Volume 11 : 2020 – 2024

Newsletter 595 – October 2020

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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 594 – September 2020

By | HADAS, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments
Number  594 September 2020 Edited by Stephen Brunning

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

Tuesday 10th November 2020: To the confirmed.

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! 


Membership Renewals – a reminder. Stephen Brunning.

Many thanks to those who have already paid their subscription. If you intend to renew this year and have not yet done so, I would be grateful to receive payment by 15th October 2020 at the following rates: £15 (Full), £5 (each additional member at the same address), and £6 (student). My address is on the last page of this newsletter.

It is not necessary to return the renewal form enclosed with the March newsletter. A piece of paper with your name, postal address, telephone number and email address (if applicable) will suffice. I will then be able check the details we hold are still correct. If you have not already done so, it would also be helpful if you could indicate your willingness to
receive the newsletter by email. This helps to keep our costs to a minimum. Thank you.



Annette Bruce

It is with great sadness that we learn that Annette Bruce died on 1st August at Charing Cross Hospital following a stroke.

Annette joined Hadas in 2016 and regularly attended our lectures. She also joined and thoroughly enjoyed our 2019 trip to South Wales.

Annette had a remarkable zest for life and learning. She loved being able to attend exhibitions and concerts and visited the Troy exhibition at the British Museum shortly before lockdown. She challenged herself with Japanese and Welsh classes and performing in piano concerts with fellow students, and she enjoyed travelling the world on historic and cultural lecture tours.

Outings in the newsletter                                                                 Jim Nelhams

Jo and I have a big gap in our diary for September where normally we would have a 5-day long trip with HADAS members. We have always aimed to visit unusual places and places that you would not visit on your own. While we did visit a number of likely places before the lockdown, our list was not complete so more work was needed, and some we had already checked have not yet re-opened or have problems with larger groups and social distancing.

The first trip we organised with help from Don Cooper before he became unwell, was in 2009 to Hereford. In earlier times, each trip was written up by a small number of members, usually just four. We asked for volunteers on each trip to cover just one location and serialised the articles in our newsletters over the winter months. This year, we will not be so fortunate and will leave gaps.

Counting back, the 11 outings from Hereford onwards have provided 223 articles from 44 different authors. It has given people the chance to note something that has interested them, and the variety of styles has added to the interest. Our thanks to them all.


Church end farm 1961-66 – additional details on surviving ceramic building material, pottery and clay pipe                                Andy Simpson 

I was interested to read the note on Dr Brian Robertson in the August newsletter and the involvement of himself and his late brother Ian in the Church End Farm excavations in the 1960s. This has prompted me to forward this review of additional Church End Farm material located in the HADAS archives over the past five years or so, since the original publication of ‘The Last Hendon Farm’                                                       

Following publication of the original Church End Farm book, ‘The Last Hendon Farm – The Archaeology and History of Church End Farm’ by the HADAS Finds Group and edited by Jacqui Pearce, when clearing out the former ‘garage store’ an additional four boxes of previously unrecorded ceramic building material (CBM) were found amongst the stored HADAS artefacts. These are additional to the two boxes that were initially available for study when the book was originally researched. These four boxes contained in total two fragments of possible chimney pot, one small piece of Roman tile, one substantial piece of post-medieval pottery, three complete lengths of field drain, two pantiles, two small pieces of grey roofing


slate, a short single length of one-inch diameter wooden wattle, three peg tiles, three curved roofing tiles, two nibbed tiles, and nine ‘house’ bricks and seven paving bricks, the latter with an average width of four inches.

In February/March 2016 the opportunity was taken to sort and fully record them and attempt to match them with relevant sections of the above published account. Not all could be matched with the published account, but those that could be identified with some confidence are listed below.

They represent both Site 1 (The Farmhouse, dug in 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1966) and Site 2 (The Paddock, south–west of site 1 and dug in 1964 and 1966; it happily still survives as an area of open ground used by Middlesex University), often with quite detailed card tag labels attached.

One additional pottery item was identified; a large English brown salt-glazed Stoneware pot or jar lid, slightly chipped on one side, with a diameter of 7.5 inches/180 mm, weighing 1263g, with three finger holes in top to aid grip. Dated 1700 – 1900, It is marked CEF64, box code AA.

Two further clay pipes have also been found in material left by the late Ted Sammes.

One is a plain, reconstructed bowl of type AO25, dated 1700-1770, with bottered rim. It has no maker’s mark but does retain 148mm of surviving stem and has splashes of yellow glaze on the right-hand side bowl and stem. It is marked ‘CEF N’.  The HADAS publication ‘The Last Hendon Farm’ records in the coins and tokens section on page 71 that context N was dated 1680-1700 – so just about matches – and also contained a Charles 1 farthing.

And over 50 years on, we are STILL finding items from the Church End Farmexcavations recorded some years ago in the HADAS publication ‘The Last Hendon Farm’

From further material recorded in 2019, Sammes Clay Pipes List CFM 30 is another one of these – an unmarked bowl of type AO25, 1700 – 1770,finely burnished with a cut top and  marked with trench/context details CEF64 K2 30, suggesting it is from the main farmhouse site, on the west side of the west wall area.

The Last Hendon Farm, p.71, gives a date of 1640-1660 for the context, so perhaps this is a residual item.

