NEWSLETTER NO. 260 EDITED BY REVA BROWN NOVEMBER 1992
The Chairman of HADAS, Andrew Selkirk, with be “at home” to members of the Society at 9 Nassington Road, London NW3 2TX on Friday, 13th Nov., from 7.30 pm. onwards.
We look forward to meeting members of the Society, especially new members, who wish to find out what the Society does.
In particular, the Society is looking for a new Honorary Treasurer, as our present Treasurer, Victor Jones, recently celebrated his 80th birthday and feels that he now wishes to retire and to devote more time to other aspects of the Society’s activities.
The Treasurership is not something which requires technical knowledge – assistance would be provided with drawing up the accounts. A computer is available if you wish to use it for the Society’s records. Indeed, training could be given to anyone who wishes to learn more about computers. The accounts can be kept without a computer, however.
We are also looking for a Membership Secretary to deal with membership records.
We hope that all the newer members of the Society will come along and also any older members who wish to help in any aspect of our work; a number of the officers of the Society will be present to explain how the Society works.
Tuesday, 3rd November : “Archaeological Investigations in advance of the A41 Bypass at Kings Langley and Berkhampstead”
Lecture by Clare Halpin, Assistant Director, Herts Archaeological Trust
Over a period of one and a half years, eight new sites were identified and excavated in advance of the road construction. The sites date principally from the Neolithic and Roman periods, and represent new and exciting discoveries. This should be a good lecture on local excavations, so lets have a full house again.
Tuesday, 1st December : Christmas Dinner at Fulham Palace, with a visit to the Museum and Chapel
We have filled the coach already, but there is seating capacity for more people at the dinner. We can thus take extras, if members can make their own way, and even more, if any of these members who are driving independently can offer lifts. Going by public transport could be difficult – it is a 10-15 minute walk from the underground station. Tickets with pick-up times will be issued in due course.
January : No lecture
Tuesday, 2nd February : “Ancient Near-Eastern Cylinder Seals” Lecture by Dr Dominique Collon
THE ART AND ARCHITECTURE OF LONDON
HADAS member Ann Saunders is a historian, lecturer and editor. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and an Honorary Fellow of University College, London. She has been Hon. Editor for the London Topographical Society since 1975. Phaidon Press have just re-issued, for the third time, her illustrated guide to London, The Art and Architecture of London. The book is a comprehensive, authoritative and highly readable guide to London’s heritage. On first publication, the book won the London Tourist Board Specialist Guidebook of the Year Award. The books many revelations of little-known treasures in unexpected places continue to prove a constant source of surprise and pleasure. The book has a dashing new cover, and priced at 12.95, might come in handy for a Christmas present.
INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS Bill Firth
Two sites of great interest are the subject of recent planning applications: 68 Ballards Lane, N3, and the Cricklewood Trading Estate, NW2.
The site at 68 Ballards Lane was originally occupied by the New Bohemia, an Edwardian entertainment centre, and later by the Kiwi Polish Company before Vaccuum Interrupters, who vacated it last year.
The interest here is that one of the buildings is part of the original complex and still retains the stage and proscenium arch from its days as a music hall. It is said that tins of Kiwi polish can still be found under the floorboards.
We have asked the RCHME to consider making a photographic survey of this building. A planning application for flats and maisonettes on this site has been turned down.
The buildings remaining at Cricklewood Trading Estate are part of the purpose-built Handley Page aircraft factory of 1914, where aeroplanes and latterly, parts were built until after 1945. It has been used for many purposes since, most recently as a carpet warehouse.
There is another site of interest nearby, on the other side of Claremont Road. Here, in 1929, the Express Dairy opened the first purpose-built, rail-fed, milk bottling plant in London. ‘Raw’ milk was delivered by rail to a siding on the rail-side of the plant, and passed through the processing and bottling stages, before being sent out by road through a special exit on the other side. The factory is to be closed soon.
Sad as it may be if these building disappear, there is no real justification for keeping them.
THE ROMAN POTTERY MANUFACTURING SITE IN HIGHGATE WOODS EXCAVATION 1966 TO 1978
October 6th: lecture by HARVEY SHELDON Report by Margaret Taylor
There was a full house for the opening lecture of the winter season; members were attracted to the exhibitions of publications by HADAS, interim reports of the Highgate Woods excavations from our library, and photos and sherds from the Barnet High Street excavation.
Harvey was welcomed as an old friend of the Society. He began by telling us about the site of the pottery, which is densely covered by forest of large oak and hornbeam on a clay ridge five miles northwest of the city of London, and equidistant between Watling Street and Ermine Street. It was first noted by Tony Brown in 1962 when field-walking, seeking flints, but he noted Samian ware and other Roman pottery sherds brought to the surface by tree roots and animals.
Ten kilns were uncovered and ditches and dumps where clay for pots had been removed and waster pots dumped. The earliest phase pots were in Belgic style, 43 AD, and probably fired in an open fire. As technology improved, the kilns were developed to produce fine black burnished ware. This ware is widely distributed from Dorset to Scotland, so possibly the potters were a roving group who came to Highgate woods seasonally when the weather was fine and the wood for fuel was dry. No evidence of settlements has been found. Little is known of how the pots were transported to London, perhaps by packhorse, or by water to Brent on the rivers, the Lee or the Fleet, to the Thames.
A wide area was uncovered, 350′ x 300′, and very little topsoil had to be removed due to natural erosion. The trenches were sited between the trees, a very attractive, sheltered excavation. The earliest working area was enclosed by a circular ditch. The ditches were probably for storing of water to mix with the clay. The domes of the kilns had all gone, but up to 12 inches of the lower walls had survived. The kiln had a floor raised on a central pedestal, with supporting fire beams radiating out to the circular wall. A flue led from the stoke-hole and the later kilns had tiled flues.
One kiln has been lifted and restored, and is now in Bruce Castle Museum, together with the pottery. Other finds included bones of cattle, sheep, horse, a fragment of human skull, a late 1st century brooch, toilet set, mortarium similar to Brockley Hill, Samian ware which may have been used for copying, and one coin, all dating from the late 1st century to the 2nd century AD.
Experiments carried out by pottery teachers and students copying the shapes of bowls and beakers used the local clay and kick-wheel turntable. The kiln was recreated and a temperature of up to 900 was achieved. The pots were dried outside and in huts overnight. Decoration was applied, slip or poppy seed dots, using a comb. The first efforts produced red ware, but by using a new system of plugging the air holes when firing, a remarkably good resemblance to black burnished ware was achieved.
It was a great pleasure to listen to Harvey’s lecture, as several of the members present had assisted him. We await the full publication of this excavation, which Harvey is now writing.
The thanks of the audience were given by our President, Dr.Ralph Merryfield.
A MAN’S EYE VIEW OF A MINIMART Bill Bass
Leaves are falling, birds flying south for the winter- it must be Minimart time again, the annual ritual to boost HADAS funds. I report at the crack of dawn (8.00 am) to an empty looking St. Mary’s Church Hall, and start to help John Enderby put together coat rails, also shifting chairs and moving tables. People start arriving with boxes of jumble and minimart goodies which have been stored in nooks, crannies and garages all over Hendon. Most have been already been sorted and priced; these are then distributed to designated areas- bric a brac, ladies’ wear, books etc. Things are beginning to take shape.
Downstairs, the HADAS cafe is being assembled- jams, chutney, cakes, fruit, quiches. But a problem arises: Tessa (catering) cannot unlock the cup and saucer cupboard. Eventually Percy Reboul expertly picks the lock (what does he do in his spare time?). Meanwhile, Dorothy is directing all with military precision. Whilst carrying a box of shoes upstairs, I’m sure I saw HADAS chairman Andrew Selkirk trying on a brightly coloured dress…
It’s 11.30; everything is ready; tables are staffed. The customers are let in; they have to negotiate doorman Victor Jones and the potted plants. Soon the place is packed out, just like a Harrods sale.
I find time to visit an exhibition at Church Farm Museum and admire the view. Back at the Hall, it’s time for a ploughman’s lunch and coffee, courtesy of Tessa and her crew. After resisting temptation all day, I give in and buy a cake (very nice it was, too). 2.30 rolls round, and Dorothy blows the whistle. Quickly, unsold goods are packed into boxes and suitcases, which are in turn persuaded into assorted cars and vans. Hall furnishings are returned to their proper places, and with a final tidy up, the hall is locked, signalling the end to another year’s Minimart. (See separate slip for the final takings).
EXCAVATION NEWS Bill Bass
Since the summer excavation, activities have been sparse. One of the two most likely sites is the Victoria Maternity Hospital, Chipping Barnet. This building is the subject of a dispute; an article in the Barnet Borough Times said: English Heritage and Barnet Council have expressed concern over the state of the site, which is due to be developed into offices. The Council fear the Grade II listed building is being left to run into a state of disrepair. A spokesman for English Heritage confirmed that the building had been put on its list of properties at risk.
The developers argue that they are being held up by ‘planning conditions’ and are still awaiting full permission to begin demolition at the site.
The other site lies at the rear of Church Farm Museum, Hendon. This garden area is to be landscaped and access for the disabled provided. Nearby is Church End Terrace, one of the original HADAS excavations in the 1960s, where finds included Roman material
Brian Wrigley has recently spent a week looking at over 2,000 holes drilled for tree-planting at Edgwarebury Park(see Newsletter 254). A report is forthcoming, after his release from the psychiatrist
Currently running is an exhibition about John Dwight, ‘The Master Potter of Fulham’ (1672-1703). The exhibition contains material excavated from the site of Fulham Pottery, courtesy of the Museum of London and is supplemented by loans from other museums and private sources. Included amongst the 200 items on view are examples of redware, stoneware, and experimental porcelain. The exhibition is being held at 66c Kensington Church Street, London W8 4BY, until 18th December, 10.00 am to 5.30 pm, Monday to Friday.
DAY VISIT TO SOUTHWARK (26th September) Jackie Brookes
The day started well enough. It was bright – a full coach with half of us having a reunion from our weekend trip to Dorset. Even our ‘Mystery Man’ driver was with us again. Mary O’connell was taking us on a tour of Southwark.
Our first stop was the Globe Theatre, to see the new construction, and then onto the exhibition and to watch a video telling us the story of the Globe. Unfortunately, even though Mary had sent numerous letters with confirming phone calls, our arrival came as a complete surprise to the Friends of the Globe, who were working there. Not even the coffee machine was working! However, HADAS soon had everything in working order. The exhibition was quite fascinating and perhaps at a later date, we could return to watch a performance at the delightful small theatre within the building.
Our next call was at the Clink Museum. This was the original prison which gave its name to all the others. Even thought by then the weather had turned to beautiful sunshine, it was very dark and gloomy down in what had been the communal cells. However, it wasn’t all horror and we even learned the origin of ‘to fiddle’. The whole area had once belonged to the Bishop of Winchester, and it had been the red light district of its day, complete with its many brothels and taverns.
Coming out, we passed the ruins of Winchester Palace with its rose window and then passed the tiny inlet with the three-masted wooden schooner which, sad to say, is rotting from the inside out.
Onto the oldest surviving operating theatre, which was in the roof of the chapel for St Thomas’ Hospital. Built in 1820 (before anaesthetics!) the explanation of the happenings there was not for the squeamish.
Time for lunch. Then onto the Cuming Museum to see Southwarks ‘Immortal Remains’. It showed the history of the Borough from the Romans up to the present day. The collection is well worth a visit, and even includes the famous Cuming bear.
Onto our last stop – the Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum. An unknown gem, where Mr Bramah himself showed us around. Every shape and size of teapot was there to be seen. And the cream teas were delicious!
It was then, happy and tired, that we returned to the coach, only to find that it had been broken into, and cameras, coats etc. were missing. It was a very sad ending to such a full and interesting day. Our warm thanks to Mary and her friends who were so full of information and who had made the day for us, up until then.
PS. Our best wishes to Muriel Large for a speedy recovery after breaking her arm at the George Inn.
OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE – SIGHTSEERS’ GUIDE
Ancient burial mound,
Steeped in history,
Time has passed it by
Linked with Elizabeth I
Glassy lump in a field
Stones in a field
Field without grassy lumps or stones
Built over a Saxon cesspit
Featured in a Hollywood movie
Miles from the nearest motorway
No McDonald’s in the High Street
Takeaway pizzas in walking distance
She spent one night in a house five miles away
A HISTORY OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE IN LONDON: NURSES, BARBER-SURGEONS AND APOTHECARIES
Before the modern age and the rationalisation of the medical profession, Londoners could receive care from a bewildering array of health workers. Some were registered and trained, but many were ‘unqualified’. This day conference, held on Sunday, 22 November, beginning at 10.00 am, will provide information on the physician, apothecary, chemist, druggist, barber-surgeon, herbalist, neighbourhood nurse/midwife, and quack.
Venue: School of Pharmacy Lecture Theatre, 29 Brunswick Square, WC1 Cost: 15.00
Contact: Citysights of London phone: 071 955 4791
or 24-hour ansaphone: 081 806 4325