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Newsletter 597 – December 2020

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No. 597 DECEMBER 2020 Edited by Don Cooper


Wishing you all a happy and cheerful Christmas.

HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events

Please note that until further notice all lectures will be held online via Zoom due to coronavirus. We will be sending out an invitation email with instructions about how to join on the day of each talk. Keep an eye open for them!

Belated AGM

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for HADAS is normally held in June two months after the Society’s year end on 31st March of any given year. However, the June AGM for 2020 had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The society is required to submit its report and audited accounts to the Charity Commissioners by the end of January 2021, hence a proforma AGM will be held on 12th January 2021 to approve the report and accounts.


The agenda for the revised AGM is follows:

Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Notice of the delayed 59th Annual General Meeting of the Society, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, from Tuesday 9th June 2020 to Tuesday 12th January 2021, which will be conducted as an event using Zoom at 7.15 for 7.30pm.


Chairman’s welcome and opening comments.

1) Apologies for absence.

2) Approve the minutes of 11th June 2019.

3) Approve the Committee’s reports and audited accounts.

4) Approve the appointment of Stewart Wild as Independent Examiner of the Society’s accounts


The lockdown has restricted our activities this year. As we look forward, it would benefit the Society to have more and perhaps newer members on the committee to help build our future. We are currently below full strength as permitted by our constitution and rules.

Anybody considering becoming a member of the Committee can complete a nomination form below and send it to the Secretary by post or email to arrive by 5th January.

Jo Nelhams (Secretary)


Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Nomination Form



for the office of_________________________as a member of the Committee*.


I_____________________________________________consent to nomination.


*Delete as appropriate.

The details should be returned to the Hon. Secretary, Jo Nelhams, 61 Potters Road, Barnet Herts EN5 5HS by post or email to be received not later than 7 days before the Annual General Meeting.


Following the AGM there will be a talk by Dr Bly Straube – Senior Curator at Jamestown Settlement, Virginia, USA. Entitled “Surprises from the Soil: Archaeological Discoveries at 17th-Century Jamestown, Virginia.” Most of the primary source materials for 17th-century Virginia in the way of maps, manuscripts, and other documents have been identified through the centuries and have been used by historians to interpret life in England’s first successful transatlantic settlement that began at Jamestown in 1607. Archaeology, especially excavations over the past quarter century, has been providing new and compelling information that has prompted fresh ideas about the past. This presentation will focus on the archaeological discoveries at Jamestown since 1994 and the true “surprises from the soil.”

HADAS October Lecture BY ZOOM Jim Nelhams

Since the lockdown began in March, we have not been able to stage lectures at Avenue House. The lecture on Tuesday 13th October by Les Capon came as a first – being delivered by Zoom. Apologies to those members who do not have the technology to watch, but it is surely preferable to reach as many of our members as we can. Also, the lecture was recorded and is


available on the HADAS YouTube channel which is available to HADAS members only. The lecture URL should not be passed to any non-members but is available to those members that were unable to view the original lecture.

As a singer, I’ve taken part in many concerts and on occasions have suspected that the critics were not actually there, so I must confess that I was not at the first showing, and this write-up is only possible because of the recording.

The subject of the evening was “Excavations at Eastcote House Gardens: 2012 – 2017” and the lecturer was Les Capon of AOC Archaeology Group.

The excavations were possible with lottery funding to allow digging for a month each year for 5 years. There was no work in 2013. Volunteers came from Friends of Eastcote Gardens and other local groups and schools. Over the years, more than 300 volunteers took part with up to 40 at any one time.

The first records of a house were in 1494 in a will, but pottery indicates a start date between 1200 and 1350. Most of the residents since 1494 are known. The will mentions two closes, Hopkytts (later Hopkyttes) and Droker.

Around 1600, Hopkytts had been flattened and a new larger Eastcote House built on the site. Eastcote House was declared derelict in the 1960s and demolished with the demolition rubble bulldozed into the cellars. A medieval stable block remains, which was converted in the 1960s to become a snooker hall, with the upper floor being removed nicely showing the timber frame of the building.

Of Eastcote House, some pictures remain, and a helpful floor plan had been drawn during a survey in 1936 by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.
The cellar spaces proved to be rich in remains of the building structure including a large number of nails. Some finds from Hopkytts were found dumped in a ditch. Most of the finds will be housed in a new museum in Hillingdon.

In the later digs, a further building was found within the park area. Was this Droker? It gave the appearance of being a smithy.

The park staff have laid out the footprint of Eastcote House using brick and stone so that people can see the location. More historical information can be found at There are also some pictures of the digs in Photos section.

The “attendance” at this meeting was similar to our face-to-face lectures, and some members who might not normally be able to reach Avenue House were able to join in.

An Interesting Tree – Update Sylvia Javes

Last year when we visited South Wales for our HADAS trip, I was intrigued by a wonderful tree at Margam Park near Port Talbot. I researched it and wrote about it for the HADAS newsletter –published in the December edition. This was a Cut-leaf or Fern-Leaf Beech situated in the ruined Chapter House of Margam Abbey. The tree is enormous and takes up most of the space of the Chapter House.

Fast forward to summer this year, when the Woodland Trust were inviting members of the public to vote for the ‘Tree of the Year’ for England, Wales, and Scotland. I noted that the Margam Abbey tree was nominated for Wales, so I voted for it. I am delighted to say that it won.


Llinos Humphreys from the Woodland Trust Wales said:

‘An historic fern-leaved beech enveloping the remains of one of the first Cistercian abbeys in Wales has been crowned Wales Tree of the Year 2020.

The Chapter House Tree beat off competition from five other finalists in an online vote run by Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales.

Located within Margam Park, Port Talbot its canopy has provided shelter to visitors for many years – from Victorian tea parties to a favourite summer picnic spot for present day visitors.
David Elward, who nominated the tree, said:

“I’ve been visiting Margam Park since I was a schoolboy, and this famous beech tree has been a reliable constant. Standing under its sweeping canopy, adjacent to the 12th Century Cistercian monastery and ruins, feels like you’re in a secret and magically historic space – nature’s version of a ‘cwtch’*. It’s one of my favourite places to photograph.”

It seems David isn’t alone, with the tree providing an atmospheric backdrop featuring in TV and film productions from Dr Who and Songs of Praise with Sir Bryn Terfel to the recent Netflix blockbuster series Sex Education.

The winning tree will receive a £1000 Care Award thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This can be spent on work to improve its health, signage or a public celebration.’

* cwtch- a cuddle or hug


Finchley Way Open Space Bill Bass

The Friends of Finchley Way Open Space (FoFWOS) have been in touch with us on proposals to landscape an area where ‘Brent Lodge’ once stood near Nether St and Finchley Way, West Finchley. The space is owned by Barnet Council and FoFWOS help to maintain it.
In the past HADAS have done fieldwork there digging several trenches in the 1970s in an effort to discover evidence for a building which predated the lodge. This earlier structure was built c1612 and demolished c1807. Early 17th century pottery was found to indicate this structure lay nearby.

Brent Lodge itself was built in 1810 by a local benefactor, being pulled down in 1962. The site also contains a ‘wooded’ area which once formed a kitchen garden and orchard that later became allotments.

So FoFWOS have borrowed the HADAS files to copy and digitise them.
There is an idea for HADAS to return for further fieldwork next year in lieu of the landscaping. The proposal leaflet and more of the interesting history of this site is available here (

The site today looking east, the houses of ‘The Drive’ are visible with Nether St beyond them. This shows the Brent Lodge ‘house-platform’ with the wooded area to the left. Note the fairly sharp change in levels – should be interesting to survey.


But is it Art? David Willoughby

Scholars of the Aegean Bronze Age often discuss whether Bronze Age people had the concept of art in the same sense that we do. The Collins dictionary concisely defines the term ‘art’ as ‘consisting of paintings, sculpture, and other pictures or objects which are created for people to look at and admire or think deeply about’. We know that Aegean bronze age peoples produced objects and paintings that we today admire and think deeply about such as the grave goods from the shaft graves at Mycenae or the frescos found in Minoan and Theran ‘palaces’ and buildings but we have no way of knowing that these peoples regarded them in the same light. It is entirely possible that Bronze Age ‘art’ was produced solely for ritualistic or religious purposes or to merely reflect the status of an individual or group of people.

(A gold inlaid sword blade from Mycenae grave circle A depicting a cat hunting birds. 16thC BCE)

The Bronze Age texts that we can read (Mycenaean Linear B, Hittite cuneiform tablets for example) are for the most part to do with administration or religious rituals and do not touch on abstract concepts like “art”.

(The throne room at Knossos, decorated with frescos with griffin motif. Minoan 15thC BCE)


Excavations in Greece at Pylos by the University of Cincinnatti commencing 2015 have uncovered the ‘Grave of the Griffin Warrior’ (so called because of the griffin iconography on some the grave goods). This early Mycenaean grave of a 5ft stocky warrior dating from the 15thC BCE is unusual for the area in being a shaft grave rather than a beehive shaped Tholos tomb and for this reason it has remained untouched by tomb robbers.
This grave is remarkable not only because of the richness and quantity of grave goods but also because of the how they demonstrate the influence that Minoan culture and beliefs had on Mycenaeans at this time. Many of the objects although beautiful, clearly depict religious motifs but there is one seal stone that is exquisite and depicts three warriors in combat.
Although a practical object which perhaps this warrior used to mark his ownership or approval by impressing into clay tablets or seals attached to jars, it is surely something that would have chimed with his position in society, something perhaps he used to hold up and admire and ponder over ……. so is it art?

(The Pylos Combat Agate, found in the Griffin Warrior’s grave, is an extraordinarily fine seal stone measuring only 1.4inches wide. It depicts the final moments of a battle among warriors.)

With many thanks to this month’s contributors: David Willoughby, Sylvia Javes,
Jim Nelhams, Jo Nelhams, Bill Bass



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 Roger Chapman, 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP (07855 304488)

Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,
East Barnet EN4 8FH (0208 440 8421)

Website at:


Newsletter 596 – November 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments

  No. 596      NOVEMBER 2020              Edited by Sue Willetts


HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events

Please note that until further notice all lectures will be held online via Zoom due to coronavirus. We will be sending out an invitation email with instructions about how to join on the day of each talk. Keep an eye open for them!

Tuesday 10th November 2020, 8pm: London’s Roman and Medieval Wall. Lecture by Dr Jane Sidell.

December – As yet, no decision has been made concerning a Christmas gathering.

Tuesday 12th January 2021 Surprises from the Soil: Archaeological Discoveries at 17th-Century Jamestown, Virginia. Talk by Dr Bly Straube – Senior Curator at Jamestown Settlement, Virginia USA.

HADAS using “new” technology

The pandemic has seen a great increase in the use of technology, not just in business. Prime among these is the use of Zoom (or equivalent) for online meetings. Families split by lockdown are able to see each other and talk, but there are so many other uses. Zoom can be run on laptops, desktops, Ipads or even phones.

The use of Zoom means that we are not restricted by geography in choosing our lecturers. Our January lecture will be coming from the other side of the Atlantic. Suggestions for other lecturers outside our normal area would be welcomed by Steve Brunning (

The Lecture by Les Capon on 13th October was entitled Medieval Houses to Community Archaeology: Excavations at Eastcote House Gardens, 2012-17. This was our first lecture using the Zoom facility (thanks to David Willoughby for organising this) and there were 29 households “tuning in” to hear about the excavations at Eastcote House Gardens. An important aspect of the project was the successful involvement of local volunteers.


Afterwards, there was time for a few questions and for those who were not able to listen live, the lecture is available via the HADAS website for members only on the HADAS YouTube channel using this link: Note that lectures can only be recorded with the express permission of the lecturer.

A write-up of the lecture will appear in the December newsletter.

Before the start, there was an opportunity for some online socialising which was very welcome.

On 22nd September, David Willoughby organised a trial run with Zoom for members in the form of a quiz. There were rounds on history, London, archaeology and general knowledge. An enjoyable event and a good test of the technology and seeing others of course including those who have moved away from London.

Are you missing out? We can only send you the information needed to connect to our Zoom events if we have your email address. If you are receiving your newsletter by email, then we already have it. If your newsletter comes by post, we may still have your email address, but maybe not. If you are in doubt, please send your email address to, preferably by email so that we can be certain to record the correct punctuation. Adding your email address to our system means that any circulars we issue should reach you promptly.

Malcolm Stokes, 1933-2020 Eric Morgan

Malcolm Stokes sadly died in July after a long stay in hospital. He was a long-standing member of HADAS. He had a lifelong interest in history and archaeology. In fact he met his future wife, Isobel on an archaeological dig in Canterbury in 1965.

He was a long-time committee member of the Hornsey Historical Society and had an interest in the Bishop of London’s connection with Highgate and wrote on the Bishop’s Deer Park and Hunting Lodge. He had given HADAS a lecture on this in recent years.

He had an abiding interest in boundaries and wrote A walk along the ancient boundaries of Kenwood in 1995 of which HADAS had many copies for sale. He also led a walk for HADAS around Kenwood pointing out all the boundary stones to us, some years ago. Malcolm died in the Whittington Hospital on 19th July 2020 and will be very much missed.

HADAS Basement Room HQ Bill Bass

We have been meeting on Sunday mornings again at Avenue House. Unfortunately we’ve had to limit them a bit due to the Covid situation. We have been mostly re-organising the archive files, photos/slides and HADAS business papers and accommodating older material once held by Chris Newbury including files from Bridget Grafton-Green, Ted Sammes and other stalwarts of the society.

We have also tidied-up the tool room to make it more accessible and are continuing re-order the book collection. There are a number of finds that need cataloguing and storage.

The team have attended two events at Clitterhouse Farm, Cricklewood with our display of HADAS excavations held there since 2015 up to our last dig in 2019.


They continue with building their new cafe area (under where HADAS dug in 2019) which should be finished soon – two photographs show this area.
Photos by Melvyn Dresner
Air Raid Shelters and Medieval Farms Roger Chapman

Every now and again HADAS receives a request to look at a feature, a structure or building to see what we think. The recent mediaeval building in Barnet High Street which Bill Bass wrote about in the October newsletter is one example.

In August 2020 HADAS received an email from a resident in Mill Hill about a structure in her garden and whether we would like to examine it. The resident said that:

“The house had a deep crater in the front garden when we moved in (15 years ago) and a lot of debris (glass, roof tiles etc) in the back-garden soil. There was a structure covered over with wooden planks in the back garden which we were curious about, it appears to be sealed/covered. We have been told that it’s a WWII bunker and that probably a bomb fell near the house during the war, accounting for the crater and debris.”

This tempted me as, along with a friend who also has a keen interest in Military History, I have been working on an idea to set up a Facebook page called ‘Barnet at War’ to identify


military objects, structures, memorials etc. that still exist in Barnet and make sure that they are recorded before, as so often happens, they are lost to development.

Before going I did some research and found that this garden could be have greater interest than just a Second World War air raid shelter. Using the 1912 historic OS map from the National library of Scotland and laying it over a modern satellite image it looks like the garden could contain structures from Dole Street Farm. This farm appears on Whishaw’s 1812 map of Hendon and features on the 1754 John Roque map. The surrounding roads of Wise Lane and Dole Street can be traced back to this time and may well be mediaeval in origin.

The World War two bomb map of Hendon shows a bomb strike near the property adding some credence to the resident’s story about the crater.

My friend and I arrived early so we decided to visit Mill Hill Cemetery, just over the road. Here we found The Netherlands Field of Honour, established in 1965. The plot contains the graves of more than 250 servicemen of the Netherlands, many of them having been brought to the cemetery from other United Kingdom burials grounds. Most of the graves are those of Merchant seamen. We didn’t know about this Field of Honour so that gives us another ‘Barnet at War’ story.

The resident, who is extremely keen on local history gave us a warm welcome and showed us around her back garden and it most certainly does look like there is a shelter of some kind from the Second World War but as yet we have been unable to find reference to it in the Barnet archive or on aerial photos.


The rest of the garden is flat and the terrain suggests that there could be structures underneath towards the rear of the garden.

With the resident’s consent and COVID willing, we hope that HADAS will be able to undertake a quick test pit dig next year to ascertain firstly: what the concrete structure shown in the photograph above is and secondly to see if there is any evidence of farm buildings in the garden.

In the meantime, if you know of any military structures/memorials lurking away in hidden corners of the Borough do drop me an email and let me know.

History beneath us – Parch marks at Cherry Tree Wood, East Finchley Roger Chapman


The dry weather in August 2020 began to reveal a lot of activity at Cherry Tree Wood in East Finchley. A range of parch marks started to appear and began to tell the story about what lies beneath the surface of this small Barnet park and remnant ancient woodland.

Parch marks are mostly caused by buried structures such as walls, pipes and drains or paved areas. The structure inhibits the grass roots in the overlying topsoil and the result is an area of weak growth that can show as a white or brown mark reflecting the shape of the structure underneath.

The photographs above show two parallel lines which I think are underground water pipes – the exposed metal sign part way across the field which reads “pipe” is a good giveaway.

A few years ago, another sign was exposed reading MWB or Metropolitan Water Board. Between 1906-08 the Metropolitan Water Board built two covered reservoirs at Fortis Green. They were supplied from the Staines reservoirs (fed from the River Thames) some 17miles away and conveyed in a 42-inch diameter pipe which crosses Cherry Tree Wood as you can see in the photos. I believe there was a second pipe constructed in the 1920’s, as indicated by the parallel parch marks, but I am still researching to confirm this.

In addition to these marks a regular diagonal pattern of parch marks also appeared, coinciding with large cracks in the earth, some as wide as 9 inches, which are on the line of field drains laid to drain the central grassed area of the park when it was in use as a football pitch. Cherry Tree Wood also has an interesting northern boundary being part of the Bishop of London’s hunting park boundary dating from at least the fourteenth century.

My introduction to re-enactment Bob Michel

Historical re-enacting – what’s the point? On August bank holiday back in 1991 my wife-to-be and I arrived at Boscobel House near Worcester to see Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foote show us. Rawdon’s, for short, is part of the King’s Army of the English Civil War Society. In spite of the following account of my afternoon I must have been convinced, as I remain an active member to this day. Why? Read on…………………


It had all started so promisingly. Boscobel House was easy to find, the sun was shining and the regiment’s Quartermaster seemed pleasant enough. Carried away by this, I allowed our tentative first visit to watch Rawdon’s do what they do best to become something altogether different.

My comfortable holiday-making clothes were soon exchanged for last-in-the-kitbag pikeman’s togs. Not being a stock size I was used to clothes fitting where they touched, but this was something else. The metal helmet would have been even more uncomfortable had it not been a couple of sizes too big. However in the calm of the campsite this mismatch with my head didn’t seem terribly important…………

The Quartermaster asked if I’d played rugby. On receiving an affirmative, he explained that being a pikeman was similar to being in a maul; that is, trying to gain ground at the opposition’s expense. Only here instead of carrying a ball you lugged a 16 foot pike (or spear-like thing) around. I can’t now recall what I thought about that at the time, but I did receive a crash-course in how to manoeuvre said pike. I was now a fit-for-purpose pikeman!

