Newsletter 160: June, 1984
CALLING ALL DIGGERS:
The digging season fast approaches! Excavation at WEST HEATH begins on Sat June 16 and continues till Tues July 31. The site will be open daily from 9am-6pm. Volunteer diggers, finds processors, etc
will be welcome, including beginners. If you wish to help and have not yet notified Margaret Maher(907 0333) or Sheila Woodward (952-3897) please do so as soon as possible, indicating the days on which you are likely to attend. You will need a Mason’s pointing trowel with a 3” to 4” blade (not 5″, which is too large); blade & tang should be drop-forged, not rivetted or soldered. Also bring a kneeling pad & a tea/coffee mug. Please wear soft shoes, preferably with smooth soles. All intending diggers are invited to a pre-dig evening at 13 Greystone Gns, Kenton, on Thur June 14 at 3 pm. Background about the site (illustrated by slides) will be given and it will be a chance to meet fellow diggers and handle flint. A call to Margaret Maher if you are coming would be appreciated.
REPORT ON THE STATE OF HADAS
The 23rd HADAS AGM took place at Hendon Library on May 15. The Chair was taken by Vice-President. Brigid Grafton Green; and some 50 members were present. That is rather fewer than usual – a pity, because our after-business speakers provided enjoyable and varied fare. It was great to have our most senior member, Eric Wookey, in the audience. All power to him, and thanks to his helpful chauffeur, Tessa Smith, for making what must have been quite a considerable effort to join us.
Councillor Jarman confined his Chairman’s report this year to recording his own and the Society’s gratitude for work done by various officers and members during 1983-4. The Hon Treasurer-presented his accounts which thanks to an excellent Minimart result – showed a small surplus for the year, much to his relief and somewhat, we gathered, to his surprise!
He paid tribute to Membership Secretary Phyllis Fletcher who has been able to take much work off his shoulders. Membership at March 31 this year was 390; the 1983 comparable figure was 407.
The Hon Secretary, Brian Wrigley, presented a report on the work of our four groups – Prehistoric, Ronan, Industrial and Documentary – and on other research activities.
The Meeting confirmed our Vice-Presidents, whose number remains as last year:
The Bishop of Edmonton; Mrs Rosa Freedman, MBE; Mrs Grafton Green; Miss D P Hill; Sir Maurice Laing; Andrew Saunders, MA, FSA, Edward Sammes; E E Wookey.
The officers for the coming year, who were declared elected, are:
Chairman: Councillor Brian Jarman
Vice-Chairman: Brigid Grafton Green
Hon Secretary: Brian .Wrigley
Hon Treasurer: Victor Jones
Committee members declared elected for 1984-5 are:
Under Any Other Business Mrs Mary Court, after commenting with pleasure on the excellent lectures she had heard in the past winter, suggested that HADAS should consider putting all lectures on tape, to make them available for members who could not be present, A lively discussion followed this interesting idea; it was agreed that the Committee be asked to consider it from all angles so that, if feasible it could be put into operation.
After the business meeting five members entertained us, each introducing a selection of a dozen or so slides on a topic which particularly interested him. The topics proved equally interesting to everyone else.
MIKE PURTON spoke on his visit to, Swaziland last year to take
part in one of David Price Williams’ digs
RAYMOND LOWE showed slides of the HADAS long week-end in the
Brecon Beacons in 1981
TED SAMMES described a Prehistoric Society week among the cyclopean
stone structures of Majorca and Minorca
PERCY REBOUL brought us back to Whetstone with a bump – to see just
how hard life was for many in the ‘good old days’ of the turn of the century
Finally, JOHN ENDERBY re-enacted the zany afternoon when Spike Milligan unveiled Grimaldi for us; part of the tape which Christopher Newbury recorded during the unveiling was played over.
RESEARCH and GROUP ACTIVITIES
These were collated into an annual report by Brian Wrigley, and the AGM decided it should be published in the Newsletter. This is the first part; the second follows next month:
In 1983-4 PREHISTORIC GROUP activities continued to focus on the West. Heath Mesolithic Site. They included final preparation of material for the report on the 1976-81 excavations; and preliminary arrangements for the 1984 dig.
The stream-walking project with its eventual aim of investigating all the rivers of the Borough, was pursued during the winter months, when the lower reaches of the Dollis Brook were ‘walked.’