A major find when studying the additional CBM was a small corner fragment of Roman hypocaust combed Box-Flue tile, weight 65 grammes and with sides 0.5 inches/13mm thick, complete with surface combing. It was with the marked box code CE, and goes with the very limited Roman pottery finds from the site – single sherds of the ubiquitous in Hendon Alice Holt/Farnham Ware, plus sand-coloured coarseware and Gaulish amphora (Op cit p.42)

There are numerous items from Site 1

From the first 18 inches depth of rubble Trench C in the area of a brick drain and step, there is for some reason a single piece of grey slate retained, labelled with the dates 24/6-1/7.

From Trench H, which lay across the foundations of the demolished south wall of the farmhouse, we have a single brick, 5 x 2 x 1.25 inches, labelled 15 July 1962, 30 inches down (23 inches below burnt layer); 35 inches north from top of well.


Brick and tile drains have been a feature of many sites excavated by HADAS, from Church End Farm to Burroughs Gardens to Clitterhouse Farm. The CEF book illustrates a fine example – Fig. 23, on page 32, from Site 1 Trench 18. Deeply laid, it ran north-south and was constructed of two courses of brick on a tile base; another similar drain underlay the south extension wall. Parts of one of these, possibly the former were retained and were reconstructed in 2016, helped by careful numbering of the bricks by the original excavators. There are two peg tiles, each measuring 10.25 x 5.75 x 0.5 inches, with heavily mortared inner face and upper surface mortared at each end where the bricks were laid on top of the bricks, there are three identical 9 x 4 inch bricks and weighing some 2kg.

In 1964, trench 1 was excavated along the line of the former west wall of the farmhouse. From it, we have a single brick, 6 x 1.75 x 2.5 inches, marked 28 July, mortared on four sides.

Another 1964 find is a 14.5 x 7.5 x 0.75 inch nibbed/flanged tile labelled ‘from small boiler house of the old greenhouse 30/8/64’, with interlocking flange and notably sooted interior and weathered external/upper face.

Two bricks of similar size bundled together are labelled ‘from Herringbone (floor) over Trench 12’. A third, smaller brick measuring 4.5 x 4 x 2.75 inches from Trench 12, layer 5 is dated 29 /8/64, and is marked with the box code KS.

There is at least one fragment of chimney pot, heavily sooted on its curved inner face, diameter 15 inches/360 mm, with a raised pecked ridge and leaves decoration.

From site 2 – The Paddock – we have two lengths of typical coarse red fabric field drain of probable nineteenth century date, excavated in 1966, from squares 6B and 6C. This tallies with the account on page 7 of the CEF book mentioning drains seemingly from the same system found in these two trenches. Both recovered lengths are 12 inches long with a two-inch bore; one has a moulding seam and flattened side, the other, strangely, bears evidence of sooting on one side.

A third length of field drain is also 12 inches long with a two-inch bore, with the box code CEF64 AO.


From Peter Pickering

The Government has just published a White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which proposes a complete reform of the planning regime. Very briefly, it would divide the whole of England into ‘Growth’ ‘Renewal’ and ‘Protected’ areas; in Growth areas there would be automatic outline planning permission for the principle of development; in Renewal areas there would be a general presumption in favour of development; and in Protected areas (including Green Belt and conservation areas) there would be the same requirements for planning permission as at present.

These proposals have only just appeared and are out for consultation until the end of October; they are controversial and there is a lot of significant detail in them. The main concern for archaeologists is whether they will weaken the power to impose conditions requiring archaeological investigation in advance of development. For Archaeological Priority Areas are not of themselves protected areas (though in towns and cities they may often be protected as conservation areas). 

I expect this matter, and the related implications for the Barnet Local Plan (on which we are awaiting the Council’s next move) to take up much of my time in the autumn.


HADAS Hand-axes                                                                   Bill Bass

Through the good offices of Chris Newbury and his late mum Dorothy, we have received several boxes of assorted finds, files and maps etc from members past and present. Amongst these is a wonderful collection of 10 hand-axes. While there’s not really a HADAS connection (?), they were given to us at some point in the past. The newspapers they are wrapped in date to 1990 and the plastic bag they are in relates to ‘SHUTLERS’ in Temple Fortune Lane (Home and Garden goods). A tag tied to the bag says “Flint axes given me by David St George. Exact provenance unknown, but found in the area of Diss.”

The hand-axes appear to include a mixture of ovate, triangular and pointed shapes, all unmarked. Diss in Norfolk is nearby to Hoxne which is a well-known ‘type site’ for this sort of material, The Great Interglacial – the Hoxnian is named after it, if so this may make the hand-axes possibly 400,000 years old. A site currently being excavated is at Barnham, Suffolk about 18 miles west of Diss, by a team from the British Museum which is part of the Pathways to Ancient Britain project (see ‘British Archaeology Jan/Feb 2020’). This site has similar material as well as wealth of environmental evidence.

Could any of the earlier HADAS members shed any more light on this collection?



Old tram track rediscovered in Colindale                               Andy Simpson

Sometimes roadworks have rediscovered tram track underneath the road surface, exactly as it was when the tramways were abandoned and the concrete had just been put on top. But in some locations the track was removed and cut up into smaller sections to then be used to strengthen the road surface. One such location was Edgware Road in Colindale, where recent utility work by Affinity Water replacing large water mains has rediscovered these small sections of track once more.

The view north towards Burnt Oak showing the regularly spaced lengths of reused tram track.


Trams last ran along the Edgware Road through Colindale and Burnt Oak to Edgware/Canons Park in 1936 when they were abandoned in favour of trolleybuses (which were themselves replaced by motorbuses in January 1962)  but the tracks remained in place until during the Second World War when their removal was approved by Middlesex County Council who originally owned the tracks in the area, to be undertaken by Hendon Council sometime after November 1941 and presumably at that point cut into smaller sections and used to strengthen the road surface rather than simply going towards the wartime scrap drive which saw the removal of hundreds of miles of abandoned tram tracks throughout the country at this time.

