Newsletter 163: September 1984
A DATE FOR WEST HEATH
With something very close to a sound of trumpets DAPHNE LORIMER, who is co-author with DESMOND COLLINS of the final report on West Heath, Phase 1: 1976-81, announced last week that the HADAS site at West Heath now has a definite date. This is her statement for the Newsletter:
Members may remember that 18 months ago, through the good offices of Margaret Maher, Dr Joan Huxtable of the Research Laboratory of the Dept. of Art & Archaeology, Oxford (whose help HADAS greatly appreciates) undertook the positive dating of West Heath by thermoluminescence. Six samples of burnt struck flints and their surrounding soil were taken from the area of trench XVM at varying depths.
Initial results were promising, so calcium fluoride capsules were buried on the site for one year to obtain the environmental dose. In July this year the probes were removed and dates for each sample were calculated. These varied from
12000 years plus or minus 1500 years BP to
7300 years plus or minus 750 years BP
There was no evidence from the buried soil that the flints were not coeval. The average age calculated for the site from the 6 samples is:
about 9625 plus or minus 900 BP, or about 7675 BC
This result puts West Heath in the relatively select group of Mesolithic sites which have an absolute date and provides a most satisfactory conclusion to the report which is now in the hands of Dr Hugh Chapman at the Museum of London.
Note: Those members wishing to read more about TL techniques are referred to papers by Joan Huxtable & Roger Jacobi (1982) in Archaeometry 24.2, 164-9; and Aitken & Alldred (1972) Archaeometry 14.2, 257-267.
Sat/Sun Sept 15/16 trip to Lincoln. 35 members are booked for this weekend to see the Lincoln “Comes of Age” exhibition, showing 21 centuries of living history. We have no waiting list – and fortunately no cancellations, though one member may have to cancel at the last moment. So if anyone might still like to come (cost £39) please ring Dorothy Newbury (203 0950).
Autumn Programme. The new season of lectures begins next month at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4. Coffee 8 pm; lectures begin 8.30 pm.
Tues Oct 2 (not 22 as printed in programme card). Isbister, Tomb of Eagles: lecturer, John Hedges. The 48 members who went on our memorable 10-day Orkney trip in 1978 will have fond memories of Isbister and of John Hedges, who is that rare bird, a professional freelance archaeologist.
We are lucky that he can come to talk to us and show his slides of the excavation. His publication on the subject is due out this October. He well remembers our visit and looks forward to meeting us again.
Sat Oct 6 (please note change in originally advertised date). Minimart St Mary’s Church House (top of Greyhound Hill, Hendon NW4, opposite Church Farm House Museum). The initial flood of goods for sale seems to have subsided during August, so please start turning out now and bring your goodies to Dorothy (203 0950) or Christine (455 2751). If you can’t deliver please ring us. For further details see insert in this Newsletter.
Tues Nov 6. The Industrial Archaeology of London’s Dockland by Robert Carr
Lecture Information (for new members): buses 183 & 143 pass the Library door which is 10 minutes’ walk from Hendon Central Underground station and only a few minutes’ walk from the 113 (Edgware) bus and 240 & 125 (Quadrant, Hendon) buses. There are 2 free car parks opposite the Library. Members may bring a guest to one lecture, but guests who wish to attend further lectures should be invited to join the Society. Will old members please welcome new ones, and make them feel at home? New members please make yourselves known.
MORE DIGGING AT WEST HEATH
The initial 6-week dig at West Heath closed on July 31, but digging has now resumed once more on 4 days each week: Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Volunteers will be most welcome, particularly those who can make a regular commitment. Don’t be shy about coming, though, even if you can put in only an occasional day or half-day.
Times as before – 9 am-6 pm.
At the moment it is uncertain how long the dig will go on, but certainly well into September. We are anxious to complete the trenches which have been opened this year, and shall continue ‘till that is accomplished. Anyone who wants to check whether digging is continuing should ring either Margaret Maher (907 0333) or Sheila Woodward (952 3897).
ANGLO-SAXONS AT REPTON A report on the Aug 18 outing by MARGARET TAYLOR
Beautiful weather, a full coach and a prompt start heralded a day of great interest for all. We were guided off the Ml through narrow lanes by Mr and Mrs Kitching of the Repton Local History group and were received at Repton School by Professor Martin Biddle, who gave up the morning to conduct us round the complicated sites that he has been excavating for 10 years.
The Anglo-Saxon monastery stands on a low bluff overlooking the valley of the Old River Trent where there has been a long sequence of human activity from Mesolithic times, ending with over 1200 years of Christianity. The Anglo-Saxon monastery existed for two centuries – 670-873 AD. It came to an abrupt end when the Vikings used it for a defensive fortress in the winter of 873-4.
The 1159 Augustinian Priory was suppressed by Henry VIII but Repton School was founded in 1557 using the buildings which have since featured in the two films of ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’ in 1938 and 1984.
The excavation around the east end of the church of St Wystan has uncovered massive stepped foundation plinths and the Anglo-Saxon doorway, but across to the building when it was a mausoleum has not been revealed. We went into an atmosphere of mystery, murders and miracles associated with this mausoleum. A large defensive ditch from the Viking occupation has been traced encircling the church and the mound cemetery west of the church. The Prior’s Hall overlooking the Old River Trent is one of the earliest brick buildings, dated 1430, showing. Dutch influence.
In the Vicarage garden the excavation of a large mound has uncovered a major 2-cell building which looks like a Christian foundation. Finds included disarticulated bones of 250 skeletons associated with 10C objects: iron axe, iron sword. Eighth century silver coins were placed over the clay of the collapsed ceiling of the building. Further inhumation burials were dug into the mound. It is not certain yet whether this discovery is associated with the Viking army which ‘drove King Burgred across the sea and conquered all that land.’ When the new vicar arrived this year he must have been startled to find his lawn covered with bones and to be asked would his wife mind if the skulls were dried off in her airing cupboard?
A second excavated mound has revealed a fine Anglo-Saxon carved stone grave cover. Northeast of the church later burials have been cleared and have revealed a stone channel leading into the crypt, possibly suggesting an early use as a baptistery.
The visit to the crypt was for me the most moving experience of the day, it is the earliest complete building in England, and has unusual -‘barley sugar’ pillars. The crypt had been filled with rubbish and unknown for many centuries and there are still unsolved problems about access when it was a mausoleum, as no doorway has been found. A future investigation of the west wall may solve this but there are structural hazards involved.
We were conducted round part of the school and were amazed at the size of the huge piers of the Norman tower. These, which now partly lie under a modern building, compare in size with Southwark Cathedral.
The Prior undercroft is now an attractive museum. One wall incorporates many carved stone fragments, while another has medieval tiles. We visited the library above the undercroft, where documents and manuscripts would have detained some HADAS members all afternoon. The library was once a teaching room and has the old headmaster’s desk and a fine set of 18 stained glass windows, copies of some now in the British Museum showing the adventures of an Anglo-Saxon soldier, Guthlacus, of 697- AD.
Our guides, Mr Kitching and Mr Ash, gave us much information and fascinating stories of various ‘characters,’ including one of a drunken steeplejack who was rescued when tiddly (presumably from his steeple) by his 12-year-old daughter, Bessie. We were indeed grateful to them and to the ladies at the Village Hall who provided an enormous and delicious homemade tea which revived us for our 2-hour journey home. Many thanks to Dorothy Newbury for the excellent arrangements for such a worthwhile visit.
BEHIND THE SCENES AT A ROMAN POTTERY by TESSA SMITH
Early in August two HADAS members set up a further small display in one of the downstairs rooms at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon. We used some more of the finds from the early Brockley Hill digs, and this time our chosen theme was Techniques and Technology in Roman Pottery. Oddly enough, we had to adopt some new techniques and technology for setting up the exhibit, too.
Part of this display centres around the now somewhat fragile model of a Roman kiln, made some years ago by a member of HADAS. It has now to be treated with respect, which means your heart is in your mouth when handling it: but it is still an excellent reproduction in miniature, showing the pedestal and raised floor, the flue and stokehole, the pebble platform surround and the domed top. It’s in section, so you can see inside.
It was decided to fill the kiln with clay miniatures of Brockley Hill ware, flagons, bowls and mortaria. Making these out of modelling clay, in what we christened the Brockley Hill (Miniatures) Pottery, suddenly made quite normal sized fingers seem elephantine. It needed diligent use of fine wooden tools to fix the tiny handles, manipulate the minute flagon rings and stamp the potter’s name on the miniature mortaria. The kiln was then stacked and arranged with the tiny pots, like a doll’s house for archaeologists.
According to excavation reports, charcoal of oak, ash and hazel was found in the flues and stokeholes of some Brockley Hill kilns. Therefore a search was made beforehand to try to find evidence for these trees growing at Brockley Hill today, and sure enough both ash and oak were flourishing on almost the exact sites of kilns of potters such as Melvs and Matvgenvs. Whilst searching the undergrowth, hoping either for stray sherds or at least for twigs of oak and ash, this archaeologist encountered a ditch digger who said, with apparent inside knowledge, that he knew all about the Roman potteries round here. It was a bit eerie. Could he have been the ghost of a potter past? Or had he just read the blue plaque which is now, thanks to the Borough Planning Department, renewed and re-erected after vandalism?
The ditch that this possible phantom potter was clearing measured the entire length of Brockley Hill southwards, but even better it was trenched in parts to a depth of 4 ft. He issued an invitation to help yourself’ to any soil samples needed; and before you could say Sulloniacae one intrepid HADAS member was down in the ditch gazing with questioning eyes at the stratified layers of the section. A clear cut across this bit of Claygate Beds down to the ditch bottom showed top soil, dark and loamy, then a layer of hard clay, below this 6 ins of pebble and under this patches of softer yellow clay. Samples were scooped up avidly.
Later the, natural yellow clay was easily moulded into small and simple bowl-type and cylinder-type forms. These, together with the kiln model, some excavated Brockley Hill ware which had been selected earlier, the clay miniatures and all the other equipment needed for mounting an exhibition were gathered together at the museum. In case you’ve never thought about it, the ‘other equipment’ means rulers, scissors, captions, writing implements, maps, drawings, typewriter and paper, polish and duster, bluetack and assorted sellotapes, lining paper, card, stands, pine of different shapes, hammer and screwdriver: the list is practically endless and the only sure thing about it is that the thing you forget is the vital thing you’ll need.
It was thought somewhat naively by one of the setter-uppers that it would take a couple of hours to do the two display cases. Those of you who normally mount our exhibitions will smile knowingly.
One of the Church Farm House Museum display cases is what is known as ‘a challenge.’ It has an angled display area, the front of which drops away steeply and is almost impossible to reach from behind. (It’s totally -impossible to reach from the front because the glass is fixed).
This was the point at which a small sinuous cat burglar would have come in very handy; instead we had to make do with the top half of a reasonably well-endowed HADAS member, inserted through the aperture of a sliding panel about 8 ins by 12 ins. Groping blindly she sought to affix charts, captions and drawings on the awkward front slope (and of course halfway down that slope was the one place where the unruly oak and ash twigs could be most tastefully arranged). The only guidance, as she could see nothing, was the hissed instructions of her accomplices out in front. Up a bit, right – no, my right, your left! Down a bit that end. Right a bit. That’s it … now Press! If there’d been an aisle, we’d have been rolling in it. As there wasn’t we just had quiet hysterics from time to time.
Final highlight of the exhibit is the fire. Cunningly concealed inside the arched flue of the model kiln is an amazingly lifelike red glow (provided it has been switched on). We do hope it remains safe and secure, or else there could be another firing of Brockley Hill ware, this time at Church Farm House! Anyway, do go along and have a look. Our small HADAS display will be on show until early October at least, in the downstairs room on the left as you go in.
Upstairs at the Museum, from now until October 21, you will find an excellent exhibition under the title ‘From the Slade to the Somme,’ It consists of paintings and drawings by Philip Dadd (1880-1916), nephew of Kate Greenaway and descendant of several other well-known Victorian artists and illustrators. Artistic talent alighted on Philip, too, as this exhibition of his magazine and book illustrations, posters, etc. shows.
SITES TO WATCH
We didn’t have space in the August Newsletter for our usual list of sites to watch, so this month there’s double measure.
The following sites, which might have some archaeological interest, have appeared on recent Borough of Barnet planning application lists. Some have been mentioned before in the Newsletter, so for them this is just a reminder; Applications for a site often appear several times in the lists: at first, perhaps as an ‘outline;’ then, ‘amended’ or ‘with additions;’ and then possibly with ‘details’ which did not need to be itemised at the outline stage, e.g. landscaping, tree-planting, access roads, etc. Those to which we want to draw your attention now are
Grounds of the Norwegian Barn, Edgwarebury Lane, 18m high radio mast & Elstree radio base station
(An amended plan for a development we noted earlier: all this area of Edgwarebury is worth keeping an eye on for signs of Roman occupation; it’s pretty close to Brockley Hill)
16 Grass Park, N3 Side/rear extensions & a new portico
(An amended application originally put forward in 1982. This is near the site of the original Grass, or Grotes, Farm – a moated farmhouse as early as 1315. Demolished in 1923.)
Land fronting The Hyde, Edgware Rd, NV9, NW of the Industrial/warehouse
Silk Bridge building, roads
(An outline application: all sites as near as this to the line of Watling St are worth watching. Same applies to the following site)
Edgware General Hospital, Burnt Oak Broadway 2-storey extension to the Path Lab
Land at Old Fold Manor Golf Club, Old Fold Single-storey Artisans Lane, Hadley club house, parking, access:
(Amended application. Near site of original moated manor of the Frowyke goldsmith family, the moat of which still remains around the 18th green. The manor house existed at and before the time of the Battle of Barnet in 1471)
4 Farrington Cottages, Moon Lane, Maxon St, semi-detached dwelling
(second amended application which- we originally noted earlier this year. Any building in this crowded centre of Barnet is worth observing for possible medieval evidence)
Planning applications for the following sites, noted in previous Newsletters, have now been approved:
Land adjoining 53 Ashley Lane, NW4 3 houses
Land bounded by Springwood Cres, Burrell Cl, 53 houses, access
Knightswood Cl, Edgware roads, etc
Convent of St Mary Hale Lane, Edgware (approved by LBB, still subject to
GLC approval) houses, flats, etc
It has been agreed that the Eleanor Palmer Trust should proceed with detailed plans for the Elizabeth Allen School site in historic Wood Street, Barnet.
‘Should members notice signs of development activity on any of the sites mentioned, please let Christine Arnett (455 2751) know. She and John Enderby have taken over jointly as organisers of our site-watching operations,
Recent planning applications which affect listed buildings include:
Two applications for Holy Trinity Church hall, Church Lane, East Finchley. The church hall is not itself a Listed building, but it stands in close proximity to Holy TrinityChurch, which is listed, and to its quiet surrounding churchyard. The-church was built by Anthony Salvin, Victorian architect and one of East Finchley’s most notable inhabitants, c 1849 of ragstone with freestone dressings. One application, for change of use to a community centre, would not involve demolition of the hall.’ The other would: it is for the erection of 13 2-storey terraced houses, which would certainly affect the setting and amenity of the Church.
There is an unusual application for the barn at Laurel Farm, Totteridge, Green, N20: to take down and refurbish it, and rebuild it to form a dwelling house. Laurel Farm is a Grade II Listed building – a 17c timber-framed house with a later timber-framed rear addition. The 18c barn is also Listed – a 4-bay timber-framed barn with a modern roof. We have mentioned this application to the SPAB (whose current Barn Survey was noted in the August Newsletter) in case it would be of interest to them to watch the re-jigging of an ancient barn to serve a new purpose.
St Mary’s Abbey, The Ridgeway, NW7, has applied to use part of its chapel for the storage and distribution of religious educational material. This is a Grade II building designed by G Goldie c 1888 in red bricks: a cruciform aisleless chapel with a central tower and 3 side chapels.
Approval has been given for various maintenance projects at the Old Forge, Holcombe Hill, NW7: the replacement of a door, repainting of window frames and demolition of a porch and re-erection of a new one. The Old Forge and its attendant cottage form a picturesque 18c group of two 2-storey cottages with a one-storey forge building between.
It was interesting to see that the Town Planning and Research Committee of LBB has asked the Borough Planning Officer to bear in mind a request that the fine frieze on the front of the -Gaumont cinema at Tally-ho should be preserved when the cinema is demolished. We are glad to say that HADAS member KEN VAUSE kindly went out in various lights to photograph the frieze for record purposes some 18 months ago.
House of History: ASHMOLE TO BETJEMAN by Brigid Grafton Green
The current issue of Antiquity carries a lively account of the junketings last year for the tercentenary of the oldest museum in the Country, Oxford’s Ashmolean, which opened to the Public on June 6, 1683, the first institutional museum in Britain so to do, antedating the British Museum by 70 years.’
Anyone who has links with Oxford must have a soft spot for the Ashmolean. It’s the museum on which I cut my infant academic teeth if that’s not too mixed a metaphor.; and much later, when embroiled in the second year of the Diploma in Archaeology – which in those days encompassed, believe it or not, in a single year the vast field of Western Asia, Greece, the Aegean, Anatolia and Egypt – I remember an entrancing week spent among one of the Ashmolean’s great glories: its Minoan material from Arthur Evans’ digs in Crete , particularly its Middle and Late Minoan pottery and seals.
Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) from whom the Ashmolean takes its name, has a tenuous connection with our London Borough of Barnet, though when he lived between Cockfosters and Barnet in the 1630s a system of local authorities like ours wasn’t even a gleam in a governmental eye. Elias was described by a contemporary as ‘the greatest virtuoso and curioso that ever was known or read of in England.’ He had an ‘insatiable curiosity for knowledge’ and great zeal in research; and he was, in 1661, one of the 114 founders of the Royal Society, who agreed ‘to meete together Weekely to consult and debate, conderning the promoting of Experimentall
learning.’ When his diary describes how he cured himself of ague by hanging three spiders around his neck, the gulf which lies between 17C experimentation and science today certainly shows,
In his youth Ashmole was an alchemist, an astrologer and an antiquarian; though as time went on the first two interests gave place to the last. He was born at Lichfield, the son of a saddler, though rather an upmarket saddler, as the boy was educated at Lichfield Grammar School and then joined the London household of one of his mother’s relatives, a baron of the exchequer. It was at the age of 18, while he was in process of becoming a solicitor – an aim he finally achieved in 1641 – that he spent a summer at a house named Mount Pleasant in East Barnet. Frederick Cass, in “East Barnet” quotes the relevant entry from Ashmole’s diary: ‘July 11 1635. Came to live at Mount Pleasant, near Barnet, and stayed there all the summer’ (Diary of Elias Ashmole, pub 1717; it is the main authority for our knowledge of Ashmole),
Elias was a royalist, and was appointed by the King a commissioner of excise in Lichfield; later his employment brought him to Oxford, and he became a student, reading physics and mathematics, at Brasenose
He had married at 21;’ his wife died in childbirth within a few years. ‘In 1647 he married again, this time a well-heeled lady 20 years his senior, thrice widowed and with grown-up sons one of them as old as Elias. It seems to have been 4 cat and dog union, both with the lady and with her disapproving family.
The Restoration brought him honours and preferment. He became Windsor Herald and wrote the standard, and much acclaimed, work on the Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the Order of the Garter. He had become friendly with John Tradescant, a great collector of rare specimens of natural history and ethnography and keeper of the botanic garden at Chelsea; when Tradescant died his ‘museum’ was bequeathed to Ashmole, who decided eventually to offer it, with additions of his own, to Oxford, provided a suitable building could be provided. The Old Ashmolean was completed in 1682, 12 wagons of ‘curiosities’ made their way from London to Oxford, Dr Plot, Professor of Chemistry, was appointed as first curator and in 1683 the Ashmolean Museum opened its doors, primarily at first as a scientific institution. Today art aim archaeology are its highlights.
The house in which Ashmole spent that summer of 1635 remained, though no doubt much altered from time to time, until 1932, when it was demolished to make way for a new estate. It stood on the corner of today’s Freston Gardens and Leys Gardens, at TQ 2805 9577, so, it must virtually have straddled what is now the boundary between the Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield.
The house had several changes of name in its long history. The earliest reference that has been found is dated 1533 (again, it comes from Cass) when it was owned by Robert Rolfe. When Ashmole was staying them a century later it was called Mount Pleasant. In 1639 a Mr Green took it over. His principal claim to fame seems to have been that he married the daughter of the keeper of lions at the Tower. No doubt the lion-keeper, Ralph Gill, visited East Barnet on occasion. In the late 18c the property was owned by William Henry Ashurst.
The house was first called Belmont in 1811, and it was known under that name probably until 1914 It appears on the OS map of 1860 as Belmont, which is the reason that its site can be pinpointed so precisely today. In 1826 it Wes the home of David Bevan and then of his son, Robert Cooper Lee Bevan, who succeeded in 1846, He was a banker and became head of the great banking house that is now Barclays. Later R C L Bevan owned Trent Park, and Belmont was sold to Henry Alexander and then to Mr Hanbury.
In 1914 came the final change of name, when it became Heddon Court prep school for boys – and that is what it remained until it was pulled down before the Belmont estate was built between 1932-34. Now a complex of roads north of Cat Hill recall all the names: Mount Pleasant curves round to join Cockfosters Road; Belmont Avenue, Heddon Road and Heddon Court Avenue are all nearby. About a mile and a half to the south east, in Burleigh Gardens, N14 (again, close to the LBB boundary) is a school called the Ashmole School, It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that this was the site where Ashmole had lived; but the fact which is commemorated by the name of the school is merely his general link with the area.
As Heddon Court the house attracted another notable: John Betjeman, later Poet Laureate, was cricket master there in the 1920s and one of his poems (Cricket Master: an Incident) commemorates the fact. It opens
My undergraduate eyes beholding
As 1 climbed your slope, Cat Hill:
Emerald chestnut fans unfolding,
Symbols of my hope, Cat Hill.
What cared I for past disaster,
Applicant for cricket master,
Nothing much of cricket knowing
Conscious but of money owing?
Somehow I would cope, Cat Hill.
Then the tale is told of how a non-cricketer tries, disastrously, to teach cricket, and the final stanza paints the fate of Cat Hill:
Shops and villas have invaded
Your chestnut quiet there, Cat Hill
Cricket field and pitch degraded,
Nothing did they spare, Cat Hill.
I am thirty summers older
Richer, wickeder and colder,
Fuller too of care, Cat Hill.
Note: grateful thanks to Douglas Austin, East Barnet local historian, for much real information which has been used in this article;’ and thanks, too, to Gillian Gear’s and Diana Goodwin’s booklet, East Barnet Village (pub; 1980), which filled several gaps in the story. See Cass, Frederick, East Barnet (1885-92); and for general
Reference on Elias Ashmolean, see C H Josten’s pamphlet of that name, published by the Ashmolean Museum (1978); and the DNB.
The Newsletter is grateful to HADAS member ANN KAHN for the- following paragraphs from a journal with the horrific title ‘Communication Technology Impact. Archaeology is not a subject which graces CTI pages very often but researchers at the University of Toronto are utilising advanced word processing technology to reveal the secrets of the 5000 year old writings of Mesopotamian scribes. The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, believed to be examples of the world’s first written language, are being tracked down, edited and published with the invaluable help of computers. Dr Kirk Grayson, project leader, explains that the tiny wedge-shaped cuneiform symbols – ‘the most complicated writing system ever invented next to Chinese’ – are translated into the Roman alphabet through the use of five word processors with 256K of memory; and specially formulated Unix software, developed by Bell Laboratories, New York,
The translation project, which hopes to publish twenty volumes by its year 2001 deadline, has received a tremendous boost by the technological breakthrough, for printing of the symbols is made a lot easier by computerised photocomposition. Moreover, with the data in machine-readable form, other researchers worldwide will have access to the Inscriptions. Over 0400,000 per annum is being provided, by the University of Toronto and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, for the non-profit making project; and with the use of computers speeding up translation of ‘all the official inscriptions of all the kings of Assyria, Babylonia and Sumeria over a period of 3000 years,’ the end-product looks likely to make a significant contribution to late 20c archaeological and ancient history research.”
Thank heavens for the variety of HADAS members’ interests and for their keen eye for a good archaeological story!
SAD NEWS FOR THE NEWSLETTER
A few weeks ago we learnt, with great regret, that RENE FRAUCHIGER has decided to move from the Borough of Barnet. Various legal arrangements still have to be completed, so the move may not take place for a little while yet. We are -glad to say too that Rene won’t be going far – only from her present house in Edgware a mile or two north to Radlett, where her daughter and grandchildren live. We hope that HADAS will still be able to keep in touch with her.
She has been one of the most important people in the Society, so far as the Newsletter is concerned, because for years she has housed our duplicator; and since January 1977 she has ‘rolled off’ every Newsletter that members have had – that’s 92 issues, counting this one you are reading. And having rolled them off, she has been in charge too of paging them up, ‘stuffing’ and stamping the envelopes and seeing they all get to post 400-plus every month. When I say the newsletter is going to miss her horribly it’s a masterly understatement.
Although the change is not imminent, this seems the right moment to ask our readers whether any of them feel able to help us cover the work which Rene has done so long and so responsibly.
For instance, is there anyone prepared to take over the ‘rolling off’ job their own house ‑that would mean giving house-room to the Gestetner duplicator (Rene kept it in an empty garage, an ideal place) and being prepared to operate it towards the end of each month? The stuffing, stamping etc. could be done elsewhere, if necessary.
Alternatively, if we can find some central spot where the duplicator could live (e.g. in Hendon) is there a member (or members) either well-versed in the habits of such a beast, or prepared to learn them, who could give a morning or an afternoon (rolling off takes about 2-3 hours) each month to this job? If. we could find more than one person it would be onerous. Volunteers for stuffing and stamping – either on a regular or an occasional basis – would also be most welcome.
Should any of you feel able to help in any of these ways, please give me a ring on 455 9040. –
BRIGID GRAFTON GREEN
MORE AUTUMN CLASSES
One of- the HGS Institute autumn courses which we did not mention in last month 1B round-up of winter classes will be on ‘Modern London and its Transport Systems. That May not sound all that archaeological, but anyone with a leaning to Industrial Archaeology is likely to find it rewarding, -and so will local historians
The lecturer is John .Freeborn, who is hear of Interpretation•& Display at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. HADAS members may recall, the excellent lecture he gave to the Society in October 1980 on the Transport Museum. He assures us that the Institute course (20 lectures, 2 visits) won’t be just dry technology;’ he is particularly interested in the interaction of transport and people and how this has caused the growth of London outwards. Mr. Freeborn lives in the Borough; and transport is the key to local history in Barnet for the last 77 years. The visits he has planned include a special underground railway journey and an inside view of the Transport Museum. Lectures will be on Weds, 7.30-9.30 pm, starting Oct 3. Enrol now at HGS Institute (455 9951)..
Another course that sounds intriguing is on Thursdays from Oct 4 at 6.30 pm at the Museum of London. It is on Clothing and Fashion in London from medieval to modern times, and the lecturer is Kay Staniland. Further Details from the Museum Press Office 600 3699, ext 240/280. Finally, a reminder about two course 7 with which HAMS is particularly involved, and for which we hope many members will enrol:
1. The first year of the Certificate in Archaeology at HGS Institute on the Prehistory of SE England, Thurs 2-4 pm starting Sept 27. Lecturer Tony Legge. Holding this course in the afternoons is experimental: please help to make it a success by joining.
2. At the Old Schoolhouse, 136 Tottenham Lane N8, at the invitation of the Hornsey Historical Society, 4 HADAS lecturers will again take a course in basic archaeology. This is of 12 lectures, starting Oct 1; on Mons from 7.30-9.30 pm. Any HADAS member who feels, a bit shaky about basic chronology will find these lectures helpful; and the speakers plan to cover new ground, so even if you have been to this course before, it will be worthwhile to sign on again.
Margaret Maher will be dealing with Paleolithic subjects; Daphne Lorimer with Mesolithic and Neolithic; Sheila Woodward with the metal ages; and Brigid Grafton Green with the Roman period. Enrolment will be at the Old Schoolhouse on lecture nights, preferably October 1. Any further information can be obtained from Brigid Grafton Green (455.9040).
OTHER FORTHCOMING EVENTS
The Lutyens/Elgar son-et-lumiere celebration at St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, which was postponed from the spring, will now take place on Sept 20, starting 8 pm. It’s one of the London events arranged in connection with the Royal Institute of British Architects 150th anniversary celebrations. Tickets £4.50, obtainable from the New HGS Trust, 862 Finchley Road, NW11 (455 1066).
The Museum of London has some interesting Thursday Workshops lined up this autumn. Workshops are at 1.10 pm in the Education Department, and are ‘led’ by specialist members of the museum staff: main pleasure at most of them lies in being able to handle objects. This is the programme:
Sept 20 Prehistoric Treasure from the Thames
Sept 27 Tudor Knitwear
Oct 4 The Quacks of London
11 Roman London: Model of the Waterfront
18 Roman London: Reconstructing the Forum
25 Roman London: New Finds from Southwark
Nov 1 Film: The London Blitz
8 Roman London: New Finds from the City
15 Feminine Foundations: Lingerie for the Edwardian Lady
22 Christmas Cards
29 Heraldry & Archaeology
Dec 6 Restoration of Charles II
Incidentally, there is a new restaurant at the Museum called the Fountains Restaurant which looks most attractive – especially on a summer day, when there are tables outside overlooking the Rotunda garden with its 18c drinking fountain. Seats for 70 inside, too: snacks, cold drinks, wine. Open Mon-Sat, 10-6.30; Suns 12-6.30.
JOURNALS FOR LOCAL HISTORIANS
Interest in local history has been growing steadily for at least the last decade – witness the increasing numbers who flock to the LAMAS Local History Conference each November, and the founding two years ago of the British Association for Local History.
Perhaps it is a natural economic consequence that we should now get an upsurge in the publications catering for this interest. Apart from the various Family History publications, two new local history journals have seen the light of day this summer, neither of them with very imaginative titles. One is called Exploring Local History, the other just Local History. When you bear in mind that we have for many years had an admirable little quarterly called Local Historian and that the Newsletter of the BALH, hitherto mysteriously called NAB, is about to re-christen itself Local History News, it looks like a confused future for local historian readers.
A comparison of the first issues of the two new magazines is quite illuminating. Exploring Local History (hereafter referred to as Exploring), first issue April 1964, is a monthly, published in Bristol at 75p a copy. You can’t buy single copies, however – it is obtainable only by post at £9.50 for 12 issues.
Local History (hereafter LH), first issue July 1984, is published every 2 months in Nottingham. —You can buy a single copy of that at £1.50, of which 25p is for postage; an annual subscription for 6 issues costs £7.0, incl. postage.
You might expect that the 2-monthly LH, at £1.50, would be larger and longer than the monthly Exploring at 75p but you’d be wrong. LH is 20 pages (including 4 pages of cover) and is quarto size. Exploring is a trifle largerabout A4 and contains 32 pages, including 4 pages of cover.
The only reasons I can deduce for the surprising difference in price one issue of Exploring, with 32 pages, costing half one issue of LH,. With only 20 are that LH carries no commercial advertising and has a few ads- for hotels, travel firms, publishers. Also LH is printed on a heavier, coated paper. This provides it with one advantage: its photos reproduce more clearly. Exploring’s photos are a bit fuzzy and so are some of its line reproductions. The first issue might just as well not have tried to reproduce a 1736 plan of Sheffield, because it is unreadable.
Both magazines declare roundly that their main aims are to provide the amateur historian with a platform for his/her opinions, to publish his/her future articles and to offer a forum for the exchange of his/her ideas.
The content of both first issues seems scrappy and uncoordinated, with Exploring carrying a bit more news and paying a trifle more attention to archaeology than LH. Neither, however really seems to come off. However, it may be unfair to judge on a first issue, which probably went to press in fairly fraught circumstances: perhaps we should reserve judgment until we have seen how later issues shape up.
Any member who is interested in becoming a subscriber to either of these magazines can find out further details from Brigid Grafton Green.
MOVE TO MATLOCK
The British Association for Local History, to which HADAS is affiliated, has now moved out of London. Its new address is Manager’s House, Cromford Mill, Cromford, Nr Matlock, Derbyshire.
BALH has become a tenant of the Arkwright Society, and shares part of the buildings which that Society acquired in 1979. Both the buildings, and the site on which they stand, have a considerable interest for industrial archaeologists, for it was here that, from 1771 onwards, Richard Arkwright built up his business, creating in Cromford. the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill – the ‘cradle of the industrial revolution.’