No: 275 FEBRUARY 1994 Edited by ANDY SIMPSON
Tuesday 1 February Lecture: History and Restoration of the S.S. ‘Great Britain’ –
John Robinson, FMA,
This promises to be a treat for those with interests in industrial or maritime history in particular. Your editor remembers watching on ‘telly’, as a rather awe-struck 10-year-old, the arrival of the ship at Bristol from the Falklands way back in 1970. Both he – and the ship – have changed somewhat since!
Tuesday 1 March Lecture: The Mooted Manor project at Wood Hall – Simon
Tomson, Excavation Director for North Yorks Council.
In conjunction with National Power, he and his team are involved in a long-term excavation at Gale Common Ash Disposal site near Knottingley. Wood Hall was first mentioned in 1328 when it was the property of Queen Isabella who was known as the she-wolf of France and is thought to have ordered the murder of her husband Edward 2nd in 1327. Bridges across the moat, a very fine gatehouse, and evidence and artifacts of earlier occupation have been found. This is an excavation with no time limit – a rare occurrence – as it will take up to 20 years to cover the site with the ash from nearby power-stations where years of coal from the adjoining pits were burnt, This interesting slide-talk is on a current excavation, largely within the same period as some of our own excavations in the Borough of Barnet.
Saturday 19 March 31st Annual LAMAS Conference of London Archaeologists.
11 am – 5.30pm, Museum of London.
The 6 speakers in the morning session will cover recent archaeological research in the London Area, and include our own Brian Wrigley describing last year’s Church Farmhouse Museum, Hendon dig. The afternoon session will be on Roman public building in London. Tickets £4 from Jon Cotton, Museum of London, London Wall, tel; 071-600 3699, ext 259.
Tuesday 5 April Lecture: Archaeology at St Bride’s Church 1952-1993 –
The church was originally investigated in the 50’s by Professor Grimes and in 1993 prior to replacing the crypt display a team from University College, London, led by Gustav Milne re-examined the standing structure with some surprising results.
Lectures are held at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4, starting at 8pm for 8.30pm.
MEMBERS’ NEWS Dorothy Newbury
We note with pride that four of our members – Mary O’Connell, Sheila Woodward, Brian Wrigley and Ted Sammes are all giving talks to various local societies,
Our thanks to Pam Taylor who has accepted boxes of papers covering George Ingrams’ notes and research on Hendon. She has been through them all and placed them in the Borough Archives. More importantly, she has supplied us with five sheets of the catalogued material which is available for any member wishing to research any of the subjects therein. Copies of the list will be made and deposited with Roy Walker at Avenue House. George was 93 when he died last year and we must also thank his daughter Ruth for passing this material on to us.
(Some news cuttings on the former RAF Hendon, and the RAF Museum on the site, from George’s collection have also been passed to the RAF Museum Archives Section – Ed.)
REVIEWS AND COUNTER-REVIEWS Dear Editor,
Whatever happened to my old friend Ted Sammes over Christmas? His review of the new Philiimore pictorial history of Hendon was positively Scrooge-like in tone! If the ghost of Hendon Past had been a bit more active at Ted’s bedside, he might have wrung an admission from him that the introductory essay is one of the best features of the book„- well-written and scholarly, a rare combination. And it didn’t even get a mention!
Trying to select over 150 photographs for a book, of this kind must be not unlike choosing those 8 records for Desert Island Discs. You ([now before you begin that there is no way that every topic can be covered and it is not difficult, therefore, for critics to suggest ‘omissions’.
I share Ted’s assessment that the boot is ‘good value for money’: where else could you view a splendid old photograph for only 7p or so with a caption, historical essay, hard covers and an attractive dust-wrapper thrown in forftee?
And before you ask.; “No, I don’t have shares in Phillimore.’s Happy New Year to one and all.
Ted Sammes replies:
In reply to Percy,
I originally looked at the title of this boot and decided that, like all others in this very comprehensive Phillimore series, its main function was to present the pictures, which it has again done very well. Incidentally, I intended to convey the idea that I did not approve of pictures covering two pages – it ‘decomposes’ the picture to a large extent. I fear my handwriting was at fault as this does not come over clearly. I react the introduction, presumably by the two authors, and I would agree with Percy Rebours comments on its quality. It is of a standard that we would ea ect from a focal history archive Librarian and the Archivist of the same collection. I to not see the tastof a reviewer to be adulating all the time, nor to mention every aspect of a work., Indeed, a reviewer, at the risk, of offending, should try and point the way to improving things in the future. Liz Holliday in the previous newsletter had already given praise in an advertising blurb. I trust this a subject that now can be allowed to rest now be allowed to rest.
MILL HILL – A THOUSAND YEARS OF HISTORY. By Ralph Calder, illustrations by Ian Brown. Published by Angus Hudson Ltd in association with the Mill Hill Historical Society, 1993. Reviewed by Ted Sammes:
This book, the work of a local historian, is more profusely illustrated than was ‘The Story of Mill Hill’ by the late John W Collier. Ralph Calder had the task of completing John Collier’s book after his death, and no doubt this spurred him on to produce another volume, alas in a different format. All areas have a wealth of local history items and this book does not overlap to any significant degree the previous one. Ian Brown’s illustrations are line drawings with colour washes to add interest. Personally, I don’t like this idea but they do stand out, giving ‘punch’ to each subject. The text is also fortified
by a number of sketch maps which are helpful, Regrettably, the only photograph is in colour, but has a heavy red bias.
An all too rare feature in such books is the short list of Mill Hill residents and the listed buildings in Mill Hill. Some difficulty will be experienced by readers trying to link the two together. Indeed, a more comprehensive index would have greatly increased the value of this book. There is also a short list of some Mill Hill societies. One is left wondering why it had to be printed in Singapore? (Cheap labour to keep the costs down presumably – Ed.) Despite these things, it is an accurate book and very easy to read and digest. It is produced in hardback, with an illustrated dust cover and is priced at £12,99 plus postage and packing from Angus Hudson Ltd, Concorde House, Grenville Place, Mill Hill, NW7 3SA,
THE FIRST HUGH CHAPMAN MEMORIAL LECTURE at the Museum of London Dr Ralph Merrifield, Tuesday 11 January
Review by Ted Sammes:
Our President gave the first memorial lecture to members of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS); Hugh, secretary of the Society of Antiquaries and well known to many of our members, died tragically in an accident whilst walking along Piccadilly.
Ralph took as his subject “Roman metalwork from the Walbrook – Rubbish, Ritual or Redundancy?” (The Walbrook being one of London’s lost – or rather, culverted -rivers. Ed.) Much of the ironwork recovered came from anaerobic dark mud silts and had been well preserved. He also included votive multiple cups of the Roman period whilst pointing out that during the Roman period many Celtic springs and votive wells were places where hoards were deposited, Such was the case in the Walbrook Valley. At some later time in the Roman period the area was changed from a workshop area, and craftsmen moved out but left behind large quantities of nails and other iron objects.
TRANSPORT CORNER Andy Simpson
The impending privatisation of London Transport’s bus operations claimed another victim in early December 1993 with the closure of Finchley Garage. The main reason for the closure was the transfer of the Garage’s lengthy Routemaster operated route 13, North Finchley – Aldwych via Golders Green, to BTS Buses of Borehamstiff, sorry, Borehamwood. The new operator will continue to operate their own Routemasters on the service, but only from Golders Green,
The Garage, situated just off Bollards Lane, North Finchley, opened on 7th June 1905 as a depot of the Metropolitan Electric Tramways Company and provided trams to work in the Barnet/Finchley/Golders Green/Wood Green/Highgate areas. The depot was heavily rebuilt in 1930 to accommodate the new luxury ‘Feltham’ trams, although trolleybuses moved in in August 1936, sharing the depot with a declining number of trams until final conversion to full trolley bus operation of local routes in March 1938. Conversion to motorbus operation, as with the trams, came in two phases, 1961-2, final conversion to motorbuses (Routemasters) coming during the Blizzard of 2nd January 1962, after a short period of joint motorbus/trolleybus operation.
(OK, who’s going to write in and defend Borehamwood?)
A PLACE OF LEARNING … AND OF IRONING Liz Sagues
There’s an image which remains firmly in the mind after HADAS’s January outing. Irons, ordinary household irons, ready at hand to do the job they’re designed for —smoothing out creases. “Will you do my shirts?” asked one waggish member. “Certainly,” replied the subject of the question, “But it will be expensive.”
Understandable, that response, she would have been moonlighting. We weren’t on an industrial archaeology visit to an old-fashioned laundry, but in a building with a much more cerebral purpose. There was some new technology around, but a lot more of the old — including the irons.
The British Library Newspaper Library has been at its spacious site in Colindale since the first decade of the 20th century. As with books, so it is with newspapers— a copy of every one printed in Britain, national or local, paid-for or free, popular or serious, has to be deposited with the British Library. And as with books, the Library wouldn’t dream of throwing any away. On shelf after mile of shelf at Colindale is the evidence of this studious squirrel instinct,
After the introduction from our enthusiastic and well-informed guides Jill and Stewart (recently of Barnet Council’s archives department), we crocodiled down the road to the warehouse where the newspapers (and magazines and other popular periodicals) arrive, some 2,500 different titles, if I correctly remember one among many, many statistics, The technology of the delivery is rather more modern than that before World War One — then, it was by weekly horse and cart from Bloomsbury. (To clear up continuing confusion, a reminder: the British Library split off from its better-known parent, the British Museum, in 1973.)
Class War or The Times, Classical Music or the Barnet Press, they were all there alphabetically on shelves which stretched high above our heads, the upper levels full of older, microfilmed copies carefully wrapped in acid-free packaging for long-term storage,
Back to the main site, and the tour continued to the area where each paper is recorded and dilatory publishers chivvied for missing copies. Then through just a small part of the storage area, from which staff extract the bound volumes or microfilm reels which readers request, an archive of more than three centuries of contemporary events. We were allowed a brief time to browse among titles past: children’s magazines from the 1930s, when young readers clearly coped cheerfully with text more solid than today’s Guardian; journals of public health and confectioners, digests of footwear makers and printers, magazines illustrating cars and caravans long consigned to the scrapyard,
These, and all the other millions of issues of thousands of publications, can be consulted by any adult who can give library staff proof of identity to claim a pass. Opening hours are 10am to 4.45pm, up to four volumes or microfilm reels can be requested at a time (delivery is about half on hour, but you can ask for what you want by phone the previous day to avoid the wait) and photocopies can be ordered. Though there is lots of reading space, it does fill up, Early morning arrival is advised.
But the irons? You’ve noticed, no doubt, the references to microfilming. Newspapers are essentially transitory, fragile things, and microfilming is a way to make them accessible to readers, without destroying the original, as well as providing a source of income from sales of copy reels to other libraries and research institutes, The Library wants the best possible results, and creased and crinkled papers don’t photograph well. Hence the large room of ironing tables, each with its standard Rowenta or Morphy Richards or Hoover, and the irons beside each of the camera positions, for last-minute titivating of the subjects before exposure.
Altogether, that section of the Newspaper Library was almost surreal, from the lady in white gloves checking the exposed film, through the cassette of Bach suites to block out the whirrs and clicks for a camera-operating colleague, to the wall smothered with pin-ups of pussycats as a visual relief from all that small grey print.
The research possibilities of the Library are limitless, and it is an institution Barnet should be proud to house. A place of history reported as it was made, and — for someone who has worked on newspapers for nearly 30 years — a realisation that what is written one week is not, after all, forgotten the next.
VICTORIA MATERNITY HOSPITAL DIG (Wood Street, Barnet) Bill Bass
For our excavation team the labour is continuing at the above site – in spite of cold/rain/wind/snow/ice (ahh!). Weather has stopped play on several occasions but good progress has been made, the wettest December for some time has meant some diggers becoming adept at techniques of marine archaeology!
Work on trench one is nearly complete. Features here include a brick-lined drain and soak-away, a silty ditch deposit, also a pebble floor. Make-up of the ground appears to be mostly modern brick rubble, with sand and gravel. There are no signs of the earlier 15th century cottages as yet. (Le. those shown on old maps.) A start has been made on trench three on the southern boundary. It lies under grass and is rather less disturbed – it may be a garden area with several turf lines and sherds of ‘flowerpot’ visible down to what now appears to be two stepped terraces of clay, the brick fragments found within them indicating it is not natural.
Work on trench two has re-commenced, paying particular attention to the east-west ditch which appears to run beneath the hospital and into trench one. It is hoped to fully excavate this feature with a view to maximising the recovery of finds as well as accurately recording its location in relation to present day Wood Street; hopefully, we may have some evidence of its origin by the time the dig is finished.
The hospital was once a grand Georgian Mansion, fronting fashionable Wood Street and overlooking the Dollis Valley towards Totteridge. It now stands in a sea of compressed demolition rubble, perhaps reminiscent of a war-torn area. Its structure is now gutted and encased with scaffold ready for new work to begin.
All this is in contrast to our summer dig at the Church Farmhouse Museum – warm sunshine, leafy garden, cellar room with lighting and heating – those were the days… Volunteers are welcome at Barnet; if it’s still raining, please bring scuba gear, flippers, sonar-scanning equipment and inflatable dinghy – thanks!
(Since the above was written, work has continued on all three trenches, producing further evidence of extensive recent disturbance to the deposits. In addition to the flowerpots we have found our usual selection of clay pipe fragments and residual medieval sherds. The site was visited one night by ‘persons unknown’, and our shed broken into. Fortunately, nothing was stolen, nor any unnecessary damage inflicted either to our equipment, nor to the site. – Ed.)
CALLING ALL COLLECTORS
The Museum of London’s current Events leaflet invites Londoners to enter their personal collections in The People’s Show 7994, an exhibition to be held at the Museum in June. The theme is local people’s collections, and 48 museums in the UK will be involved. If you are interested in sharing the fruits of your hobby/passion with the world, please contact: Rory O’Connell at the Museum of London on 071-600 3699, before 28 February 1994. (If you DO exhibit, please let the HADAS N/L editor know!)
From ‘THE INDEPENDENT 4.1.94 BIII Bass
A previously unknown Roman port, including 40 stone buildings, has been discovered in Kent, near the banks of the river Swale, north of Faversham. It appears to have functioned as a substantial port from the 1st century AD until well after the Roman period. Of equal importance are the results of research which indicate that the site -or its environs – was still an important port in the Anglo-Saxon period.
The site was located by Paul Wilkinson, a post-grad student, while preparing a thesis on ancient ports in north Kent, Finds so far are: roof tile; fragments of mosaic; hypocaust; tile; glass vessels; coarse and saurian pottery.
Some pieces of evidence suggest the place was of substantial importance in Roman and Anglo-Saxon eras. Firstly, it formed part of a royal estate associated with a rich Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Secondly, new research indicates there may have been an Anglo-Saxon royal tomb in the vicinity under a huge mound. Thirdly, the port – known to the Anglo-Saxons as Cillincg, was chosen in 699 by the Kentish king, Wihtred, as the venue for a meeting of all his nobles. The minutes of the meeting still survive in the form of a royal charter written on vellum in either 699 or the following century,
The site’s continuity of use from Roman port to Anglo-Saxon royal estate and port is extremely rare and is paralleled in the name of Faversham itself. It actually means “metalsmith’s settlement”, the first part being from the Latin ‘faber’ – (metalsmith), the second part being Anglo-Saxon for settlement. Research and excavation will continue into who built it, when and why.
MEANWHILE, IN GREECE Andy Simpson
Also in the news recently was the American Archaeologist who claims to have found traces of one of history’s great naval battles, famous for changing history and for the love affair of the centre of it.
Dr William Murray, leader of the US-Greek team Project Actium, has, by sonar contacts, identified 22 ancient oared warships 150′ down below the surface of the Ionian sea, two miles off the west coast of Greece.
He believes them to be part of the fleet commanded by Mark Antony and his lover Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, defeated at Actium by Octavian Caesar, Julius Caesar’s adopted son, in 31BC. Tradition, repeated by Shakespeare, has it that the defeated lovers committed suicide after the battle, defeat largely being due to Cleopatra. Against Antony’s generals’ wishes she joined his invasion fleet of 500 ships with 60 of her own and when the battle was still in the balance suddenly sailed off with her fleet, A distracted Antony breaking off the engagement and losing over 400 of his ships in the ensuing rout. Dr Murray believes the 22 ships he has found are some of the 60 burnt by the Roman victors.
This summer the team will attempt to find the bow mounted rams of the ships, which they hope to match to sockets built to hold 35 rams from Antony’s warships at the Temple of Apollo of Actium enlarged by Octavian to commemorate his victory, thereby proving the identity of the ships.
“DIGGING IN JORDAN: BRITISH MUSEUM EXCAVATIONS AT TELL ES-SA’IDIYEH”
This exhibition should prove especially interesting to members who attended Ted Sammes’ talk in April 1992, about his visit to Jordan (report in Newsletter 244), He was fortunate in visiting Tell es-Sa’idiyeh two days after Jonathan Tubb had completed an excavation for the British Museum, The site was occupied from the early Bronze Age until c,700BC, The exhibition is in Room 88 (Basement) at the BM until 13 March,
HADAS has just lost one of its most distinguished members through the sad death of Alan Hill. This was extremely sudden. On Thursday 16th December I was him with Enid at the Society of Antiquaries’ Christmas Party, as cheerful as ever. When he returned home he said he felt ill. Enid took him to the Royal Free where he died of a massive heart attack at 5 o’clock next morning, aged 81.
Alan only came to archaeology quite recently. In his professional life he was Managing Director of Heinemann the publishers. He joined Heinemann in 1936, soon after he came down from Cambridge. Heinemann was at the time one of the big publishers of fiction – Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, Nevil Shute and J B Priestly, and Alan was put in their most junior department, the Education books. However, Alan was a publisher of genius and, as the fiction side of Heinemann declined, so the education side increased enormously and eventually it was realised that it was the educational side that kept the whole firm afloat and Alan became Group Managing Director.
He also had a very strong influence in foreign publishing, particularly in West Africa where he launched the African Writers Series, – the first time that a British publisher had deigned to publish African writers, and as a result virtually all the leading African writers appeared in the series. He went on to publish books all over the world, not only in the Commonwealth, but also in East Asia, Japan, China and Russia, tramping round the countries, visiting bookshops, sometimes accompanied by Enid.
Since his retirement he has taken up archaeology, spurred on by his wife Enid. They were both active members of HADAS and Alan was also on the Council of the Prehistoric Society as their promotion manager and he had recently been elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. When I last saw him Alan was busy thinking up ways of improving the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. He was one of the great movers and shakers of this world – a superb publisher who had published a series of Regional Archaeologies. He was always pushing for new projects and always in such a way that you felt he was on your side.
In all this he was immensely helped by his wife Enid. They met when he was 16 and she was 14; he was at Wyggeston Grammar School at Leicester and she was at Wyggeston Girls’ School, and when she was 14 and he was 16 they decided to get married. The did not tell anyone – least of all their parents, and it took 10 years before they actually got round to the wedding day. In the meantime Alan had gone up to Jesus College, Cambridge to read History while Enid went to Oxford to read History and obtain a Hockey Blue. They have a daughter and two sons, and numerous grandchildren. Enid herself joined in the publishing business and was for many years manager of the Loeb Classical Library, the classical students’ best friend, where classical texts are published with the Greek or Latin on one side and the English translation on the other.
Alan himself wrote a splendid autobiography “In Pursuit of Publishing”, describing his sometimes surprising part in a big business conglomerate. Coming from a nonconformist background, he had strong socialist principles, which at times seemed at odds with his great entrepreneurial skills. But perhaps as a result of this, and his enormous capacity for fun and enjoyment, he ran a very happy firm and enjoyed a very happy life. In all this, Enid played a vital role, and our sympathies go out to her.
HISTORIC BUILDINGS AND CONSERVATION COMMITTEE OF THE LONDON & MIDDLESEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
I have since 1978 been a member of this Committee, having joined it as a Committee member of the Finchley Society. Its terms of reference are “to collect information and take action to save historical buildings of value threatened with demolition or alteration, and to preserve the character of historic areas, and to act with other societies in cases for conservation at public inquiries”.
In practice most of the Committee’s work comes from the rule (under DoE circular 8/87) that all applications to demolish or alter listed buildings must be sent by the local planning authority to a number of national societies, of which the Council for British Archaeology is one, and LAMAS is the agent for the CBA in London, All boroughs are supposed to send the Committee notifications of all such applications. In fact, compliance varies amongst boroughs; some seem to send every planning application they receive which affects a listed building, or an unlisted building in a conservation area, in however minor a way, while others seem to send only total demolitions or the most major alterations; Barnet falls into the latter category. Some, of course, may not comply with obligations at all.
For longer than I have been a member, the Committee has been under the chairmanship of Mr Dennis Corble. It aims to have people on it from all over London, usually nominated by local societies, and it keeps contact with societies in areas where it does not actually have a serving member. It meets every six weeks or so, and members may be asked by the Chairman to report on applications in their area and advise the Committee whether to take any action. Members are not however restricted to their own area, and since the Committee has many members of great knowledge and experience, discussions are well-informed and lively, and I have greatly enjoyed them and learnt a lot from them. Fascinating cases during my time have included the Prudential Insurance Building and the London Diorama.
The CBA has at times argued that its constituents should take into account only strictly archaeological aspects of cases, and at other times that objections should always be made to proposals to change historic buildings. But the Committee takes both a wider and a more pragmatic view of its remit, and takes aesthetic and practical matters into account, not objecting to changes that make it likely that a building will have a useful future, even if some of its character is lost in the process. The most recent local case with which the Committee has been concerned is the former RAF Officers’ Mess, to the proposals for which it has objected on the grounds that the new buildings would overwhelm the existing one and that they have a lower standard of design.
(Middlesex University hope to convert the mess and its surrounding five acres into Student Halls of Residence. – Ed.)
MEMBERSHIP NEWS Vikki O’Connor
Only four weeks left of this membership year. A renewal form will be enclosed with your next newsletter. If you had problems with your Standing Order last April, could you double-check with your Bank that they have the correct amount in favour of HADAS at Girobank. Thank you.