Back in the early 2000s the same arrangement was seen by your scribe a mile or so south of this location during similar works near the junction with Kingsbury Road. The current works started around the Burnt Oak area and are gradually proceeding southwards towards this point it seems from conversations with the contractors, who had been warned of the presence of the tracks and were finding them very hard to remove where occasionally necessary. By early August 2020 work had reached the junction with Colindeep Lane.

I have also been examining the trenches for any sign of the original Roman road surface of Watling St. Near the junction of Colindeep Lane (see picture below) in particular there are two bands of gravel and small cobbles within the London clay visible in the trench sides but I am not sure they are thick enough for a road surface – certainly not comparable to the thick and regularly repaired road surfaces seen in urban excavations at any rate.


Elsewhere in the Borough, as previously recorded by Bill Bass, much of the double tram track and cobbled road surface remains in place up Barnet Hill, last used in 1938.


HADAS taking the Waters                                                                 Jim Nelhams

Water and our waterways were an essential building block for the Industrial Revolution so we have visited a number of canals and canal-side places. And a boat trip supplies a chance to relax and rest your feet, as well as seeing the area from a different angle. We have also been to a number of water mills and waterwheels.

Many of the places we have taken in demonstrate the ingenuity of our predecessors, and many of these places have been restored and are now run by volunteers. Long may they continue.

Starting from our Hereford excursion, we visited the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester Docks followed by a 45-minute trip on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal.

2010 saw us based in Norwich and we included a boat trip from Great Yarmouth to the Berney Arms Windmill and pub, located in The Broads, and only accessible by boat. To make this journey, traffic on the road bridge carrying the A47 had to be stopped so that we could pass through.

One lesson we learned here was that some summer services stop when children return to school after their holidays. However, when we ask for a trip for 30+ people, the service magically re-appears JUST FOR US.

In 2011, we were based on the Isle of Wight, so our out and back journeys included the ferry between East Cowes and Southampton. Again we were able to arrange a boat, this time from Yarmouth, so that we could visit Hurst Castle, one of Henry VIII’s forts on the mainland protecting the entry to the Solent.

Ironbridge was our base in 2012, and what better way to see the bridge but a specially arranged boat trip on the River Severn going under the bridge. And our outing to the Blists Hill Victorian Town through which runs the Shropshire Canal provided the chance to walk along the towpath to The Hay Inclined Plane, effectively a funicular railway for specially adapted narrowboats, so that they could descend from the top of the hill to the River Severn below. And on our return trip to London, we stopped at the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne on the banks of the Grand Union Canal. Some of the party had a short boat trip up to and just into the start of the Blisworth Tunnel.

2012 took us to Buxton and during our visit to Cromford Mill, we had a brief chance to visit the end of the Cromford Canal, which is being gradually restored to Derby. Our next stop


was rather wet, but by the time we reached Foxton Locks on the Leicester section of the Grand Union, the sun was out and we were able to visit the small museum, help a couple of boats through the staircase of locks, and investigate another inclined plane. There are 10 locks in two groups of 5. Passing is only possible between locks 5 and 6, otherwise you travel directly from one lock into the next.

Unlike the Hay Plane at Ironbridge, this worked by moving a caisson full of water. Full size canal boats would drive into the caisson and then be moved up or down the slope, thus bypassing the staircase of locks and saving the boat up to 3 hours on their journey. Sadly no longer working though restoration is planned.

Our trip to Canterbury in 2014 did not have any planned water excursions, though Andrew and Liz Tucker managed a trip on the River Stour, and we did visit lifeboat stations at Dungeness and Whitstable, and we saw the Dover bronze age boat. Lyndhurst in the New Forest was our base in 2015. Our first stop on the way was the Crofton pumping station on the Kennett and Avon Canal, and we had arranged for this to be in steam and operation while we were there. This Edwardian pumping station was built to pump water to the highest point of the canal, and while most of the time this task is performed by electric pumps when the station is in steam, it performs the task for which it was built, and the electric pumps are turned off. When on one occasion the electric pumps both failed, the volunteers were called in since without the supply of water the canal cannot function.

Later in the trip, we visited Bucklers Hard and had a boat trip on the Beaulieu River. Our final stop on our way home was to Whitchurch Silk Mill on the River Test, giving us the chance to see the waterwheel in operation.

2016 saw us further along the Kennet and Avon, based at Bradford on Avon. Our journey down included a stop at Devizes, with a small Canal Museum among the options to visit. Then via the brewery on the canal bank, to stop briefly to view the Caen Hill Flight of locks. There are a total of 29 locks raising the canal 237 feet in 2 miles, but the flight contains 16 close locks in a straight line, with only passing places between them.


Bradford also boasts a splendid Tithe Barn right next to the canal.

The highlight of this trip was a visit to the pumping station at Claverton. Then under restoration by volunteers, and now operational, it uses a waterwheel on the River Avon to pump water from the river to the canal – completely green energy. The pumping station is not accessible by coach, so we chartered a narrowboat in Bath to make the hour and a quarter trip each way to Claverton, with a cream tea on the return leg.

