Wednesday September 13: Visit to St Lawrence Church Edgware with Sheila Woodward. The HADAS Programme combined this with a visit to Boosey & Hawkes. Unfortunately, this was cancelled, and should not have been listed in the August Newsletter.
Details and application form enclosed with this Newsletter.
Early September: Fieldwork at Hanshawe Drive, Burnt Oak. We now have permission from the Borough of Barnet to investigate, including some excavation, at this site (see May Newsletter) and we hope to be able to start in early September.
Tuesday October 10: The new lecture season opens with Archaeology in Winchester by Graham Scobie — a follow-up to our Portsmouth and King Alfred weekend in 1999.
Lectures start at 8pm in the Drawing Room (ground floor) of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3, and are followed by question time and coffee. We close promptly at 10pm.
Saturday October TBA: The seminar De-mystifying Resistivity with Bill McCann will definitely go ahead.
Andrew Selkirk and Vikki O’Connor report:
On the weekend of July 30-31, HADAS joined forces with the St Albans Archaeological Society for an experimental archaeology weekend: we set out to fire some replica – pots of Bronze Age type, most of them made by HADAS members.
As an introduction to the project we were given a talk in early June by Janet Miles of the St Albans group; they also gave us a bucket of clay from the Cutts Wood (Bronze Age) site which we used to make some vessels. HADAS collected clay from the Highgate Wood area (with permission) and from Brockley Hill — from the riding school adjacent to the scheduled Roman kiln site (thanks to proprietors Debbie and Chris). We also got clay samples from Arkley when we surveyed and dug test trenches recently, and another from Hadley Wood.
HADAS members went through the whole process of creating a suspension of clay in water, letting it settle, draining the clay until it was usable, then tempering with crushed oyster shell and crushed burnt flint (the flint came from Cutts Wood— thoughtfully pre-burnt by our Bronze Age ancestors!).
We made the pots on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Avenue House, over a period of two months. Although we attempted to recreate Bronze Age types many of the forms could only be described as “rustic”.
As many members know, College Farm was established early in the 20th century by Express Dairy, as a model farm to show how milk was produced. It is now owned by a trust and the resident farmers, Chris and Jane Owers, kindly allowed us to set up our fire there.
We kept a close watch on the temperature of the fire. Two thermocouples were used to record the temperature, but unfortunately there was only one thermometer, so a protective cage of concrete slabs had to be erected, making it possible to approach the great heat to change the leads of the thermocouples. In this way we could keep readings going throughout the night.
The temperatures turned out to be a great surprise. The desired temperature of around 400 degrees was quickly reached, but it then fell back to around 200, and remained there as long as the fire was stoked. However, once the fire was banked down for the night, and no more fuel was put on, the temperature began to rise steadily, and reached 350 degrees by time the fire was eventually pulled apart at 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, when the pots were revealed.
Did we succeed? YES!
After the pots had been admired, they had to be allowed to cool down a little, and then it was possible to start removing them from the embers. Bill Bass began the task gingerly with a rake (see picture left). When the cooling had gone a little further some intrepid members of the St Albans society started removing the pots with smaller utensils to take them over to a corrugated iron sheet where they could cool more rapidly.
The pots (pictured below) were rather black when they came straight from the firing, but it will be interesting to see how they look after they are properly cooled and washed.
They were grouped according to clay source, and their positions recorded:- The St Albans group are analysing the results of the firing and the effects of temperature in the various areas of the kiln floor.
Coincidence or not, the Brockley Hill and Highgate Wood pots fired with no breakages whereas the other types were far less successful.
Buildings at risk
The listed buildings are: The Grahame White factory and offices and the G-W Hangar at Hendon Aerodrome, in very bad condition. Hertford Lodge, The Bothy and The Water Tower, East End Road, Finchley. Hertford Lodge is in poor condition, the other two buildings are described as very bad. These are new entries on the list. Friern Hospital, fair condition. Christ’s College, Finchley, fair condition, The Martin Smith Mausoleum at Golders Green Crematorium, poor condition. No.8 Shirehall Lane, Hendon, poor condition. Eller?’ Mode, Totteridge Common, poor condition. The Manor House, Totteridge Common, poor condition, new entry. – The Cartwright Memorial in St Mary’s Churchyard, Finchley, poor condition. The Physic Well, Barnet, poor condition. The Lodge to Finchley RC High School, N12, fair condition.
The three conservation area buildings are: St Mary’s Churchyard, Hendon, poor condition. The Garden Building, Waterlow Court, Heath Close, NW11, poor condition. St Mary’s Churchyard, Finchley, poor condition.
Thirteen of these buildings were on previous lists and nothing seems to have been done about them. Those at Hendon Aerodrome are entries of long standing.
In the pipeline
Make a date for Bangor
Members news from Dorothy Newbury
Following the entry in the August Newsletter (page 3), the Time Team visited Derek Batten’s “ring work” with great success. It is hoped a Channel 4 TV programme about the excavation will be shown in January or February. Derek will be sending in a preliminary report for the Newsletter.
You never know what you’ll come across next on the net. The University of St Andrews Archaeological Diving Unit site http://www.st-and.ac.uk/institutes/sims/Ada/6news.htm has news of their recent work in Orkney, operating out the harbour at Stromness, working with Ian Oxley of Heriot-Watt University who is researching the German High Seas Fleet scuttled in Scapa Flow in 1919. Historic Scotland is considering designating these wrecks as scheduled monuments, which would not prevent divers visiting but would make any disturbance/removal illegal. The Scapa Flow survey uses the latest equipment, begged, borrowed and bought, and includes side scan, magnetometer and seabed characterisation, also sonar imaging which has to be seen to be believed — it is so good. A visit to this site is recommended if you like technical stuff.
The sites to watch
Canons Corner-Spur Road, Edgware: National Grid proposes to build a head house for the shaft of its tunnel linking Elstree and St John’s Wood. Parking area is also in the planning application. Robert Whytehead has advised that an archaeological mitigation strategy should be prepared for the entire area of ground disturbance. 36 Fortescue Road, Burnt Oak (joins Thirleby Road where Roman pottery has been found): single storey rear extension.
English Heritage has recommended the following sites for archaeological investigation:
72 High Street, Barnet — may affect medieval remains in the area.
3 Salisbury Road, Barnet — may affect possible medieval and earlier remains near the High Street.
32A Totteridge Common, Totteridge N20 — may affect medieval remains of Totteridge village.
On course for winter
· Many HADAS members have benefited from the courses on archaeology and history run by Birkbeck College. For anyone who might be wavering this autumn, why not attend the open evening on Tuesday September 5, 4pm – 8pm, Malet Street, London WC1.
· Harvey Sheldon has arranged another season of Thursday evening public lectures at the Institute of Archaeology, 20 Gordon Square. This year’s topic is Human Evolution with various speakers. To book for this short course, V10X17, which starts on October 5 and costs £60 (£30 concessions) you need an enrolment form from the prospectus. (There used to be the option to pay at the door for individual lectures. Watch the next Newsletter to see if this still applies.)
HADAS member Jack Goldenfeld is again running his course Introduction to Archaeology 1 at two centres West Herts College. The course is designed to describe and explain the science of archaeology, to cultivate an awareness of the past and the recognition of its effects on the world of today. As well as dealing with archaeological theory, it will study site examples of all periods and from many locations world-wide. The only entry qualification required is an enquiring mind!
The courses are at: Dacorum Campus, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, starting Monday September 25, and Cassio Campus, Langley Road, Watford, from Wednesday September 27, 7.15pm – 9.15pm at both. Details from Jack on 01923 285225 or from the Adult Education Offices at each campus: Dacorum 01442 221542, Cassio 01923 812052.
Many in HADAS mourned the death last November of Freda Wilkinson, long a valued and active member. By profession, she was a highly-respected indexer, and here we publish extracts from an obituary written by Cherry Lavell, originally published in The Indexer, Vol. 22 No. 1, April 2000. It is followed by further tributes from members.
We are honoured to have had her among us
“Freda had never wanted to be a homebody but in 1958, aged 48, she married James Wilkinson, settling into a large house in Hendon. James was much older but they shared many enthusiasms, including archaeology, natural sciences, Fabianism and filling the house with books. It was probably when James became ill that Freda discovered her undoubted talent for indexing, which would enable her to work at home in the intervals of looking after James (who died in the late 1960s).
She joined the Society of Indexers (SI) in January 1968 and her first index was to a popular work on fish and chips — what a good start! Another book was on Venice and its gondoliers, but she gravitated naturally towards archaeology, becoming one of its very best indexers. Her orderly mind also found a talent for accounts, and on becoming SI Treasurer in 1974 she set about transforming a rather homely system into proper double-entry bookkeeping, continuing until 1980.
She was deeply engaged in fostering SI’s relationship with our affiliated societies; another valuable, even vital task she performed for SI was to introduce John Gordon to us in the mid-1970s: in her new neighbour she recognised an outstanding administrator who could, and most certainly did, revitalise our then sagging Society. She became a valued assessor and examiner at both levels of the Society’s qualifications; she also sat on the Editorial Board of the Indexer.
Besides all this she was attending conferences (both archaeological and our own), Touring Italy (she especially admired the Etruscan civilisation’s equality between men and women), amassing books on a wide variety of subjects, enjoying Shakespeare, and quietly
collecting an A-level in English — aged 64. Her keen
interest in art took her to painting courses and art exhibitions, her love of gardens and architecture led her to visit National Trust properties around the country.
She became an SI Vice President in 1983, relinquishing the position in 1991 but still keeping the liveliest interest in the Society. There is no doubt that if she had been born a couple of decades later and with better opportunities she could have made her mark as an academic —but then she might not have joined our Society! She cared passionately for the Society’s advancement and certainly made a strong contribution to it, for which she was made an Honorary Life Member. We are honoured to have had her among us.”
Margaret Maher writes: Freda and I met on our knees, literally, at the Mesolithic site at West Heath in 1976 and quickly found we shared a passion for flint artefacts and prehistory. On the surface a quiet, unassuming person, she had hidden depths, so getting to know her was a process of continual discovery. She had a marvellously dry sense of humour and a nice sense of the ridiculous.
At an age when most people are slowing down she pursued a wide range of interests. Apart from digging, attending conferences, lectures and classes, she travelled to archaeological sites with HADAS and with the Prehistoric Society. Cataracts briefly curtailed her activities, but as soon as the first was removed she resumed her indexing work, two of the later volumes being Derek Roe’s The Late Glacial in NW Europe (CBA 1991) and Nick Barton’s Hengistbury Head, Dorset (OUP 1992).
I enjoyed Freda’s company and in the last 10 years I particularly admired and respected her courage in the face of crippling illness. It was a friendship from which I felt I gained much.
Daphne Lorimer writes: Although the love of Freda’s archaeological life was flint it was through her skills as an indexer that I first met her. She had just rejoined HADAS when I first became a member, and was constructing a card index of artefact find spots in the Borough of Barnet, complete with map references. There was great excitement when I reported a struck flake from almost the same spot as a Roman coin (alas, it never turned out to be a multi-period occupation!).
It was, however, at the West Heath Mesolithic site that I really got to know Freda. She was there come rain, come shine, and for her, she said, West Heath was not so much a dig “but a way of life”. Her digging technique was exemplary and her knowledge of flint invaluable.
In the winter months, she was one of the happy band of six who went, once a week, to the Quaternary Room at the BM to help Clive Bonsall catalogue the Epping Forest Mesolithic material. It was a great privilege as well as great fun and after two years we felt we had a pretty good knowledge of the English Mesolithic tool types.
Freda’s last gift to West Heath was to provide the report with an index, one of the few BAR Reports, if not the only one, to be so completed.
Freda was a good friend, a knowledgeable archaeologist and one of the characters who stamped their imprint on HADAS in its early days.
Dorothy Newbury adds: Freda was a very knowledgeable and active member, and a regular digger at Ted Sammes’ excavation at Church End, Hendon, before West Heath. One of her most valuable contributions to the society was the production of an excellent index covering every HADAS activity in its early years.
HADAS has a great day out in Dover
Messing about in boats
After an early and gloomy start we made our way to Aylesford Priory, for coffee. Our route had been carefully planned to cross the QE2 Bridge — a very impressive and elegant structure, (which I felt looked very similar to the second Severn crossing, between England and Wales). Well worth the diversion.
Aylesford Priory was founded by the Carmelite friars in 1240. It was dispossessed by Henry VIII and reestablished as a pilgrimage centre in 1949, the buildings now a mixture of modern and medieval. In addition to being a place of retreat, and providing hospitality to weary travellers (i.e. us!), there is a pottery and shop.
The next stop was Dover Museum, in particular to see the “Dover Boat”. We were met by Keith Parfitt, the project field director, who gave us an introductory talk. After a short video we looked at the boat itself, the centrepiece of the museum’s Bronze Age display.
Built of wooden planks sewn together with twisted yew and sealed with moss and wax, the boat is believed to be 3,000 years old and is considered the earliest known example of a sea-going vessel. About three- quarters of its length survives (fortunately including the front). It was not possible to recover the rest because of its depth below street level. The recovered remains were soaked in a wax solution and freeze dried.
The other displays in the museum used figures and artefacts to show various stages in the history of the town. This included a series of models showing the development of Dover as a port. While most people were still marvelling at the earliest example of a cross channel ferry, Andy Simpson had the extra excitement of finding, among the exhibits, the brake handle of a Black Country train! Greg Hunt
Seeing the light
We were first shown the Generator Room which is below ground level. Here the fuel, originally oil from sperm whales, was stored. The next floor was the Weights Room and contained the mechanism for operating the lamp. The weights are winched up through the central pillar. This was followed by the Watch Room where the keeper on duty would have spent most of his time. In this room Marconi sent out his signals.
Next was the Lamp Room. Lamp on, cage rotating gives flashing effect — 3 white flashes in 20 seconds. Lenses give the 3 flashes, black panels give a pause. One complete rotation takes 40 seconds. Last but not least was the balcony. From here we had a marvellous view of the coastline and local points of interest such as a windmill used for electric power and a white house in the bay where Noel Coward and Ian Fleming had lived.
The English weather was not at its best, regretfully, and we were certainly blown about, but it was a most exhilarating experience. Judy Kazarnovsky
Waiting for Henry VIII
A tour of Dover Castle at any time is an experience, but when the fortress is “en medieval fete” as it was when we arrived, the atmosphere was of history come to life. Colourful booths were selling their wares, one with chickens on a spit, tents had pennons streaming, archery was in progress and among the many townspeople was a Mistress Quickley on the arm of a halberdier. Yes, there were soldiers too, some in clanking armour, all being serenaded by a villager playing what appeared to be a medieval form of bagpipe..
This all the way to Constable Gate, the entrance to battlement walk, from which up a steep incline is Palace Gate, the entrance to the Inner Bailey. Here are the precincts of the strongest royal castle in the country, built by Henry IL
It was an inspiration on the part of English Heritage to foster one’s imagination of the age by indicating the impending arrival of the great King Henry VIII to his royal residence. Large wrappings presumably holding his tapestries and trappings of wealth lay on the floors, while in his bedchamber the sumptuous royal four- poster clad in red and gold was being made ready. Rich, carvings adorned his tiny chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket — the only part of the keep remaining unaltered.
On a day such as this, one tends to have a historically romantic impression of Dover Castle, but the visitor is constantly reminded that this massive fortification was a stronghold serving its country from 1170 to 1945.
In 1216, Hubert de Burgh constructed tunnels for defence, modified in the Napoleonic Wars in 1797 and subsequently of immense value to the three services during the two World Wars. Totally secure additional_ underground barracks were constructed 50 feet below the cliff top, complete with a hospital now made to appear very realistic with bloodied bandages in bowls and surgical instruments everywhere (including a saw!). There were, too, meals on plates ready for the garrison at the end of their tour of duty. Not to be forgotten is the castle’s finest hour in May 1940 when Operation Dynamo – the evacuation of 338,000 soldiers from Dunkirk – was directed from the underground barracks.
This cliff-top site has been occupied since the Iron Age, and within the castle walls there still stand the remains of a Roman lighthouse and a restored Anglo- Saxon church. The pharos was built by the Romans in the second half of the first century to guide ships across the Channel to the newly-developed port of Dover, and although little remains it is still a remarkable structure.
So much in so comparatively small an area. An inspired excursion indeed. Rita Simpson
Other societies’ events
Tuesday September 12, 8pm
Wednesday September 13, 2pm
Barnet & District Local History Society
Friday September 15, 8pm
Wednesday September 20, 8pm
Sunday September 24, 11am
Thursday September 28, 8pm
Eat, Drink and Be Merry: The British at Table 1600-2000
Heritage Open Days* September 16 and 17
London Open House* September 23 and 24
(*Usually inaccessible or fee-charging properties open free)
British Association, Archaeology & Anthropology Section Annual Festival September 6-12 at Imperial College, South Kensington
Wednesday September 6: Lecture and field trip: The Politics of Death and Burial in London — Commoners and Kings. 10am illustrated lecture by Gustav Milne, 11.30 depart on foot and by Underground for Westminster Abbey (ends 1pm).
Monday September 11: Lecture and field trip: A Catastrophic History of London. 10am illustrated lecture by Gustav Milne, 2.15pm depart on foot and by Underground to the City for visits to selected sites and the Museum of London.
For both, the lectures (venue: Pippard Lecture Theatre, Sherfield Building) are open to all, the tour numbers are limited to 15. Tickets, £10 inclusive, on the day.Throughout the festival: afternoon walks with Dr Eric Robinson, who lectured to HADAS last year.
CBA south-east and SCOLA joint conference
Thanks to Eric Morgan and Peter Pickering for providing this information