The ROMAN GROUP continued last summer with study, at regular meetings at Bigwood House, of Roman pottery from the early Brockley Hill digs, culminating with a pottery weekend at the Teahouse in November. Work included drawing, indexing and mending.
Recently the Group explored areas between Brockley Hill and St Albans, searching for sites of three known Roman kilns. This provided valuable background information. For example, a kiln of the potter CASTVS at Loom Lane, Radlett, is now known to lie within a deep wooded bank in a private garden. When the owner of the garden was laying a lawn he unearthed several sherds, including the name-stamp CASTVS, now in Verulanium Museum.
A memorable outing to North Essex was put on by a part-time member of the Group, Isobel McPherson, who discovered a treasure-house of Roman material excavated by a farmer at Guestingthorpe. Boxes and boxes of small finds – coins, keys, window glass – were set outside the farmhouse for members to handle freely, while the entrance hall of the farm made a unique museum. Another memorable outing was to Littlecote Manor, to see the spectacular Orpheus mosaic and current excavations. Colchester
Museum was the venue for a special outing. Members were able to handle exhibits and to see the magnificent reserve collection which is not normally on show. It includes, for instance, the moulds in which Colchester ‘samian’ was produced.
An exhibition of Brockley Hill pottery was arranged by two group members at Church Farm House Museum in a downstairs room hitherto not used for this type of display. It was on show for six months. There were two cases; one with items from the Roman kitchen, such as mortaria, cheese presses, amphorae; the other with a miniature kiln, pots and potters’ stamps. The Moxom Collection – which belongs to LBB is now on permanent show in the same room, in a new and elegant showcase, where it can be seen to great advantage; and the cremation urn from Sunny Gardens Road, which HADAS arranged some years ago to have put on permanent loan to the Museum, is also there. HADAS feels it can take some credit for this extension of show space at Church Farm House, because we have
pressed for it for a long time; but we would also like to take this chance of thanking David Ruddom, the Borough Librarian, for approving the idea, with enthusiasm; and Gerard Roots, the Curator, for his great cooperation in arranging to display the Brockley Hill material.
(To be continued in July with reports from the Industrial Archaeology & Documentary Groups and the Excavation Working Party)
Both Prehistoric and Roman Groups will be happy to have more members. To join – or just to find out further details – ring Sheila Woodward (952 3897) for Prehistoric or Tessa Smith (958 5159) for Roman.
STEPHENS OF ‘BLUE-BLACK’ INK FAME by PADDY MUSGROVE
In 1884 Henry C (‘Inky’) Stephens built himself a private laboratory in Avenue House, East End Road, in Church End Finchley. To mark the centenary, the Finchley Society is organising an exhibition there from Sat June 30 to Sun July 8, open daily 10.30 am-8 pm.
The Stephens business and family archives only recently came to light and are now lodged in the Wiltshire Public Record Office which is lending many unique documents for display.
During the past year the laboratory – once in a sorry state – has been substantially restored and will be furnished with laboratory equipment of the period. Other exhibits will include Stephens’s original notebooks and records of experiments, family portraits and other paintings, early promotional material (who remembers the famous ‘blot’ logo and the large outdoor thermometer?), farm records from his 5000-acre Cholderton estate, and the results of recent research into the affairs of the famous firm, including unexpected evidence that the famous ‘blue-black writing fluid’ was actually manufactured in Ballards Lane, Finchley.
A plaque commemorating Stephens’s bequest of Avenue House, its gardens and rare trees to the people of Finchley is being unveiled by the Mayor of Barnet, Cllr. L Sussman, on June 1; on June 30, the opening of the exhibition will be marked by a garden party in the grounds.
Quite a few HADAS people – for this event wearing their Finchley Society hats – have been involved in preparations for the exhibition and it is hoped that many HADAS members will visit it.
Note; Paddy Musgrove (346 0128) says that if anyone wishes to organise a small group, maximum about a dozen, he will be pleased to meet them and perhaps escort them around other parts of Avenue House not normally on show.
Barnet Libraries Department has recently published a booklet on the grounds of Avenue House, which are as remarkable as the house itself. They cover 16 acres and were laid out, more or less as we see them today, in the 1880s by Inky Stephens. They have been open to the public since 1928.