Well almost. My basic training was completed under the tutelage of the Officer i/c the pike division in the re-enactors’ beer tent. What could possibly go wrong?

Well the only thing I can clearly remember about my ‘finishing school’ is that on exiting the beer tent, I unwisely took a short-cut to the toilet area where the chemi-karzis were all lined up. Sadly my hurdling technique left something to be desired and I left a few threads of posterior-area breeches on a barbed wire fence. My first war wound and I hadn’t even left the campsite.

And so to battle. It’s all a bit of a blur now – as then – but I can remember the spiky stubble in the field; the smoke and the shouting; not being able to pick our flag out from all the others being frantically waved around in the identity parade; and an all-encompassing feeling of not knowing what the b****y hell I was doing, or why. In all my battles since it’s never got more authentic than that.

To coin another phrase, it was all over before I was ready. At the final whistle I was very hot, very thirsty and very tired. Moreover I didn’t really know what had happened, let alone who’d won, as my helmet had slipped over my eyes at regular intervals. Back at the campsite I was looking forward to collapsing, which I did, spurning the lunatic-sounding invitation to participate in some energy sapping “RAWDON’S GAMES!”. This proved to be a wise decision as said games involved a lot of running around.

What on earth had I done? But it was already too late to escape from the mad house. As they say the rest, like the real battle of Worcester, is history.


Roman Finds Group Sue Willetts

I was able to attend part of a zoom conference on New Research on Finds from Roman Scotland and the North, on 16-17th October.

There were over 270 people attending this free event. The last session on Saturday morning was on Vindolanda and included talks on gaming boards, spindle whorls and leather remains including what seems to be a toy mouse.

I was very impressed and have joined the group which is £12.00 a year.


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:
Bill Bass, Roger Chapman, Eric Morgan, Bob Michel, 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 Roger Chapman, 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP   (07855 304488)


Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,

                         East Barnet EN4 8FH  (0208 440 8421)      


Website at:



Newsletter 595 – October 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments

No. 595 OCTOBER 2020 Edited by Robin Densem


HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events

Tuesday 13th October 2020, 8pm: From Medieval Houses to Community Archaeology: Excavations at Eastcote House Gardens, 2012-17. Lecture by Les Capon.

Tuesday 10th November 2020, 8pm: London’s Roman and Medieval Wall. Lecture by Dr Jane Sidell.

As yet, no decision has been made concerning a Christmas gathering.

Please note that until further notice all lectures will be held online via Zoom due to coronavirus. We will be sending out an invitation email with instructions about how to join on the day of each talk. Keep an eye open for them!

54a Barnet High Street – a timber framed building Bill Bass

A site visit was made to 54a Barnet High St (currently named ‘Chudy’s) in August by interested parties including HADAS, Barnet Museum and others. We were guided by Architectural consultant, Sherry Bates and by the owner who is asking for planning permission and listed building consent to covert the 1st floor to a dwelling with the ground floor kept for commercial premises.

‘Chudy’s’ stands immediately to the right of the lamp post

A very full Heritage Statement has been produced on this Grade II listed structure. 54a is part of a group of listed buildings here which includes The Mitre Inn complex, these buildings were at one point 3 separate inns but eventually grouped together as The Mitre in 1633 with evidence of interconnecting doors and other features. HADAS dug at the rear of The Mitre in 1990 finding medieval and later pottery, these finds have recently been reviewed as part of the HADAS evening class system.


The modern wall coverings had been stripped away which had revealed much more of the timber-framing than had been expected, it has been found to be largely intact. The timbers (mostly oak) were laser-scanned to produce accurate drawings. Dating of the structure is open to debate at the moment but it’s thought to be quite a lot earlier than the 17th century. There are possible moves afoot to get a tighter date through stylistic and dendrochronological (tree-ring dating) methods especially as many of the timbers are accessible at present.

The idea is to keep as much of the original timbers as possible and sympathetically restore other infilling fabric and so forth. There are also several later additions – roller shutter door, steel beams, staircase etc which will also be kept because to remove them would cause to much disruption and destabilisation.


Aspects of Roman Richborough Robin Densem

The most obvious remains are of the late third century walls of the Saxon Shore fort which still stand in places to a height of 8m. Saxon Shore forts were heavily defended later Roman military installations located exclusively in south east England. They were all constructed during the third century AD, probably between c.AD 225 and AD 285. They were built to provide protection against the sea-borne Saxon raiders who began to threaten the coast towards the end of the second century AD, and all Saxon Shore forts are situated on or very close to river estuaries or on the coast, between the Wash and the Isle of Wight. Saxon Shore forts are also found on the coasts of France and Belgium. The most distinctive feature of Saxon Shore forts is their defences which comprised massive stone walls, normally backed by an inner earth mound, and wholly or partially surrounded by one or two ditches (


The site at Richborough now lies about 2.5km inland from the coast, but in Roman times in was on the western bank of a natural navigable channel. Some plans of the ancient topography, including fig 3 here, show the site as lying on an eyot in the channel.

The navigable width of the Wantsum Channel in Roman times is unknown but it is shown as being wide in 1736.


The Richborough site includes an area of c.40ha containing a variety of archaeological components dating from the Iron Age, Roman and medieval periods.

The Roman site is multi-phased and includes evidence for a mid 1st century AD Roman military style double ditch with an opening/gatewey that is thought to be connected to the Roman invasion of Britain under the emperor Claudius in AD 43. The ditches extend for a length of 700m but their northern and southern ends have been destroyed by erosion and their original, longer, length is unknown. It seems unlikely that the enclosed area could have been large enough for all the Roman invasion army in AD 43, and a defence to defend the natural harbour and a beach/landing place in the Wantsum Channel seems more likely, though still involved with the early stages of the Roman invasion. As the Historic England 2012 guidebook Richborough and Reculver by Tony Wilmott mentions, there have been more than one landing place for the 40,000 strong invasion force in AD 43.


The large masonry rectangle is the base of a 25m high monumental arch, shown to have 10m deep foundations. Much knowledge of the Roman site comes from archaeological excavations carried out the Society of Antiquaries of London between 1922 and 1938 and published in four research reports of the Society by Bushe-Fox, along with a fifth by Barry Cunliffe. All five volumes are available online from Archaeology Data Service (

The invasion camp was used for a period of less than ten years before being levelled to make way for the construction of a military and naval supply base. This helped store and distribute the supplies needed by the Roman forces during their rapid conquest of southern Britain. Part excavation during the 19th and early 20th centuries revealed that the base extended westwards beyond the ditches of the earlier invasion camp and was constructed on a grid pattern. The base survives in buried form and includes traces of timber buildings alongside metalled roads. ( accessed 17th May 2020).


Recent archaeological work by English Heritage and then by Historic England has shown that the civilian settlement that developed around the early Roman 1st century invasion period base extended over some 20ha and included a grid of roads, shops, warehouses and a mansio, or rest house for travellers on the Roman imperial courier service.

It is hoped that archaeological investigations will be carried out to learn more about the amphitheatre.

There is so much Roman archaeology to see at Richborough that it is a bit of a feast, but rather confusing, as laid out for display within walls of the late third century Saxon Shore fort are the lengths of the mid 1st century invasion period Roman military ditches, a 1st century shop, the base of the quadrifons, early 3rd century defensive ditches dug to defend the monumental arch when it became a look-out station within the earth fort, and then the earth fort ditches were backfilled in the later third century, the arch was demolished and the walls of the Saxon Shore fort were built. A fourth century Christian font is displayed,


reflecting the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire from the early fourth century AD.
It is thought that there were some ten Saxon Shore forts in Britain, all built in the later third century AD. The term ‘Saxon Shore’ is known from only one contemporary source, the Notitia Dignitatum.

The forts on the Saxon Shore, popularly associated with defence against Saxon raids, lie on the coast from the Wash to Portsmouth Harbour. One of the forts, on the coast at Walton in Suffolk, has been washed away by the sea The other nine forts each have at least some remains standing ( ) and most of these can be visited but best to check access, times, and admission prices before travelling. Lympne is on private land.

Harvey Sheldon’s 1995 article London and the Saxon shore was published in volume 46 of the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (pages 59-68)


( ) . He wrote (p. 66) The forts are situated on or close to the coast, often at the confluence of major rivers coming from the interior and could have functioned as guarded warehouses where supplies arriving from the interior could be stored before being transported, perhaps in convoy, across the Channel and the North Sea to the Continent.

A good clue to this, Harvey mentioned to me recently, is the remark of the emperor Julian of convoys from Britain supplying his Roman troops campaigning across the Rhine in the later 4th century AD.


All in all Richborough is a wonderful site to visit. Years ago I used to lead adult education classes on weekend trips to Roman Kent from London. We used to stop off at Lullingstone Roman Villa, then go on to a ruined Roman mausoleum in a field at Stone-by-Faversham, then on to the Saxon Shore fort at Reculver where a pub was also visited. Richborough in the afternoon and then we stayed overnight in Canterbury. Sunday started at the Roman lighthouse in Dover Castle, then the wonderful Roman Painted House also in Dover, and if time we visited Dover Museum which then featured model figures of the invasion army with Claudius astride an elephant! The final stop was the wonderfully beautiful site of the Roman Saxon shore fort at Lympne. I have a handful of successive editions of guide books to Richborough and Reculver, representing visits over perhaps 20 years. The current (2012) Historic England version by Tony Wilmott titled Richborough and Reculver is an absolute cracker, it is marvelous! I don’t think there is public access to the amphitheatre at Richborough at present but it can be glimpsed, I think, from a footpath.



Richborough Roman fort is in the care of English Heritage and there is an admission charge to visit the site if it is open, so best to check. People may need to book their visit.
Acknowledgements:: I am grateful for help from Joe Abrams , Duncan Butt, English Heritage, Historic England, Jim Nelhams, Sandy Paul, Harvey Sheldon, and Tony Wilmott. All errors are mine.

A Footnote to HADAS taking to the Waters (Newsletter 594) Robert Michel

Further to Jim Nelhams’ piece ‘HADAS taking the Waters’ (Newsletter 594), Andy Simpson and other rail enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that the Berney Arms windmill near Great Yarmouth is not only accessible by boat. Norwich to Yarmouth trains via Reedham will stop at the mighty Berney Arms Halt if you give the Conductor sufficient warning. The mill is only a short walk across the marshes from the halt’s modest platform, but take Wellington boots if it’s been raining. This all pre-supposes the rail company hasn’t discontinued this service – in the best journalistic tradition I haven’t checked before taking to the keyboard!


With many thanks to this month’s contributors: Bill Bass and Robert Michel

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 Roger Chapman, 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP (07855 304488)


Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,
East Barnet EN4 8FH (0208 440 8421)


Join the HADAS email discussion group via the website at:


Newsletter 593 – August 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments

No. 593               AUGUST 2020           Edited by Jim Nelhams

Reminder: Our Annual General Meeting could not take place in June due, of course, to the coronavirus situation and we still do not know when it will be possible to arrange another date. Meanwhile, the committee remains in place. There will also be no Tuesday lectures until further notice. However, the monthly Newsletters should continue as usual.

Your Newsletter needs YOU

This is your newsletter – it is for you and about you, your interests and your Society. In the last twelve years, many members have volunteered to write-up parts of our Autumn trips, giving interesting and varied material for newsletters over the winter months. This year, it will not happen, nor do we have any lecture write-ups, so we have gaps to fill.

You can help put this right by sending in your articles about places or things of interest.

The editor of the next newsletter is always shown at the end of the last page. You can send things to them, or to Jim Nelhams ( If you need a little help, you can talk to Jim on 020 8449 7076.


The Next Finds in Focus Course                                   Don Cooper

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 Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE on Wednesday evenings, 6.30–8.30, starting on 7th October 2020


All are welcome – it doesn’t matter whether or not you have experience of working with archaeological finds!

Course fee: £295 for 22 sessions. To book, contact Don Cooper; tel. 020 8440 4350) or Jacqui Pearce (; tel. 020 8203 4506). Please


make cheques payable to HADAS and send to Don Cooper, 59 Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS.


As the lockdown is loosened, places are gradually re-opening though with appropriate precautions. At this time, you may be unwilling to travel on public transport, but there are some places you can reach by car, and you can start planning future trips.

All the following museums/galleries appear to be open but check because the situation may change.

Foundling Museum

London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton will reopen for visitors to explore for its first ever summer season! This trove of transport treasures will now be open for 10-days of summer family fun from Wednesday 19 to Sunday 23 and Wednesday 26 to Sunday 30 August 2020. (The main museum in Covent Garden remains closed.)

Museum of London

Museum of Docklands

National Army Museum,

National Gallery

Natural History Museum (closed Bank Holiday 31st August)

Royal Academy

Science Museum from 19th August.

Tate Britain and Tate Modern

Victoria and Albert (selected galleries open from 6th August)

Most of these will have one way systems and may need to be pre-booked and will not have any catering facilities available – so you may need to take your own food.

English Heritage – South East sites

Open now

Battle Abbey and Battlefield
Carisbrooke Castle
Dover Castle
Eltham Palace
Home of Charles Darwin
Marble Hill House
Pevensey Castle


Richborough Roman Fort
St Augustine’s Abbey
Walmer Castle and Gardens

Opening 1st August

Apsley House
Deal Castle
Jewel Tower
Lullingstone Roman Villa
Medieval Merchant’s House
Portchester Castle
Ranger’s House – The Wernher Collection
Wellington Arch

National Trust

Most gardens are now open, and houses are being added to the open list.

Epping Ongar Railway

Getting Back on Track – Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday in August

Take a scenic ride through the Essex countryside and into the ancient Epping Forest on board our diesel multiple unit, which offers panoramic views. See how much wildlife you can spot, and if it’s sunny you might be able to get a great view over London as you pass over what was formerly the highest point on the London Underground network!  (Bookings needed)

For more information see

Museum of London Move

From their website – “The Museum of London is on the move. We want to tell the extraordinary story of London and Londoners in a new museum in West Smithfield, which is itself a deeply fascinating and historic area.

We want to engage Londoners and visitors with their city and its history, giving them the means to participate as citizens in all sorts of new ways. We want to display many more objects in a more meaningful way.”

The new museum site, which will be nestled in London’s potentially transformational Culture Mile development, has been conceived as a way to attract new audiences and connect a greater number of visitors with the institution’s London Collection.

Planning approval comes four years into the project, with work to this point having been led by Museum of London’s design team, architects Stanton Williams and Asif Khan, and conservation architect Julian Harrap. The local community, museum visitors and London residents have been consulted at every stage as the plans were formulated.


Excavations at Clitterhouse Farm, Cricklewood by HADAS in 2019 (Part 9)                                                          Bill Bass and Melvyn Dresner

This is a collection of photos from the excavation mostly by Melvyn, please see Newsletter June 2020 (591) for the full report, the dig took place August 2019.

HADAS hard at work in what were very hot conditions, some form of community filming is also in progress. We are looking north. The car park is beyond the blue hoarding. This shows most of the excavation area.
Again looking north, the dig is to the right between the building with the chimney and the building beyond which is ‘Farm Cottage’. This we speculate is an entrance to the older medieval farm complex.


The dig is in the middle with ‘Farm Cottage’ left, the area is being redeveloped into a permanent cafe and studio spaces (in the right hand building) for the Clitterhouse Farm Project.

Here we are looking west, the structure to the right is the ‘New Farmhouse’ which faces on to Claremont Road, now a private residence.


The remains of the hard standing feature 003, after being lifted, the cobbles and flagstones were saved for reuse by the farm project.
This photo taken from the car-park looks west into the first area we dug in 2015, now a flourishing community garden by the Clitterhouse Farm Project.


Looks like a stage-setting – ‘Poor Yorick
I knew him well’….
Both the above photos show the C&H Hackwood impressed foot rim of Transfer Printed Ware, mid 19th century. Context 014 (Photos BB).


Left: Delft wall tile from context 017, c 18th century (Photo BB).
Right: Selection of pottery including stoneware and Transfer Printed Ware. (Photo BB).
Looking west, the hoarding fronts the excavation area, to the left the building will be used for new studio spaces, in front the late lamented dig van (Photo MD).
Dr Brian Robertson                                                                             Jim Nelhams

Always nice to hear information about past members.

Earlier this month, our Secretary received an email from Dr Brian Robertson OStJ, TD, MICPEM. Dr Robertson explained that he had stumbled across our website while looking for something else related to Hendon.  A past HADAS member, he had noticed that the 1964 excavation at Church End Farm, Hendon was not included in the list of past excavations. (Omission now rectified).

The various digs at the Church End Farm site are documented in “The Last Hendon Farm” published by HADAS. Copies of this are available through Don Cooper (contact information on back page of newsletter) and a copy has been sent to Dr Robertson. The first, in 1961, was directed by Ian Robertson, brother of Brian, Their father was an Army officer.


Ian held a number of posts, ending as Director of the National Army Museum in Chelsea. He also served as an infantry officer in the Territorial Army, serving in the 7th Middlesex Regiment, and later the 4/5th Essex Regiment. He died in 2003. He also had an interest in postal history and served on the Post Office Heritage Board.

Brian also shared interests in both archaeology and postal history. He directed the digs in Hendon in 1964 and 1966, though archaeology was not be to his career. He has kindly sent us copies of publications covering some of his archaeological work, including one on what he describes as his major personal piece of work, “The Investigation and Excavation of Roman Road No. 167 in Copthall Fields”. These will be added to our library at Avenue House.

In 1970, he moved to Medical School, subsequently joining the Army and serving abroad in British Army on the Rhine. He was Squadron Commander of the Ambulance Train Squadron, Royal Army Medical Corps(V) between 1985 and 1994, responsible for ten such trains.

He is documented as recently lecturing to the Forces Postal History Society on the subject of Ambulance and Hospital Trains, going back as early as the Crimean War in 1855. Sounds like an interesting topic.

Down the Tubes at Christ’s Hospital.                                            Jim Nelhams

“Down the Tubes” has different meanings for different people, but for pupils and alumni of Christ’s Hospital, it particularly refers to a series of underground tunnels linking all of the 16 main boarding houses and most of the other major buildings which make up the school.

Christ’s Hospital was founded in 1552 and granted a Royal Charter by Edward VI in the following year with St Thomas’ Hospital and Bridewell Hospital and was on the north side of Cheapside in the City of London, initially occupying the disestablished Greyfriars Monastery.

When St Thomas’ moved in Victorian times to new buildings in Lambeth, opposite the Houses of Parliament, the architects took into account the “pavilion principle” espoused by Florence Nightingale in her “Notes on Nursing”. This meant that the hospital was built in 6 blocks 125 feet (38m) apart and joined by low level tunnels. This was intended to improve overall ventilation and to separate and segregate patients with infectious disease.