Frodsham was our base in 2017, in a hotel with a splendid view across the Mersey, and the Manchester Ship Canal to Liverpool. A stop on route at Redditch to visit a needle mill, powered by another waterwheel.  From Frodsham, we went to Norton Priory on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal, the first to be built in Britain, so that coal could be taken to Manchester. We continued to the Lion Salt Works near Northwich, on the banks of the Trent and Mersey Canal. Salt from here was exported round the World, initially by barge which would have used the Anderton Boat Lift, our next visit. This double lift raised/lowered boats between the canal and the River Weaver, giving a faster way to the Mersey. We rode the lift downwards with a full commentary.


Our trip home included a stop at the Cheddleton Flint Mill on the side of the Caldon Canal. Here, nodules of flint arrived by boat to be ground by the two still working waterwheels for inclusion in the clay for potteries in nearby Stoke.

Our planned boat trip in 2018 while we were at Brome had to be cancelled because of high winds, but we did manage to visit the tidal mill at Woodbridge and see it working. At high tide, the river fills a small reservoir. This is emptied at low tide to drive the mill to grind flour..

Last year, we were based at Aberavon on the shores of Swansea Bay, and started our day in Swansea with a trip on the River Tawe. The Welsh name for Swansea in Abertawe which means the mouth of the River Tawe. And our first trip on our final day was to a different type of water – the waterfalls at Aberdulais in the Neath Valley. Aberdulais, the mouth of the River Dulais where it joins the Neath River, has had a number of industrial uses, but today the waterwheel driven by the falls is, at 27ft diameter, the largest wheel in Europe generating electricity.

Quite a selection of places. Most are written up in more detail in our newsletters which can be searched on our website If anybody would like further information on any of them and may want to visit, please contact Jim Nelhams (020 8449 7076).



With many thanks to this month’s contributors:Bill Bass, Jim Nelhams, Andy Simpson and Peter Pickering.


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 Ct, 52 Church Hill Rd,

                        East Barnet EN4 8FH  (020 8440 8421)    



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 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

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

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 588 – March 2020

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

No. 588                                    MARCH 2020               Edited by Deirdre Barrie

HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events 

Lectures, the finds group course, and the film are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3  3QE. Buses 13, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes’ walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line). Tea/coffee and biscuits follow the lecture.  

The March talk has been changed due to other commitments by our advertised speaker Lyn Blackmore. 

Tuesday 10th March 2020: Adam Corsini – Layers of London. This is a free online map-based resource. By overlaying historic maps and data sets, users can fade them in and out to discover how their area has developed. The project also encourages anyone to contribute their own local histories, memories, images and stories, building records and collections that enrich this unique historical resource for the future. This talk will give a background to the project, focusing on the site’s archaeological information, and demonstrate how you can be part of the project.

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.

A reminder that the proposed 5-day trip for 2020 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.


At the Annual General Meeting in June, 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 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.


PREHISTORIC  LONDON,  SOME  PROBLEMS, PROGRESS  AND POTENTIAL The second Dorothy Newbury Memorial lecture – Jon Cotton              Peter Pickering

This, the second Dorothy Newbury Memorial Lecture, was given on 11th February (four days before what would have been her hundredth birthday) by Jon Cotton, now a freelance archaeological consultant after more than thirty years at the Museum of London. Jon’s subject was ‘Prehistoric London, some Problems, Progress and Potential’. To make his subject manageable, he passed over the Palaeolithic, and covered the long period from the Mesolithic to the pre-Roman Iron Age. Even though the evidence for prehistoric activity in the London region has been reduced by ploughing and by Roman and subsequent development, and by the concentration of antiquarians and, until fairly recently, archaeologists, on Roman remains, there is still a lot more than I, for one, had realised. Most of that comes from gravel terraces and from the Thames itself, but recently it has become clear that there was prehistoric activity on the large areas of clay that had been thought neglected.

Antiquarians had seen and recorded prehistoric constructions, but tended to believe they were Roman – for instance William Stukeley in the early eighteenth century had recorded earthworks on Hounslow Heath (now under Heathrow airport) but called them ‘Caesar’s Camp’.

The Thames in pre-history was a multi-channel meandering river, with gravel highs that became eyots; boreholes during the construction of Crossrail have elucidated a lot about ancient land surfaces. The river divided north from south London, and the limit of tidal activity divided west from east. Its flood plains were an enduring feature until modern embankment – some believe that the name ‘Londinium’ derives from something like ‘Plowonida’, meaning ‘the flooding one’; the view from Richmond Hill makes it evident how flat the Thames Valley bottom is. For much of the twentieth century the Thames was biologically dead, but it now teems with fish. The river was immensely important to prehistoric people, and a large number of artefacts have been found, many probably consigned to the water for religious reasons. The river was full of bronze spearheads – though some might be accidental losses or the consequence of battles, the prime motive might be showing off a person’s disposable wealth or the appeasement of an elemental force – perhaps gifts to the river would buy off floods.

The construction of Heathrow Terminal 5 enabled the archaeological investigation of a wide area of land, and greatly increased knowledge of how it was developed and occupied before the Roman invasion. There were field systems, neolithic houses, and great earthworks, one with a raised bank over two miles long – vivid evidence of the availability of manpower and good project management. Similarly, the remains of an aurochs with six arrowheads in it was vivid evidence of prehistoric hunting – wisely, the fearsome beast had been shot from behind. The Bronze Age apparently saw a reduction in population.

Tributary valleys of the Thames have produced much evidence of mesolithic activity. Besides HADAS’s important dig on West Heath, with which Dorothy Newbury was greatly involved and the second instalment of whose publication is well under way, significant mesolithic finds have been made recently in Carshalton, and Uxbridge in the Colne Valley. The crossing of the Colne valley by HS2 may very well produce further discoveries.