The booklet deals particularly with the trees, of which it says ‘there are over a hundred different species of woody plants.’ The main booklet is in the form of a gazetteer of over 80 trees, many of them illustrated by line drawings. As well as a brief description, the place of origin, date of introduction to Britain and ultimate height in this climate are given for each entry. At the back of the booklet a map of the Avenue House grounds suggests a good tree viewing route and pinpoints the trees on it. There is also a useful glossary of tree terms. Price 50p, obtainable from libraries in the Borough..
HADAS member GERARD ROOTS, Curator of Church Farm House Museum, sends this note on his latest exhibition
“….THINK THAT WE BUILD FOR EVER: Buildings in the Borough of Barnet
In 1984 the Royal Institute of British Architects celebrates its 150th anniversary. As a contribution to the year’s celebrations, Church Farm house Museum, Hendon, is holding an exhibition which traces the development of building in the area now bounded by Barnet Borough.
Based largely on material held by the Borough Archives, the exhibition aims to illustrate the diversity of building types and styles which have been used in this part of Middlesex, and will show both terraced cottage and great house – many, of course, now regrettably demolished, thus giving an ironic twist to the exhibition’s title, taken from Ruskin.
Barnet is, obviously, a large area, but the exhibition endeavours to include examples from all its-component parts, from 1660s farmhouse in Hendon to 1930s cinema in Edgware.
In addition to our own Archive material, a travelling exhibition
The exhibition dates are May 26-July 29. Please telephone 01 203 0130 for further details. I look forward to seeing HADAS members at the exhibition.
In last month’s Newsletter we mentioned a son-et-lumiere presentation of Lutyens architecture and Elgars music being planned for May by the North-west Branch of the RIBA in the London area, to be given at St Judes Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb.
The organisers unfortunately ran into difficulties, and have had to postpone the event. They now hope to hold it in September. If we get further details, we will let you have them in a later Newsletter.
Please let our Membership Secretary have your subscriptions soon for the year 1984/5. They became due two months ago, and over half are still outstanding. The rates are as follows:
Full member £5.00
First member £5.00
Subsequent members £1.00 each
Junior members (under 18) 3.00
Schools/Corporate members £6.00
Send your subscription to
Miss P J Fletcher,
27 Decoy Avenue,
London NW11 OES
FOR YOUR DIARY
Sat June 16. A miller with a museum, an Anglo-Saxon village (re-made), a stately home: this intriguing collection of irreconcilables is offered by Ted Sammes for his June visit to Suffolk. First stop will be at the private museum of the late Sam Marston at Icklington. It is proudly owned by the Marston family, local flour millers, and houses a wide range of artefacts from Palaeolithic to Industrial Archaeology. Richard Darrah, who lectured to us in January, will join us there and afterwards take our party on to West Stow, where we will have a conducted tour of the reconstructed Saxon village. Then on to Ickworth, recently in the news, as wedding bells are in the offing for Earl Jermyn, the owner of this stately home near Bury St Edmunds. Here you can visit the house, or explore the park, canal and church, or just have tea in the restaurant.
If you wish to go on this outing, please complete the enclosed form and return it to Dorothy Newbury as soon as possible..
Sat July 14. Regrettably, this outing is cancelled, as the proposed leader will be abroad. Please cross it out on your programme card.
Sat Aug. 18. Trip to Repton, Derbyshire.
Sept 15/16.’ The long weekend to Cornwall has been postponed, as Peter Griffiths, the organiser, has heavy commitments overseas this summer,
However, June Porges has suggested a mini-weekend in the ancient city of Lincoln (Lindum Colonia) on the above dates. The Lincoln Archaeological Trust is staging a ‘Lincoln Comes of Age’ exhibition there this
summer (see Rescue News, Spring ’84, and Popular Archaeology, April ’84).Will any members who might be interested in this week-end please phone Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) soon, so that we can assess the sort of
transport required, in order to work out costings? Please also indicate if Friday afternoon to Sunday night would be most desirable, or an early start on Saturday morning, returning Sunday night. If this, trip
can be organised, details and application form will be in the July Newsletter.
Tues Oct 2. Just another reminder to correct the misprint in the progrmme card which gives Oct 22 for our first lecture, on Orkney.
Sat Oct 6 (repeat, 6!) Another change our Minimart has been brought forward one week – to Sat Oct 6. Please alter your programme card NOW. Christine Arnott’s daughter is getting married on the day originally planned (Which was Oct 13) and we couldn’t have a minimart without Christine! We have some storage space this year, so if there is anything you wish to dispose of in the next 3 or 4 months and that you can’t hang onto, please ring 203 0950 or 455 2751 (not large items, please).
Two forthcoming events at which HADAS will be represented are:
June 2-Sept 2, Burgh House, Hampstead: exhibition on Hampstead Heath, including its archaeology, natural history, general history, funfairs, etc. Being mounted by the Local History Library of Camden, which has borrowed from HADAS for inclusion in the display photographs of the West Heath dig (1976-81).
July 2-7, Institute Week, Hampstead Garden Suburb. We shall, as usual, be mounting a general display in the Institute Hall on the evening of Wed July 4 (7.30-9.30 pm); and at kind invitation of John Enderby, we shall have a bookstall at the Teahouse, Northway, NW11, on the evenings of July 2, 3 and 4. Offers of help in manning the bookstall will be warmly welcomed (ring Victor Jones 458 6180).
SITES TO WATCH
Tho following applications have been made recently for planning permission. They might, if permission is granted, be of some archaeological interest:
Convent of St Mary, Hale Lane, Amended plan, large development of
Edgware houses, flats. Original application
was in earlier Newsletter: this is just a reminder
Elizabeth Allen School, almshouses (outline)
Wood St, Barnet
Land rear of 36,38 Kings Rd & r/o 3 bungalows
Land r/o 28, 30 Kings Rd, Barnet bungalow
67 Hadley Highstone block of flats
51 High St, Barnet 2-storey rear extension, storage
building at rear
Grounds of Norwegian Barn, 30m high radio mast
Would members who notice building activity on any of these sites, please alert Brian Wrigley (959 5982)-?
The planning application lists, which HADAS gets every week, also give details of plans to alter or extend buildings in the Borough which are on the Statutory List. These, of course, are often of considerable historical interest. Three such applications made recently are:
Trinders Lodge, Rowley Green Rd, Arkley. Application for a side extension, a new chimney and an extension to a former stable. This building is described on the Statutory List as a 2-storey yellow brick house of probable Regency date, slate-roofed.
An application for Cloud Cottage, to the rear of another Listed building, No 9 Elstree High St, seeks permission to re-tile the roof. Cloud Cottage and 9 Elstree High Street are, in fact, one building, which was divided into two in 1982. The description in the Statutory List is particularly interesting. The frontage is 18c, on an earlier partly medieval house. The main range is a 2-bay medieval open hall house, dated c.1500, with smoke-blackened roof timbers, inserted floor fireplaces and a chimney of c.1600. There is a 17c wing at the rear, at right angles, and that is Cloud Cottage.
20/20A Wood St, Barnet (Wood St is a whole nest of Listed buildings): an application to build a rear extension and rebuild a fire-damaged wall. This 2-storey, red brick house is described as of early to mid-18c date. It was restored after severe bomb damage.
READERS WRITE ..
I was glad to see from the brief note in the May Newsletter about the Prehistoric Society Conference that someone, at least, was able to hear something of what the speakers said. My own reaction can best be summarised by quoting from a letter I wrote to the President afterwards:
“When one is trying to follow a fairly intricate and polysyllabically technical argument, to be put in a stuffy, warm, sleep-inducing atmosphere, put in the dark so that note-taking is impossible, shown illegible slides projected through smudged glass while the lecturer reads, through a badly adjusted amplifying system, what is really a written paper at top speed to keep to a pressed time limit, does not aid concentration.”
The President, in reply, accepted that the slide projection was not good, but he put the difficulty mainly down to a ‘distressing tendency for some speakers to read texts at high speed with lowered heads and poor diction.’ He says he will give the problem some thought so I hope we can feel the question has at least been brought to attention.
Yours sincerely, BRIAN WRIGLEY
The Newsletter welcomes correspondence – either arising from earlier Newsletters, like the above, or opening up a new subject of your own. Please don’t hang back if you feel like bursting into print: The Editor’s address is on the Newsletter head, and press-day is usually the 20th of each month.
Why not tell us what you think – that is, the 350 or so of you who were not at the AGM – of Mary Court’s idea of taping HADAS lectures?
Your views would be of interest to other members- and probably useful to the Committee into the bargain.
The proposed visit to the historic buildings at RAF, Hendon, has been arranged for the afternoon of Sat. July 28. Those who have already expressed a desire to come will be sent details in due course. If there are others, please let me know (455 7164) as there may be a limitation on places. BUT there will always be a place open for a photographer who will come and take SLIDES for HADAS.
THE JORVIK EXPERIENCE Here DIANA MANSELL reports on the May outing to York
Between May 1976 and September 1981 a large hole dug at Coppergate in the centre of York attracted world-wide attention – it was ‘The Viking Dig’ excavated by the York Archaeological Trust. The Trust was set up in 1972 in response to the potential threat to the increasing redevelopment schemes for the ancient city centre, destroying much buried evidence of York’s earlier history, spanning 2000 years of a series of continental invaders – Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. .
The media had whetted our appetites and so, some 50 intrepid HADAS members travelled to York and back to see what has been described as ‘The most exciting tourism project yet seen in this country and ‘a permanent cultural asset to its region, and indeed the world. Our grateful thanks to Dorothy Newbury for engineering our visit, just one month after the doors opened.
Our four hours or so of travelling gave us plenty of time to admire the English countryside at its best – the patchwork of greens and browns spangled with citrus-colored rape, to provide our polyunsaturates, all dazzling under a sun that grew warmer as we sped north. Cutting ‘pit-stops’ to a minimum, we arrived almost on our deadline of 12.45 for our ‘en bloc’. Queue crashing entry into the centre. Entry is at ground level in the new Coppergate shopping centre (Coppergate, derived from the street of coopers or cup makers, the suffix ‘-gate’ being Scandinavian). Steps lead down to the Viking level where Jorvik had lain undisturbed for ten centuries.
One enters a pre-exhibition orientation area, with electronic sounds and flashing lights supposed to represent the marauding invaders. beaching their ships and raping the inhabitants; as we creep along a darkened passage other strange sounds are emitted; entering the chamber of horrors comes to mind: Out of the gloom a little 4-seater ‘Time Car’ is manhandled into position, we are battened down with a metal bar to grip – was it really going to be like the Big Dipper? No! Electrically guided along a metal strip on a 15-minute journey at 10m per minute (mathematicians, what was our MPH)?
We set off backwards; for the first 2½-minutes passing ghostly figures through the ages, all very authentic, by the creator of Dr Who characters; and accompanied by the homely voice of Magnus Magnusson. We emerge amidst the bustle of 10c Jorvik’s Coppergate; after reversing up a blind alley, scattering chickens, geese and wild looking cats, we find ourselves moving forwards through the traders’ wattle and daub thatched stalls, selling poultry, fish, bread and all manner of craft goods. No detail is spared, from the grunting pig-in-a-poke, the dog cocking its leg, the housewife sweeping the sherds out the door (for us, some 1000 years hence, to retrieve on a field walk) to the Norse-yelling children. Complete even with smells – you feel you want to go round again, and take in the other half.
On leaving the Viking York ‘replica,’ you enter a different phase – a mock-up of archaeologists at work, showing their painstaking methods from site to lab. Here, we disembark, and enter the exhibits ‘proper’ hall, where there is ample room to browse amongst the fascinating objects unearthed from under our feet.
At 2.30 some of us joined Mr John Robson and his wife at All Saints Pavement for a tour of some of York’s interesting sights. He would dearly have loved to show us the entire city; as it was, he didn’t do badly in two hours, gathering speed as we went, losing members as we made tight U-turns, disappearing up alley ways or under arches -poor Dorothy had to abandon counting and re-counting her dwindling flock, perhaps we should all wear cow-bells in future.
As we traversed the Roman and Medieval delights of the city one thing that hit me time and again was the people themselves, sprawled on the grass in the beautiful grounds of St Mary’s Abbey, once the most important Benedictine monastery in the north of England. They were surely direct descendants of the effigies in the Jorvik museum – or had the effigies been modelled on the people in the street?
Our city trot even cut out imbibing the traditional cuppa before departing at 5 pm, hot and exhausted, only to find ourselves, after travelling due west for an hour, in the centre of Leeds: Eventually we got onto the Ml. As we headed south on its disorientating ribbon, we at least had the advantage from our lofty seats of being able to see over the hedges, even if we didn’t know where we were. In the Nottingham area the soft evening sunlight ideally portrayed numerous, tantalizing glimpses of perfectly preserved examples of medieval ridge and furrow and the hollow ways and humps of lost villages. Last stop Golders Green at 9.40 pm – weary, but enlightened.
The 1983-4 Committee had its final meeting on April 27 and discussed such matters as:
Abolition of the GLC. This has been a continuing saga for the last few months. The Committee is deeply worried about what will happen, if the GLC goes, to various useful GLC functions which affect history and archaeology in the London area. Both HADAS as a society and several
Most helpful response so far has been elicited by Nell Penny, who wrote to Hendon South MP Peter Thomas. He sent her a copy of a letter that he had had from the Parliamentary Under Secretary at the DoE, Neil Macfarland, which says, apropos two of our particular worries, that the government fully appreciates the need to keep together the existing records of the Greater London Record Office (i.e. not to disperse them throughout individual boroughs); the Minister for the Environment is in sympathy with the need to keep the Historic Buildings Division of GLC together and we are looking to see whether, there is any way in which a centre of expertise on historic buildings can be retained in our proposed structure.”
You could argue that these comments don’t go very far; and that they still sound pretty hazy. They are, however, a definite advance on the total lack of interest which has hitherto appeared to inform government thinking on such vital subjects as records and historic buildings.
An ancient footpath.
HADAS has been informed by keen metal detector user John Bowman that he has been operating his detector along either side of the footpath which runs from Burtonhole Farm to Totteridge. Although not a HADAS member Mr Bowman has been careful during the past 8 or so years to let us know from time to time about his activities. His discovery of a number of coins – the earliest a Henry III silver penny – suggests that this is an ancient footpath. His finds also include coins of Tudor, Stuart and Georgian periods. One find is positively prehistoric – a fossilised sea-urchin,
HADAS representation. .Ann Kahn has kindly agreed to represent HADAS on the Finchley Conservation Area Advisory Committee for the next year; and Brigid Grafton Green will do the same on the Hampstead Garden Suburb CAAC. June Porges will speak for us on the Avenue House Advisory Committee – most appropriately, as she is our Hon. Librarian and our books are kept at Avenue House. John Enderby has kindly offered to represent us on the group of members of ex-Barnet Borough Arts Council (now disbanded) who are investigating the future of the arts in the Borough.
Junior Members. The Committee learnt with regret that it must say goodbye to KATE BALEEN, who has excellently represented Junior interests since March 1983. Kate made a definite contribution to discussions and kept in touch with – and arranged some activities for – under-18 members, we shall miss her, but this, alas, is a natural hazard for all Junior Committee members: inevitably exams and. distant prospects of university loom, and HADAS duties must give way. Kate’s departure means that we now have no Junior representative on the Committee. Any under-18 member who feels a yen to fill that gap is warmly invited to give our Hon. Secretary, Brian Wrigley, a ring (959 5982).
WEATHERPROOF YOURSELF – AT COLLEGE FARM, FINCHLEY
With the digging season starting and the weather its usual unpredictable self, members may like to be reminded of the excellent shop run by our good friend Chris Ower at College Farm. Basically it’s a shop for riding gear: but it so happens that riders need the same kind of all-weather protection that diggers: do.
Are you looking for a new windcheater, a quilted and waxed coat or a really strong pair of Wellies? You could do much worse than take a look at what College Farm offers in these lines. Our Hon Treasurer says the thing that strikes him – he’s been searching for a quilted jacket – is the really good, robust quality of what’s on offer, as compared, with an ordinary shop. Prices are reasonable too and talking of price,
The shop is open (it’s in the big barn on the right as you go up from the Finchley Road entrance, before you get to the main farm buildings; or round to the left, just past our own room, if you approach via Fitzalan Road) 10-6 from Mon-Sat; 9-1 on Sundays. A call on 349 0690 will provide information as to whether your particular need is in stock,
Owing to lack of space we have not been able to include this month Frances Radford’s account of the HADAS walk through Hampstead on May 9. It’s a pleasure deferred, however – we shall publish it in the next Newsletter.