In 1902, the school moved to a new location two miles south of Horsham in North Sussex, with new appropriately designed buildings.  To each side of the main school buildings runs an avenue some half mile long, on the north side of which stand the eight main boarding blocks, each containing two boarding houses. These are appropriately spaced following the example of St Thomas’ and are all joined by underground tunnels. The tunnels also lead to nearly all of the main school buildings from that era. When I was there, these could be used to reach the Dining Hall, Chapel or Classrooms in inclement weather. During WW2, they also served as air raid shelters.


The Dining hall (No. 18 on map – top centre)

When asbestos was discovered in the tunnels, most of them were closed off while it was removed and they are still officially inaccessible to pupils.

Christ’s Hospital map showing tunnel system.


The tunnels still serve as the main service ducts throughout the school, carrying water gas and electricity cables and more recently, internet connections. This saves a large sum of money since repairs can be made without the need for any digging from the surface. At one time, the water supply came from the school’s own underground reservoir on a nearby hill. Connecting tunnels also led to the school infirmary, and a longer one to the boiler house which provided hot water and heating to all the buildings, with a short extension to nearly reach the school’s railway station.

Last year, we discovered that Stewart Wild’s father-in-law had been head boy (“Senior Grecian”) at the school and I was able to obtain some information about him from the school’s museum and archive. When a chance occurred, Jo and I took Stewart to visit the school. Knowing that Stewart was a member of Subterranea Britannica (Sub Brit), an organisation dedicated to things underground, we told him about the tunnels and watched his eyes light up. We also gave him a contact at the school.

While tours are not normally available, the reputation of Sub Brit enabled them to arrange a special group tour which took place earlier this year in the February half-term break. Our group of 6, plus two members of the school’s museum staff who had never been down the tunnels, was conducted through parts the system by Building Maintenance Manager Neil Manning for two and a half hours, during which time, we travelled about one mile underground, but had seen less than half of the network. The trip was written up with many pictures in Sub Brit’s, April edition of their magazine occupying nearly 6 pages with a picture on the front cover.

It was very revealing to see what services are needed to run a large boarding school of some 850 pupils.

Weekly News Sheets 

The weekly news sheets have been discontinued. These were intended to pass on tips for use during the lockdown. For reasons of cost, they were not posted to people for whom we had no email address on file.

The news sheets included a number of Lockdown Jimericks including some of the following:



With many thanks to this month’s contributors:

Don Cooper, Bill Bass, Melvyn Dresner


Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman Don Cooper        59, Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS

(020 8440 4350)           e-mail:


Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams          61, Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS

(020 8449 7076)           e-mail:


Hon. Treasurer Roger Chapman   50, Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

(07855 304488)           e-mail:


Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning   Flat 22, Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,

East Barnet  EN4 8FH

(020 8440 8421)            e-mail:


HADAS Web site

Newsletter 592 – July 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters | No Comments
No. 592                             JULY 2020            Edited by Mary Rawitzer

Reminder: Our Annual General Meeting could not take place in June due, of course, to the corona virus situation and we still do not know when it will be possible to arrange another date. Meanwhile, the committee remains in place. There will also be no Tuesday lectures until further notice. However, the monthly Newsletters should continue as usual, as well as Jim Nelhams’s regular informative, enjoyable and sometimes mind-stretching updates. These separate news sheets are only being emailed. If you are not getting a copy, please  email Jim, address on back page.

Curing the Plague                                                                        Peter Pickering

Our Prime Minister is known to be keen on Latin. I wonder if he is modelling himself on the emperor Titus (one of the few who have had a good press). Faced with a plague Titus, according to his biographer Suetonius, “did not refrain from any means, human or divine, for restoring health and alleviating sickness, trying every medicine and every kind of sacrifice.”

Whether he was successful or not in these efforts is not recorded.

Council for British Archaeology                                     Sue Willetts

The annual Council of British Archaeology festival normally takes place in July and this year there will be digital events from 11-19 July and, if it proves possible, a further week of events on the ground from 24 October to 1 November 2020. The theme is Climate and Environment.   

Events posted so far include: Two online tours of Roman London (11th July and 15th July); Archaeology from home with Emma Cunliffe using space technology (13th July); The campaigns of Septimius Severus in the far north of Britain (14th July). Their website is

Other Societies’ and Institutions’ Events

This section is temporarily cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.  However overleaf is the announcement from Don Cooper of HADAS’s very own offering: the next Finds in Focus course, run by Jacqui Pearce.


The Next Finds in Focus Course                       Don Cooper

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 Avenue House,  17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE on Wednesday evenings, 6.30–8.30, starting on 7th October 2020

This year we will be focusing on recording the finds from an excavation carried out by Birkbeck College in 2001 that has not been published.  We are aiming to identify, record, rebag and re-label all the finds including Pottery, Glass and Clay Pipe to Museum of London standards. 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. Teaching sessions on the various types of finds will be complemented by practical handling and recording sessions. Our aims are to introduce the various types of finds and provide hands-on opportunities to become more familiar with post-excavation procedures. 

All are welcome – it doesn’t matter whether or not you have experience of working with archaeological finds!

Course fee: £295 for 22 sessions. To book, contact Don Cooper (; tel. 020 8440 4350) or Jacqui Pearce (; tel. 020 8203 4506). Please make cheques payable to HADAS and send to Don Cooper, 59 Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS.



Under the current coronavirus restrictions, I have since April 2020 taken a number of my permitted exercise walks around West Hendon Playing Fields, shown in Figure 1, a convenient 10-minute walk from my flat.  

These very pleasant 62-acre playing fields are just within Barnet Borough. Directly adjacent is the Silver Jubilee Park,which houses Hendon FC at its southern end. This is in Kingsbury which is part of Brent. Both appear to have a significant history which may well be worth investigating further, particularly as the playing fields are due for updating, and some ground works under a new Barnet Council scheme were approved early in 2020 following public consultation.

The Borough boundary between Barnet and Brent isalso a long-standing field boundary, marked by the substantial north-south hedge line that divides the playing fields from the park.  As summarised below, the site does have some history. To the south it includes Cool Oak Lane, referred to as Cold Duck Lane on some early maps, which divides the playing fields from the main area of the Welsh Harp (Brent) Reservoir. The reservoir was originally just a feeder from the River Brent at Kingsbury dug in 1809/10 when the Grand Junction Canal Co. needed water for their canal at Lower Place, Willesden.


In 1833 the Regent’s Canal Company decided to build the reservoir to supply the Paddington Canal at Harlesden, which opened in 1838. They did this by building a dam at Kingsbury to form the reservoir in 1835-39 using the existing feeder. 

Before this the area had been grazing land either side of the Silk Stream and the River Brent. The Silver Jubilee Park is now bordered on the south by the Brent Reservoir nature reserve. For a full history and description, see

Late  Bronze Age ‘cinerary urns of the  Ashford type’  were found on the Kingsbury side of the Welsh Harp/Brent Reservoir around 1930 at grid reference NGR TQ218872 and, during lowering of the water level and strengthening of the banks of the reservoir in 1974, members of the Wembley Historical Society found a copper as of Constantius II who reigned from AD337-361. (The as is a coin worth a quarter sestertius).

The playing fields and the neighbouring Silver Jubilee Park run roughly parallel with the Edgware Road, bounded in the north by the east-west Kingsbury Road, close to where it joins the Edgware Road in Colindale.  It is here that our friends the Romans enter the scene – much of the western border of Hendon being, since the time of the Medieval Parish of Hendon, formed by the line of the Roman Road from London to Verulamium and the Midlands, later named Watling Street in Saxon times and today called the Edgware Road, except in the area of West Hendon with part of the Welsh Harp and the Cool Oak area where there is a pronounced ‘bulge’ to the west away from the line of the road.

Sherds of Roman pottery were apparently found at the site of the former Hendon Isolation Hospital in Goldsmith Avenue, south of the Kingsbury Road, which is close to the Edgware Road and runs down towards Fryent Fields and the north end of the West Hendon Playing Fields – at grid reference TQ 213884; HER ref 081917. They were actually reported by Ian Robertson of the Passmore Edwards Museum and a HADAS member who directed the HADAS excavation at Church Farm.

The former isolation hospital, latterly a geriatric hospital by 1970, was built in 1929 , expanded by 1940, but demolished in 1984 and replaced by housing; see

In Domesday book the whole Parish of Hendon was in the Hundred of Gore, held by Westminster Abbey, the boundaries seemingly largely fixed by the late 10th century.  Hugh Petrie, in Hendon & Golders Green Past, and the Victoria County History (VCH) volume on Middlesex record that from 1442 All Souls College, Oxford, owned considerable amounts of land in Hendon, Edgware and Kingsbury, in scattered parcels giving a total of 224acres.

West Hendon Playing Fields were originally part of an estate given to the Knights Templar in 1243, passing to St Pauls Cathedral in 1544, the 110 acre estate being leased to the Duke of Chandos and his descendants in the 18th Century. In 1872 it was vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and most of it was sold to Hendon U.D.C in 1919 for use as the West Hendon Playing Fields and park.

On the 1896 one-inch OS Map the general area south of Kingsbury Road is marked as Townsend; today the western edge of the Silver Jubilee playing fields is bounded by Townsend Lane. Open country still stretched south from West Hendon to Cricklewood railway sidings in 1914, while the badly drained ground on the Kingsbury border never attracted housing.  Latterly known as Reets Farm, producing hay for the London market by 1894, the playing fields area became Kingsbury Lane Playing Fields after the sale to Hendon Council in 1919. Since 1924 it has been called West Hendon Playing Fields. As noted in the  Middlesex VCH, in 1932 Hendon Borough Council owned 793½ acres of open spaces in Hendon and Edgware including Moat Mount open space (67 a.), Arrandene Park (57 a.),


Watling Park (46 a.), Montrose Playing Fields (30 a.), Copthall Park (146 a.), West Hendon Playing Fields (62 a.), Woodfield Park (40 a.) and Clitterhouse Playing Fields (50 a.).

Shown on the 1873 6-inch Ordnance Survey map under its earlier name of Rise Farm,  Reets farm is shown on the 6-inch OS map for 1897 sitting just below the sloping 200ft contour line.               By 1935-6 when the map was revised on the eve of sale of the land to Wembley U.D.C as Silver Jubilee Park, it had been demolished and the site cleared.

The Reets Farmhouse and outbuildings still survived amongst trees in 1929, with post-1912 allotment gardens between it and the Kingsbury Road in the area near the top of what is now the Silver Jubilee Park playing fields, and its former farmland area was occupied by the park, West Hendon Playing Fields, a nursery and  allotment gardens.  See

The farm is commemorated by a street name, Reets Farm Close, near Goldsmith Avenue and the junction of Kingsbury Road and Edgware Road. 

The allotment gardens, with Reets Farm, its extensive outbuildings to the east of the farmhouse, and the extensive newly built Isolation Hospital can be seen in aerial photographs taken in 1929. see and

Fig.2 View of site of Reets Farm, up-slope towards Kingsbury Road

For a view of Reets Farm see image at Barnet archives web page.

Today the West Hendon Playing Fields remain a public park with several football pitches forming a large grassed area and with scattered mature trees.


There are two quite marked hedge lines – one of them running north-south dividing West Hendon Playing Fields from Silver Jubilee Park and forming the Borough boundary, the other an east-west ditch, bank and tree line at the northern end which may be of some age, dividing the site in two. Both are clearly shown on the Ordnance Survey first edition 6-inch map of 1873 with no other hedge lines at that point crossing what is now the park. The eastern boundary of what is now the playing fields was formed by the Edgware Road on the 1873 map.

Rocque’s 1756 map of Middlesex appears to show the same hedge lines/boundaries; at this time the area was held by St Paul’s Cathedral and All Souls College.

In the West Hendon fields there is a distinct rectangular area at the NW corner, bounded by the above mentioned hedge lines. At the northern end of this field the dry weather of May 2020 revealed a very distinct east-west parch mark showing as a slightly raised bank on the ground. It appears to be a former roadway of unclear date that runs from a northern pedestrian entrance to the park and terminates at the north-south hedge line.

Fig. 3 View north, with east-west hedge line meeting north-south borough boundary,             with site of Reets Farm visible on slope through gap in hedge

There is a pleasant area of woodland at the southern and eastern edges of the playing fields.  There are also two tennis courts, several football pitches, a children’s playground, a private bowls club, and a car park.


The Eastern boundary of the playing fields is formed by the northern arm of the Brent Reservoir up to the Edgware Road where it narrows to become the course of the Silk Stream. 

The reservoir was enlarged between 1851 and 1853, though part of the northern arm reaching north-east of the Edgware Road was reclaimed when the stream under the road was culverted in 1921.

The area at TQ21487 (Cool Oak Lane) was the site of landfill – recorded in data from the British Geological Survey supplied to the Environment Agency. It is not known whether this site was made or worked land, and the date of the infill is unknown, although all finds were of 19th/20th century date, suggesting it was part of this work.                .

During the London Blitz September 1940-June 1941, the area of the playing fields was hit by at least three high explosive bombs near Fryent Grove and Goldsmith Avenue, and on the western side there is a heavily disturbed area of ground with one or more possible bomb craters  still visible on the ground, with at least one more hitting the Silver Jubilee Playing Fields– see

Former Royal Air Force Museum colleague Christopher Herbert suggests that the bombs that hit the playing fields were intended for the AA battery located in the adjacent Silver Jubilee Park to defend the nearby LMS railway marshalling yards at Cricklewood.

The first bombs hit the outskirts of the Hendon area on 5 September 1940, with the nearby Hendon airfield and its environs being bombed on 24-25 September and the nights of 7-8 October and 8 November, with sporadic raids on the area until the Spring of 1941.

This latest version of the report includes some changes made after the public consultation with various conservation bodies. It is intended to install two artificial turf pitches at the southern end of the site which may impact on any surviving archaeological features such as earlier field boundaries.

The planned changes to the park can be viewed at: report-and-draft-final-master-plan


In neighbouring Kingsbury by 1965 there were 262 acres of open space, most of which, having also been part of the medieval Hundred of Gore, had also been acquired from All Souls College, Oxford. The college sold the land forming Silver Jubilee Park (36 acres) to Wembley U.D.C. in 1936 and Fryent open space (160 acres) to Middlesex County Council in 1938. Roe Green Park (20 acres) had been acquired in 1934.

For a description of the hourglass-shaped Silver Jubilee Park see: Grid ref TQ209881. It is bounded to the north by the Kingsbury Road, to the west by the hedge line separating it from the West Hendon Playing Fields, and to the East by Townsend Lane, which, as with the northern part of the park, rises steeply towards its junction with the Kingsbury Road, the boundary here being a modern hedge line.


Rather more recent is the site of the Second World War heavy anti-aircraft battery located in the park, recorded in the 1990s CBA Defence of Britain survey; heavy anti-aircraft battery ZW14 at Silver Jubilee Park, West Hendon, was listed as armed in 1940-2. It was manned by 370 Battery of the 117th Royal Artillery Regiment in 1943. In 1946 it was retained as a Nucleus Force Headquarters Battery. 

The earliest date upon which the site is listed as present within the sources is Feb 1940 and the latest 15 Jan 1946. The site was unarmed/manning vacant in 1940; Regiment 71, Battery 325 on 30 July 1942; Regiment 137 (mixed), Battery 476 on 9 Dec 1943. NGR ref TQ211881.


With many thanks to this month’s contributors: 

Don Cooper, Peter Pickering, Andy Simpson and Sue Willetts 

Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman  Don Cooper   59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts EN5 5HS

(020 8440 4350)        e-mail:

Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams 61, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts EN5 5HS

(020 8449 7076)        e-mail:

Hon. Treasurer Roger Chapman   50, Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

(07855 304488)           e-mail:

Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning   Flat 22, Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,

 East Barnet, EN4 8FH

(020 8440 8421)         e-mail:

Web site:



Newsletter 591 – June 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments
No. 591                                   JUNE 2020                    Edited by Melvyn Dresner

The Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 9 June 2020 will not now take place due to the situation created by the coronavirus. At the present time we do not know when it will be possible to arrange another date. There will also be no Tuesday lectures until further notice. The monthly Newsletters should continue as usual. Keep well and safe until we meet again.

Layers of London                                                                         Melvyn Dresner

Adam Corsini, of the Layers of London project gave a talk for HADAS on 10th March 2020, provided members with a practical session on how members can contribute and use this great resource. This website was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and brings together an amazing set of historic maps, and databases useful to anyone interested in the archaeology and history of London. You can add to data by contributing existing projects or can initiate your own. You can explore the map or the collections. The website allows users to overlay maps and data from different sources and periods, varying the order and fade. Datasets include the Archaeology of Greater London; London’s Archaeological Investigations 1972 – 2017 and Historic Environment Record.

Excavations at Clitterhouse Farm, Cricklewood by HADAS in 2019 (Part 8, Investigations beneath the café area in the north corner of the farm complex)                                                       Bill Bass and the Fieldwork Team

Clitterhouse Farm, Claremont Road, Cricklewood, NW2 1PH. Site code: CTH16, NGR: TQ 2368 8684, SMR: 081929, Site investigated August 2019. For background on this project please see HADAS Newsletters 539 (Feb 2016), 542 (May 2016), 543 (June 2016), 544 (July 2016), 556 (July 2017), 557 (Aug 2017) and 579 (June 2019).

Please also see other maps in HADAS Newsletters 542, 543 and 556 etc.



Clitterhouse Farm, a moated manor site, has a long documentary history. Archaeological research work is being carried out to try and establish the Saxon/medieval and later layout of the site and the surrounding landscape use. Following on from previous the work here, the Clitterhouse Farm Project was demolishing their temporary café to be replaced with a purpose-built structure and building of new studio spaces in the northern range of the farm. HADAS was asked to carry-out initial archaeological investigations after the café was demolished. The temporary café was built between a gap in the northern range and the ‘Farm Cottage’, although the farm buildings have been rearranged over the years this is thought to be the original farm entrance which led into the moated area from the south-west, at least from the 17th century and probably earlier as seen on various maps, also see Newsletter 543 (June 2016). The 2019 dig began with site-watching of the removal of the substantial concrete slab which covered the area approximately 6m (E-W) x 5.60m (N-S), this was carried out by the groundwork contractor’s machine.


Some 15 members took part over the length of the dig, in sometimes very hot conditions, in fact the hottest week of the year. With the concrete removed the excavation started, beneath the concrete a sandy/gravel and cobbled surface began to emerge. This mixed layer (001) consisted of a sandy-silt with small to medium size pebbles and occasional larger ones, impressed into this were random large granite sett cobbles, with brick and tile scatters, some of this material was patchy, others were better sorted. The ordnance-level (OD) of this surface was 57.38m. Below (001) was (002) another patchy layer but with a better sorted pebble/cobble consistency in silty clay, about 0.08 – 0.14m in depth. Beneath this context a yellow-orange sandy layer (005) was uncovered which was relatively clean with occasional pebbles, this covered most of the excavation to a depth of 0.10 – 0.20m.

Not all features are shown for clarity.

Features seen beneath these upper layers but embedded in (005) include a rectangular shaped collection of large cobbles (granite setts?) surrounding two flagstones (context 003) arranged in rectangular shape 1.00m x 1.50m it was one course deep. This abutted the west end of the northern range wall. The unbonded cobbles and flagstones were reused,


they had slots and notches cut into them, but we are not sure about their use. Elsewhere on site we noticed concrete ‘door sills’, our cobble feature seems to have replaced one of these  (had the previous sill been broken?), the truncated remains of which was could be seen in the wall, perhaps a more heavy-duty hard-standing of some kind was needed for hoisting materials to the loft hatch above.

Another feature excavated also surrounded by the sandy layer (005) and possible pebble surface layers was an east – west running brick and tile structure (012) on the east of the excavated area. The end-on bricks lined some flat tiles, this may have been the remains of a brick and tile drain, which was truncated by electric cable on the west side and by a modern sewer pipe through the central area. It is difficult to interpret due to the fragmentary remains, but we have seen a similar drain feature on a previous dig here but that was more substantial.

Two modern sewer drains crossed the site leading from a man-hole cover, it was decided to partially excavate the east-west branch of one of these to confirm this and to give an idea of the depth and nature of the section and deposits. The 0.50m wide cut was dug and the pipe was indeed found at 56.72 OD, adjacent to the north side were the remains of an earlier brick and tile drain. The sections at approximately 0.60m deep showed bands of smaller pebbles in a clay/sandy matrix.

On the western side of the excavated area adjacent to the ‘Farm Cottage’ we had a machine cut a slot of 4 x 1m, again to check the stratigraphy. Once again layers of pebbles, clay and sand sat on top of the natural London Clay at approximately 56.53 OD, Mike Hacker (pers comm.) comments – “I probed to c1.80m below the level of the cobbles. It was consistently moist, stiff, mid reddish-brown silty clay without inclusions. This is consistent with it being London Clay”.

Along the walls of both ‘Farm Cottage’ and the opposite northern range building, we noticed the construction ‘cuts’ (004) for the foundations of the structures. These were dug in various places to reveal a three-brick course ‘stepped’ foundation sitting on some gravel packing and the natural clay, this is a similar arrangement to what was found in the 2015 dig. A trench was dug immediately south of the cobble and flagstone hard-standing which gave us sections below this structure, a section in southern area of the site and a section of the northern range building foundation. Initially this was done by hand and later extended by machine. The sections showed varying bands, deposits and layers approximately 0.60m deep of gravel, pebbles, occasional lager cobbles, brick and tile deposits with bands of silty clay of various colours, all given one context (017). A silty black clay deposit approximately 0.10m thick runs through the central area of the section sloping from east to west. The section appears to show a continuous depositing action of dumping, tip-lines, levelling, infilling and repairing of the farm entranceway down to the natural clay level. We also reached the ground water-table level here as seen in the ‘moat’ trench in 2015.

Finds & Dating,

not all contexts are listed here is a selection.

Context (001)

Pottery: This upper layer beneath the concrete slab contained a variety of pottery, mostly smaller sherds including Refined Whiteware, REFW – (china), Transfer Printed Wares TPW, these have a general date of between 1800-1900. 8 English Porcelain sherds ENPO, have a wider date range of 1745-1900. There were 76 sherds of English Stonewares ENGS 1700-1900, mostly jars including a small ink jar, some of the sherds could be refitted, so some of the vessels were intact when deposited. Some samples of Post-medieval Redwares PMR 1580-1900 were found – mostly identified as flower pot.

Building Material: A selection of brick (whole or partial) were recorded, some glazed red tile, fragments of paving slab, peg and slate roof tile, mortar, sewer-pipe and other modern materials, were processed.


Stone: A possible worked flint interpreted as a blade was recorded as Small Find [005].

Animal bone: Four rib fragments showed evidence of gnawing and cut marks, some oyster shell fragments.

Metal/glass: An assortment of modern window and vessel glass fragments were recovered together with a variety of metal objects including nails, copper tubing, window latches and others.

Context (004) wall foundation cuts.

Pottery: 18 sherds of REFW including samples of dishes, cups and saucers, 4 sherds of a Yellow-ware plate 1820-1900 and minor amounts of ENPO, PMR and a sherd of Tin-glazed Ware C TGWC 1630-1846.

Other finds included 51 sherds of roof tile, some brick and a floor tile. An unusual find was a ‘lead weight’ domed in shaped, 118mm dia x 9mm depth, possibly a ‘greengrocer’s weight’ Small Find [001].

Context (005) sandy layer.

Pottery: Sherds of YELL, ENPO, TPW4 and REFW with part of a figurine foot (? lion). A ceramic bead, 11mm dia [small find 002]. 10 fragments of bottle glass including neck and rim sherds. Small samples of brick and slate.

Context (006) modern drain-pipe fill.

Context (012) brick and tile ‘drain’ feature

A complete brick sample was retained from this feature: possibly hand-made with no frog, it had possible organic tempering was red-purple in colour, possibly dating to 17th– 18th C. The drain and brick may date to before the current buildings and is similar to a drain seen in the 2015 excavations at the west end of the northern range.

Context (013) and (014)

Both these contexts were associated with the tile ‘drain’ (012) above, both, a brown sandy clay with pebbles. They contained similar pottery finds TPW, ENGS, REFW and SWSG Salt Glazed Stone Ware 1720-1780.

Of the Transfer Printed Wares a foot rim of a bowl had a Chinese style building design with the partial lettering ‘C&H HACKWOOD’. There were a number of potters of that name in operation in the potteries, of one these Hackwoods – “In 1856, the works passed into the hands of Cockson & Harding, who manufactured the same kind of goods, using the mark C & H, LATE HACKWOOD impressed on the bottom. Cockson retired in 1862(, accessed 17/3/20).

Fragments of a late 18th century ‘Mallet’ bottle were recorded as well as small amounts of peg/roof tile, nails and animal bone.

Context (017)

This mixture of contexts (see above) was deposited above the natural clay.

Pottery: Small sherd examples of PMR, ENGS – bottle, TPW- plate and saucer, CREA Creamware 1740-1830 plate and bowl and REFW – bowls.

Building materials: consisted of fragments of brick, pantile (roof), a substantial but incomplete floor tile and some drain pipe. An unusual find here was 2 sherds of co-joining Delft, blue on white decorated Wall Tile, with one corner design of part circle with the feet of two male figures, c 18th century, Small Find [006]. An amount of corroded metal ‘sheeting’ was found together with a hefty iron spike and nails.

Animal bone: fragments of rib, horn and a cattle-pubis were recorded together with some oyster-shell.


Other finds included minor amounts of bottle and mirror glass, and parts of shoe leather.


The earliest features would appear to be the remains of the two brick and tile ‘drains’. The first, just seen in the north section of the modern drain cut (007), the fragmentary remains of this feature was truncated and disturbed by its more modern replacement. The second (012) excavated in plan and at a higher level was again disturbed, a complete brick sample (described above) indicates this ‘drain’ was constructed of reused materials because the brick was worn and had 17th– 18th  century features, but the layers it was dug into were of mainly 19th century in date. It’s possible the brick may be part of the demolition rubble from the nearby ‘wheat barn’ excavated in 2016 (HADAS Newsletter 556). As with a similar drain excavated elsewhere in 2015 this may be the remnants of the drainage system of the farm complex before “in the late 19th to early 20th century the main farm building is rebuilt in brick into a dairy farm.”

The other features were recorded – the granite cobble sett hard-standing, and the building foundations are described above. But for the most part much of the area was made-up of bands of pebble surfaces, cobbles, sand/clay deposits and dumps of brick and tile. All the layers had a mixture of finds dating to c1700-1900 and were all disturbed. These layers were excavated to a depth of 80cm and were sitting on top of the natural clay. Local geologist Mike Hacker commented in 2016 and it’s worth repeating “The well-rounded flint pebbles in the cobbled surface look as if they may well have come from the nearby deposits of Dollis Hill Gravel. One of the characteristics of DHG is that it is a poorly sorted mix of clay, silt, sand and pebbles.  This makes it ideal for use as ‘hogging’ for roads and paths”. 

Most of the finds were 18th – 20th century in nature (and later) with no sign of the earlier phases of the farm. It appears much of the area has been disturbed and truncated as part of the re-ordering history of the working farm and its buildings.


Paulette Singer & The Clitterhouse Farm Project; HADAS Fieldwork Team (including site supervisors Andy Simpson, Melvyn Dresner and Roger Chapman); HADAS Post-Excavation Team; Gerald Gold & team, groundwork contractors; Mo – Tool Hire business owner and employees; and Mike Hacker – geologist.

HADAS Newsletter reports on Clitterhouse Farm investigations.

539: Part 1 – Introduction and Timeline.

542: Part 2 – The Excavations (2015).

543: Part 3 – Site Phasing and other things.

544: Part 4 – Report on the Animal Bone and Marine Molluscs and some small finds photos.

556: Part 5 – Investigations of the north corner of the farm complex (2016).

557: Part 6 – More information on a find (Char Dish) from Clitterhouse Farm.

579: Part 7 – History of Clitterhouse Farm, Hendon (lecture report).

During the dig, HADAS made a record of the standing buildings, a report on these findings will be published in a future newsletter.



What did you do in lockdown – another option?                         Don Cooper

For some time past, there has been a small hole in our lawn at the back of our house. Every time I fill it in the local fox (or some other animal) digs it out again. I wanted to know why the animal wanted to keep digging there and nowhere else in the garden.

So when that lovely spell of fine weather came along I determined to find out what was happening underground and being in lockdown and having little else to do I decided to do the project as a proper archaeological dig.

On Tuesday 14th April 2020 I marked out a 1m by 1m trench at TQ25866, 96442. I put down a tarpaulin for the spoil heap, oriented the trench north south, got the tools out including my trusty trowel and made a start de-turfing. By the end of the day I had made a good start on the trench as can be seen from the photo below.

On the next day I started bright and early at 10.30am. Digging down 20cm and turned up lots of finds of pottery, building material, clay pipe, window glass and animal bone. One totally surprising find was a hen’s egg with a green stamp! The egg was in a small hollow surrounded by leaves and twigs. I took the photo and left it on the spoil heap; it was gone next morning. How it got there and who deposited it, I haven’t the faintest idea. Most eggs as far as I know are stamped in red. It might explain why an animal kept digging out the hole.

By the end of day 2, I was down about 30cm all round. The southern section was showing a lot of building material in the form of brick, tile and sewer pipe.

On day 3, as I continued down, there were few finds and at just over 40cm down I came to the iniquitous London clay. I then dug a small sondage to be sure that I had reached natural.

On day 4, I decided to extend by 0.5m south to explore the building material tumble. I measured out the extension and deturfed. This was easy digging as there was a good deal of building rubble. Again, I dug down until I reached the London clay, which appears to be the natural.

On day 5, I backfilled the trench and restored the turf.


I spent day 6 washing the finds and recording them on an Excel spreadsheet.  I disposed of much of the finds having recorded them. I photographed samples see below.

In summary, there were 101 sherds of pottery (many of them very small) weighting 449 grams. They consisted of post medieval redware (PMR) mostly flowerpot, refined earthenware (REFW), transfer-printed ware (TPW), and English stoneware (ENGS).

There were four sherds of clay pipe stems.

There were 63 sherds of glass mostly window glass (although there were 3 different thicknesses), but some bottle glass both green and white, as well as a sherd of a lovely scalloped bowl. The glass weighted 210 grams. There was a substantial amount of brick and tile.

There were a couple of animal bones and a small number of rusty nails.

My speculative conclusion is after looking at the deeds of the house, which was built in 1888, I think the builder’s rubble and hence the artefacts date from that period. I did not find anything earlier or anything that could not fit into that timescale.


The dig was a splendid experience. The weather was perfect, the ground reasonably soft after so much rain. I was outdoors and got lots of exercise and who cares if the lawn does not look great! I would recommend it to anyone!!

Æthelflæd, the Lady of the Mercians                                           Dudley Miles

June marks the anniversary of Æthelflæd’s death; Dudley Miles tell her story 1150 years since her birth

Æthelflæd, who was the eldest child of King Alfred the Great of Wessex and his Mercian wife, Ealhswith, was born around 870, just before the Viking Great Heathen Army invaded England. By 878 they had conquered Northumbria, East Anglia and the eastern half of Mercia, but in that year Alfred won a crucial victory at the Battle of Edington.  Ceolwulf, the last king of Mercia, is not recorded after 879, and he was succeeded as ruler by Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians. In the mid-880s he submitted to Alfred’s overlordship, uniting those Anglo-Saxons who were not under Viking rule. Alfred sealed the alliance by marrying Æthelflæd to Æthelred by 887. Æthelred was much older than Æthelflæd, and they had one known child, a daughter called Ælfwynn. Alfred’s eldest grandson, Æthelstan, who was to be the first king of England, was also brought up at the Mercian court.

Æthelred played an important role in defeating renewed Viking attacks in the 890s, together with Æthelflӕd’s brother, Edward the Elder, who became king on Alfred’s death in 899. Æthelred’s health probably declined sometime in the next decade, and Æthelflæd may have become de facto ruler of Mercia by 902. She re-founded Chester as a burh (fortified settlement) and probably enhanced its defences in 907, assisting the town to defeat a Viking attack. The archaeologist Simon Ward, who excavated an Anglo-Saxon site in the city, sees the later prosperity of the city as owing much to the planning of Æthelflӕd and Æthelred.

In 909 Edward sent a Wessex and Mercian force to raid the northern Danelaw. It seized the remains of the important royal Northumbrian saint, Oswald, from Bardney Abbey in Lincolnshire and brought them to St Peter’s Minster in Gloucester, which was renamed in his honour. Mercia had a long tradition of venerating royal saints, and this was enthusiastically supported by Æthelred and Æthelflæd. Anglo-Saxon rulers did not have capital cities, but the town became the main seat of their power and a centre of learning, at a time when western Mercia was the last stronghold of traditional Anglo-Saxon standards of scholarship.


The next year the northern Vikings retaliated for the attack on their territory with a raid on Mercia, but on their way back an English army caught them and inflicted a decisive defeat at the Battle of Tettenhall, which put an end to the threat from the northern Danelaw and opened the way for the recovery of the Danish Midlands and East Anglia over the next decade.

Æthelred died in 911, and Æthelflæd became sole ruler as Lady of the Mercians, although she had to give up the Mercian towns of London and Oxford to her brother. The accession of a female ruler was described by the historian Ian Walker as “one of the most unique events in early medieval history”. This would not have been possible in Wessex, where the status of women was low, but in Mercia it was much higher.

Edward and Æthelflӕd then embarked on the conquest of the southern Danelaw. Alfred had built a network of burhs (fortified boroughs) to strengthen the defences of Wessex, and his son and daughter constructed a string of new burhs to consolidate their defences and provide bases for attacks on the Vikings. She built forts at towns such as Bridgnorth and Tamworth, and repaired the Iron Age Eddisbury hillfort. Other towns she fortified included Stafford, Warwick, Chirbury and Runcorn. In 914, a Mercian army repelled a Viking invasion from Brittany.

In 917 three invasions from the Danelaw were defeated, and Æthelflӕd sent an army to capture Derby, which was the first of the Five Boroughs of the Danelaw to fall. Her biographer Tim Clarkson, who describes her as “renowned as a competent war-leader”, regards this as her greatest triumph. However, she lost “four of her thegns who were dear to her”. At the end of the year the East Anglian Danes submitted to Edward, and in early 918 Leicester submitted to Æthelflӕd without a fight. The leading men of Danish ruled York offered to pledge their loyalty to her, probably for protection against Norse (Norwegian) raiders from Ireland, but she died on 12 June 918 before she could take up the offer. No such offer is known to have been made to Edward.

Statue in Tamworth of Æthelflæd and her nephew Æthelstan, erected in 1913 to commemorate the millennium of her fortification of the town.

Æthelflӕd was succeeded as Lady of the Mercians by her daughter Ælfwynn, but in December 918 Edward deposed her and brought Mercia under his direct control. Æthelflӕd was buried next to her husband in St Oswald’s Minster in Gloucester.

The West Saxon version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ignores Æthelflӕd’s achievements and just describes her as King Edward’s sister, probably for fear of encouraging Mercian separatism. But to the Mercians she was Lady of the Mercians, and Irish and Welsh annals refer to her as a queen. She has received more attention from historians than any other secular woman in Anglo-Saxon England.  The twelfth-century chronicler, William of Malmesbury, described her as “a powerful accession to [Edward’s] party, the delight of his subjects, the dread of his enemies, a woman of enlarged soul”. The historian Pauline Stafford sees her as a “warrior queen”.  “Like…Elizabeth I she became a wonder to later ages”.

The first biography of Æthelflӕd was published in 1993, but another five have been published in the twenty-first century, including a Ladybird Expert book by Tom Holland! By far the best is by Tim Clarkson. See also my article, ‘Æthelflӕd, Lady of the Mercians’, WikiJournal of Humanities, volume 1, issue 1, 2018, atÆthelflæd,_Lady_of_the_Mercians.

During the C-19 crisis, HADAS would like to keep in touch with our members, through our social media and email, as well as through this newsletter and our C-19 News sheet provided by Jim Nelhams (thank you very much Jim!), if you want to be included, or assist with ideas to help run the Society during this difficult time. We welcome all contributions.


Obituary for John Heathfield   Don Cooper with thanks to David Berguer

We are sad to report that John Heathfield, a long-time member of HADAS, died on Friday 27th March 2020 of coronavirus aged 91. John was born on 11th September 1928 and spent his working life in education first as a schoolteacher, then a headmaster and ending up as Inspector of Schools.

On his retirement, John started investigating the history of the local area and, in conjunction with his lifetime friend, Percy Reboul wrote a regular series of articles for the Barnet Times. They also wrote a number of books, either together or separately including “Around Whetstone & North Finchley”, “Barnet at War”, “Barnet Past & Present”Days of Darkness” “Finchley & Whetstone Past” and “Teach Us This Day (All Saints School)”.

John was President of the Friern Barnet & District Local History Society and while president wrote “All over by Christmas” a 282-page book on what was happening on the Home Front in Barnet. Then in conjunction with David Berguer wrote “Whetstone Revealed” in 2016. I met John at Barnet Archives when they were briefly based in Daws Lane. He was researching away but had enough time to help me find what I was looking for. People with John’s amazing knowledge of the local area are few and far between. He will be sadly missed. RIP.

Obituary for Irene Gavorre                                                             Jim Nelhams

It was with some sadness that we heard of the death of Irene Gavorre on 21st February at her house in Edgware. Irene was a very private person. A non-driver, she did not attend our lectures but was always one of the first to register for our long trips away, up to and including our 2019 trip to Aberavon.

We bumped into her at the beginning of February on Edgware High Street. When she had not booked for our now cancelled trip to Stoke, we wrote to her house and received the news in response from a long-time friend of her daughter. Further information came from Sue Trackman.

“I knew Irene. She was a solicitor. She was clever, with a sharp wit who did not suffer fools. For a while (in the 1980/90s) we worked in adjoining offices in the legal department of the City of London Corporation and lunched together every day. Irene’s parents died young and she was brought up by an aunt. She brought up her daughter on her own. It was not an easy relationship but, after her daughter married an Israeli (and moved with him to Israel), matters improved and Irene had a good relationship with her granddaughter. Irene left the City Corporation in the 1990s to work in BT’s legal department and she remained with BT until she retired. We lost touch a few years after she left the City Corporation.”



This section is temporarily cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:

Bill Bass, Jim Nelhams, Don Cooper and Dudley Miles


Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman          Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 5HS

                          (020 8440 4350) e-mail:

Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams 61, Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS

                          (020 8449 7076) e-mail:

Hon. Treasurer Roger Chapman 50, Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

                           (07855 304488) e-mail:

Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning, Flat 22, Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road, 

                          East Barnet EN4 8FH1 (020 8440 8421)


Web site:  



At the Annual General Meeting, which will be held on a date to be decided, Don Cooper is standing down as Chairman after many years of service, and Jo Nelhams as secretary is standing down as well, as is Sue Willetts. Please give some serious thought to how you can help the Society to function as it has done successfully for many years. At present, we have four committee meetings each year.


Newsletter 590 – May 2020

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No. 590                 MAY 2020                 Edited by Dudley Miles

The Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 9 June 2020 will not now take place due to the situation created by the coronavirus. At the present time we do not know when it will be possible to arrange another date. There will also be no Tuesday lectures until further notice. The monthly Newsletters should continue as usual. Keep well and safe until we meet again.

Squires Lane Railway Sign                                                                        Bill Bass

This photo is of a cast-iron sign adjacent to the north-east corner of a road bridge on Squires Lane, Finchley.  The bridge crosses over what is now the Northern Line between East Finchley and Finchley Central. But the sign dates to the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) period 1923-1948 when the railway was steam operated, with passenger and goods trains running between the likes of High Barnet and Edgware to Finsbury Park and beyond. In the late 1930s, the Northern Line was extended from Highgate to join at East Finchley and in 1940 the system became part of the Northern Line. Steam and diesels were still used to deliver goods until the early 1960s.



Sadly, we have to report that this remarkable survivor disappeared, probably in early March 2020. Whereabouts unknown?


What did you do during the Lockdown?                               Roger Chapman

What’s the link between the HADAS 2020 Accounts, COVID 19 and the discovery of a new brickworks in North Wales? 

Well, in these strange COVID times, I find myself as HADAS Treasurer, with my wife, helping to shield her 93-year-old mother in her mountainside house above Llangollen in North Wales. We are likely to be here some time.

Putting the HADAS accounts together is a joyful task and has helped to pass the time in the Dee Valley, but every now and again I need a break. The house I am staying in has a large, and recently neglected, garden so there is scope for many projects. Vegetable beds have been dug and planted, a small pond created and most recently some paths widened. The current house was built in 1913 but tithe maps and historic Ordnance Survey plans show development on the site back to at least the early 19th century. This has been reflected in the numerous bits of Victorian and early 20th century pottery and glass coming up during these works. Widening the paths involved removing bricks set on edge. One of these (see photograph below) was different. It had a crude handwritten name – Tower Bk. Wks inscribed on one face. I thought this looks interesting and decided to see what more I could find out about it.

Closing the HADAS accounts spreadsheet on my laptop I opened up Google and searched for bricks in north Wales. I have to say I did not appreciate beforehand how many websites and people are devoted to bricks e.g.  But however hard I looked I could find no reference to Tower Brickworks. There is a Tower Farm within half a mile of where I am staying, and North Wales had numerous brickworks. I checked out the National


Library of Scotland and its extensive collection of Ordnance Survey maps but nothing showed up. The next step was to put a message up on the local history Facebook page to see if anyone had heard of such a brickworks. A couple of responses suggested a place a few miles away, but further research showed this was known by another name. 

I emailed the owner of one of the websites above and sent him a picture – not expecting to hear back for a while. In under 12 hours I had my answer. He replied, “What a cracking brick, a most unusual find!” He had spent some hours web searching without success but had then turned to mapping evidence.

He found that the 1898 revision of the 1:10,560 and 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey maps shows what looks like a small brickworks just north-east of Tower Farm under half a mile away from the house. “There appears to be a brick preparation building with signs of a claypit to the east. There is also a single circular kiln. By the 1910 map the kiln has disappeared and I would guess that the works had already closed.” How did I miss that? Easy – the National Library of Scotland didn’t have a copy of that specific map edition. It was on the Old Maps website, which I hadn’t checked – I’m not sure I would have recognised a brickworks anyway.

So, as a result of COVID 19 and finding myself during a break in working up the HADAS 2020 accounts in North Wales I managed to find a brick which has led to the rediscovery of a short-term brickworks business in Llangollen and the discovery of a wealth of websites on bricks. Strange times indeed. 

I hope you are staying safe and well.

Hendon Hall Hotel                                                                                       Bill Bass

This substantial Grade II listed building with extensive grounds on Ashley Lane, Hendon, built c. 1757 as Hendon Manor House, is being redeveloped as a care home. Whilst it is not in


an Archaeological Priority Area (APA), its closeness to other APAs in the Hendon area, and also information from HADAS member Roger Chapman, indicated that that there might be traces of pre-existing building(s), and made it worthwhile that an Archaeological Evaluation be undertaken.

The evaluation was done by Archaeology South-East on behalf of the RPS Group during Nov/Dec 2019, opening up three trenches. The trenches showed the existence of a possible post-medieval house and garden pre-dating Hendon Manor House. The later evidence (post 1757) revealed walls that are believed to be from Hendon Manor House’s stable block, which matches well with the OS Mapping.

Many thanks to Peter Pickering for monitoring planning applications on behalf of HADAS.

Bibliography: Archaeology South-East, Archaeological Evaluation Report, Hendon Hall Hotel, Ashley Lane, Hendon NW4 1HF.

Roman Bathing                                                                              Peter Pickering

Last month’s newsletter included a note by Jim Nelhams about Caerleon and an evocative picture of the baths. Those who were on the South Wales trip may remember being told that men and women used the baths at different times. The November 2019 issue of Britannia produced evidence for this in the form of rules inscribed on bronze tablets from Vipasca, a mining town in Portugal. The rules provide that whoever wins the contract to manage the baths there must keep them heated and open to women from dawn to the seventh hour and to men from the eighth hour of the day to the second hour of the night. I wonder if this means that women got the cleaner water, while men came to the baths after a hard day at the mines, or, in Caerleon, on military exercises? (In some periods, mixed bathing was allowed. Marcus Aurelius tried to prohibit it. DM)

The article, incidentally, is primarily about a copper-alloy fragment of unusual shape found at Vindolanda in 2008. The fragment is apparently part of a calendar; it is inscribed with ‘SEPTEMBER’, ‘K’ for Kalends (the first day of a Roman month) ’N’ for Nones, in September the fifth day, ‘ID’ for ‘Ides’, the thirteenth day, and ‘AE’ for Aequinoctium, the equinox, which of course falls in September.


And now for something completely different…                        Stewart Wild

(A report on one of the odder visits during our trip to South Wales)

In an investigation as far removed from conventional archaeology as could be, about half the members of our group accepted an invitation to visit the National Baked Bean Museum of Excellence, only a bean can’s throw from our hotel in Port Talbot.

This, Trip Advisor’s Number One attraction in the area, is the creation and pride of Captain Beany, and is located in his small third-floor council flat.  The Captain, born in September 1954 and thus qualifying for his state pension next year, is well known in South Wales for his eccentricity and massive charity fundraising.

The National Baked Bean Museum of Excellence

The Captain’s small kitchen is sponsored by the Heinz Company, with brand-name stickers on every surface; the kitchen clock displays Greenwich Bean Time.  His bathroom is similarly sponsored by Branston.  In the lounge area, a wide variety of baked bean cans, toys, artefacts and bean-related memorabilia on display has grown exponentially since the museum opened in 2009.

How has he bean managing?

Our host, who was originally known as Barry Kirkbut, changed his name by deed poll in May 1991 to Captain Beany; he showed us his passport to prove it.  His motive for such a change in lifestyle was “to raise money for the beanifit of others less fortunate” and his dedication over three decades has so far raised well over £100,000.  

Stunts to raise money have included sitting in a bath full of baked beans for 100 hours (that’s nearly four days, a world record!); having his bald head tattooed with sixty baked bean images, each bean containing the initials of a sponsor (which raised £3,600); and running a dozen marathons (seven in London, five in the US) attired in baked bean costume, gloves and boots, a bit like Superman (that should be Superbean, Ed.).Participating in marathons became a habit when he was invited to become a runner bean for the CLIC Sargent children’s cancer charity and raised £5,000.  His best time is just over three hours – beantastic! 


Photo by Kevin McSharry Political aspirations

Our hero has stood many times in local and general elections throughout Wales, often as a Real Bean Independent candidate, and usually coming last despite winning the votes of several hundred supporters.  

In 2000, he formed the New Millennium Bean Party and stood as their only candidate in Aberavon the following year.  He came last but one with 727 votes (a respectable 2.4%); the candidate he beat was too embarrassed to mount the platform when the results were declared and was dubbed a has-bean!

Having made a donation, we thanked this eccentric and entertaining Welshman for the visit and made our way back into the real world.

Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Home, Barnet: watching brief.                Graham Javes 

I’ve just heard of this watching brief undertaken way back in October/December 2017 and August 2018 by Archaeology South-East, (the commercial wing of the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.) on the Ice House at Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Home, Barnet, on the edge of Southgate. See the report, which the London Borough of Barnet has recently put up on its website:

My thanks to Rob White, hon. secretary, East Barnet Residents Association (EBRA.) for drawing our attention to this.

Judging by the large number of similar residences in the borough there must be other extant ice houses. Perhaps one for HADAS members? 


My maternal grandfather was a laundry designer and he designed Lipton’s laundry. He was the oldest  member of Finchley Victoria Bowling Club in Victoria Park, and was given a silver napkin ring with FVBC on it in tribute. It was my only memorial of my grandfather, but was unfortunately stolen by a caller to my flat. He died in the Great Smog of 1952.      Dudley Miles



Denis Ross                                                                                             Jim Nelhams

Some newer members may not know Denis. He was born on 10th July 1923. Sadly, he died on 29th March 2020 aged 96. 

During World War II, Denis served as a Captain in the Royal Artillery (112th Wessex Field Regiment) and afterwards, in 1952, qualified as a solicitor, becoming a Senior Partner in his law firm. His son Jonathan has followed in his footsteps as a solicitor.

At the end of 1988, he joined HADAS, and from 1998 to 2008 served on the committee as Hon. Secretary. His legal advice was invaluable, particularly when negotiating our lease for our rooms at Avenue House.

He also created a script still used today to direct our Annual General Meeting. On his retirement from the HADAS committee, Denis was elected a Life Member. Denis and his wife Shifra were keen supporters and even spent their Golden Wedding anniversary on our long trip based in Plymouth in 2006.

Outside HADAS, Denis served on the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust from 1977 to 1984 and was also Chairman of the PTA at Garden Suburb School. He was also Chairman of Reynolds Close Residents Association for many years. Our sympathy goes to those that Denis leaves behind.      

Knap Hill                                                                                               Dudley Miles    

Summary of a Wikipedia article by Mike Christie

Knap Hill earthwork is on the northern rim of the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire, a mile north of Alton Priors. It dates to about 3450 BC and it covers around 2.4 hectares. Its main claim to fame is that it was the first structure to be identified as a causewayed enclosure, an area surrounded by a ditch and bank which is frequently interrupted by gaps or causeways. It is one of the most common types of early Neolithic site in western Europe, with about a thousand known examples, including over seventy in Britain. The archaeologist Roger Mercer considers Knap Hill to be “the most striking of all causewayed enclosures”.

The enclosure is surrounded by a ditch, with a bank inside it, which runs along the north-western side, and part way along the south-western and north-eastern sides. No ditch or bank has been found on the steeply sloping southern edge of the hill. There are seven stretches of ditches and bank, separated by six causeways. Knap Hill is unusual in that the causeways on the ditches and banks correspond, whereas in most sites there at least three times as many gaps in the ditch as the bank. The ditches and banks were constructed in a short period of time, which implies considerable organisation and a large labour force.

Knap Hill was mentioned by John Aubrey in 1680, and John Thurnam investigated barrows on the hill in the 1850s, but the site was first identified as a causewayed enclosure by Benjamin and Maud Cunnington, who excavated it in 1908 and 1909. Maud’s published reports pointed out the gaps in the ditch and bank surrounding the enclosure. By the late 1920s, it had become clear that causewayed enclosures were characteristic monuments of the Neolithic. 

Knap Hill causewayed enclosure

Graham Connah excavated the site again in 1961, and some his finds were analysed in the Gathering Time project, which produced radiocarbon dates by Bayesian analysis for    Knap Hill causewayed enclosure almost forty British causewayed enclosures. Connah had got radiocarbon dates on two samples, and due to his excellent stratigraphic records the Gathering Time researchers were able to analyse another five samples associated with the construction of the ditch. They concluded that there was a 90% chance that Knap Hill was constructed between 3530 and 3375 BC, and that the ditch had silted up between 3525 and 3220 BC. The researchers concluded that a lengthy use was possible, but “we believe that a short duration, probably of well under a century, and perhaps only a generation or two, is more plausible”. 

The purpose of causewayed enclosures is unknown. An early suggestion was that the inhabitants lived in the ditches! However, this was soon abandoned in favour of a proposal that people lived in the enclosures. It has also been proposed that they were intended for defence, but in that case it is difficult to explain the frequent causeways. Other suggestions are that they were ritual sites, seasonal trading centres, headquarters for tribal chiefs, or venues for funerals. 

A smaller site known as the plateau enclosure adjoins the Neolithic site. It was occupied before and during the Roman occupation of Britain, and pottery was found including Samian ware. There is evidence of an intense fire, which may mean that it came to a violent end. The plateau enclosure was also occupied in the seventeenth century, perhaps by shepherds. Other finds included an Iron Age burial and a sixth-century Anglo-Saxon sword.



This section is temporarily cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:  Bill Bass, Roger Chapman, Graham Javes, Jim Nelhams, Peter Pickering, Stewart Wild


Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 5HS

(020 8440 4350) e-mail:


Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams   61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS   

(020 8449 7076) e-mail:


Hon. Treasurer Roger Chapman 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

(07855 304488)   e-mail:


Membership Sec.   Stephen Brunning, Flat 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road, 

East Barnet EN4 8FH1 (020 8440 8421)  



Web site: 



At the Annual General Meeting, which will be held on a date to be decided, Don Cooper is standing down as Chairman after many years of service, and Jo Nelhams as secretary is standing down as well, as is Sue Willetts. Please give some serious thought to how you can help the Society to function as it has done successfully for many years. At present, we have four committee meetings each year.



Newsletter 589 – April 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments
No. 589                                    APRIL 2020                Edited by Sue Willetts
HADAS DIARY – No forthcoming lectures and events!

For information: 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.   

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it has been agreed that there is no need to list any events for May. For members to be aware the HADAS talks for April & May were Signe Hoffos – Lost City Churchesand Tim Williams – Archaeology of the Silk Roads – to be re-arranged when possible.  The proposed bus pass outing to the Docklands Museum is also on hold.

This newsletter can also give notice that the AGM in June is postponed, and the committee will remain in place for the time being.

September 2020 trip, 20th – 24th September    

The long trip to Stoke in September is still planned, and you can still sign up.  No money has been paid to the hotel or to Galleon Coaches, and I am not banking any cheques at present.

This trip will be based at The Best Western Stoke City Centre Hotel, 66 Trinity Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5NB. This was previously a Quality Hotel. Do not confuse with the Best Western Plus Stoke on Trent Moat House which is currently rebranding and considerably raising their prices.

We have tried to keep costs unchanged for several years, normally making a small profit, but prices have gradually risen and in 2019 we made a loss, so this year we are having to adjust. The price will be £580 for a single room and £530 per person sharing a room (double or twin). Costs include dinner, bed and breakfast and we will provide a packed lunch each day except the Sunday.


When it takes place – at the Annual General Meeting Don Cooper will be standing down as Chairman after many years of service, also Jo Nelhams as Secretary and Sue Willetts, responsible for overseeing the Newsletters and arranging printing. Please give some serious thought how you can help the Society to function as it has done successfully for many years.  At present we have four Committee meetings each year.


2019 Trip:   Our last day                                                                    Jim Nelhams

It’s Friday and time to head homewards. The weather does not look wonderful, so keeping an eye on it, we head to the far side of the Neath valley to visit Aberdulais. Aberdulais means the mouth of the River Dulais – in this case where it reaches and flows into the River Neath. The valley has steep sides, so there are waterfalls immediately above the junction. David & Beverley take up the story.

Aberdulais Tin Works and Falls          Beverley Perkins & David Bromley

It is hard to imagine that the now peaceful site of Aberdulais once rang with the din of metal-working. The waterfall still thunders over the sandstone ridge – impressively so when we visited after a prolonged spell of rain – but the noise and smells of industry vanished when the site was abandoned in the 1930s.

Aberdulais works began its industrial life in 1584, when a German engineer, Ulrich Frosse, pioneered a method of turning copper into coins. These coins were needed by Queen Elizabeth I to fund the


construction of ships to fight the threat of Spanish invasion.  The site, well hidden in the gorge of the river Dulais, lent itself perfectly to metal smelting, as it had a ready access to water, wood, charcoal – and later coal – and metal ore.  However, copper ore became increasingly scarce and copper smelting ended here in 1605.

The works were then used successively for the fulling or tucking of wool (1631-1653); as an iron forge (1667-1713); and as a corn mill (1715-1810).   The picturesque location attracted Victorian travellers, among them Ruskin and JMW Turner, who painted the site – with some artistic licence – in 1796.  His watercolour, now in the National Library of Wales, shows two waterwheels powering a flour mill.  However, the gorge is no longer quite so picturesque, having been dynamited in the 1820s to provide stone for building the canal to Swansea.

In 1832 the works were acquired by William Llewellyn, who initially operated an iron works but then converted it to the production of tinplate.  By 1835 he had also established the Lower Works further down the valley.  In 1842 there were 138 people working on the two sites, including 34 children.  Llewellyn, a Quaker, looked after his workforce, building a schoolroom, library, Baptist church, stores and providing instruments for the brass band.  Tinplate workers were highly paid compared with agricultural workers, so jobs were sought-after in spite of the heat, noise, pollution, 12-hour working days and gruelling conditions.

The widespread development of cheap tinplate revolutionised food preservation.  Tinned products became readily available, improving people’s diets, and sailors no longer had to endure the appalling effects of scurvy.  Tinplate had many other uses, including toy-making, miner’s lamps and household goods.  While America pioneered the tin can industry, tinplate produced in the South Wales valleys was widely regarded as the best in the world.  In 1887 Britain exported nearly 500,000 tons of tinplate.  By 1891 there were 205 tinworks in South Wales.

The Aberdulais works was among the first to use rollers rather than noisy and less efficient trip hammers.  Iron ingots were brought to the site by horse-drawn carts on rails or, later on, by barge along the canal.  The ingots were heated in a furnace, then repeatedly passed through the rollers, after being folded in two between each pass.  The result was a stack of eight thin plates which were cut at the base to separate them into sheets.  These sheets were then “pickled” in acid before being annealed to temper the metal and make it less brittle.  The trimmed sheets were then hand-dipped three times in the tinning house.  Following this, the sheets were dipped in oil by “grease boys”, polished with bran or lime, usually by young girls, and then packed into crates for transport.  Young boys also had to clean the ashes out of the cooled furnaces.

In 1891 America imposed heavy taxes on Welsh tinplate to encourage local production, knocking the bottom out of the Welsh industry.  While the works struggled on well into the 1930s, many tin-workers emigrated to the USA to work in their growing industry.


Aberdulais tinworks site is now managed by the National Trust, who use the former schoolroom as their tearoom and shop.  The modern waterwheel, which is 8.2m in diameter, turns in the original wheel pit and is Europe’s largest hydro waterwheel.  It provides enough electricity to run the site, feeding the excess into the National Grid.

Caerleon                                                                                                 Jim Nelhams

Leaving Aberdulais and joining the M4, we headed eastwards towards Caerleon. By now, light rain had caught up with us.

At the time of our visit, The National Roman Legion Museum, another of Wales’ National museums, was closed because of problems with the roof, so we headed to the Caerleon Fortress Roman Baths partly to keep out of the rain. The baths, which were in Roman times outdoors but are now covered, included a large swimming pool which originally held 80,000 gallons of water. The pools have been enhanced by modern lighting and projection, so that among other things, you can see a legionnaire taking a swim.

For most of us, a walk back to the coach, though the more adventurous diverted across the wet grass to visit the assorted impressive ruins. 


Finally, back home to complete our busy 5 days. Our thanks to Paul, our driver for his hard work and smooth driving.

Note from Ed. Recent heavy rain in Wales made the amphitheatre (above left) look like a swimming pool!

Ted Sammes Clay Pipes – Additional Notes                              Andy Simpson

Since publication of the original Ted SammesPipe collection notes in the August, October and November 2019 editions of the newsletter, further excavation of the archives held in the basement room at Avenue House has yielded a few more.

Firstly, there are three more fragments to record from Hill Close, NW11 (off Hampstead Way) in addition to the two bowls of 1740-1780 and 1840-1880 recorded in the November 2019 newsletter.

The label with them records a more precise finds spot and date for all of them – ‘from back garden of Mrs Ansett, 2 Hill Close Golders Green NW11 March 1986’

There is a single short length of unmarked stem, a nice early bowl of type AO9 but with a damaged rim which retains traces of milling, dated 1640-1660, and a small fragment of even earlier spur/bowl possibly of type AO6, 1610-1640.

The other newly uncovered bag of clay pipe fragments is from 44 Erskine Hill (off Addison Way) Temple Fortune NW11.

This contained 21 short, unmarked lengths of pipe stem of varying diameters, plus an unusual length of stem with a flattened side or base. There is also a badly damaged bowl of probable type AO29, dated 1840-1880 with broken spur and missing top.

It is accompanied by another early bowl, again of type AO9, dated 1640-1660 with a damaged rim.

Although overall a useful collection of finds spots, it does also reflect the distribution of active HADAS members in the 1980s!

In addition to these, recording is ongoing of the long-held clay pipe bowls, and a few sherds of post-medieval pottery, from the Old Bull excavation in High Barnet in 1982. This may also feature in a future newsletter.

Open day by Pre-Construct Archaeology                                              Bill Bass

Several HADAS members visited an open day by Pre-Construct Archaeology (PCA) in Tottenham Hale in February. PCA were digging a redevelopment site on Chestnut Road when they came across medieval archaeology in the form of pottery and animal bones etc found in drainage ditches, which they were half expecting. Then unexpectedly lithic scatters including blades came to light and then a hand-axe which dated to the mesolithic period. 


All this material was displayed for us to inspect with members of PCA to explain it. Excavation was carrying on for a few more weeks and then post-ex will take more research to specify the dating further. A selection of photographs provides a good overview of the day.            

Pioneering Courage: Housing and the Working Woman 1919-1939. Exhibition planned to be shown at the London Metropolitan Archives 1st -30th April  Jennifer Taylor  

About three years ago, Women’s Pioneer approached the U3A to provide volunteers to research their archives, and this initiative has developed into a Heritage Lottery Project, whose first findings are published at the LMA exhibition in April.


The archive, which is now housed at the LMA, consists of papers covering the inter-war years, setting out the development of the Association, its investors, and includes a valuable cache of original architectural drawings by Gertrude Leverkus, one of the first women to qualify as an architect in the UK.  Women’s Pioneer bought large houses in West London that had been built to house large families with servants and which became surplus to requirements after the First World War. These houses were converted into small flats for ‘single women of moderate means.  One of the four volunteer researchers on the project is basing a PhD on this part of the archive.  Two others have been researching the tenants who lived in the flats, finding details of the first women scientists employed by the Natural History Museum as well as the many women who moved into the new areas of work that were opening up in the 20s and 30s.

As the fourth volunteer researcher, my digging has taken place amongst dusty papers of management committees and shareholders records, finding out more about the many well-known ex-suffragettes, early professionals and capable women who ran Women’s Pioneer. They had incredible networks that allowed the Association to raise the capital needed for its establishment and growth. Individuals featured range from Lady Astor, the first woman to take up a seat in Parliament, through in-laws of the Bloomsbury Group, to Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls-Royce.

You will find out a lot more detail in the exhibition itself – when it can be held. The plan was for an exhibition at the London |Metropolitan Archives and also four London libraries.

Archaeology news:                                                                               Sue Willetts

Council for British Archaeology in March announced Neil Redfern would succeed Mike Heyworth as Executive Director of the CBA. Neil has had a distinguished career in heritage, most recently as Development Advice Team Leader and Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Historic England.  While at Historic England Neil led teams delivering award-winning development advice in Yorkshire, and their response to major environmental threats as part of the National Heritage Protection Plan. He also initiated a major project on the Yorkshire Wolds to address monuments at risk from cultivation, amongst other achievements. 

Beatrice de Cardi Lecture November 2019.  Richard Osgood gave a lecture at the British Academy on ‘The healing bones: Archaeology as wellbeing’ about Operation Nightingale This is an initiative to assist the recovery of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans by getting them involved in archaeological investigations. This lecture is available to watch on You-tube using this link Beatrice De Cardi lecture 2019 by Richard Osgood   


This section is temporarily on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak. When it is possible to advertise events again, this section will return.

For information:  An event planned for Saturday 6th June was to have been the British Association for Local History. Local History Day at the Institute of Historical Research, Malet St, London, Senate


House, WC1E 7HU [Closed until further notice] Annual lecture by Prof. Andrew Hopper on ‘The Human cost of British Civil Wars’. This lecture was to have examined how wounded soldiers, war widows and other dependants negotiated with local and national authorities to obtain pensions and welfare. Also planned was a talk from Prof. Catherine Cooper (IHR) ‘What is local history?’ as well as Local History awards, AGM, bookstalls, society displays. Cost £25 members of BALH or £30 for non-members and includes tea/coffee/lunch. Wait and see if / when this might be re-arranged.


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:  

Bill Bass, Jim Nelhams, Beverley Perkins & David Bromley, 

Andy Simpson and Jennifer Taylor


Hendon and District Archaeological Society 

                 Chairman         Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 5HS

(020 8440 4350) e-mail:


Hon. Secretary    Jo Nelhams   61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS   

                                (020 8449 7076) e-mail:


Hon. Treasurer    Roger Chapman 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

 (07855 304488)   e-mail:


Membership Sec.   Stephen Brunning, Flat 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road, 

East Barnet EN4 8FH1 (020 8440 8421)  



                 Web site:


Newsletter 587-February-2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments
Number  587                           FEBRUARY  2020                         Edited by Andy Simpson


Lectures are held at Stephens House & Gardens (Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8 pm, with coffee/tea afterwards. Non-members admission: £2; Buses 13, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central station (Northern Line), is a 5-10 minute walk away.

Members are welcome to visit and view progress on post excavation and research work at Stephens House – we are working there in our basement room most Sunday mornings from 10.30 till 1.00pm

Tuesday 11th February 2020 The Dorothy Newbury Memorial Lecture –

Jon Cotton Prehistory in London – some Problems, Progress and Potential

Tuesday 10th March 2020 Lyn Blackmore  From Crosse and Blackwell to  Crossrail – MOLA excavations at Tottenham Court Road 2009–10

Tuesday 14th April 2020 Signe Hoffos Lost City Churches

Tuesday 12th May 2020 Tim Williams Archaeology of the Silk Roads

Tuesday 9th June 2020  ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

September 2020 trip. 20th – 24th September.

We are happy to announce our proposed 5-day trip for 2020.

This will take place from Sunday 20th September to Thursday 24th September and will be based at The Best Western Stoke City Centre Hotel, 66 Trinity Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5NB. This was previously a Quality Hotel. Do not confuse with the Best Western Plus Stoke on Trent Moat House which is currently rebranding and considerably raising their prices.

We have tried to keep costs unchanged for several years, normally making a small profit, but prices have gradually risen and in 2019 we made a loss, so this year we are having to adjust. The price will be £580 for a single room and £530 per person sharing a room (double or twin). Costs include dinner, bed and breakfast and we will provide a packed lunch each day except the Sunday.

Please let Jim or Jo Nelhams (020 8449 7076 or by email) know as soon as possible if you are interested in joining the trip.

We need to confirm numbers with the hotel in March, so we would request a deposit of £195 by Friday 13th March. Cheques payable to HADAS should be sent to 61 Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS or payment can be made direct to the HADAS bank account at Cafbank, sort code 40–52-40, account number 00007253. Balances will be required by Wednesday 15th July.

HADAS Christmas Party                                                      Jim and Jo Nelhams

A little belated account, but we had our annual Christmas Party at Avenue House on Sunday 1st December 2019, a week earlier than previous years. The number of members attending was a little disappointing, but this may have been due to clashing with other events.

We had a two- course meal cooked by the staff at Avenue House, which seemed to be enjoyed by all, plus mince pies and coffee a little later in the afternoon as well as pieces of two splendid cakes baked by Liz, the Chairman’s wife.

To test their grey matter, the entertainment consisted of 2 quizzes with clues for identifying British towns and parts of the body. Also, a reading relating the story of the Inn Keeper in Bethlehem called ‘Round the Back’. A pleasant afternoon and thanks to all those who attended.

HADAS COMMITTEE                                                       Jo Nelhams (Secretary)

You will have read in last months’ Newsletter the Chairman Don Cooper notified you that he is standing down as Chairman at the Annual General Meeting in June. It is also my intention to retire as Secretary. I will have been Secretary for 12 years and it is time for a change.

Jim and I, as many of you will know, are organising another long trip this year in September, which will be the twelfth year with which we have been associated.

(It goes without saying that we all owe Jo, Jim and Don a huge debt of gratitude for all their extremely hard work, efforts and time spent on behalf of the society over many years now-

This also means that it is VITAL to recruit new members of the committee NOW to fulfil essential roles and ensure that your society is still able to function for the benefit of its members.



Thursday 13 February. 7.30pm QUIZ NIGHT    Cost £15 including supper and cash bar.

HADAS do have a regular team, but are looking for some new members, as they have lost some of their former members recently.

Starts at 19.30. Telephone 020 8346 7812 to reserve a ticket.

Welsh trip day 3                                                                                 Jim Nelhams

Wednesday started with a short coach ride around the bay to Swansea, where we dismounted by the Swansea Museum. The quayside must have been very busy, because there are lots of railway tracks crossing the area and even running under some of the buildings.

We made our way along the quayside to find the narrowboat which was to take us for a short cruise. After this, a choice of places in the area to visit. (There really was something for everyone-Ed)

Boat Trip at Swansea                                                                                             Liz Tucker

The Welsh name for Swansea is Abertawe, the estuary of the river Tawe, and this position, as well as the availability of superior-quality coal nearby, made the city a centre of commerce for centuries. Some of the coal was exported, but much of it was used to smelt copper, which was brought in by ship; Swansea was therefore nicknamed “Copperopolis”.

The docks were created in the 1800s by canalising the river, but much later became redundant when copper production moved to Australia, where many Welshmen then emigrated. The area was then dedicated to heritage, and now contains a marina, a couple of museums (one a former potato warehouse), various restaurants, and a sculpture of Dylan Thomas.

As we boarded the “Copper Jack” for a 90-minute trip upriver, the sun came out. Dave, our very informative guide, took us through the history of the area. He handed round a heavy copper ingot.

Originally, copper was mined in Anglesey, but as demand rose, it was imported from Cornwall, and later from Cuba and Chile. In the 1800s, most of the world’s copper was smelted here. Over the next 100 years, the city’s population rose from under 10,000 to 100,000. The ships’ captains had a reputation for fairness, but it was still a perilous voyage for sailors. They might be wrecked while sailing round Cape Horn, or contract tropical diseases; mosquitos brought back from Cuba escaped from the ship and caused the only yellow-fever epidemic in a British city. If the ship carried coal, it might combust spontaneously!

Our voyage, however, was peaceful. We entered the marina, where the boats we saw ranged from an old rust-bucket, once a light-ship, to the state-of-the art “Mary Anning”, a university research ship. We passed through a lock, into the river, where wildlife can often be seen – kingfishers, cormorants, seals, herons and swans (although Swansea is actually called after a Viking called Swein). The river is aerated through a pipe, for the sake of the fish.

The wildlife must have been hiding in the undergrowth on the banks, which is rather stunted because of poisoning from copper spoil – all I noticed was a couple of ducks!

We passed an old ice-house, the towers of the old railway bridge, an anti-aircraft gun, and White Rock, an old copper-smelting site with dock, where the Time Team have done a dig. We turned back to Swansea at the bascule bridge.

The local Vivian family made a fortune from copper, and then became distillers. One of them visited the Chile mines, and discovered some huge copper bells, abandoned after a tragic church fire. He planned to melt them down, but was persuaded to donate them to a Swansea church, where they remained for many years; recently they were returned to Chile.

Copper was, and is, very much in demand for all kinds of purposes. Ships were “copper-bottomed” to avoid damage.  Slave traders, some of whom owned White Rock, made tokens to pay for their purchases, and equipment for distilling molasses.

And, of course, copper is used for electrical wiring, and for kitchen ware. I remember a music-hall song which ends “If I can’t have a proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee-pot – I’ll have a cup of tea!”

A Transport of Delight                                                                  Andy Simpson

It was Wednesday so it must be Swansea…

These HADAS trips have always managed to get me to locations I have wanted to visit but am unlikely to have got to otherwise, and this was no exception.

The Tram Shed in Dylan Thomas Square in the marina area being a case in point. This modern two-story building is run by Swansea Museums –

Having recently written an article for the historical quarterly journal Tramway Review on the erstwhile Swansea and Mumbles railway, I was keen to see the one remaining section of one of its trams (usually operated as two-car ‘trains’) still on public display.  This railway ran around the edge of Swansea Bay to Mumbles Pier, its route being distantly visible from the seafront by our hotel.

It originated as a horse-drawn mineral line opened to Oystermouth in 1804 (!) and in 1807 became the first passenger railway in the world, using a horse drawn coach. Steam passenger operation began in 1877 and was extended to Mumbles Pier by 1898.

The line was electrified in 1929 using thirteen huge red double deck cars, the end of one of them, car 7 being in the tram shed. When the line closed despite local opposition in January 1960, this end was cut off and initially displayed in the open at the rear of the nearby Swansea Royal Institution, now Swansea Museum, which a number of us also visited on the day.

Also displayed there is the delightful yellow-painted 1954 Swansea and Mumbles Railway built replica of the original 1807 Oystermouth Tramroad Company horse-drawn coach (‘Llewellyn’s coach’), built to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the line; it incorporates parts, including the wheels, of the former shunting loco, 1929 0-4-0 Hardy Railmotors petrol-electric loco Swansea and Mumbles Railway No 14, formerly used for limited freight traffic on the line.

On show also is the restored Brush-built Swansea Tramways Co double deck car 14 of 1923, built by Brush to a ‘lowbridge’ design originally used by Cardiff Corporation Tramways and operated until closure of the Swansea Tramways in January 1937. Like many recent restorations (this one by a 1980s Job Training Scheme following initial rescue of the lower saloon in 1977), it is actually a composite car using the top deck of classmate car 12, also rescued from a local farm after many years use as a store, resting on a truck from Belgium. It is missing many fittings but still looks impressive.

Due to severe Swansea Museums budget cuts of up to 50%, the Tram Shed is now only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, staffed by very friendly, though elderly, volunteers. My chat with them generated much interest when I showed my article.

A curator was summoned and the article copied, with much interest shown in my revelation that the bogies of another Swansea and Mumbles car survive in store in the Peak District, The complete car number 2 went to the pioneer heritage Line the Middleton Railway in Leeds for preservation in June 1960, but after severe vandalism and decay after a decade stored outside was burnt for scrap in June 1970, the tramway museum at Crich (visited on a previous HADAS trip) purchasing the rusting bogies from a muddy field in early 1973.

The Tram Shed also houses railway items including signs, rails, and the nameplate and classic ‘copper-capped’ chimney from GWR Castle Class express passenger locomotive 7008 ‘Swansea Castle’, withdrawn from Old Oak shed, London, in September 1964.

For more on the Swansea and Mumbles railway see

The budget cuts were obvious viewing the sadly decaying state of the council-owned historic tug, lightship and pilot boat moored outside the adjacent Museum of Wales operated National Waterfront Museum, the council having stopped paying the mooring fees for their access pier, meaning visitors can no longer board the three vessels, as explained by the understandably upset volunteers, One of them was a retired railway signalman, and he even gave me a copy of an article on local mechanical signal boxes and semaphore signals.

The National Waterfront Museum                                                                 Andy Simpson

Formerly the Swansea Maritime and Industrial Museum, this is part of the National Museum of Wales, and an excellent example of how a modern museum in a purpose-built modern building can appeal to diverse audiences as a ‘Community Hub’ in modern parlance.

It is autism friendly and has ‘ Chill Out room for those needing space to take time out’ and even monthly ‘Quiet Hours’ for those wanting to avoid noise and crowds  and STILL have lots of interesting actual exhibits (around 2000 on display) rather than the stripped-out approach favoured by rather too many modern museum design teams.

It features chunky large sized exhibits such as the working replica of Richard Trevithick’s Penydarren Steam Locomotive of 1804 that ran in Merthyr Tydfil and the original Cardiff-built Watkins CHW ‘Red Robin’ monoplane of 1909, similar to the English-Channel crossing Bleriot of that same year which was flown extensively until 1916 – one of the earliest examples of an aircraft in the UK, two examples of the infamous 1980s battery – powered Sinclair C5 and a Benz motor car of 1904 donated to the Science Museum by its Chepstow owner in 1910 and with the National Museum of Wales since 1911!


There is of course a pleasant café and shop selling local products, a community garden maintained by volunteers and schools, and in 15 galleries art and social history displays covering 300 years of more recent Welsh industrial history (leaving the archaeology to the nearby Swansea Museum), temporary exhibitions, a whole room full of wonderful transport models, and a pleasant outside verandah with views over the marina.

 And, of course, that essential for modern life – free wi-fi!

Swansea Museum      Jim Nelhams

Leaving the Tram Shed and passing alongside the Dylan Thomas Theatre took us back to the Swansea Museum. You are able to visit Swansea Museum at four locations – the Museum itself on Oystermouth Road, the Tram Shed in Dylan Thomas Square in the Marina, the Museum Stores in Landore and the floating exhibits in the dock by the Tramshed.

This museum building concentrates on the local area, with some archaeological finds and a splendid display of Welsh ceramics.

There are also temporary exhibitions and one had just opened when we visited, titled “50 years of Music”, a journey through Swansea’s musical heritage since 1969 including its venues, influential people, stand out gigs as well as local and visiting musicians. A few nostalgic moments listening to recordings from the past.

The Dylan Thomas Experience                                                                 Claudette Carlton

Dylan Thomas was born in 1914 in Swansea and died in the USA in 1953, at the age of 39 years.

The Dylan Thomas Centre is close to the river in Swansea and is home to a permanent exhibition “Love the Words”, which opened on Dylan’s 100th Birthday. The exhibition takes the form of a timeline of his life, with a wealth of archive material from the University of Swansea. There are photographs and documents from his childhood.

Edith Sitwell was an early champion of his poetry: T. S. Eliot refused to publish him at Faber: and as he became famous, he knew EVERYBODY. Mervyn Peake was a friend. Stravinsky wanted him to collaborate on an opera: he knew Salvador Dali: Augustus John painted his portrait – and so on.

And while he was smoking and drinking and marrying Caitlin, working as a journalist and in the theatre, and never having any money, he was writing the most extraordinary, beautiful poetry. There is audio-visual material in the exhibition (Richard Burton reading ‘Under Milk Wood’); and then the lecture tours in America which were too long and too demanding, and his death.

There is a short video at the end of the exhibition of his funeral, the male mourners walking at the front of the procession, then Dylan’s coffin, then the women: and finally a shot of his mother, alone. She had lost her husband, son and daughter in one year.

Among many obituaries in the archive, one announced “Adonis is dead”. And who did he write for? In his own words,

“I write on these spendthrift pages

For the lovers, their arms round the grief of ages

Who pay no praise or wages

Nor heed my craft or art.”

5 Cwmdonkin Drive                                                                                  Kevin McSharry

“Come Tell Me How You Live”

If HADAS should ever be in need of a motto or strap line perhaps “Come Tell Me How You Live” would more than suffice.

The words are those of Agatha Mallowan, better known as Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan DBE the writer of detective novels and the wife of Sir Max Mallowan , distinguished archaeologist .

Agatha took a full part in every one of Max’s excavations in Syria and Iraq; and wrote about her experiences in her archaeological memoir: Come Tell Me How You Live

(A young Agatha Christie)                                                     (Dylan Thomas)

Claudette Carlton, another of our group, and I, in visiting “The Dylan Thomas Exhibition”, sought through the wealth of archive material to answer how the poet, and tortured soul, Dylan Thomas had lived, loved and worked. The exhibition was opened by President Jimmy Carter. Dylan is President Carter’s favourite poet, a fact which reflects Dylan’s huge popularity in the United States.

President Carter regretted that it had not been possible for him, while in the city, to visit 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, The Uplands, Swansea, Dylan’s birthplace.

I sought to achieve what had not been possible for President Carter; and after a phone call seeking permission, took a taxi, with two other intrepid companions, Pauline and Malcolm, to the semi-detached house where Dylan had been born and brought up. What a wonderful visit. A pure delight!

5 Cwmdonkin Drive, now in private ownership, is furnished in the style of the period when the Thomas family lived there. It was Dylan’s home for 23 years; more than two thirds of Dylan’s published works came from material created during his time living at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. With the help of a friendly and knowledgeable Korean guide, completing a Master’s in Tourism and Marketing at the city’s University, we visited each of the rooms in turn: here the sitting  room (used only for visitors and festive occasions), here Dylan’s tiny bedroom and so on.

An impressive video, recorded in America by President Carter, welcomed us to the house.

The house is open daily for visitors except when used for functions or as a B&B. Yes, a B&B! Yes, one can actually stay there.

“Love of Words” Exhibition should be combined, if possible, with a visit to 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. The two complement each other and thoroughly immerse one in the life and times of Dylan Marlais Thomas and in the words of Agatha Christie Dylan told us how he lived.

Postscript       Jim Nelhams

Finally, our group re-assembled by the museum for our ride back to the hotel after a day incorporating a variety of interesting places.

The Tower of London’s Ravens                                                     Stewart Wild

I was playing around with collective nouns, as one does (who isn’t intrigued by a murder of crows or a murmuration of starlings?), when I found that ravens collectively are known as a congress, conspiracy, an unkindness, or even a treachery.

My curiosity piqued, I decided to dig deeper, and alighted on the country’s most famous ravens, Corvus corax, those at the Tower of London.

These magnificent birds, members of the genus Corvus, the crow family, have been associated with the Tower for many centuries, perhaps even since its founding in the eleventh century.  

A well-known superstition is that if the ravens were ever to leave, the White Tower would crumble and a great disaster would befall the monarchy.  For this reason, the ravens have been protected, it is said, by royal decree since the reign of Charles II.

Some doubtful historians, however, think that the original birds may have just been Yeoman warders’ pets and that the superstition may only date from Victorian times, although Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed (1646–1719) does mention ravens in his diaries.

Numbers vary

There are usually at least six ravens kept at the Tower, the responsibility of the Ravenmaster, one of the senior ex-servicemen (and women) known as Beefeaters.  As they are captive-bred at the Tower (the birds, not the Beefeaters), there are often more than six, and any birds surplus to requirements are given an exit visa and posted (not literally) to a zoo or bird sanctuary.

The birds have names, sometimes reflecting their character or origin.  Recent names have included George, Odin, Thor, Merlin, Hugine and Munin.  Each bird has a differently coloured band clipped around one leg to aid identification. 

The ravens are well cared for.  Like all Corvidae, they are eaters of carrion and are fed on roadkill, dead mice, chicken and the like.  They get a medical check-up once a week, dietary supplements like cod liver oil if thought necessary, and can live up to forty years. 

Occasionally a bird will escape, but is usually recaptured or flies back on its own.  To prevent them flying too far, the feathers on one wing are slightly trimmed, and as a result the birds tend to hop around the Tower’s lawns rather than take to the air.  The ravens are always popular with visitors, who are warned not to get too close to them since they have a tendency to attack if scared.

Sometimes an individual bird will fall out of favour because of “inappropriate behaviour”.  A few years ago, for example, a raven named George lost his appointment to the Crown, and was retired to Wales for attacking and destroying TV aerials.

The Tower is always worth another visit; next time look out for the remarkable ravens.

Other Societies’ Events                                                                  Eric Morgan


The time for Monday, 17th February Enfield Society shown as 10.30am should be 7.30PM.

The date for the Historical Association, shown as 25th February, should be Thursday 20th February, and the postal district shown as NW6 should be NW11.

The date for Finchley Society shown as 25th February, should be Thursday 27th February.


As ever, please check with the organisations before setting out in case of any changes or cancellations.

Thursday 20 February, 7.30pm Camden History Society Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 1LT Camden’s Parish Maps, 1720-1900. Talk by Simon Morris. Visitors £2.

Friday 21 February, 7.00pm COLAS St Olave’s Church, Hart St, London EC3R 7NB AGM and Lecture ‘Excavations at the Adrian Boult Music Centre, Westminster Abbey; Joe Brooks, Pre Construct Archaeology. Lecture followed by Wine and Nibbles. Visitors £3.

Sunday 1st March, 10.30am Heath & Hampstead Society Meet at Burgh House, Hampstead – address as above.  The History of Hampstead Heath Ponds. Walk led by Marc Hutchinson (chair) Donation £5. Lasts approximately two hours.

Wednesday 4 March, 8.00pm Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St, Wealdstone, HA3. Codebreaking Outstations Talk by Richard Koorm. Visitors £3.

Thursday 5 March, 8.00pm   Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner HA5 1AB   Building Pinner – Talk by Research Group. £3.

Wednesday 11 March, 2.30pm Mill Hill Historical Society. Trinity Church, 100, The Broadway NW7 3TB Trent Park; Its History & Involvement in WW2 Dr Helen Fry.

Preceded by A.G.M.

Thursday 12 March, 6.00pm Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, EC1N 2HH Corpse Roads; Digital Landscape Archaeology Talk by Stuart Dunn. Exploring how modelling can help unlock the secrets of Britain’s Ancient pathways, focussing on those taken by coffin bearers over the countryside before the enclosures. Free.

Thursday 12 March Highgate Society Time not stated. 10A, South Grove, N6 6BS Shopping Parades; Our Undervalued Heritage Talk by Delcia Keate Visitors £5.

Monday 16 March, 8.15pm Ruislip, Northwood & Eastcote Local History Society

St Martin’s Church Hall, High St, Ruislip, HA4 8DG

Brentham Garden Suburb. Talk by Sue Elliott (Brentham Society) Visitors £2.

Wednesday 18 March, 7.30pm Willesden Local History Society St Anne’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS (Nr. Magistrate’s Court) Britain’s First Supergrass Talk by Dick Weindling (Camden History Society) Discovering a tale about a shady local character.

Thursday 19 March, 8.00pm Historical Association: Hampstead & N.W. London Branch Fellowship House 136A Willifield Way, NW11 6&D (off Finchley Rd in Temple Fortune) Cromwell – A Talk by Alan Marshall, Visitors £3. Refreshments available.

Friday 20 March, 8.00pm Wembley History Society English Martyr’s Hall, Chalk Hill Road Wembley (top of Blackbird Hill, Adj. to Church) The B to Z of Street Furniture in London  Talk by Robert Kayne. Visitors £3. Refreshments in interval.

Friday 20 March, 7.00pm COLAS – address as above, ‘CRaFT To DATE; – Recent fieldwork and research on the project to investigate the Causeways, Riverstairs and Ferry Terminals of the tidal Thames. Various speakers.

Saturday 21st March, 11am – 5.30pm LAMAS Annual Conference of London Archaeologists  The Weston Theatre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Morning session Recent Work till 1pm, Lunch. Afternoon session Monastic Archaeology in London from 2pm. Tea 3.30-4.30pm, & Displays of work and publications upstairs in Clore Room. Cost (inc. tea) early bird (before 1 March) £15, full price £17.50. Tickets from Jon Cotton c/o Curatorial Dept, MoL, London Wall EC2Y 5HN

Saturday 21 March, 10am – 4.30pm West London Local History Conference University of West London The Paragon, Boston Manor Road, Brentford TW8 9GA. Celebrations in South and West London. Please see the Richmond Local History Society’s website for more info,

Wednesday 25 March 7.45pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Conference

North Middx Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL The Palace of Westminster – 1834 to date. Talk by Barry Hall. Visitors £2. Bar/refreshments available.


Thursday 26 March 7.30pm Finchley Society Drawing Room, Avenue House (Stephens House) 17, East End Road, N3 3QE Finsbury Freehold Society & The Creation of Finchley Park. Talk by Stephen Yeo (Fin. Soc) Visitors £2. Refreshments available.

END PIECE                                                                                               Andy Simpson

Work continues at ‘Avenue House’ most Sunday mornings, usually 10.30-11 (ish)

We have recently concentrated on the post-excavation analyses of the finds from last summer’s dig (our third) at Clitterhouse Farm. Lots of Victorian and later pottery and glass, with a few pieces of 18th pottery and glass seemingly concentrated in one corner of the site.

And most unusually, not a single coin of any date. But an awful lot of brick and tile!

We will shortly be starting to work on the HADAS response, in archaeological terms, to the latest Barnet Local Development Plan which has identified 67 individual sites throughout the borough for development work, mostly residential and often consisting of massive blocks of flats, over the next 15-20 years. Some of these sites HADAS has dug at or near to in the past.

Feel free to pop along and see what we are up to!                                                                          

With thanks for newsletter contributions this month to; Claudette Carlton, Kevin McSharry. Eric Morgan, Jo Nelhams, Jim Nelhams, Liz Tucker, Stewart Wild

Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman  Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 5HS  (020 8440 4350) e-mail:

Hon. Secretary  Jo Nelhams   61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS   (020 8449 7076)  e-mail:                     

Hon. Treasurer   Roger Chapman 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP (07855 304488)     e-mail:

Membership Sec.  Stephen Brunning, Flat 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road, East Barnet EN4 8FH1      (020 8440 8421)  


Web site:    

Newsletter No 586 January 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments

No.586 January 2020 Edited by Peter Pickering


Except for the January one, which is in the afternoon, lectures start at 7.45 for 8.00pm. They are 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.

Tuesday 14th January 2020 at 2.30pm
Ian Jones
Shelters to Shrapnel, surviving traces of Enfield At War, 1939-1945
A look at the World War II monuments in Enfield including those that survive, those that have been demolished since earlier recording in the 70s and 80s, sites excavated and some of the finds made.
Ian Jones began as a schoolteacher, and later joined Harlow Museum ending as curator. Since leaving, has become a part-time adult education lecturer, local historian and author and is currently Chairman of the Enfield Archaeological Society, which he originally joined in 1958.

Tuesday 11th February 2020. The Dorothy Newbury Memorial Lecture
Jon Cotton
Prehistory in London – some Problems, Progress and Potential

Tuesday 10th March 2020
Lyn Blackmore From Crosse and Blackwell to Crossrail – MOLA excavations at Tottenham Court Road 2009–10

Tuesday 14th April 2020
Signe Hoffos
Lost City Churches

Tuesday 12th May 2020
Tim Williams
Archaeology of the Silk Roads

Tuesday 9th June 2020

From the Chairman

I will be retiring as chairman of HADAS, after 16 enjoyable years, at the next AGM in June 2020. Tempus fugit and at 83 years old it is time for someone perhaps younger to take the reins. I am making this announcement now, to give reasonable notice to plan my replacement.

The role of HADAS chairman includes chairing four committee meetings during the year, writing an annual report for the AGM on the year’s activities, assisting the secretary to produce agendas, head the committee in making decisions for the benefit of the society and its members.

ANDERSONS AND ACK ACK: the 20th Century Conflict Archaeology of London –

The October Lecture by Andy Brockman Deirdre Barrie

The First World War is now scarcely within living memory, and even witnesses of the Second World War are fast diminishing. For instance, there now remain only four Battle of Britain air crew out of an original total of 300. Thus (says Andy Brockman) the archaeology of this modern conflict is one of the newest and fastest-moving disciplines in archaeology.

Andy began with the first ever blitzkrieg by the Germans during the First World War in 1915-1916. A slide of a German propaganda poster showed matchstick people scattering in terror from an aerial attack on Trafalgar Square.

The earliest anti-aircraft battery was built in 1913, but by 1915 there was serious zeppelin damage. One infamous incident in 1917 was the bombing of Upper Norwood School in Poplar, where 18 children aged 4-6 and their teacher were killed.

Enemy airships were based in Southern Germany, and once over here they navigated by following railway lines. German airships would send back weather reports in Morse code to bases in Southern Germany, which by triangulation allowed us to locate the bases.

Another slide showed an idealised view of a German airship, with the commander on a speaking tube to the engine room. Because of the high altitude, airship crew needed to be dressed like sailors in winter. There were no parachutes; thus dark conversations took place at German crew bases as to whether it was better when your airship caught light to jump, or to go down in flames.

Zeppelins flew so high that crew often passed out, though later they used liquid oxygen to help them breathe. The zeppelins were driven by marine diesel engines, whose fumes caused the crew nausea and migraines. This was one of the most dangerous ways to go to war, especially for one unprotected wretch, the lonely machine-gunner high on the prow of the ship. When German airships crashed, the British copied their designs. By the beginning of 1916, Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Mathy of the Navy Airship Division in Germany confessed that things were in a bad way. He himself was killed at the site of the L3 crash at Potters Bar by jumping from the airship.

During the Second World War, there was a ring of defences all round London to deter the invaders. In his talk Andy commented mostly on Shooters Hill, which happens to be on the main road to London from Kent and the coast, and a height of tactical importance. Even if the enemy had got past some of the defences, the navy could have steamed up the channel, cut off their supply lines and left them stranded.

The area is still littered with the remains of defences. A former farm at Shooters Hill was a prisoner-of-war camp within living memory. The concrete and iron anchoring points for barrage balloons are still
discoverable in Eaglesfield Park. On the hill itself were “pill boxes”, anti-tank devices and at least one fiery booby trap, an anti-tank device called a flame fougasse.

A Shooters Hill local, Peter James, described how in the 1930s/1940s he was told that a big metal circle at the top of Shooters Hill was the site of an anti-aircraft gun.

Andy commented that it was advisable always to take two geophysics readings of an area and compare them. The first geophysics reading of this anti-aircraft gun site showed two First World War anti-aircraft guns – well built, with the bases immaculately level. But at some time in the Second World War a different weapon had been on the same site – not such a careful job. Metal detecting revealed conduits leading back to Whitehall or Woolwich. A cut-out French coin was also found – perhaps a keepsake from France?

RAF photos are invaluable for research. They show building losses, anti-aircraft gun sites and field boundaries, (as well as lots of much earlier archaeology!)

As early as 1938, Tom Wintringham, (soldier, military historian and politician) was campaigning for home defence units, which would eventually become the Home Guard. We are now used now to the “Dad’s Army” and Compton Mackenzie’s view of the Home Guard as bumbling and incompetent. But with Wintringham’s influence, “Picture Post” published an edition with a photo on the cover of a very heroic-looking member of the Home Guard.

The Home Guard were trained at the neo-classical Osterley Park, an Adam house now run by the National Trust. “Do what you want, but don’t damage the house!” the Home Guard were told. To join the Home Guard, volunteers over 41 would sign up at a local police station. However, for various reasons, some would soon resign.