It was clear that there was no Iron Age precursor in the City of London. But there had been an important settlement in Woolwich, and Uphall camp in Ilford was a major site, whose excavation has still to be written up. Investigations relating to the Thames Tideway Tunnel were revealing an important Iron Age crossing between Fulham and Putney. A remarkable find had been a Bronze Age anchor. Evidence was emerging of an Iron Age oppidum at Barn Elms.


Even within the City there were some hotspots for prehistoric finds: Cornhill, Ludgate Hill, and most recently Principal Place. Particularly interesting were a neolithic axehead turned into a pendant and found in a Roman context, and neolithic pottery which had absorbed animal fats and milk products. One sherd was impressed with the hoof mark of a roe deer fawn.

Jon finished by looking forward to some new techniques. Baysian analysis could produce much more precise dating that had hitherto been possible. DNA analysis was very promising – enabling the colour of a person’s eyes and hair to be identified from their bones. He also emphasised the ways in which people could take part in ongoing research – including Citizan. He inspired us all to want to see the Havering hoard exhibition shortly to open in the Museum of docklands.


Enfield at War – 1939 – 1945                                                                      Jim Nelhams              

As an experiment, this year’s lecture was held in the afternoon rather than the evening.

Our speaker, Ian Jones, is Chairman of the Enfield Archaeological Society, our two groups both having Harvey Sheldon as President. Ian has extensively researched the history of Enfield in both world wars and is a published author on the subject, but also a keen photographer, as demonstrated by the numerous pictures shown.

Ian told us that Enfield was quite well prepared in 1939 and quite a few structures, or evidence of them, remained, though their wartime use may not be apparent. Others had gone but records of them existed.

A wartime pill box at Trent Park is being recorded and preserved, and the history of the main building is well documented. (HADAS had a lecture from Dr Helen Fry on this subject in March 2017.) The pill box may have been intended to keep prisoners in rather than defend the main building.

A large number of air raid shelters, both public and private, still exist partly because they are expensive to demolish, though some that are below ground have had the tops removed for safety and have been filled in, as that excavated by HADAS at the Martin School in East Finchley. Ian listed a number with illustrations.

Some buildings had been used as centres for the ARP (Air Raid Precautions) but these had mainly gone.

A gas decontamination centre similar to that excavated by HADAS near Cromer Road School, Barnet exists in Broomfield Park and is one of four that survive within the Borough of Enfield.

Signs of some air raid sirens could still be seen.

The only remaining anti-aircraft battery in the area is at Slades Hill, with associated buildings to store ammunition and to provide rest areas for those manning the guns.

Some efforts had been made to protect the railways, with pill boxes. Most of these were safe as it was expensive and pointless to remove them. Large moveable concrete blocks to provide obstructions against tanks and other vehicles had been positioned at various points on the railway. 

In addition to the various buildings, smaller evidence, such as shrapnel, was still being found. A number of walls constructed from air raid rubble had been identified including repairs to the banks of the New River.

Ian noted that many people would not now recognise much of the evidence he had listed. It was increasingly important that these should be fully recorded. A fascinating, informative and enthusiastically delivered presentation which was met with a warm round of applause.


BURIED BONES AND HORNS                                                                           Bill Bass

In the August 2019 Newsletter, mention was made of finds including bone, pot and clay pipe found in service trenches and pavement widening on the west side of Barnet High Street, in the vicinity of “The Spires” shopping centre. Since then, an article seen in a cutting from the “Barnet Press” in April 1939, retyped below, may give some background and context to this. Thanks to Alan Last of the Barnet – A Trip Down Memory Lane website, and to Barnet Museum for flagging the article.

BONES BENEATH THE HIGH STREET – Relics Rescued by Museum Curator

A number of oxen bones and horns were unearthed on Thursday afternoon by an employee of Barnet District Gas and Water Company when excavating a pit on the west side of Barnet High Street, outside the premises of Messrs. W.H. Smith & Sons.

The pit was in the roadway, about four feet from the kerb, and the bones were found about three feet below the road surface. Their condition indicates that they had been buried for well over a century. Mr. W. McB Marcham, Hon. Curator of Barnet Museum, was told of the discovery, and he straight away visited the scene and “claimed” the relics for the Museum.

Seventy Years Ago

This is not the first occasion on which such a discovery has been made in the vicinity. A similar find was recorded in the “Barnet Press” on June 19th, 1869, and was referred to by the Editor in a talk on the history of the “Barnet Press” which he gave to the Barnet Record Society a year ago. The report recorded the discovery of the bones in front of Battenburg House, (now occupied by Smith’s bookshop and the offices of Messrs. Vyvyan Wells and Son), and stated: “They were principally the bones of oxen, and one explanation is that the shops adjoining were occupied by a butcher and a tallow chandler at a period when the Barnet side of the High Street was marked by a row of trees, where now is a row of shops, and that these bones, which were refuse from the butcher’s and tallow chandler’s  shops, were buried in a hole at a time when the value of bones had not developed as it has now. But who can say these bones are not the remains of a great feast held by the victorious soldiers after the Battle of Barnet?”

Harts’ Horns?

A correspondent, in the same issue of the paper, mentioned several suggestions: (1) that the spot where the bones were discovered was, some hundreds of years old, a rinderpest* pit, and that the bones were all that was left of the animals slaughtered under an Order in Council of that period, and (2) that they were not bones of oxen but harts’ horns, for which Hertfordshire was noted, though the writer dismissed the second suggestion as one coming probably from somebody who had just come out of the “Harts’ Horns” public house, which stood on the northern corner at the junction of High Street and Union Street.

(hand-written) Barnet Press 15/4/39                                      * rinderpest: an infectious viral disease of cattle

Wales Trip – DAY 4                                                                       Jim Nelhams
The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint was for many years within the Tower of London. As the UK Government prepared to introduce a decimal currency in the 1960s, the decision was taken to move The Royal Mint out of London.


A larger site was needed to cope with the production of the new coins as well as the increased demand for coinage from international markets. 

The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in December 1968. After decimalisation in 1971, all UK coin production moved from London to Wales, with the last coin struck at Tower Hill in 1975.

When the mint moved, Llantrisant was given the soubriquet “the hole with a mint”.

There is limited space for tour groups, so, on arrival, we were divided into two groups, each with its own guide and escorted through security and across a road to the main building. We were guided through the production process with the different metals including the stamping and milling processes before viewing the main production area, with a splendid view of all the machinery involved. The Royal Mint can produce 90 million coins and blanks a week – almost five billion coins a year, many for overseas governments.

The site operates round-the-clock for 52 weeks a year.

In recent years, more coins have been produced for collectors, especially 50p coins which they sell for £10 though some do get into normal circulation. See newsletter 582 of September 2019. Recently a set of coins minted to celebrate leaving the EU in 2019 had to be melted down when it did not happen. New coins were minted for the end of January 2020. 

At the end of the tour was a splendid museum covering the history of coin production, followed by the inevitable shop.

A brief stop for a coffee before making the short trip in the coach to St Fagans.

St Fagans National Museum of History

St Fagans opened in 1948 as part of the National Museum of Wales network. In 2019, it was voted the Art Fund Museum of the Year.

In the main building is a museum with some archaeology, though its main purpose seems aimed at interesting children in history. There is also some military history.  Readers may be familiar with other museums where buildings have been collected from surrounding areas to give an idea how people lived worked and entertained themselves. St Fagans is similar, with over 40 buildings of different types from all parts of Wales, but unusual in that most of the building are built of stone, not wood which would have given some interesting problems in moving them. Further buildings are still being added. It is located in the grounds of St Fagans


Castle, only a small part of which is open to the public.

Staff in some of the buildings demonstrate the skills which they would have supported. Looking at everything would probably require a couple of days. 

The medieval church of St Teilo at St Fagans                             Graham Javes

Little did I expect the scene which greeted me when I stepped through the door of the little church of St Teilo at the open-air museum at St Fagans National Museum of History, a part of the Welsh National Museum. Every wall is covered with brilliant devotional paintings. For me, the use of fine line and vivid colour was stunning. What a contrast to whitewashed walls!

St Teilo’s was formerly the parish church of Llandeilo Tal-y-bont, near Pontarddulais, only one of about 24 churches in west Wales with this dedication), which had become progressively redundant from the 1850s onwards until it was offered to the museum. The building had survived largely unscathed at the hands of the Victorians and later restorers, remaining principally in the original state when it was built – thought to be in


the 12th or 13th century. As such it meets the judicious collecting policy of the museum: being common and typical, representative of others of this area, and not too far gone to be capable of restoration to something like its former glory. As an artefact (heavily restored and repainted) it shows the sheer brilliance of Welsh Christian art, if not when it was built but at the eve of the Reformation. 

So who was St Teilo? 

St Teilo was a 6th-century Welsh monk and bishop whose importance in Wales was second only to St David. When he died at Llandeilo Fawr a dispute arose between three places – Penally, (his birthplace), Llandaff, (his bishopric) and Llandeilo (where he died), over which should have his body. This was resolved when it was miraculously multiplied into three over-night, so that each could have it!  HADAS members may have spotted the ‘supposed’ tomb of St Teilo in the chapel of St Teilo in Llandaff Cathedral. 

Reference was made to G. D. Nash, (ed.) Saving St Teilo’s: Bringing a medieval church to life (2009) National Museum of Wales; D. Farmer, Oxford Dictionary of Saints, (5th edn, 2003) OUP. 

Photographs by Graham Javes.

Membership Renewals                                                                         Stephen Brunning

The HADAS membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March, and so all members who pay by cheque will now be required to renew (except those people who have joined since January this year).

Members who pay their subscription by standing order need take no action.


Please therefore find enclosed a renewal form, and I would ask that you fill it in and return it to me along with the appropriate amount as soon as possible.  The current rates and where to send your payment are on the form.  Many thanks.

If the renewal form is not enclosed and you require one, please contact me (details on back page).  

INVESTIGATING THE PERIVALE WOOD EARTHWORK                                             Bill Bass

Members of HADAS have been assisting Kim Wakeham of the Selbourne Society to investigate a large ditch and bank feature near Perivale Wood in Ealing.  The society (which is involved in nature conservation) owns the wood and an adjacent strip of land.  

Photo by Melvyn Dresner – shows Kim and HADAS members.

Kim who is an archaeologist, noticed an earthwork crossing the strip of land (and beyond) and started some research using maps, documents, aerial-photos, LiDAR and such like. The results have been inconclusive, so last year Kim put in a trench to test several theories e.g. is it pre-historic or maybe a boundary or encampment of some sort? 

The fieldwork reveals the tops of a bank and at least two ditches with medieval roof-tile, other finds are post-medieval in date, there may also be some struck flint. As the trench has grown to 2 x 14m and the ditches have yet to be fully excavated Kim asked if HADAS could help in this task during February, unfortunately the weather was not kind to us that week but we managed to tidy up and clean the trench, record features including post-holes and do some finds processing, but with trench underwater a lot of the time we could not excavate the ditch fills, so that will be work for another day. 


Thanks to Kim for her hospitality and HADAS members for making their way to Perivale.

TROY: MYTH OR HISTORY?                                                         David Willoughby

Notes from the lecture by Michael Wood at the British Museum on 6th December 2019                                      

The first person to excavate Troy was British consulate official Frank Calvert, who had previously offered the site at Hisarlik to the British Museum for £100. Seven years later he teamed up with Heinrich Schliemann, a German business man turned archaeologist. Schliemann was a showman with a penchant for telling dubious stories. Schliemann’s destructive excavation methods involved driving a deep ditch into the mound down to the lowest levels. This caused him to fall out with Calvert, who suspected he had excavated clear through the contemporary Mycenean levels.  At the lower levels Schliemann discovered ‘Priam’s treasure’ which dates from about 2,200 BCE.  He claimed to have discovered the treasure with his wife, despite her being out of Turkey at the time.

As Schliemann’s account has been discredited, this brings into some doubt that all the articles were found together in situ.  Schliemann also excavated at Mycenae, and discovered the royal gold funerary masks, one of which became known as the ‘mask of Agamemnon’.  These in fact pre-dated the likely date of the Trojan War, and doubters at the time questioned the similarity of the mask to the face of Bismarck. These masks are now believed to be genuine.

From 1932, the American archaeologist, Carl Blegen excavated at Hisarlik on the opposite side of the mound from Schliemann’s excavations, to reveal the sloping walls of Troy VIh (destroyed by earthquake

c. 1,300 BCE) and Troy VIIa (sacked c. 1,200 BCE), which are the most likely candidates for the Troy of the Iliad, as they are contemporary with the height of Mycenean power, and pre-date the collapse of Mycenean palace culture around 1,200 BCE.  More recent excavations of Troy have revealed an extensive lower town surrounded by a large defensive ditch.

There was a large inlet in front of Troy, but this has since dried up. It is most likely that the Greek ships were beached at the smaller Besika Bay to the South. This would fit in with the Iliad that describes the location as out of sight of Troy and requiring the Greeks to cross rivers to reach Troy. Also here is one of the sites of the ‘Tomb of Achilles’ (Sivri Tepe) in which high status Mycenean burials have been discovered. Harbour installations have also been found here. Bore-holes drilled at the location reveal the beach was backed by a lagoon at the time of the Trojan War. This also ties in with the Iliad.  The Iliad describes the Greeks as sleeping on ‘battle bridges’ under the stars. These are thought to be military dykes constructed to cross the marshy ground.

Michael Wood has constructed a possible timeline for the Trojan War around 1250 BCE based on the Hittite texts of King Muwatallis. This is the king who fought the Egyptians at Kadesh in 1300 BCE, which resulted in the first-ever recorded peace treaty. These texts deal with Hittite relations with a people called the Ahhiyawā (Achaeans). In the Hittite text can be found the names of Ilium (Wilusa), Troy, Alexander (Alakshandu), Paris and Priam.  Also can be found the name for Apollo, and the archaic Greek God of war, Enyalius, who is also mentioned nine times in the Iliad.                

Apollo appears to have been initially an Anatolian god later adopted by the Greeks. Early versions of the Iliad open with the ‘Wrath of Apollo’ rather than the ‘Wrath of Achilles’, creating the possibility that the Iliad may have been influenced by Anatolian myths. Also in the Iliad the mention of boar tusk helmets and tall shields clearly derives from an earlier period. Ajax also seems to be from an earlier story.


Troy, Asia and Enyalius also feature in Mycenaean Linear B tablets. Asian women appear as slaves picking flax in tablets from Pylos (flax was still being picked around Pylos until the 1950s). Only a single Luwian seal has been found at Troy, and it is likely that the Trojans spoke Luwian. The Hittite tablets were discovered at Hattusa, the Hittite capital. However, the capital was moved (probably for religious reasons) to Tarhuntašša in the early 2nd millennium BCE.  Although well documented, the site and its presumed written archive are yet to be discovered.


Barnet Museum: Dennis Bird is arranging two Barnet Museum Outings later this year. The first is on Saturday 27th June to Bletchley Park; and the second on Saturday 5th September to Winchester. HADAS members will be welcome to join if they are interested. Cost will be about £35, coaches leaving the Everyman Cinema at 8.30am and leaving for return trip at 5.30pm.  Make a note of the dates. 

Tour of 2 Temple Place: book by Friday 20th March for a tour of this extraordinary late Victorian mansion built by William Waldorf Astor, which is located near the Temple Station and the Embankment.

It was originally designed for use as Astor’s estate office by the foremost Neo-Gothic architect of the late 19th C, John Loughborough Pearson, with work taking place from 1892-5. It contained the largest strong room in Europe, as well as two enormous fortified safes. In addition to the 45-minute tour focusing on its history and architecture, there will be an opportunity to visit the exhibition “Unbound – Visionary Women Collecting Textiles.” 

Members of the Mill Hill Historical Society £12, non-members £14. Meet outside the house at 1050 am for the 11am tour. Please send a cheque and SAE to Julia Haynes, 38 Marion Road, London NW7 4AN.

Cheques to be made payable to Mill Hill Historical Society. Tel: 020 8906 0562, email  [Website:]

Heritage Alliance:                                                                                      Sue Willetts

HADAS members might like to know about the organisation Heritage Alliance which has membership fees and unites over 130 independent heritage organisations in England and isa powerful, effective and independent advocate for heritage.Organisations include theNational Trust, English Heritage, Canal & River Trust and Historic Houses Association, as well asmore specialist bodies representing visitors, owners, volunteers, professional practitioners, funders and educationalists. They have a free fortnightly electronic newsletter which you can sign up for using this link

OTHER SOCIETIES’ & INSTITUTIONS’ EVENTS                            compiled by Eric Morgan 

Friday 6th March, 7.45 pm, Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Chase Side, Enfield, EN2 OAJ, Layers of London – Get Involved With Mapping London, talk by Adam Corsini (UCL) Visitors £1.50, refreshments.

Wednesday 11th March, 7.45 pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Ferme Church Road/ corner of Western Park, N8 9PX, Ernest Shackleton and the ‘Endurance’ Expedition, talk by Carol Harris, visitors £2, refreshments. Sales and information from 7.30 pm.

Wednesday 18th March, 7.45 pm, Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, Jubilee Hall, address as above. London’s Lea Valley – Home of Britain’s Growing Food and Drink Industry – talk by Jim Lewis, preceded by AGM.


Thursday 19th March, 7.30 pm, Avenue House (Stephens House and gardens) Quiz Night. Drawing Room, East End Road, N3 3QE. Cost £15 including supper and cash bar. HADAS do have a regular team. (Please see February HADAS Newsletter for further details.)

Saturday 21st March. 11.00 – 17.00 Museum of London. Lamas conference. Monastic archaeology in London.  Details and booking Cost includes registration / tea in the afternoon break

Monday 23rd March, 6.30-8 pm, Finchley Church End Library, Regents Park Road, N3 2LN. Hidden London – a Journey into Some of London’s Most Secret Spaces. Talk by Siddy Holloway (L.T. Museum) on the London Underground, about the Hidden London Programme which takes visitors behind the scenes of the London Transport Network into disused stations and tunnels to discover a different side of the tube, questioning why they get abandoned, and what happens to them. Talk lasts 45 minutes, followed by Q&A, with a mystery prize for the best question. Tickets on email: FREE.

Monday 30th March, 6.30-8pm, Finchley Church End Library, address above. Jewish London, talk by Rachel Kolsky (Blue Badge Guide), Mile End to the West End and Beyond, including synagogues and soup, Radicals and Rothschilds, not forgetting bakeries, the big screen and the printed page.

Wednesday 1st April, 8 pm, Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society, Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High Street, Wealdstone, HA3. The Manchester Ship Canal, talk by Richard Thomas, visitors £3.

Thursday 2nd April, 8 pm. Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park, Pinner HA5 1 AB, The Devil’s Acre. Talk by Charlie Forman on A Victorian slum near Westminster Abbey. Visitors £3

Friday 3rd April, 7.45 pm, Jubilee Hall, address as 6th March. The Excavations and Fieldwork of Enfield Archaeological Society, 2019. Talk by Dr. Martin Dearne (EAS), preceded by AGM. Visitors £1.50, refreshments.

Tuesday 7th April, 8 pm. Historical Association: North London Branch. Jubilee Hall, address as 6th March, The First World War’s Effect on the British Monarchy. Talk by Heather Jones, visitors £1.

Wednesday 8th April, 7 pm, Hornsey Historical Society, address as 11th March above, Entertainment in the Second World War, talk by Mike Brown. Visitors £2, refreshments. Sales and information from 7.30 pm.

Saturday 11th April, 11am-2.30 pm, North London & Essex Transport Society, Barnet Transport Fair. Pennefather Hall, Christ Church, St Albans Road, Barnet, EN5 4LA. Railway, military and aviation transport with books, photographs, DVDs, timetables, maps, and memorabilia, etc. Admission £2, refreshments available.

Wednesday 15th April, 7.30 pm, Willesden Local History Society, St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS (near Magistrates’ Court), St. Paul’s Square and Kilburn High Road, talk by Alan Hovell on the past High Road scene. Please note the venue shown for the 18th March talk was shown as   St Anne’s in error. 

Friday 17th April, 7 pm. COLAS, St Olave’s Church, Hart Street, EC3R 7BN. Londinium, Britannia  and the Rhine Frontier, talk by Harvey Sheldon (HADAS President). Visitors £3.

Monday 20th April, 8.15 pm, Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local Historical Society, St Martin’s Church Hall, High Street, Ruislip HA4 8DG. Roman Leicester, Life in the Roman World. Talk by Malcolm Morris (Leicester University). Visitors £2.


Wednesday 22nd April, 7.45 pm, Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 ONL, Alexandra Palace, speaker TBA. Visitors £2, refreshments and bar. Please note that the title for the 25th March talk was shown as “Conference” in error instead of “Society.”

Friday 24th April, 7 pm. E.M.A.S Archaeological Society, Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. A Viking Age Funeral – an Eyewitness Account. Talk by David Beard, visitors £3. LAMAS and E.M.A.S members free.

Amendments to February Newsletter: please note the time for the 12th March Highgate Society should be 7 pm; and that for the 20th March for the Wembley Historical Society should be 7.30 pm.


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:   

Bill Bass, Stephen Brunning, Melvyn Dresner, Graham Javes, Eric Morgan,  Jim Nelhams, Peter Pickering, Sue Willetts and David Willoughby. 


Hendon and District Archaeological Society 

Chairman Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts

(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)   e-mail:


Web site:

Discussion group:


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: