesday 8th April 2014
Brian James-Strong, River Lea Tidal Mill Trust; Restoring House Mill (working title)
Tuesday 13th May 2014
Malcolm Stokes (HADAS member); The bishop’s hunting park in Highgate
Tuesday 10th June 2014
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Tuesday 14th October 2014
Dr Nick Ashton – British Museum; Finding Neanderthal tools in Norfolk cliffs
Tuesday 11th November 2014
TO BE CONFIRMED
Jo Nelhams adds; Long outing to Kent, 29 June to 3 July; we need your support to swell the numbers booked to make sure the trip is viable!
Sunday Mornings at Avenue House…
Continue in the usual vein for post-excavation work. Our three ‘master sets’ of HADAS Newsletters have been checked over and gaps filled, duplicate books and journals weeded out – as those of you attending the monthly lectures will have noticed – and cleaning and recording of the remarkably varied finds from the 2013 Avenue House greenhouse/water tower excavations are ongoing.
Buxton day 4 – the grand tour Jim Nelhams
One of the objectives we have when planning our trips is to minimize the time spent on the coach. Although the countryside in the Peak District is delightful, we wanted to see as much as we could. This day was a challenge, with a number of visits planned and booked. At Eyam and Bakewell, there were small museums, so our numbers dictated splitting the group and “swapping over”. We also hoped to stop at Arbor Low stone circle on the way back to the hotel – which we managed, though with the weather closing in. But let our correspondents take up the story.
The Cathedral of the Peak Micky Watkins
St John the Baptist at Tideswell is known as the Cathedral of the Peak because it is surprisingly large for a parish church. The church dates from the 14th century and is in the Gothic style, except for the chancel and tower which were built after the Black Death, at the end of the 14th century, and are in the Perpendicular style.
The woodwork is a most delightful feature of the church This is one of the few churches which has an original wooden screen, and even a screen door which is beautifully carved. On the organ case there are carvings of birds, leaves and plants and all sorts of animals. On the choir stalls there are carvings of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and Visiting the Sick, all about ten inches high. There are further carvings on the pew ends. This beautiful work was done by in the early 20th century by Advent Hunstone, a local carver.
There was an earlier church on this site, and the font which appears to be Norman must have been in that church. In the Lady Chapel there is a very old window and a curious tomb with two female stone figures which date from before 1300.
In the De Bower chapel there is a stone monument of a knight and his lady, probably Sir Thurstan de Bower and Lady Margaret. A large tomb in the centre of the chancel is that of Sir Sampson Meverill, a famous knight and soldier who fought Joan of Arc and died in 1462. There are several brasses, one to Bishop Purseglove who was born in Tideswell and became Bishop of Hull. He was an agent of Thomas Cromwell and was involved in the dissolution of the monasteries, becoming rich in the process.
This medieval church was sensitively restored in 1875, and a fine Jesse window was made in the east window behind the altar. In 1907 the vicar paid for a new and very colourful west window. The 19th and 20th century craftsmanship has added to the glory of this big church.
“Ring a Ring of Roses” Kevin McSharry
Eyam (pronounced ‘eem’) is a small village in the heart of the Dales of Derbyshire. Picturesque? Oldy worldy? Yes, to a degree, but probably no more so than many a neighbouring village or hamlet. Yet Eyam is a name with which to conjure; a name that has resonated down the years; and a name that drew the HADAS intrepid explorers on the third day of the 2013 visit to Buxton.
Eyam made its stamp on history and entered into National and International Chronicles during the fateful thirteen months from September 1665 to October 1666 – the fifth and sixth years of the restored Stuart monarchy, in the person of Charles II. Years better remembered in the school history books for the Great Plague and Great Fire of London.
The Great Plague was the fatal portal by which Eyam entered into the history books. The Great Plague, The Black Death, Bubonic Plague by whatever name one wishes to call it meant a painful death for the individual and for the population, as a whole, decimation.
The Plague came to Eyam from London on a wagon carrying a bolt of cloth which was delivered to George Viccars, the village tailor. The cloth was flea infested. It was the flea from the Black Rat (Rattus rattus) which carried the Bubonic Plague. George, the tailor, was the first to be infected. Within two days he was struck down by a raging fever, swellings (buboes) on his body followed by a rose-red rash and finally death. Hence,
“Ring a ring of roses
A pocket full of posies
We all fall down.”
In this simple children’s rhyme, a grim legacy of the plague, the complexities of the plague, its symptoms, how it is spread (a red rash, sneezing), its possible prevention (a nosegay of posies) and its inevitable outcome death (we all fall down) are succinctly summed up.
The plague spread rapidly; and, at this point in the story of Eyam two names figure prominently: the Reverend William Mompesson, village Rector, and the Reverend Thomas Stanley, Mompesson’s immediate predecessor. Under their strong leadership, putting aside their deep doctrinal differences, they persuaded the villagers to enter voluntary quarantine to prevent the plague spreading to neighbouring settlements; to bury their own dead; and to worship in the open air, in the Delph, to limit the spread of the disease. This self-imposed quarantine, this self-sacrifice prevented the spread of the Plague, it saved lives. One hears echoes of the Evangelist John:
“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.
The cost of this self-sacrifice by the villagers of Eyam, was a high one. Painful death after painful death resulting in 260 mortalities, probably a third of the population of Eyam. Some families were wiped out. Some left but a sole survivor such as Elizabeth Hancock who buried her husband and six children in just eight days. Each body Elizabeth dragged or carried from her home, dug the grave and filled it herself
The call to sacrifice came from the clergymen, Mompesson and Stanley, but the response was a communal one – hesitant perhaps but nonetheless a resounding yes! The self-sacrifice of the good people of Eyam was not typical of the rest of society:
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured and far away.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862).
Today’s Community of Eyam, the spiritual heirs of the Eyam Community of three and a half centuries ago, have ensured that the heroism and self-sacrifice are remembered, that they are not forgotten. Their sacrifice is kept ever-green through its excellent Museum, its craft centre, which served a welcomed cup of tea, well-maintained Parish Church of St. Lawrence, excellent signage to dwellings and graves of those who lived and perished in the Plague, the provision of car-parking and public toilets; an annual service of Thanksgiving, held at the open-air Delph, their place of worship during the plague, on the last Sunday of August.
The poet Wilfred Scawen Blunt said that there was:
“No truce with Time nor Time’s accomplice Death.”
The weathervane on the top of Eyam Museum.
There is no truce with death but Eyam seems to have gained a kind truce with time, because the name of Eyam and the place of Eyam, in history, has not faded. Why is Eyam remembered? Why does its name endure? The answer lies in the eternal verities of love of neighbour and self-sacrifice so poignantly manifested by the good people of Eyam centuries ago. Surely humanity at its best.
Monsal Head Jim Nelhams
Having left Eyam on our way to Bakewell, time for a brief coffee (or something stronger) stop at The Monsal Head hotel. The hotel is situated at the top of Monsal Dale, giving a splendid view over the dale, and of the famous railway viaduct built by the Midland Railway in 1867, and the River Wye meandering below. Was that Andy disappearing into the distance? (It was!! With great views from the viaduct, adjacent tunnel, and station remains a short walk away -Ed)
Bakewell Dot Ravenswood
The church of All Saints stands on a steep hill overlooking the town. It may have been founded as early as the 680s, and a church building was almost certainly there by 800. The two crosses in the churchyard, not on their original sites, date from the early 9th century. The fenced-in cross on the west side is particularly well preserved, having its original socket stone and part of its head.
The west front and part of the north and south arcades of the nave are 12th-century work. The main part of the church was rebuilt in the mid-19th century, when an amazing number of Anglo-Saxon and Early English stones was discovered beneath the north and south transepts and the crossing, including decorated cross shafts, grave slabs and standing stones.
Many of the grave slabs had symbols inscribed on them, a chalice or sheep shears or a sword, to indicate the occupation of the deceased.
Some of these stones, piled up and cemented together, line the south porch and the northwest arch. What they are doing at Bakewell is a mystery. One theory, based on recent research sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is that they may relate to Edward the Elder’s reconquest of the northern lands held by the Danes, which was affirmed at a meeting at Bakewell in or about 920. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Edward built a fort at Bakewell in that year, and the northern tribes assembled there to acknowledge his authority.
At the top of the south aisle there is an unusual alabaster wall monument commemorating Sir Godfrey Foljambe (d. 1376), and his wife Avena (d. 1382). Their small, waist-length figures are in a recumbent attitude, with hands closed in prayer, but set upright inside a window-like frame. On the right is the “Newark,” an extension of the south transept, so called because it was “new work” in the mid-13th century. It was rebuilt in 1841-52. The screened-off area was a mortuary chapel for the Manners and Vernon families, whose tombs include a spectacular wall monument to Sir George Manners (d. 1623), with two tiers of kneeling children and arches inscribed with verses from the Bible; the alabaster tomb of Sir George Vernon (d. 1567), and his two wives, with effigies; and a wall monument to Sir John Manners (d. 1611), and his wife Dorothy (d. 1584).
It was a surprise to see that the church contains work by several distinguished modern artists and architects. The stained-glass window of the Adoration of the Lamb was designed by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Henry Holiday, and the striking black and gold altar in the north transept is by Ninian Comper. The chancel was redesigned by Gilbert Scott the Younger about 1880.
The Old House Museum, behind the church and further up the hill, occupies a building which was described as “a competant dwelling house” in 1534, when it was leased to the tax collector Ralph Gell of Hopton by the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield. In 1777 Sir Richard Arkwright leased it from the Gell family and converted it into six homes for mill-workers. The house was saved from demolition in 1935 by the Bakewell and District Historical Society, who run it as a local history museum, with displays of costumes, lace, toys and tools, and Tudor and Victorian room settings.
Much altered and extended, the building is roughly H-shaped, with a two-storey porch and mullioned windows. It has oak beams and floorboards, a two-storey timber partition with some original wattle and daub infill, a garderobe, and big ashlar fireplaces on both floors. The ground-floor fireplace is flanked by the original stair turret (occupied by a modern staircase).
(Note – Emma Robinson has conducted further research on the cross and stones at Bakewell – to be included next month.)
Arbor Low Stone Circle Jean Lamont
Our visit to Arbor Low was the last we made – at the end of our “3 churches and a Plague” day, before setting off home on Thursday. A gentle ½ mile climb along a farm track brought us to the site 1,230 feet above sea level. We could immediately see why it had been chosen by the Neolithic builders, because of the nearly-360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
The site is thought to date from the 3rd millennium BC and to have been developed in at least 3 stages: first a long barrow on the adjacent Gib Hill, then in the late Neolithic an elliptical henge (a 2m high bank with a 7-12 m wide ditch inside) broken by two opposing entrances in the NW and SE. The diameter of the bank is around 90m to 85m externally. Finally a ring of stones was erected on the inner platform: these vary in size around 1.5 – 2m tall, with monoliths 2.6m and 2.9m tall at the entrances. A small group of 7 stones was placed in the centre of the ring. Allowing for broken stones it is estimated that there were originally between 41 and 43 standing stones. The site would have been very impressive, but all the stones have now been flattened, possibly, at the suggestion of English Heritage, for superstitious reasons.
Buxton Museum has a display of artefacts found at or near the site including a skull, discoidal flint knives, flint knives and scrapers, a stone “mace head” and stone axe and some delicate flint arrowheads, all dating from the period 3,200 – 1,400 BC.
Unfortunately the rain which had held off until we reached the site started to come down in a chilly wind, and this discouraged us from exploring and experiencing the site as we would have liked, so we made a hasty retreat to the coach.
As always, prehistoric monuments like Arbor Low raise many questions: what ceremonies took place there? What beliefs did the communities who built it hold, so strong that generation after generation continued their work? It is frustrating that we shall never know.
Site of Cricklewood Locomotive Shed evaluation Bill Bass
During November 2013, Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA) undertook an evaluation dig at this site before a planned housing development is built. The site is bordered by the Edgware Road and the Midland Main Line at the end of what is now Geron Way, south of Staples Corner.
Edgware Road is well known as being the line of Watling Street Roman Road. The steam shed buildings were closed in 1967 and mostly demolished c1969. Eventually a thick concrete raft was laid over the entire site with latterly ‘Parcelforce’ using it as a depot.
A series of large trenches were opened up through the concrete, much of this revealed that most archaeology had been truncated away by various demolition and levelling works. However, the remains of concrete foundations, cast-iron drains and what could be the bottom levels of brick lined ‘inspection pits’ of the loco shed were seen. Inspection pits were used to gain access to the underneath of locos for servicing. At Cricklewood there was a brick built double-roundhouse with a turntable for each, these ‘inspection pits’ may be the ones surrounding the turntables. The above features were directly built into solid London Clay.
Many thanks to MoLA Site Manager Paul Thrale and Project Manager Michael Smith, and also Sandy Kidd of EH for their time.
Some recent Roman finds in Kingsbury by Philip Grant (Wembley History Society)
Back in its early days, in 1953, Wembley History Society campaigned to try to save what was thought to be a Tudor farmhouse at Blackbird Hill in Kingsbury from being demolished. Although there was talk of an archaeological dig, no record appears in the Society’s early Journals to show that any such work was done. Blackbird Farm was demolished around 1955, and “The Blackbirds” public house opened on its site a couple of years later.
A sketch of Blackbird Farm in January 1927,
Scroll forward to 2010, and the pub had closed like many others, despite an attempt to revive it as the Irish-themed “Blarney Stone”. Developers put in a planning application to build a five-storey block of flats, with an underground car park and retail unit on the ground floor, on the site. Luckily, the location had been identified as one with archaeological potential in a document drawn up in the 1980’s by Brent’s then Planning Conservation Officer, Geoffrey Hewlett, a Wembley History Society member and now a well-known local history author. The Society, backed by Brent Museum, supported the Planning Officer’s recommendation that there should be a condition in the planning consent for a proper archaeological assessment of the site, and this was agreed by the Planning Committee, including a requirement that both the Museum and the Society should be consulted about the archaeology work.
The desk-based archaeology assessment for the site suggested that, although there was a good prospect of finding post-medieval material, the chances of finding anything earlier were low. The information that we provided was that there could well be earlier material, based on the possibility that what is now Blackbird Hill was part of a pre-Roman trackway from a Thames crossing near Westminster up into Hertfordshire (known as Eldestrete, or the old street, in Saxon times), and that the Roman tiles and other domestic material included in the rubble walls of the nearby St Andrew’s Old Church (which dates from around AD1100) may have come from a local building.
A photo taken during our visit on 18 September, with cabins in the background.
In the Summer of 2013, we learned that building work on the site was about to begin, and that Archaeology South-East (“ASE” – the commercial arm of University College London’s archaeology department) would be carrying out the excavations. Preliminary work by ASE had involved three trial trenches at various locations around the pub building, which established that the only area worth full excavation was at the lower end of the site alongside Old Church Lane. This agreed our own ideas, based on the 1950’s building plans. Because the contractors were already on site, excavating for the underground car park, ASE could not allow public access to their “dig”, but did allow a group from Wembley History Society to visit on 18 September 2013, in hard hats and high-visibility jackets and under close supervision.
One of the brick pads
Among the first excavated remains we were shown were the brick pads which would have supported the wooden frame of the square timber building (seen in the sketch on page 7) at the corner of the site. This was probably a store for grain or a similar crop, which needed to be raised off of the ground to protect it from damp and rats, and the bricks were thought to be 18th century. A range of buildings with brick foundations had been uncovered, with a wall which the site manager thought probably dated from the 18th or late 17th century butting on to another which could be 16th century, but which had then been used as the base for 19th century brickwork. These finds tend to confirm continuous occupation of the site from Tudor times, when a freehold smallholding called “Findens” is shown here on the 1597 Hovenden map produced for All Souls’ College, with a succession of barns or other ancillary farm buildings.
Close-up of a pit showing the different brick wall and floor details
Among the “finds” we were shown at the end of our visit, mainly pieces of pottery dating from between around 1600 and 1800, the most interesting was a shard from an Iron Age pot, one of four that had been unearthed at the site.
A shard of black Iron Age ware found at the site.
We were told that such finds are quite common on “digs” in the London area, but although there was no evidence linking them with Iron Age activity at the site, their presence must surely lend some support to the belief that Blackbird Hill may have been on the route of a pre-Roman trackway.
Although our visit was towards the end of the scheduled two-week excavation, it was only several weeks later that I heard news of the exciting final discoveries at the site. There were several cabins at the north-east corner of the “dig”, and while excavating close to these, the archaeologists saw signs that there might be interesting features underneath the cabins, so they arranged to have them moved. When they returned, clearance down from the surface level indicated several areas where trenches were needed to investigate further. Two trenches revealed a clearly defined ditch, which from its shape and other evidence leads the archaeologists to believe that it probably dates from the Roman period.
View of part of the last area excavated, previously under the cabins.
The second feature uncovered was a shallow pit.
The ASE Project Manager, Andy Leonard, explained that although this pit ‘admittedly does not look very impressive’, the “rubbish” thrown into it (almost certainly by the occupants of the ditched area) was of great interest to the archaeology team. It included some pieces of what were initially thought by the archaeologists to be Samian ware pottery. After cleaning up, and following close examination by ASE’s Roman pottery expert, Anna Doherty, it has now been identified as some sherds of Oxfordshire red-slipped ware, a Romano-British pottery type which is later in date than genuine imported Gaulish Samian ware but which is of a similar stylistic tradition. It probably dates from the 3rd or 4th century, and is definitely from the Roman period.
Some of the Oxfordshire red-slipped ware pottery found on the site.
We will have to wait until the post-excavation work has been carried out by specialists, and the final report on the excavation has been approved, but what appears to have been found here is the first “in situ” evidence that there were people actually living in Kingsbury, on a permanent basis, in the early centuries of the first millennium. This takes Kingsbury’s known history back by at least 500 years from the Saxon origins of the parish and its name.
It is interesting to note that Blackbird Farm stood on top of a low hill, with gravel deposits covering the underlying London Clay. About one kilometre due east, on the other side of the River Brent valley, archaeologists from the Museum of London uncovered evidence of another Roman period farm on a similar gravel-covered hill top at Brook Road, Dollis Hill, in 2000. Their “finds” also included red-slipped ware from the 3rd or 4th centuries. In the 21st century it is beginning to appear that this side of Brent, between the Watling Street Roman road and the earlier Eldestrete trackway, may have been part of an agricultural area serving Londinium around 1,700 years ago.
If you would like to know more about the history of Blackbird Farm, Kingsbury, before these latest archaeological discoveries, you can read an article about it in the online local history resources collection on the Brent Archives website: http://www.brent.gov.uk/media/4468821/Blackbird%20Farm,%20Kingsbury.pdf
Illustrated Talks at Guildhall Library (Aldermanbury, London EC2) by Robert Stephenson (a CoLAS stalwart known to several HADAS members)
Free- but please book a place with Eventbrite http://www.eventbrite.com
Friday 26 February 2014 2pm – 3pm The Knights Templar and their London Connections – an overview of their London properties and sites connected with their brutal suppression.
Lecture by Robert Hulse, Director of the Brunel Museum Sylvia Javes
The society’s lecture on Tuesday 8th October was given by Robert Hulse, Director of the Brunel Museum. The museum beside the Thames at Rotherhithe is on the site of the shaft of the Thames Tunnel. When it first opened in 1843 the Thames Tunnel was described as the Eighth Wonder of the World: the first tunnel to be built with a tunnelling shield under a navigable river.
The tunnel was proposed in 1824 by Marc Brunel, a French engineer who had fled France in 1793. The Thames was extremely congested, and it was difficult to take boats across the river. A tunnel would allow horses and carts to cross with goods. Money was raised, and work began in 1825, with the building of a 50ft wide brick tower at Rotherhithe. The tower sank into the clay under its own weight as it was excavated, creating a 50ft wide lined shaft.
To excavate the tunnel, Marc Brunel had devised a frame, or shield, in which there were 36 miners’ cells. Each miner excavated his own cell. As the cells were excavated, the frame was jacked forwards, and bricklayers lined the walls behind. A mechanised version of this system is used in tunnelling today. Working conditions were extremely difficult. Miners were continually showered with foul Thames water, and many suffered from infections. Oil lamps lit the workings, and marsh gas caused sudden flares. Men could only work in these conditions for two hours at a time.
In 1827 there was a flood, but no lives were lost, and Marc’s son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel repaired the breach. Money ran out, but a fund-raising banquet was held in the tunnel, attended by the Duke of Wellington and the Band of the Coldstream Guards. Work restarted, but another inundation occurred in 1828 killing six men, and almost killing Isambard, who was swept along the tunnel to the shaft. He was seriously injured and sent to Clifton (Bristol) to convalesce. Although immediate repairs saved further damage, money had run out, the tunnel was bricked up, and work stopped for several years, until finally in 1834 the government loaned money to restart work. It took another nine years of difficult excavation and building before the tunnel finally opened – as a foot tunnel only, as money could not be found to build ramps for horses.
On opening day 50,000 people walked through the tunnel paying one penny each. Soon there were souvenir shops in all 60 of the archways, but the tunnel attracted thieves, preying on the crowds. Shops closed as visitors decreased. Despite various carnivals and fairs, the tunnel eventually fell out of favour and it was finally sold to the East London Railway in 1865, and in 1869 incorporated into the East London Line eventually to become part of the London Overground The Grand Entrance – the original shaft – still remains, and the Brunel Museum is planning to restore and use it as a space for concerts and other events. The museum opens daily and there are occasional tunnel walks arranged through the museum.
Gresham College lectures – a prompt from Guy Taylor…
Wednesday 12 March, 6pm at the Museum of London – Simon Thurley: ‘War Halls: Royal Houses from the Saxons to the Hundred Years War.’
Wednesday 16 April, 6pm at the Museum of London – Nicholas Flemming (Southampton University) ‘Humanity and a Million Years of Sea Level Change.’
Wednesday 23 April, 6pm at the Museum of London – Simon Thurley: ‘Playing Catch-up: Palaces from the Hundred Years War to the Wars of the Roses.’
Tuesday 6 May, 1pm at the Museum of London – Gustav Milne: ‘The Gresham Ship: An Armed Elizabethan Merchantman.’ Further details at www.gresham.ac.uk
OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS compiled by Eric Morgan
Friday 14 February 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, 2, Parsonage Lane Junction, Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ ‘By the Waters of Nineveh’; The Archaeology of Iraqi Kurdistan. Talk by Ian Jones Visitors £1.
Friday 21st February, 7.30pm Wembley History Society English Martyrs Hall, Chalkhill Road (top of Blackbird Hill adjacent to church) Wembley HA9 9EW. Wembley’s Nigerian Village, 1924. Talk by Philip Grant (Brent Archives) Visitors £2.
Thursday 27 February 2.30pm Finchley Society Drawing room, Avenue House, East End Rd
N3 3QE. Ally Pally Prison Camp. Talk by Dr. Maggi Butt, Visitors £2.
Sunday 2 March, 10.30am – 12.30 approx. Heath and Hampstead Society Meet between Old Kitchen Garden and Entrance to English Heritage Staff Yard, East of Kenwood House. The Hidden Heath. Walk by Michael Hammerson (HADAS Member) Cost £3.
Wednesday 5 March, 8pm. Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St, Wealdstone. Three Women of Pinner Talk by Pat Clarke (Pinner L.H.S and LAMAS) Visitors £1.
Thursday 6 March, 8pm Pinner Local History Society Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park. Pinner Research Group Presentation: Various Speakers. Visitors £2.
Monday 10 March, 3pm Barnet Museum & Local History Society Church House, Wood St, Barnet ((opposite Museum). Maria Merian, an early C17th Scientist and Artist. Talk by Helen Walton.
Wednesday 12 March 2.30pm Mill Hill Historical Society Trinity Church, The Broadway, NW7. Pugin; The Architect of the Palace of Westminster. Talk by Malka Baker. Preceded by A.G.M.
Wednesday 12 March 7.45pm Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, Corner Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park, N8 9PX. She Dared to be a Doctor; The story of Elizabeth Garett Anderson. Talk by Eileen Rowlands. Visitors £2.
Friday 14 March, 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, 2, Parsonage Lane, Enfield EN2 0AJ. Remarkable Pots & Extraordinary Vases – Some unusual byways of Archaeological Ceramics. Jacqui Pearce (HADAS course tutor) Visitors £1; refreshments, sales and info from 7.30pm.
Wednesday 19th March, 7.30pm Willesden Local History Society St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane NW10 2TS (nr. Magistrates Court). The Beauty of Gothic Architecture in Willesden.
Talk by Julienne McClean.
Wednesday 19 March, 8pm Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St, Wealdstone. History Book evening Visitors £1.
Thursday 20 March, 7.30pm Camden History Society Joint with Friends of Highgate Cemetery 10A, South Grove, N6 (Highgate Village). Who Lies in Highgate Cemetery? Talk by writers involved in new guide. Please Note; The venue for their talk of 20 Feb is Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 – details in January HADAS newsletter. Visitors £1.
Thursday 20 March, 8.15pm Hampstead Scientific Society Crypt Room, St John’s Church, Church Row, NW3. The Star-crossed Stone – the archaeology, mythology and folklore of fossil sea urchins. Talk by Dr Ken McNamara. Part of Science Week. Refreshments at interval.
Friday 21 March, 7pm CoLAS St Olaves’ Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7NB. Roman coins – a window on the past. Talk by Ian Franklin, visitors £2.
Friday 21 March, 7.30pm Wembley History Society English Martyr’s Hall, Chalk Hill Road, Wembley HA9 9EW. The Life and Legacy of George Peabody. Talk by Christine Wagg. Visitors £2. Refreshments available.
Saturday 22 March 11am–5.30pm L.A.M.A.S Archaeological Conference Weston Theatre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN.. Morning session 11–1; Recent Work Afternoon session 2-5.30: Entertainment in Tudor and Stuart London (including all those Southwark theatres and bear baiting venues – Ed)
Tuesday 25 March, 1pm Gresham College Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, EC1N 2HH. The Museum and Historical Collections of the Bank of England. Talk by Jennifer Adam. Free admission.
Wednesday 26 March, 7.45pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Society North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. The Turin Shroud. Talk by Colin Barrett. Visitors £2. Refreshments before and after meeting.
Thursday 27 March, 8pm Finchley Society Drawing Room, Avenue House East End Road, N3 3QE. Discussion – please see March/April newsletter for further details. Visitors £2.