Only now are we beginning to realise the importance of these wartime sites, which are disregarded all around us and need to be investigated and recorded before it is too late. Andy stressed that local archaeological groups and heritage projects now have a significant role to play in discovering and understanding the conflict archaeology of their communities.

[Andy Brockman has a MA in archaeology from Birkbeck College and directed the excavation of the anti-aircraft gun site at Eaglesfield Park, and a survey of the former POW Camp 1020, both on Shooters Hill. A regular contributor to “Britain at War” magazine and other publications, he has also appeared on Channel 4’s “TIME TEAM” and conducted research for, as well as appearing in, the Channel 5 documentary “WHAT THE DAMBUSTERS DID NEXT.”]

Here are the links. The Time Team Shooters Hill episode: Time Team S15-EO8 Blitzkreig on Shooters Hill, London .The Potters Bar Zeppelin:

NEXT STOP SEATON! 66 years of Modern Electric Tramways Limited By David Voice Published by Adam Gordon 2019 ISBN 978-1-910654-23-1 Price £25.00, soft back. Reviewed by Andy Simpson

The publication this autumn of the new and expanded fourth edition of the book reviewed below is an opportunity to revisit and expand the review of the second revised and enlarged edition originally published in the HADAS newsletter of October 2003.

Why review a book about a three-mile long narrow-gauge tourist tramway running along a river estuary in Devon (and visited by HADAS on a long weekend in September 2006)? Well, read on. This book is full of Barnet, Hadley and Hendon connections. The 2003 edition celebrated the golden jubilee in 2003 of the Modern Electric Tramways Company, formed 19th May 1953 by Claude Lane to run his trams; and the Seaton Tramway founded by him happily thrives to this day.

Claude Lane was born in 1908 in Totteridge, the son of William Lane, joint manager of Manor Farm Dairies, Highgate; having introduced pasteurisation he became a director. In 1911 the family moved to Finchley, where the infant Claude, fascinated by trams, would persuade his nanny to take him to the tram depot off Rosemont Avenue to watch them entering and leaving the depot. As a young boy he would travel to Hendon to watch the trams at the depot/workshops on the Edgware Road, where the now rebuilt Merit House later stood – of which more later. At school he developed a flair for electricity and mechanics and served his electrical engineering apprenticeship at Stoke Newington power station. Aged 22, he formed the Barnet based ‘Mobile Welding and Workshop Company’, and opened a small workshop in Lancaster Road, New Barnet, renamed the Lancaster Electrical Company, after the road. Here he repaired batteries, radios and the like.

A growing interest in battery vehicles led to his building a workshop at 77-79 Brookhill Road, New Barnet, whilst spending his summer holidays driving trams in Llandudno and Blackpool. From the Second World War his company produced many battery-operated vehicles such as the ‘Lecar’ for local deliveries by traders. In early 1949, he produced his first own 15-inch gauge scale model tram, number 23, based on a modern double decker then running in Llandudno; he built a test track in the Barnet works and locals soon got used to this little tram peeping out of the Brookhill Road entrance and running around the yard, through the sawmill, and around the open area at the rear of the works, giving rides to local children. As news spread, invitations to local fetes, using portable overhead and track, grew; one such being the Hadley House Conservative Association Fete on 2nd July 1949, followed by South Mimms on 23rd July, when the tram was filmed by British Movietone News. Summer weekends saw the tram travel as far as Hitchin and Uxbridge, often with ‘19 Barnet’ on its destination blinds – the pre-1938 route via Finchley to High Barnet. In 1950 a second tram was completed in New Barnet, based on the ‘Blackpool Boat’ open top single deck design, and numbered 225. In 1951 the two trams moved to a new sea-front miniature tramway at St Leonards, Hastings, as a holiday attraction. They were supplemented in 1952 by a third Barnet-built tramcar, a traditional four-wheel open topper, number 3, but local complaints had seen an end to the Hastings operation after a few months. Also built at Barnet in 1952 was a four-wheeled battery-operated tram for the Air Ministry, which in rebuilt form remains at Seaton as a works car. In 1952 the whole set-up moved to a park at Rhyl. A planned move to Eastbourne in East Sussex saw trams 225 and 3 move back to Barnet for refurbishment. The Rhyl operation was leased out and the Barnet works produced a fourth tram, open ‘toastrack’ number 6, in 1954 to help maintain services there. The Rhyl operation closed in 1957.

Operations in Princes Park, Eastbourne began in 1954, with the track gauge increased to two feet. Barnet works produced a second ‘boat’ car, No.226 to help work the line that year. In 1960 the chassis was modified as a works car and later served as a mobile shop and even as a café and ticket office; it is currently stored out of use at Seaton. Car number 238, based on the double-deck Blackpool ‘Balloon’ design was built at Barnet in 1955. Toastrack number 6 was rebuilt at Barnet 1955/56 as a traditional bogie open top car using parts from original full-sized trams – controllers from Southampton and top deck seats, wire mesh, headlights, gongs, bells and circuit breakers rescued from the scrapman at Llandudno which lost its street tramway in March 1956, and remains in service at Seaton. The last tram partially built in East Barnet, in 1958, was similar tram number 7, again using full-sized components such as more electrical gear rescued from recently scrapped Llandudno trams, and seats from Leeds trams; it also remains in service at Seaton.

The Barnet works closed shortly afterwards, and were sold in 1959; now demolished, a field visit kindly undertaken by Bill Bass in November 2019 showed that the site is now covered by a large modern three-story block of flats, ‘Ludlow Court’- see photos by Bill below.

Tramway operations moved entirely to Eastbourne, where the tramway was partly lit by ex-Hendon UDC gas lamps! Also built at Barnet in 1957 was a miniature Edwardian L.G.O.C- ‘B’ type open top bus, based on the 1929 chassis of a Swift car, registration LA 9927, which is currently undergoing restoration. In 1963, three of the Barnet built trams – 3, 225, and 238 – were sold to a collector in America and shipped out in November; sadly, their current location is not known. Barnet built Cars 6 and 7 remain in operation at Seaton, where the tramway moved to in 1969. In October 1964 the former Metropolitan Electric Tramways tram/trolleybus depot and works in Hendon, where Merit House now stands opposite the oriental shopping complex, was being demolished, following closure in 1962, and Claude Lane rescued two sets of depot gates, for use at Eastbourne and, later, Seaton. Another local link at Seaton is tram 14, originally Metropolitan Electric Tramways 94 of 1904, later London Transport 2455, rescued in 1961 from an orchard near Waltham Cross, and now cut down to single deck, of the type once common around Hendon, Finchley and Barnet until the local tramways converted to trolleybus operation c.1935-1938.

This is a splendid book. Though not cheap, it is well written with plenty of ‘human interest’ and lots of pictures of the Barnet works and its advertising literature, Hadley Fete, and the Hendon depot gates! Well recommended for transport and local history enthusiasts.

HADAS TRIP Day 2 (continued) Jim Nelhams
Leaving Llandaff, our coach took us into the centre of Cardiff, dropping everybody by the walls of Cardiff Castle. The castle has lots of steps, particularly in the keep, so some opted to visit the museum and art gallery or local shops.

The first building on the site was a Roman fort, built to subdue the warlike tribe of the Silures, which controlled south-east Wales. A stretch of Roman wall survives in the basement of the visitor centre. William the Conqueror invaded south-east Wales and in 1081 he built a motte-and-bailey castle with a wooden keep on the site. Around 1135, this was replaced by a stone keep, considered the finest in Wales, by Robert of Gloucester, probably in response to a Welsh rising.

In the fifteenth century the castle began its transformation into a comfortable residence with the construction of a mansion built into the western wall of the bailey. Three hundred years later, the mansion was refurbished and extended, while Capability Brown’s vision of a fashionable landscape led him to demolish many important ancient buildings and the wall which divided the inner and outer bailey. In the late nineteenth century, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, then the richest man in Britain, employed the architect William Burges to transform the mansion into an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture. Some rooms in the mansion are open to the public and others can be seen on a fascinating guided tour.


On our visit to Cardiff Castle I was keen to see the highly decorated rooms in the Victorian Gothic castle apartments. These were designed by architect William Burges for the 3rd Marquis of Bute, with the project started in 1866 and continued by the 4th Marquis. The rooms are famous for the amount of decoration they contain with many animals, plants etc. and depict historical and mythical stories.

We did not have to wait very long for our first sight. As we stepped from the coach, we saw the Grade 1 listed Animal Wall at Bute Park. This was planned by Burges and built in 1890, after his death; it was originally located in front of the castle. Road widening as the Centre of Cardiff became busier necessitated re-positioning to the west around Bute Park. For people who are used to animals in heraldic representation or relief panels inserted into walls they are quite a surprise. They all look as if they are looking over the wall from Bute Park and possibly trying to escape. The first nine designed by Thomas Nicholls in 1890 have glass eyes and were originally painted. In 1931, six further animals were sculpted by Alexander Carrick.
During the 1930s the animals featured in a children’s cartoon in the South Wales Echo; they are still a very popular sight in the centre of Cardiff.
Cardiff Museum of Natural History & National Museum of Art
A short distance away from the castle stand a number of civic buildings dating from 1906 and including the City Hall. Next to this stands the museum building, at the time of our visit undergoing roof repairs. Like many city centre museums, it has run out of space, so historic and archaeological exhibits have been transferred in recent years to new buildings at St Fagans, which we would visit later in the trip.

On the ground floor is the natural history section – imaginatively displayed – covering the geological and historical development of Wales and including a woolly mammoth which moves and trumpets.
Much of the first floor is devoted to art, including the work of a number of Welsh painters, but also a display of Welsh ceramics.

Llandaff postscript Jim Nelhams

While returning from Llandaff Cathedral to our coach, we found a small excavation underway near the Bishop’s Castle at the top of the hill. The following is reprinted by kind permission of ‘Wales Online’. “A Medieval dwelling dating back to the 1400s has been discovered under a derelict toilet block in Cardiff . “An excavation of the site in Llandaff in September revealed the building, which expert archaeologists believe was home to someone important. “It is quite a high-status building, it includes a Bath Stone fire surround which was imported from the Bath area and it is not really known as a stone in Llandaff,” said Dr Tim Young, the archaeologist leading the dig. The ground floor of the house remains fully intact, and it is believed the first floor was demolished in the 17th century when the land was then used for an animal pound.

(This is the south corner of the medieval building and its fireplace is to the right)

Among the finds were animal bones, pots, and a counting token called a Jetton, which is believed to have been struck in Paris in the 1300s.

There are a number of theories behind who may have lived in the dwelling next to the 13th Century Old Bishop’s Castle; one includes a housekeeper for the nearby Manor of Llandaff or an official of the Llandaff Cathedral “The site is known as the pound as it was the animal pound for Llandaff and we have evidence of that dating back to about 1607. It had always been assumed that the area was also the pound before that so the discovery of a medieval dwelling on the site was quite unexpected,” said Dr Young, who is a teaching associate at Cardiff University. Finds from the dig will now be sent to experts at Cardiff University and other national museums in order to learn more about the site. “It won’t be for another six months or even a year until we could come to any sort of conclusion,” said Dr Young. Dr Young added they were very surprised by the find as there was no evidence from any of the surviving maps from that time to suggest there had been a building there. The dig was part of a community project set up by Llandaff 50+ as part of a transfer of community assets by the council to the club, who intend to turn the disused toilets into a new community venue. The club was granted funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Cardiff YMCA Trust to run the community project and refurbish the toilets. More than 250 children from nearby schools helped with the dig which ran from September 16 to 27. A local storyteller was able to bring history alive for the children, which helped make the community dig a real success, said Yvonne Apsitis, chairwoman of the Llandaff 50+ club. “We have never really done much with children in the community before so this seemed the perfect opportunity. We had people as old as 80 work at the dig. It was a really enjoyable experience,” said the 79-year-old. The site will now be filled back in as work continues on restoring the area.

Two new books of interest 1. How Hampstead Heath was saved. Review by Andrew Bosi, (first published in News Forum, the newsletter of the London Forum)

Helen Lawrence’s new book has been published (by the Camden History Society, £14.95, order online through the Camden History Society website) to coincide with the latest twist in the history of the Heath – the return of sheep grazing. She charts in great detail the long struggle over ownership of the Heath and the rights and easements granted or withheld. There is a critique of earlier publications and this book brings together the full story to date, acknowledging that it will continue to evolve and urging vigilance on readers who might be faced with challenges in the future.

Hampstead has always been inhabited by more than its share of the great and the good and it is interesting to speculate, as you read the book, how Epping Forest might have fared if it had fallen into the same ownership. The book is sub-titled a Story of People Power and although legislation has changed out of all recognition there are echoes of the petitioning of Parliament over the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in the account of how successive Bills in Parliament designed to permit unwanted development were rebuffed.

Surprisingly, the coming of the Railways did not pose a threat to the heath and the Hampstead Junction railway skirting the southern edge of the heath strengthened the argument that this is a London wide resource. None of the radial routes to the north come anywhere near.

Changes to local government on the other hand posed more difficulties. Within the living memory of most readers, the abolition of the Greater London Council and the long drawn out debate about how its functions were to be administered involved twists and turns that are faithfully recorded here.

In places the left justification of the text results in some confusing spacing: one or two errors have escaped the proof readers. The book is copiously illustrated and very reasonably priced. A rather limited print run may mean first editions become a much sought after investment in years to come. Anyone with an interest in the history of the Heath, or needing to fight for open space elsewhere, will want to make that investment now.

Londinium: a Biography – Roman London from its origins to the Fifth Century

By Richard Hingley, Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Durham Bloomsbury Academic 2018 Price £17.50 paperback

‘Archaeological work’, writes Professor Hingley, has since the mid-1990s, entirely transformed the comprehension of London’s Roman past . . . particularly with regard to the characters and lives of its occupants and the later history of Londinium’. He attempts in this book a current synthesis, dividing the life of Roman London into some six periods, and looking one by one at aspects of London’s life in each period. For instance, under ‘Peak of Development from AD125 to AD200’ there are sections ‘People and status’ ‘Monumental buildings and infrastructure’ ‘Occupation’, and ‘Marking the boundaries’. Professor Hingley indicates scrupulously when the evidence for any conclusion is uncertain or ambiguous. He does not think the decline of Londinium during the third and fourth centuries was anything like as marked as we are often told.

The book will be invaluable as the basis for research or study of anything relating to Roman London – though of course everything in it must be provisional as new discoveries continue to be made. The illustrations are full, but can be murky – in a reasonably priced paperback they are in the text, not on separate plates.

OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS compiled by Eric Morgan Please check with the organisations before setting out in case of any changes / cancellations. Many organisations expect a small contribution from visitors. Tuesday 14th January 6.30 pm London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN Which Bottles are ‘Witch’ Bottles? Talk by Nigel Jeffries, exploring Ralph Merrifield’s legacy in the field of early modern bottle magic in England. Refreshments from 6 o’clock
Tuesday 14th January 7.45 pm Amateur Geological Society Finchley Baptist Church Hall 6 East End Road opposite Avenue House Milankovitch Cycles and other cosmic influences on our climate Talk by Professor Alan Aylward.
Wednesday 22nd January, 7.45 pm Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane N20 0NL. All Over by Christmas: the Home Front in the First World War Talk by David Berguer
Thursday 30th January 2.30 pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House Talk by Helen Fry on Trent Park in the Second World War and other buildings used for interrogation. NOTE AFTERNOON MEETING
Sunday 2nd February. 10.30 am Heath and Hampstead Society. Laughter in the Landscape; a walk to celebrate Grimaldi Sunday. Explore ‘Appy ‘Ampstead with Lester Hillmany Marc Hutchinson. Meet at the Old Bull and Bush North End Way NW3 Lasts about two hours. MUST BOOK – or 07941528034. Donation £5.
Thursday 6th February 8pm Pinner Local History Society Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park, Pinner HA5 1AB. Behind the scenes at the Battle of Britain. Talk by David Keen, including Bentley Priory’s place in history.
Wednesday 12th February. 2.30 pm Mill Hill Historical Society Trinity Church 100, The Broadway NW7 3TB French Horticultural Gardens and current influences. Talk by Chelle Price
Wednesday 12th February 7.45 pm Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church Hall, corner Ferme Park Road/Weston Park N8 9PX. Beating the Bounds Talk by Mark Lewis
Monday 17th February. 8.00 pm. Enfield Society Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ. Lost buildings of Enfield Talk by Joe Studman. (including Enfield Palace, Enfield Assembly Rooms, Zion and Chase side Chapels, Gentleman’s Row Bothy, Cecil Road Farm as well as inns and cinemas) (Wrongly entered as 10.30 am in print version)
Monday 17th February 8.15 pm Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society St Martin’s Church Hall High Street Ruislip HA4 8DG Excavations at Eastcote House Gardens. Talk by Les Capon (AOC Archaeology).
Wednesday 19th February. 8pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ The Bayeux Tapestry. Mike Brown.
Wednesday 19th February 7.30pm. Willesden Local History Society. St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS (nr Magistrates Court) The Willesden Green Library Story Talk by Philip Grant, celebrating the 125th anniversary – the Library opened in 1894 and has been at the heart of the local community.
Thursday 20th February 8pm Historical Association – Hampstead and NW London branch. Fellowship House, 136A Willifield Way NW6 6YD Jews in the Roman Empire Talk by Dr David Nay on their flourishing in many parts of the empire until changes under fourth century Christian emperors. (Wrongly entered as 27th February in print version)
Friday 21st February. 7.30 pm. Wembley History Society English Martyrs’ Hall, Chalkhill Road, Wembley, HA9 9EW (top of Blackbird Hill, adjacent to church) The Home Front during the Second World War Talk by Christine Coates.
Wednesday 26th February. 2.30 pm. Enfield Society Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ.Lavender Hill cemetery Talk by Joe Studman, looking at some of the graves to reveal a potted history of late Victorian and Edwardian Enfield.
Wednesday 26th February, 7.45 pm Friern Barnet and District Local History Society North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane N20 0NL. London Film Locations Talk by Diane Burstein
Thursday 27th February 2.30 pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, West Finchley Neighbourhood Plan Talk by Kieran Kettleton. NOTE AFTERNOON MEETING
Friday 28th and Saturday 29th February. Current Archaeology Live 2020. Conference in the University of London Senate House, Malet Street WC1E 7HU. Wide range of expert speakers sharing the latest archaeological finds and research. For details and tickets visit or ring 020 8819 5580.

With many thanks to this month’s contributors:
Bill Bass, Deidre Barrie, Don Cooper, Audrey Hooson,
Jo and Jim Nelhams, Dudley Miles, Eric Morgan and Andy Simpson.

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 Roger Chapman 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP (07855 304488) e-mail:
Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road, East Barnet EN4 8FH (0208 440 8421) e-mail: