Volume 9: 2010 – 2014


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Number 515                           February 2014                 Edited by Andy Simpson 


Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8 pm, with coffee/tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members: £1. Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central station (Northern Line), is a 5-10 minute walk away.


Tuesday 11th February 2014

Ian Blair – Senior Archaeologist (MOLA) Anglo-Saxon finds at Southend.

This covers the investigations at Prittlewell near Southend. An Anglo-Saxon burial was discovered along with a large collection of ornate grave goods.  This led the experts to believe they were dealing with a 7th century prince.


Tuesday 11th March 2014

David Thorold – Curator, Prehistory to Medieval. Verulamium Museum; The Sandridge Coin Hoard


Tuesday 8th April 2014

Brian James-Strong, River Lea Tidal Mill Trust; Restoring House Mill (working title)


Tuesday 13th May 2014

Malcolm Stokes (HADAS member); The bishop’s hunting park in Highgate


Tuesday 10th June 2014



Tuesday 14th October 2014

Dr Nick Ashton – British Museum; Finding Neanderthal tools in Norfolk cliffs


Tuesday 11th November 2014



Jo Nelhams adds; Long outing to Kent, 29 June to 3 July; we need your support to swell the numbers booked to make sure the trip is viable!


Sunday Mornings at Avenue House… 

Continue in the usual vein for post-excavation work. Our three ‘master sets’ of HADAS Newsletters have been checked over and gaps filled, duplicate books and journals weeded out – as those of you attending the monthly lectures will have noticed – and cleaning and recording of the remarkably varied finds from the 2013 Avenue House greenhouse/water tower excavations are ongoing.


Buxton day 4 – the grand tour         Jim Nelhams


One of the objectives we have when planning our trips is to minimize the time spent on the coach. Although the countryside in the Peak District is delightful, we wanted to see as much as we could. This day was a challenge, with a number of visits planned and booked. At Eyam and Bakewell, there were small museums, so our numbers dictated splitting the group and “swapping over”. We also hoped to stop at Arbor Low stone circle on the way back to the hotel – which we managed, though with the weather closing in. But let our correspondents take up the story.


The Cathedral of the Peak   Micky Watkins


St John the Baptist at Tideswell is known as the Cathedral of the Peak because it is surprisingly large for a parish church. The church dates from the 14th century and is in the Gothic style, except for the chancel and tower which were built after the Black Death, at the end of the 14th century, and are in the Perpendicular style.

The woodwork is a most delightful feature of the church This is one of the few churches which has an original wooden screen, and even a screen door which is beautifully carved. On the organ case there are carvings of birds, leaves and plants and all sorts of animals. On the choir stalls there are carvings of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and Visiting the Sick, all about ten inches high. There are further carvings on the pew ends. This beautiful work was done by in the early 20th century by Advent Hunstone, a local carver.

There was an earlier church on this site, and the font which appears to be Norman must have been in that church. In the Lady Chapel there is a very old window and a curious tomb with two female stone figures which date from before 1300.


In the De Bower chapel there is a stone monument of a knight and his lady, probably Sir Thurstan de Bower and Lady Margaret. A large tomb in the centre of the chancel is that of Sir Sampson Meverill, a famous knight and soldier who fought Joan of Arc and died in 1462. There are several brasses, one to Bishop Purseglove who was born in Tideswell and became Bishop of Hull.  He was an agent of Thomas Cromwell and was involved in the dissolution of the monasteries, becoming rich in the process.


This medieval church was sensitively restored in 1875, and a fine Jesse window was made in the east window behind the altar. In 1907 the vicar paid for a new and very colourful west window. The 19th and 20th century craftsmanship has added to the glory of this big church.


“Ring a Ring of Roses”        Kevin McSharry


Eyam (pronounced ‘eem’) is a small village in the heart of the Dales of Derbyshire. Picturesque?  Oldy worldy?   Yes, to a degree, but probably no more so than many a neighbouring village or hamlet.  Yet Eyam is a name with which to conjure; a name that has resonated down the years; and a name that drew the HADAS intrepid explorers on the third day of the 2013 visit to Buxton.


Eyam made its stamp on history and entered into National and International Chronicles during the fateful thirteen months from September 1665 to October 1666 – the fifth and sixth years of the restored Stuart monarchy, in the person of Charles II.  Years better remembered in the school history books for the Great Plague and Great Fire of London.


The Great Plague was the fatal portal by which Eyam entered into the history books.  The Great Plague, The Black Death, Bubonic Plague by whatever name one wishes to call it meant a painful death for the individual and for the population, as a whole, decimation.


The Plague came to Eyam from London on a wagon carrying a bolt of cloth which was delivered to George Viccars, the village tailor.  The cloth was flea infested.  It was the flea from the Black Rat (Rattus rattus) which carried the Bubonic Plague.  George, the tailor, was the first to be infected.  Within two days he was struck down by a raging fever, swellings (buboes) on his body followed by a rose-red rash and finally death.  Hence,

“Ring a ring of roses

A pocket full of posies

Atishoo, atishoo

We all fall down.”

In this simple children’s rhyme, a grim legacy of the plague, the complexities of the plague, its symptoms, how it is spread (a red rash, sneezing), its possible prevention (a nosegay of posies) and its inevitable outcome death (we all fall down) are succinctly summed up.


The plague spread rapidly; and, at this point in the story of Eyam two names figure prominently: the Reverend William Mompesson, village Rector, and the Reverend Thomas Stanley, Mompesson’s immediate predecessor.  Under their strong leadership, putting aside their deep doctrinal differences, they persuaded the villagers to enter voluntary quarantine to prevent the plague spreading to neighbouring settlements; to bury their own dead; and to worship in the open air, in the Delph, to limit the spread of the disease.  This self-imposed quarantine, this self-sacrifice prevented the spread of the Plague, it saved lives.  One hears echoes of the Evangelist John:

“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.


The cost of this self-sacrifice by the villagers of Eyam, was a high one. Painful death after painful death resulting in 260 mortalities, probably a third of the population of Eyam. Some families were wiped out. Some left but a sole survivor such as Elizabeth Hancock who buried her husband and six children in just eight days. Each body Elizabeth dragged or carried from her home, dug the grave and filled it herself


The call to sacrifice came from the clergymen, Mompesson and Stanley, but the response was a communal one – hesitant perhaps but nonetheless a resounding yes!  The self-sacrifice of the good people of Eyam was not typical of the rest of society:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music he hears, however measured and far away.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862).


Today’s Community of Eyam, the spiritual heirs of the Eyam Community of three and a half centuries ago, have ensured that the heroism and self-sacrifice are remembered, that they are not forgotten.  Their sacrifice is kept ever-green through its excellent Museum, its craft centre, which served a welcomed cup of tea, well-maintained Parish Church of St. Lawrence, excellent signage to dwellings and graves of those who lived and perished in the Plague, the provision of car-parking and public toilets; an annual service of Thanksgiving, held at the open-air Delph, their place of worship during the plague, on the last Sunday of August.


The poet Wilfred Scawen Blunt said that there was:

“No truce with Time nor Time’s accomplice Death.”


The weathervane on the top of Eyam Museum.


There is no truce with death but Eyam seems to have gained a kind truce with time, because the name of Eyam and the place of Eyam, in history, has not faded.  Why is Eyam remembered?  Why does its name endure?  The answer lies in the eternal verities of love of neighbour and self-sacrifice so poignantly manifested by the good people of Eyam centuries ago.  Surely humanity at its best.


Monsal Head  Jim Nelhams

Having left Eyam on our way to Bakewell, time for a brief coffee (or something stronger) stop at The Monsal Head hotel. The hotel is situated at the top of Monsal Dale, giving a splendid view over the dale, and of the famous railway viaduct built by the Midland Railway in 1867, and the River Wye meandering below. Was that Andy disappearing into the distance? (It was!!  With great views from the viaduct, adjacent tunnel, and station remains a short walk away -Ed)


Bakewell         Dot Ravenswood


The church of All Saints stands on a steep hill overlooking the town. It may have been founded as early as the 680s, and a church building was almost certainly there by 800. The two crosses in the churchyard, not on their original sites, date from the early 9th century. The fenced-in cross on the west side is particularly well preserved, having its original socket stone and part of its head.



The west front and part of the north and south arcades of the nave are 12th-century work. The main part of the church was rebuilt in the mid-19th century, when an amazing number of Anglo-Saxon and Early English stones was discovered beneath the north and south transepts and the crossing, including decorated cross shafts, grave slabs and standing stones.

Many of the grave slabs had symbols inscribed on them, a chalice or sheep shears or a sword, to indicate the occupation of the deceased.


Some of these stones, piled up and cemented together, line the south porch and the northwest arch. What they are doing at Bakewell is a mystery. One theory, based on recent research sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is that they may relate to Edward the Elder’s reconquest of the northern lands held by the Danes, which was affirmed at a meeting at Bakewell in or about 920. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Edward built a fort at Bakewell in that year, and the northern tribes assembled there to acknowledge his authority.


At the top of the south aisle there is an unusual alabaster wall monument commemorating Sir Godfrey Foljambe (d. 1376), and his wife Avena (d. 1382). Their small, waist-length figures are in a recumbent attitude, with hands closed in prayer, but set upright inside a window-like frame. On the right is the “Newark,” an extension of the south transept, so called because it was “new work” in the mid-13th century. It was rebuilt in 1841-52. The screened-off area was a mortuary chapel for the Manners and Vernon families, whose tombs include a spectacular wall monument to Sir George Manners (d. 1623), with two tiers of kneeling children and arches inscribed with verses from the Bible; the alabaster tomb of Sir George Vernon (d. 1567), and his two wives, with effigies; and a wall monument to Sir John Manners (d. 1611), and his wife Dorothy (d. 1584).


It was a surprise to see that the church contains work by several distinguished modern artists and architects. The stained-glass window of the Adoration of the Lamb was designed by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Henry Holiday, and the striking black and gold altar in the north transept is by Ninian Comper. The chancel was redesigned by Gilbert Scott the Younger about 1880.

The Old House Museum, behind the church and further up the hill, occupies a building which was described as “a competant dwelling house” in 1534, when it was leased to the tax collector Ralph Gell of Hopton by the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield. In 1777 Sir Richard Arkwright leased it from the Gell family and converted it into six homes for mill-workers. The house was saved from demolition in 1935 by the Bakewell and District Historical Society, who run it as a local history museum, with displays of costumes, lace, toys and tools, and Tudor and Victorian room settings.

Much altered and extended, the building is roughly H-shaped, with a two-storey porch and mullioned windows. It has oak beams and floorboards, a two-storey timber partition with some original wattle and daub infill, a garderobe, and big ashlar fireplaces on both floors. The ground-floor fireplace is flanked by the original stair turret (occupied by a modern staircase).

(Note – Emma Robinson has conducted further research on the cross and stones at Bakewell – to be included next month.)

Arbor Low Stone Circle       Jean Lamont



Our visit to Arbor Low was the last we made – at the end of our “3 churches and a Plague” day, before setting off home on Thursday. A gentle ½ mile climb along a farm track brought us to the site 1,230 feet above sea level. We could immediately see why it had been chosen by the Neolithic builders, because of the nearly-360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.


The site is thought to date from the 3rd millennium BC and to have been developed in at least 3 stages: first a long barrow on the adjacent Gib Hill, then in the late Neolithic an elliptical henge (a 2m high bank with a 7-12 m wide ditch inside) broken by two opposing entrances in the NW and SE. The diameter of the bank is around 90m to 85m externally. Finally a ring of stones was erected on the inner platform: these vary in size around 1.5 – 2m tall, with monoliths 2.6m and 2.9m tall at the entrances. A small group of 7 stones was placed in the centre of the ring. Allowing for broken stones it is estimated that there were originally between 41 and 43 standing stones. The site would have been very impressive, but all the stones have now been flattened, possibly, at the suggestion of English Heritage, for superstitious reasons.


Buxton Museum has a display of artefacts found at or near the site including a skull, discoidal flint knives, flint knives and scrapers, a stone “mace head” and stone axe and some delicate flint arrowheads, all dating from the period 3,200 – 1,400 BC.


Unfortunately the rain which had held off until we reached the site started to come down in a chilly wind, and this discouraged us from exploring and experiencing the site as we would have liked, so we made a hasty retreat to the coach.


As always, prehistoric monuments like Arbor Low raise many questions: what ceremonies took place there? What beliefs did the communities who built it hold, so strong that generation after generation continued their work? It is frustrating that we shall never know.




Site of Cricklewood Locomotive Shed evaluation                                               Bill Bass


During November 2013, Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA) undertook an evaluation dig at this site before a planned housing development is built. The site is bordered by the Edgware Road and the Midland Main Line at the end of what is now Geron Way, south of Staples Corner.


Edgware Road is well known as being the line of Watling Street Roman Road. The steam shed buildings were closed in 1967 and mostly demolished c1969. Eventually a thick concrete raft was laid over the entire site with latterly ‘Parcelforce’ using it as a depot.


A series of large trenches were opened up through the concrete, much of this revealed that most archaeology had been truncated away by various demolition and levelling works. However, the remains of concrete foundations, cast-iron drains and what could be the bottom levels of brick lined ‘inspection pits’ of the loco shed were seen. Inspection pits were used to gain access to the underneath of locos for servicing. At Cricklewood there was a brick built double-roundhouse with a turntable for each, these ‘inspection pits’ may be the ones surrounding the turntables. The above features were directly built into solid London Clay.


Many thanks to MoLA Site Manager Paul Thrale and Project Manager Michael Smith, and also Sandy Kidd of EH for their time.




Some recent Roman finds in Kingsbury        by Philip Grant (Wembley History Society)


Back in its early days, in 1953, Wembley History Society campaigned to try to save what was thought to be a Tudor farmhouse at Blackbird Hill in Kingsbury from being demolished. Although there was talk of an archaeological dig, no record appears in the Society’s early Journals to show that any such work was done. Blackbird Farm was demolished around 1955, and “The Blackbirds” public house opened on its site a couple of years later.

A sketch of Blackbird Farm in January 1927,
by local amateur artist, L. Hill. [Source: Brent Archives – Wembley History Society Collection]

Scroll forward to 2010, and the pub had closed like many others, despite an attempt to revive it as the Irish-themed “Blarney Stone”. Developers put in a planning application to build a five-storey block of flats, with an underground car park and retail unit on the ground floor, on the site. Luckily, the location had been identified as one with archaeological potential in a document drawn up in the 1980’s by Brent’s then Planning Conservation Officer, Geoffrey Hewlett, a Wembley History Society member and now a well-known local history author. The Society, backed by Brent Museum, supported the Planning Officer’s recommendation that there should be a condition in the planning consent for a proper archaeological assessment of the site, and this was agreed by the Planning Committee, including a requirement that both the Museum and the Society should be consulted about the archaeology work.


The desk-based archaeology assessment for the site suggested that, although there was a good prospect of finding post-medieval material, the chances of finding anything earlier were low. The information that we provided was that there could well be earlier material, based on the possibility that what is now Blackbird Hill was part of a pre-Roman trackway from a Thames crossing near Westminster up into Hertfordshire (known as Eldestrete, or the old street, in Saxon times), and that the Roman tiles and other domestic material included in the rubble walls of the nearby St Andrew’s Old Church (which dates from around AD1100) may have come from a local building.


A photo taken during our visit on 18 September, with cabins in the background.

In the Summer of 2013, we learned that building work on the site was about to begin, and that Archaeology South-East (“ASE” – the commercial arm of University College London’s archaeology department) would be carrying out the excavations.  Preliminary work by ASE had involved three trial trenches at various locations around the pub building, which established that the only area worth full excavation was at the lower end of the site alongside Old Church Lane. This agreed our own ideas, based on the 1950’s building plans. Because the contractors were already on site, excavating for the underground car park, ASE could not allow public access to their “dig”, but did allow a group from Wembley History Society to visit on 18 September 2013, in hard hats and high-visibility jackets and under close supervision.


One of the brick pads

Among the first excavated remains we were shown were the brick pads which would have supported the wooden frame of the square timber building (seen in the sketch on page 7) at the corner of the site. This was probably a store for grain or a similar crop, which needed to be raised off of the ground to protect it from damp and rats, and the bricks were thought to be 18th century. A range of buildings with brick foundations had been uncovered, with a wall which the site manager thought probably dated from the 18th or late 17th century butting on to another which could be 16th century, but which had then been used as the base for 19th century brickwork. These finds tend to confirm continuous occupation of the site from Tudor times, when a freehold smallholding called “Findens” is shown here on the 1597 Hovenden map produced for All Souls’ College, with a succession of barns or other ancillary farm buildings.


Close-up of a pit showing the different brick wall and floor details

Among the “finds” we were shown at the end of our visit, mainly pieces of pottery dating from between around 1600 and 1800, the most interesting was a shard from an Iron Age pot, one of four that had been unearthed at the site.


A shard of black Iron Age ware found at the site.


We were told that such finds are quite common on “digs” in the London area, but although there was no evidence linking them with Iron Age activity at the site, their presence must surely lend some support to the belief that Blackbird Hill may have been on the route of a pre-Roman trackway.


Although our visit was towards the end of the scheduled two-week excavation, it was only several weeks later that I heard news of the exciting final discoveries at the site. There were several cabins at the north-east corner of the “dig”, and while excavating close to these, the archaeologists saw signs that there might be interesting features underneath the cabins, so they arranged to have them moved. When they returned, clearance down from the surface level indicated several areas where trenches were needed to investigate further. Two trenches revealed a clearly defined ditch, which from its shape and other evidence leads the archaeologists to believe that it probably dates from the Roman period.


View of part of the last area excavated, previously under the cabins.
[This and subsequent photographs all courtesy of Archaeology South-East]


The second feature uncovered was a shallow pit.

The ASE Project Manager, Andy Leonard, explained that although this pit ‘admittedly does not look very impressive’, the “rubbish” thrown into it (almost certainly by the occupants of the ditched area) was of great interest to the archaeology team. It included some pieces of what were initially thought by the archaeologists to be Samian ware pottery. After cleaning up, and following close examination by ASE’s Roman pottery expert, Anna Doherty, it has now been identified as some sherds of Oxfordshire red-slipped ware, a Romano-British pottery type which is later in date than genuine imported Gaulish Samian ware but which is of a similar stylistic tradition. It probably dates from the 3rd or 4th  century, and is definitely from the Roman period.       

Some of the Oxfordshire red-slipped ware pottery found on the site.

We will have to wait until the post-excavation work has been carried out by specialists, and the final report on the excavation has been approved, but what appears to have been found here is the first “in situ” evidence that there were people actually living in Kingsbury, on a permanent basis, in the early centuries of the first millennium. This takes Kingsbury’s known history back by at least 500 years from the Saxon origins of the parish and its name.

It is interesting to note that Blackbird Farm stood on top of a low hill, with gravel deposits covering the underlying London Clay. About one kilometre due east, on the other side of the River Brent valley, archaeologists from the Museum of London uncovered evidence of another Roman period farm on a similar gravel-covered hill top at Brook Road, Dollis Hill, in 2000. Their “finds” also included red-slipped ware from the 3rd or 4th centuries. In the 21st century it is beginning to appear that this side of Brent, between the Watling Street Roman road and the earlier Eldestrete trackway, may have been part of an agricultural area serving Londinium around 1,700 years ago.

If you would like to know more about the history of Blackbird Farm, Kingsbury, before these latest archaeological discoveries, you can read an article about it in the online local history resources collection on the Brent Archives website:,%20Kingsbury.pdf



Illustrated Talks at Guildhall Library (Aldermanbury, London EC2) by Robert Stephenson (a CoLAS stalwart known to several HADAS members)

Free- but please book a place with Eventbrite


Friday 26 February 2014 2pm – 3pm The Knights Templar and their London Connections – an overview of their London properties and sites connected with their brutal suppression.



Lecture by Robert Hulse, Director of the Brunel Museum         Sylvia Javes


The society’s lecture on Tuesday 8th October was given by Robert Hulse, Director of the Brunel Museum. The museum beside the Thames at Rotherhithe is on the site of the shaft of the Thames Tunnel. When it first opened in 1843 the Thames Tunnel was described as the Eighth Wonder of the World: the first tunnel to be built with a tunnelling shield under a navigable river.


The tunnel was proposed in 1824 by Marc Brunel, a French engineer who had fled France in 1793. The Thames was extremely congested, and it was difficult to take boats across the river. A tunnel would allow horses and carts to cross with goods. Money was raised, and work began in 1825, with the building of a 50ft wide brick tower at Rotherhithe.  The tower sank into the clay under its own weight as it was excavated, creating a 50ft wide lined shaft.


To excavate the tunnel, Marc Brunel had devised a frame, or shield, in which there were 36 miners’ cells. Each miner excavated his own cell. As the cells were excavated, the frame was jacked forwards, and bricklayers lined the walls behind. A mechanised version of this system is used in tunnelling today. Working conditions were extremely difficult. Miners were continually showered with foul Thames water, and many suffered from infections. Oil lamps lit the workings, and marsh gas caused sudden flares. Men could only work in these conditions for two hours at a time.


In 1827 there was a flood, but no lives were lost, and Marc’s son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel repaired the breach.  Money ran out, but a fund-raising banquet was held in the tunnel, attended by the Duke of Wellington and the Band of the Coldstream Guards. Work restarted, but another inundation occurred in 1828 killing six men, and almost killing Isambard, who was swept along the tunnel to the shaft. He was seriously injured and sent to Clifton (Bristol) to convalesce. Although immediate repairs saved further damage, money had run out, the tunnel was bricked up, and work stopped for several years, until finally in 1834 the government loaned money to restart work. It took another nine years of difficult excavation and building before the tunnel finally opened – as a foot tunnel only, as money could not be found to build ramps for horses.


On opening day 50,000 people walked through the tunnel paying one penny each. Soon there were souvenir shops in all 60 of the archways, but the tunnel attracted thieves, preying on the crowds.  Shops closed as visitors decreased. Despite various carnivals and fairs, the tunnel eventually fell out of favour and it was finally sold to the East London Railway in 1865, and in 1869 incorporated into the East London Line eventually to become part of the London Overground  The Grand Entrance – the original shaft – still remains, and the Brunel Museum is planning to restore and use it as a space for concerts and other events. The museum opens daily and there are occasional tunnel walks arranged through the museum.


Gresham College lectures – a prompt from Guy Taylor…


Wednesday 12 March, 6pm at the Museum of London – Simon Thurley: ‘War Halls: Royal Houses from the Saxons to the Hundred Years War.’

Wednesday 16 April, 6pm at the Museum of London – Nicholas Flemming (Southampton University) ‘Humanity and a Million Years of Sea Level Change.’

Wednesday 23 April, 6pm at the Museum of London – Simon Thurley: ‘Playing Catch-up: Palaces from the Hundred Years War to the Wars of the Roses.’

Tuesday 6 May, 1pm at the Museum of London – Gustav Milne: ‘The Gresham Ship: An Armed Elizabethan Merchantman.’     Further details at



OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS                                 compiled by Eric Morgan


Friday 14 February 8pm   Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, 2, Parsonage Lane Junction, Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ ‘By the Waters of Nineveh’; The Archaeology of Iraqi Kurdistan. Talk by Ian Jones Visitors £1.


Friday 21st February, 7.30pm Wembley History Society English Martyrs Hall, Chalkhill Road (top of Blackbird Hill adjacent to church)  Wembley HA9 9EW. Wembley’s Nigerian Village, 1924. Talk by Philip Grant (Brent Archives) Visitors £2.


Thursday 27 February 2.30pm Finchley Society Drawing room, Avenue House, East End Rd

N3 3QE.   Ally Pally Prison Camp.  Talk by Dr. Maggi Butt, Visitors £2.


Sunday 2 March, 10.30am – 12.30 approx. Heath and Hampstead Society  Meet between Old Kitchen Garden and Entrance to English Heritage Staff Yard, East of Kenwood House. The Hidden Heath. Walk by Michael Hammerson (HADAS Member) Cost £3.


Wednesday 5 March, 8pm. Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St, Wealdstone. Three Women of Pinner Talk by Pat Clarke (Pinner L.H.S and LAMAS) Visitors £1.


Thursday 6 March, 8pm   Pinner Local History Society  Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park. Pinner Research Group Presentation: Various Speakers. Visitors £2.


Monday 10 March, 3pm Barnet Museum & Local History Society Church House, Wood St, Barnet ((opposite Museum). Maria Merian, an early C17th Scientist and Artist.  Talk by Helen Walton.


Wednesday 12 March 2.30pm Mill Hill Historical Society Trinity Church, The Broadway, NW7. Pugin; The Architect of the Palace of Westminster. Talk by Malka Baker. Preceded by A.G.M.


Wednesday 12 March 7.45pm  Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, Corner Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park, N8 9PX.  She Dared to be a Doctor; The story of Elizabeth Garett Anderson.  Talk by Eileen Rowlands. Visitors £2.


Friday 14 March, 8pm  Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, 2, Parsonage Lane, Enfield EN2 0AJ.  Remarkable Pots & Extraordinary Vases – Some unusual byways of Archaeological Ceramics.  Jacqui Pearce (HADAS course tutor) Visitors £1; refreshments, sales and info from 7.30pm.


Wednesday 19th March, 7.30pm Willesden Local History Society St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane NW10 2TS (nr. Magistrates Court).  The Beauty of Gothic Architecture in Willesden.

Talk by Julienne McClean.


Wednesday 19 March, 8pm Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St, Wealdstone.  History Book evening Visitors £1.


Thursday 20 March, 7.30pm Camden History Society Joint with Friends of Highgate Cemetery 10A, South Grove, N6 (Highgate Village).  Who Lies in Highgate Cemetery?  Talk by writers involved in new guide. Please Note; The venue for their talk of 20 Feb is Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 – details in January HADAS newsletter. Visitors £1.



Thursday 20 March, 8.15pm Hampstead Scientific Society Crypt Room, St John’s Church, Church Row, NW3.  The Star-crossed Stone – the archaeology, mythology and folklore of fossil sea urchins.  Talk by Dr Ken McNamara. Part of Science Week. Refreshments at interval.


Friday 21 March, 7pm CoLAS  St Olaves’ Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7NB.  Roman coins – a window on the past. Talk by Ian Franklin, visitors £2.


Friday 21 March, 7.30pm Wembley History Society  English Martyr’s Hall, Chalk Hill Road, Wembley HA9 9EW. The Life and Legacy of George Peabody. Talk by Christine Wagg. Visitors £2. Refreshments available.


Saturday 22 March 11am–5.30pm L.A.M.A.S Archaeological Conference Weston Theatre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN.. Morning session 11–1;  Recent Work Afternoon session 2-5.30:  Entertainment in Tudor and Stuart London (including all those Southwark theatres and bear baiting venues – Ed)


Tuesday 25 March, 1pm Gresham College Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, EC1N 2HH. The Museum and Historical Collections of the Bank of England. Talk by Jennifer Adam. Free admission.


Wednesday 26 March, 7.45pm  Friern Barnet & District Local History Society North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. The Turin Shroud.  Talk by Colin Barrett.  Visitors £2. Refreshments before and after meeting.


Thursday 27 March, 8pm  Finchley Society Drawing Room, Avenue House East End Road, N3 3QE.  Discussion – please see March/April newsletter for further details. Visitors £2.

Newsletter-525-December-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

By | Past Newsletters, Volume 9: 2010 - 2014 | No Comments

No. 525 December 2014 Edited by Don Cooper

May I on behalf of the HADAS community wish you and yours a very happy holiday and a healthy, prosperous and happy 2015. Happy Christmas, Editor
Sunday 7th December, 12 noon – 4.30 pm (approx.) HADAS Christmas Party. Buffet lunch.

Tuesday 13th January, 8pm. Late Roman Fortifications in Northern France and their Social Implications. Lecture by James Bromwich.

All the above events, unless otherwise stated, will be held at Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, starting at 8pm, with tea/coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members are welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 and 460 pass nearby.

Finchley Central Station (Northern Line) is a short walk away.

Summer Outing Reminder

A reminder that the closing date for bookings and payment of the deposit of £100 is 15th December. We have sufficient people for the trip to go ahead, but it would be nice to have a few more.

At this time, we have booked all the rooms in the hotel, but we need to confirm by the end of December how many we actually require.

“A Hamlet in Hendon” by Don Cooper

This latest HADAS book is the excavation report and story of a dig by HADAS in 1973/74 at Church Terrace Hendon. The book is free to members, so that if you haven’t collected your copy you can do so at The Christmas party.

Including postage and packing the book costs about £5 per copy to post. If you can’t collect your copy at the Christmas party, please tell us by email or letter if you want us to post it to you.

Stepping into Britain: The early Human Occupation of Northern Europe

by Roger Chapman

When did the first humans arrive in Britain? Where did they come from? And what did they look like? These were the questions addressed by Dr. Nick Ashton a curator at the British Museum specializing in Lower and Middle Palaeolithic archaeology at the October 2014 HADAS lecture.

Nick drew on the work of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project of which he is the Deputy Director. The project began in 2001 involving a collaboration of scientists from many disciplines. Until this project the evidence pointed to the first human habitation of Britain occurring some 500,000 years ago. This new project based on finds mainly from the eroding Norfolk and Suffolk coastline, pushes that timeline back to near one million years ago for the first humans roaming Britain. Evidence from the presence of simple stone tool technologies for humans in southern Europe can be found from 1.5 million years ago. Fragmentary human fossils dating to just over one million years old have been found in southern Spain at Orce and Atapuerca – these have been assigned to the species Homo antecessor, or ‘Pioneer man’.

So what is the evidence for the first humans in Britain?

Eroding cliffs on the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk have exposed thousands of fossils of mammals such as mammoth, rhino and hippo. The bones have been recovered by fossil collectors over the past 250 years from the black muds, sands and gravels of the Cromer Forest-bed. The AHOB project in excavations at Pakefield in Suffolk and Happisburgh in Norfolk continued to make such finds but also discovered flint tools that chart the presence of early humans over 800,000 years ago, making it the earliest evidence for people in northern Europe.

What was the climate like at this time?

There are a number of techniques for understanding environmental conditions in the pre-historic past. The changing ratio of two oxygen isotopes – one accumulating in ice, the other in water evaporating from the oceans – shows a saw tooth pattern through time with sequential cold and warm climatic phases; glacial and inter glacial periods. Biostratigraphy focuses on correlating and assigning relative ages of rock strata by using the fossil assemblages contained within them. The study of animal and plant remains gives a good indication of the temperature ranges at the time. Drawing on this evidence and others Nick suggested that the Pakefield finds of 700,000 years ago occurred in a noticeably warmer climate than today – or ‘Costa del Cromer’ Mediterranean type conditions. Happisburgh conditions, over 800,000 years ago were more akin to those of southern Scandinavia.

Footprints in the mud

In May 2013 following a storm a large area of exposed mud was found on the beach at Happisburgh. On the beach that day was Dr. Martin Bates who had undertaken work on human footprints at Borth near Aberystwyth in Wales. He recognised that the impressions in the mud were human footprints – at over 800,000 years old they are the oldest footprints in the world found outside Africa.

How were early humans in Britain adapted to the changing climate?

There is still much debate on this topic. Dr. Nick Ashton suggests that in the period over 500,000 years ago human occupation of Britain was sporadic, based around scavenging with humans having functional body hair for warmth, no clothing, no fires and no shelters. By contrast in the period after 500,000 years ago occupation was sustained, with hunting, clothing, shelters and use of fires evident.

The AHOB project has considerably increased our knowledge of the human occupation of Britain. There is scope for much further study of the pre glacial deposits along the Norfolk and Suffolk coasts which could reveal much more. Attention is also moving to offshore sites in Norfolk which diving teams will explore over the next few years – perhaps opening a new chapter in the story of humans in Britain.

Jack Newbury: An Appreciation By Mary Rawitzer

Last month we were sad to report the death of Jack Newbury just one day before his 95th birthday. A number of HADAS members were among the many mourners at his funeral on November 5th. Jack’s importance within HADAS was not just as the printer of our Newsletter for so many years, but as a constant supporter of the outings and events organized by his wife, Dorothy, almost since the time she joined HADAS in mid-1972 (along with their children, Marion and Christopher, in HADAS’s “Under-18” category ).

Jack was born in Bloomsbury on October 19th 1919 into a family of printers, but his connections with what is now Barnet were strong: in the early ‘30s the family moved, as one of the first householders, to John Laing’s new Golders Green Estate. Having served a proper (paid for!) apprenticeship at the Dispatch Press in Cricklewood, publishers of the Golders Green Gazette, he worked as a qualified journeyman printer until being called up in 1941. Before he was sent overseas he and Dorothy married in 1942 (their 70th wedding anniversary celebrations in 2012 included congratulations from the Queen). Demobbed in 1947, Jack set up as an independent printer in Cricklewood. Next his Hillary Press moved to a small factory/stable in West Hendon, then finally they purchased the printing works of the Hendon Times in Church Rd, now a repository of a marvellous collection of old printing machines as well as more up-to-date equipment.

Jack was a very active member of Rotary and his knowledge – and singing – of old music hall songs was legendary. He could appear brusque and acerbic, but in fact was always incredibly helpful to HADAS and to many, many people. His delightful booklet, “The Life & Times of J.V.Newbury. Esquire”, up-dated this year, was given out at the funeral and those who weren’t there can get a copy from Christopher Newbury at Hillary Press, telephone 020 8203 4508.

Some people have asked about donations in Jack’s memory: these can be made on-line at:

Ann Trewick – who died recently by Sheila Woodward

The year after I joined HADAS (1974) I experienced one of its Long Weekends: a three day trip to Hadrian’s Wall. We were based at Twice Brewed and I shared with Ann Trewick. I soon discovered that Ann was an enthusiastic and regular digger who had taken part in several HADAS excavations. She was always essentially a hands-on archaeologist: active, energetic, and practical. Even after she moved her home to Felixstowe she maintained her contact with us and would invariably meet us when we visited sites in that area. The great excavations at Sutton Hoo kept her busy and gave her enormous pleasure. We took a HADAS group there on at least three occasions.

Ann and I continued to exchange “new reviews” each Christmas. I shall certainly miss her.

Editor’s note: Ann was elected on to the HADAS Committee at the AGM held in May 1972 and remained on for many years.

Exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery by Jim Nelhams

After visiting Tower Hill to view the poppies, Jo and I made our way to the Guildhall and visited the Art Gallery situated on the east side of the courtyard area.

Our reason was to look at an Exhibition about Tower Bridge, which is celebrating 120 years since its “opening” in 1894. What an interesting exhibition it turned out to be. Quite a few paintings showing the bridge, including the opening ceremony, but most interesting were a number of photographs taken during construction (in 1892/3). There are also some of the bridge designs that were rejected.

We also visited the Roman amphitheatre in the basement.

The exhibition (and amphitheatre) is free of charge and runs until 5th January, 2015.

Excavation at Martin School, Finchley, August 2014 by Bill Bass

For background and a location map on this dig please refer to the July 2013 Newsletter, No. 508 and Oct 2013, No. 511. The school lies on the east side of High Road (Great North Road), East Finchley, grid ref TQ 27002/89970, the site code is MPS14.

After unexpectedly discovering the buried air-raid shelter in the playing field of the school in 2013, we decided to return in August this year to further investigate the main entrance of the shelter of the High Road and to check out some earthworks in the NW corner of the playing field.

Using a 1946 RAF aerial photo which shows the shelter intact, we plotted and triangulated more or less where the main entrance passage should be. We then carried-out a resistivity survey over the likely area using baselines from the 2013 dig. This showed high resistivity of the north-south shelter passageway (which we knew of) adjacent to the High Road, a passageway at leading at right-angle from this (which we suspected from slight earthworks) and a wider patch of high resistivity just to the north where we thought the entrance and reception was.

Trench 8

Whilst the above surveys were being done we decided to machine-out a section of the NW corner of the shelter. While we have used machines on digs before, this is (I think) the first time we have deliberately hired a mini-digger for the purpose. The result of this was a 2.00m x 3.00m trench exposing both sides of shelter passageway running E-W, this would have joined the N-S passageway in this corner (see map), we did not see evidence of a ‘side’ entrance in this corner (although we suspected one from the aerial photo), but space was a bit limited for further investigation with nearby fencing and trees so we had to leave it at that. The walls (1.40m apart) were similar to those found in the 2013 excavations with concrete shuttered construction, the roof had again been demolished leaving the cut reinforcement rods exposed, the top of the walls are at around 87.30 OD. Some investigation was done to try and find stencilling as seen in previous sections but none was seen.

The finds from trench 8 were fairly mixed and topsoil in nature including iron fittings, some Refined Whiteware (china) and earthenware pottery, the glass included a complete milk bottle marked ‘LWD’ (⅓ pint) with some further bottle glass and window glass. Animal bone had samples of a femur-head from a possible pheasant and a fragment of sheep/deer long bone with evidence of cut marks.

Trench 9

When the surveys were in, a trench of 4.00m x 1.00m (orientated N-S) was placed over an area which (we hoped!) took in an underground passageway, the main entrance way from the High Road and possibly some stairs/reception room into the shelter complex. Once again the mini-digger was deployed, topsoil [001] of approx 35-40cm lay over a mixed rubble context of approx 36cm [002]. Below the rubble at the southern end of the trench the top of a further shelter wall was encountered running E-W, this was a northern section of passageway wall (see map) as predicted, (the southern section was unexcavated, but assumed). This wall levelled in at 87.39m OD which fits fairly well with levels from the top other shelter walls around the site.

At 3.00m further north in trench 9 another wall was revealed; again this ran in an E-W direction. The difference was that this wall was brick built, red and yellow bricks laid in English Bond style being 23cm wide. This wall lined-up with the main entrance of the shelter as seen on the 1946 photo and resistivity survey, it also lined-up with a convenient entrance size hole in the present day tree/bush line boundary beside the High Road. However, one wall does not an entrance-way make, so a 2.50m trench extension was made northwards, lo and behold a similar brick built wall was found 1.40m north of the original. These had been demolished to a level of 87.21m OD (approx 64cm below turf-line). Between the walls was a stiff re-deposited clay, a small sondage pit was dug beside the brick walls 47cm in depth revealing at least 10 brick courses, plus approx 50cm of auguring beyond that showed no signs of foundation or flooring. But it seems there could have been steps leading down into the shelter as a Civil Defence Emergency Committee minute (12th August 1941) mentions – “Deep trench shelters: entrances changed from ramps to steps, approved”.

So we’re fairly sure we have the line of the main entrance way leading down into the complex. On the aerial photograph there appears to be a roof (concrete ?) of a shelter entrance approx 6.00m long E-W and 1.70m wide adjacent to the southern side of the entrance stairs. This was situated in the middle of the shelter system. Unfortunately we could not find any evidence for this, the superstructure would have been demolished and we saw no foundation for it, only the re-deposited clay as mentioned above. There is a slight possibility that it was using the walls of the main entrance wall and the trench passageway (to the south) as the foundation, some of the reinforced concrete iron-rodding indicated a possible dual use, but this was difficult to prove.

Finds from trench 9 (the overlying contexts 001 and 002), are similar to trench 8 and indeed from the rest of the site including assorted metal objects, pottery, glass and some clay-pipe stem. There were two coins, one George VI sixpence, (1944?) and one George V penny (1935?). A full list of finds lies with the archive.


Targeted resistivity/earthwork surveys and excavation has revealed the various passageways from one end of the complex to the other. The main brick-built entrance way from the High Road has been found in line with photographic and survey evidence, although the doorway into the system proved more elusive. Experience was gained on the hiring and use of digging machinery on-site.

Research evidence

Continuing research by Roger Chapman through various Civil Defence committees show that through late 1939 and into 1940 there was a continuing problem with flooding and water ingress into the shelter. Several ideas were explored including automatic water-pumps, lining and waterproofing the walls, none of the solutions proposed seem to be fully satisfactory.

A further problem was damage caused to equipment in the trench shelters, the Town Clerk gave instructions for fencing to be erected, with the necessary gates and locks around the shelter.

In August 1940 Mr C J Mathews on behalf of several residents in Chandos Road submitted an application to construct a gateway in the fence at the rear of his garden giving access to Martin School playground in order that residents in question might use the school shelters. Committee gave it very close consideration but refused the application.


MARTIN SCHOOL: Roger Chapman, Tristan Green, Helen Morrison.

HADAS members on-site and those who helped process the finds.

Roger Chapman: ongoing research of air-raid structures through the Borough of Finchley Council minutes.

Continuing Day 3 of HADAS holiday 2014

Steam amongst the shingle by Andy Simpson

The whole Kent trip was delightful but readers will be unsurprised to learn that this trip along part of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway was a particular highlight for me!

Originally opened in July 1927 by wealthy motor racing enthusiast Captain John E P Howey, this 15-inch gauge line runs for 13 and a half miles from Hythe to Dungeness ( ; our 35-minute trip covered the southern-most five miles from Dungeness – and all around the terminus loop there – to the centre of operations (including museum – with replica wartime armoured train – , shop and engine/carriage sheds and workshops) at New Romney.

A good preview was the view from the top of ‘Lydia’s Lighthouse’ showing the huge expanse of shingle and holiday homes, including several still built around late Victorian and Edwardian wooden-bodied standard-gauge railway carriages that have been there since the 1920s/30s.

Even in five miles, the scenery is constantly changing – from open shingle beaches and the sea, to the Dungeness nuclear power station several of us had visited an hour or so earlier, to suburban streets (and level crossings) and back gardens, to open green fields and woods.

Rather to my surprise, the railway was a hive of activity, even this early in the season; we saw no less than three steam engines in operation (from a fleet of eleven), plus one of two modern diesel locos. And to appeal to the trainspotter in me, they were all consecutively numbered!

No 9 ‘Winston Churchill’ – our loco from Dungeness to New Romney, looking striking in its overall red colour scheme; like No 11 it is ‘Canadian style’ ‘Pacific’ (4-6-2) and was built by the Yorkshire Engine Co in 1931, being named Winston Churchill in 1948 for a trip to Canada

No 10 ‘Dr Syn’ Named after a fictional local Parson and smuggler, and another Yorkshire product of 1931, but recently modified with taller boiler fittings to better match the height of the cab.

No 11 ‘Black Prince’ Built by German firm Krupp in 1937, and formerly operated on a park railway in Cologne (where it was known as ‘Fleissig Lieschen’ – roughly translated as ‘Busy Lizzie’, being imported to the UK in 1976.

No 12 ‘John Southland’ (the diesel) Built by TMA Engineering of Birmingham in 1983. One of two purchased for working Kent County Council schools traffic from New Romney to Burmarsh road, some four-and-a half miles away; we got to New Romney just in time to see the daily departure.

And now I really must get back and do the rest of the line!

A mystery grave stone by Don Cooper

And then to the St Clements at Old Romney one of the oldest churches in Kent dating from the 12th
century (although there is apparently evidence of an older 8th century structure). The church is full of unusual architectural features.

However, what caught my eye was an unusual grave stone (see photograph)

The stone, which is surrounded by a probably later tiled floor, is said to represent a double-handed sword with four thick and four thin sized chevron shapes coming out on either side of the blade. They are said to possibly represent rays of light (see Kent Archaeological web site:

It is most likely dated to the 13th century although other authorities suspect it is from the 8th century.

An alternative view from British History (Volume 8) online is that it not a sword but a Christian cross. This kind of cross is referred to as an archiepiscopal cross. It is used to signify an Archbishop as the name implies, but who knows what the chevrons mean!

It is so well preserved as to cast doubt about its authenticity and it is unlikely to have been in its present position since it was laid.

The Norman family that owned the advowson of the church in the late 13th century were the Fitz Bernard’s and there is no record of them having been buried in the church.

Can anybody throw any more light on this mysterious and intriguing grave stone?

Jim Nelhams adds – Perhaps the strangest thing about St Clements is the colour scheme.
A film was made based on the exploits of Dr Syn. The film company wanted to use St Clements, and requested that they be allowed to paint the walls and pew in a pale pink colour, promising to restore the original colours after filming. In fact, the parishioners liked the new décor and requested that it be left.

Kent day 4

After our busy day around Dungeness, Wednesday included a visit to Sandwich (at lunchtime) and only three other scheduled visits.

The Roman Painted House by Lydia Stanners

I have not lived in this corner of South East Kent since 1966 but it still feels very much like home to me. The Roman Painted House, mid 2nd C AD is contemporary with The East Wear Bay Roman Villa at Folkestone which members may recall our society visited two years ago. I grew up in a house just opposite the site of the latter. What you can’t win is a connection to a very special place and the Roman Painted House is just that for me, it brings the East Wear Bay Villa to life and vice versa.

Substantially excavated in 1971 by Brian Philp, of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit who runs the museum in his retirement today, the construction of the climate controlled cover building was largely paid for by donations, following an appeal to the public, and opened in 1976. Past visits I have led with amateur archaeologist friends have had the benefit of a talk from a professional guide but this time it was given by an enthusiastic volunteer. Of course human beings seldom get things absolutely right, but it did help to highlight the history even is some of the facts were a little askew.

The remains of the first smaller Painted House, built mid-2nd C AD probably in the time of Classis Britannica has 3 extant rooms, some with painted walls. This was succeeded by a much larger house, perhaps early 3rd C AD with underfloor and wall heating from furnaces at the centre of one side of each room. The wall paintings were of the highest art form, almost 3D and appear, in the main, to be dedicated to Bacchus, God of Wine, which may give some idea of the use of the building! Possibly due to increasing hostile incursions it is conjectured that the Roman Army demolished the much smaller Classis Britannica defences, around 276AD, and built the massive Dubris Saxon Shore Fort across a previously civilian settlement. This led to the demolition of the upper section of the Roman Painted House and a defensive wall being constructed through rooms 2 and 3. The rest of the building was buried beneath a rubble and clay seal which allowed the survival of the walls, flooring and murals. Over 2000 plaster fragments were found on site and preserved.

Apart from the Painted House exhibition, the building is a treasure trove of information on Roman Dover with information boards and artefacts excavated by the Kent Archaeology Rescue Unit. I particularly liked the Bronze hand holding an orb and eagle found in 1970 locally, perhaps originally the top of some form of standard or similar. At the lower level, tucked away in a corner, there is an interesting medieval burial in a lead-lined coffin found in nearby St Martins le Grand in 1974. It bears a little message “placed on view by public request”. Well done Mr Philp and all his unknown helpers, for giving this exhibit space and keeping the little treasure that is The Roman Painted House open to the public.

Walmer Castle by Ken Sutherland-Thomas

The group’s exploration of Kent continued with a visit to Walmer Castle and Gardens. Situated near to Deal Castle, it overlooks the English Channel and was built during the reign of Henry VIII. It was originally built as part of a chain of coastal artillery defences and provided state of the art means for warding off attacks from sea-borne invaders.

An audio guided walk is provided at reception and is very informative and well produced.

Much of the castle’s original military purpose has become redundant over the years, and it has been made comfortable as the official home of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Many of the rooms used by the Duke of Wellington (when he was the Warden) are still furnished as in his time, and contain artefacts such as a pair of his boots (!) and the armchair in which he died.

The Queen Mother was also a Warden as was Sir Winston Churchill. The Queen Mother was associated with the beautiful gardens in which the visitor can walk and admire.

As with many English Heritage properties, a cosy café with outside seating is available as is a well-stocked gift shop.

Sandwich by Peter Pickering

On to Sandwich, the third of the five Cinque (pronounced ‘sink’) Ports we visited. My old ‘Pevsner’ (actually by John Newman, and recently fully revised) says: “Sandwich could make a bid for the completest medieval town in England. A walk round it yields many pleasures . . . [but it is not] easy to find a rational route through the town.” I agree with the last observation, to which I would add the difficulty of avoiding the cars in the narrow streets. HADAS members explored the town separately, or in small groups, and discovered different places and buildings to admire (or take refreshment in). After looking in St Peter’s church with its charming secluded garden – where the south aisle had been until in 1661 it was destroyed by a collapsing central tower – I was led astray by the hope that St Mary’s church would be open. It was firmly locked, despite the Churches Conservation Trust notice outside. I continued beyond it and after a timber-framed house of 1592 with a satyr on its corner-bracket, and the exiguous remains of the doorway to a vanished early fourteenth-century house, found a very pleasant route back to the centre, along the Town Walls – not walls as we know them, but a raised car-free walk between an avenue of trees. I then went rapidly to the Guildhall, with its dark and evocative seventeenth century courtroom and the small museum next door. Then for a drink in the Bell Hotel and back to the coach. Some of our members found the other church of the town – dedicated, like several we came across, to St Clement – but I did not.

Richborough Roman Fort by Jon Baldwin

On decanting from the coach, on the Wednesday of the 2014 Hadas long weekend (or short week), my first impression was of the overall enormity of the Richborough site. To walk round the entire fort taking in all the remaining evidence of the interior buildings from different periods of usage was quite a trek, pleasing though it was. However, I did feel it a shame that the grass on and around the earthworks had been allowed to become overgrown thus losing a lot of the definition between the trenches. I also felt the information boards could be given a facelift as they were in a quite tatty condition.

Apart from those minor gripes, I found the whole site to be of great interest. The height and condition of a lot of the outer walls is almost overwhelming especially taking into account how long they have been standing. As I always feel when exploring sites from times so long ago, what varied and interesting lives the people who inhabited these places must have had. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to eavesdrop on their thoughts, feelings, ideas and hopes? Although the group had a reasonable amount of time at the site, it would be good to go back in the future to spend more time drinking in the atmosphere and discovering more about the fort. We were very lucky with the weather as we were for the whole trip but even if it hadn’t been as good, it would have still really been worth the visit. Great!

Why was Richborough Roman Fort there? by Jim Nelhams

Richborough Roman Fort is described correctly as a Saxon Shore Fort but is several miles away from the sea. This was not always the case. In Roman times, the Isle of Thanet was really an island, separated from the mainland by a two mile wide channel called the Wantsum Channel. Using this channel, ships had a shorter and straighter way to London. The River Stour drained into the channel, providing access to Canterbury.

As the Castles at Dover, Walmer and Deal were built later to defend the English Channel, so the Romans built at Richborough to defend the Wantsum Channel, and where the other end of the channel opened out into the Thames, they built a castle at Reculver.

Until the 16th century, Sandwich was a thriving and prosperous sea and naval port. In fact, the name of the road where we parked our coach was “The Quay”. But the Wantsum Channel silted up, leaving the Stour to find a new way to the sea past Richborough and through Sandwich, presumably following close to the old coast line. These days, the River Wantsum starts near Reculver and drains into the Stour.

Whitstable by Jim Nelhams

Whitstable had not appeared on our original schedule. We had hoped to return to Canterbury Cathedral, but its sudden closure for the morning necessitated a rethink. So we found ourselves exploring Whitstable, a small town on the south side of the Thames Estuary between Herne Bay and the Isle of Sheppey.

On the way in, we passed a Wetherspoons restaurant named The Peter Cushing. Peter, who died in 1994 was a resident of the town, and is best known for appearing in horror films, with roles including Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Who. The restaurant was previously a cinema, and retains many of the cinema fittings, décor and projection equipment. It also has toilet facilities accessible to the public.

We made our way first to the small lifeboat station, there to encounter a number of other members enjoying a cup of coffee. Whitstable has an inshore lifeboat which is launched around 60 times each year. Others, aware of the reputation of Whitstable oysters, or perhaps their aphrodisiac properties, found appropriate eateries.

Back in the High Street, we made our way to the town museum, like so many other places we had visited, run by volunteers but in council owned premises.

For years, Whitstable and Herne Bay fishermen have been catching more than fish in their nets. Hundreds of pottery dishes, many complete and in an excellent state of preservation have been recovered from the seabed.

The pots were Samian ware (mid-2nd century) and were part of the cargo of at least two Roman merchant ships, which either sank or jettisoned their cargo in a storm. The pots became prized items in the homes of fishermen, and were used in Whitstable to make a special kind of Lent pudding, so the pots and the place where they were found were named Pudding Pan.

When families emigrated in the 19th and 20th centuries, many took Pudding Pans with them, and so there are examples all over the world. The recipe is also displayed.

The museum also has information about the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway, later known as the crab and winkle line, which claimed to be the first railway for paying passengers in the world. Robert Stephenson built a locomotive named Invicta in 1830, which is displayed in the Canterbury Heritage museum. Trains were hauled by locomotives on the level section of the line. On hilly sections, carriages were pulled by ropes attached to static steam engines. The course of the line is now a six mile public walkway.

Other Local Societies events by Eric Morgan

Wednesday, 7th January, 8pm. Stanmore and Harrow Historical Society, Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High Street, Wealdstone. “The history of Westminster Central Hall”. Talk by Mrs. B. Milne. Visitors £1.

Thursday, 8th January, 10.30am. Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. “The history of St. Margaret’s school, Bushey”. Talk by Enid Jarvis. Visitors £2.

Monday, 12th January, 3pm. Barnet Museum & Local History Society, Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opp. Museum). “An assorted history of Singapore featuring the Mill Hill connection and the five foot way”. Talk by Rob Kayne. £2.

Wednesday, 14th January, 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society. Trinity Church, The Broadway, NW7. “The history of Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills”. Talk by David Sims.

Wednesday, 14th January, 7.45pm. Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, cnr. Ferme Park Road/Weston Park, N8 9PX. “We will not fight – Hornsey’s WWI conscientious objectors”. Talk by Jennifer Bell. £3 refreshments.

Thursday, 15th January, 7.30pm. Camden History Society, Camden Local Studies and Archive Centre, 2nd Floor, Holborn Library 32-38 Theabalds Rd. WC1X 8PA. “Pevsner in Hampstead and Bloomsbury”. Talk by Susie Harries, Visitors £1.

Friday, 16th January, 7pm. COLAS, St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3R 7NB. “The ark long before Noah”. Talk by Irving Finkel, Visitors £2.

Monday, 19th January, 8pm. Enfield Society with Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, Jublee Hall,2, Parsonage Lane/ jnc Chase Side, Enfield, EN2 0AJ, “The origins of the Edmonton Hundred”. Talk by Jason Peters.

Thursday, 29th January, 2.30pm. Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House (Stephens House) East End Road, N3 3QE. “The mystery of John Parr (First soldier to die in action in WWI and from Finchley)”. Talk by Mick Crick, Visitors £2.

Friday, 30th January, 6.30pm. Friends of the Petrie Museum, UCL, Lecture Theatre G6, Institute of Archaeology, 31 Gordon Square, WC1. “Ancient Egyptian Mortars and Plasters, Recent analysis of Egypt’s Archaeological Wall paintings and architecture”. Talk by Alexandra Winkel.

Thanks to our contributors: Roger Chapman, Mary Rawitzer, Sheila Woodward, Jim Nelhams, Bill Bass, Andy Simpson, Lydia Stanners, Ken Sutherland-Thomas, Peter Pickering, Jon Baldwin and Eric Morgan.

Newsletter-524-November-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

By | Past Newsletters, Volume 9: 2010 - 2014 | No Comments

Number 524 NOVEMBER 2014 Edited by Micky Watkins

HADAS Event Forms Jim Nelhams

Readers will be aware of our Christmas Party on Sunday 7th December and our long outing to the New Forest in September next year. Booking forms for these have been circulated by email and post and should have reached all members. Please contact me if you have not received these forms and require them.

In the last two years, our Christmas Party has been fully subscribed, so if you intend coming, please do not leave you booking until last minute – you might be disappointed.

For next year’s long trip, we need to confirm numbers to the hotel by the end of December. We have currently booked the whole hotel.


Tuesday 11th November, 8pm. A Hamlet in Hendon – the Church Terrace site from the Mesolithic to the 21st Century. Lecture by Jacqui Pearce. Jacqui is one of the principal authors of our latest book, and tutor of the HADAS Finds Group whose work over many years resulted in the publication of the 1973/74 excavations.

Sunday 7th December, 12 noon – 4.30 pm (approx.) HADAS Christmas Party. Buffet lunch. Have you booked?

Tuesday 13th January, 8pm. Late Roman Fortifications in Northern France and their Social Implications. Lecture by James Bromwich.

All the above events, unless otherwise stated, will be held at Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, starting at 8pm, with tea/coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members are welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 and 460 pass nearby.

Finchley Central Station (Northern Line) is a short walk away.

Jack Newbury

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Jack. He died on the day before his 95th birthday. The funeral will be at Midday, 5th November, at Golders Green Crematorium. All welcome.

The Obituary will be in the next Newsletter.

HADAS’ new book “A Hamlet in Hendon” has been reviewed.

Don Cooper

In the latest edition of the London Archaeologist, Alastair Ainsworth has reviewed our new book “A Hamlet in Hendon”

He says “This beautifully written book is very easy to read. The site at Church Terrace, Hendon, was excavated by the Hendon and District Archaeology Society (HADAS) over two seasons during 1973 and 1974 and is close to St Mary’s Church, the Greyhound Inn and Church End Farm, previously excavated by HADAS. The HADAS finds group is to be congratulated for their perseverance and diligence in bringing this important site to publication. Church Terrace provided a stratigraphic record of a relatively undisturbed Greater London suburban site from prehistory through to the 20th century. This is important as we do not know what similar archaeology in the London suburbs was lost when local brickearth layers were systematically removed to make bricks for the expanding suburban housing estates.

The first part of the book reads like a detective story as the authors explain what evidence from the original excavation is missing (or never obtained), and what can be reconstructed from the remaining records. The fascinating section that follows, based on documentary research (including maps, photographs and sale catalogues), establishes what structures had been located within the footprint. The authors bring the site to life by providing names for many of the occupants of the buildings described, and even the family connections between the occupants.

The main part of the book provides a comprehensive interpretation of the finds, analysed by time periods from “Prehistoric and Roman” to “Georgian to the 20th century”. This extended format allows more interesting historical and manufacturing detail about many of the finds than is usually possible within specialist reports.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the details of how village communities in the London region evolved during the last few hundred years. I just wish that the title of the book was not “A Hamlet in Hendon” as my Concise Oxford Dictionary defines a hamlet as “small village, especially one without a church”.”

I must take responsibility for the title of the book – Don Cooper

The book is free to all HADAS members, so do collect your copy from Avenue House at one of our events: Lectures, Parties, Most Sunday mornings from 10.30 to 12.30 or from Don Cooper/Jim Nelhams see the details below.

The Lod Mosaic Tim Wilkins

In 1996 work on a new road outside Lod, Israel uncovered a spectacular set of mosaics dating from the 3rd century A.D. Part of a Roman villa, the central mosaic is the largest and best preserved from anywhere in the Levant. This central section was lifted and preserved and is now a touring exhibition, supported by the Rothschild Foundation. The only place it visited in the UK was Waddesdon Manor, the country estate built by Baron Rothschild in Buckinghamshire outside Aylesbury in 1874, and bequeathed to the National Trust in 1957. The mosaic moves on to St. Petersburg in November.

The mosaic unusually shows no people or gods, but a whole series of animals and fish, mostly as predators and prey. Many of the species of animals shown, such as giraffe and elephant, would have been unknown in the region, but the many varieties of fish were clearly identifiable. The exhibition also included a video of the work to preserve the mosaic in place, and then, scarily, to separate it from the underlying sub-strata, and roll it up for removal. Some of the plaster underlay was exhibited, with two footprints still visible from people who trod on it while it was still wet, one with a sandal and one barefoot. The artists’ line drawings and colour infills could also be seen in the plaster, showing the mosaic tessera-layers where to work.

Survey and Excavation at Cromer Road Primary School, Bill Bass

New Barnet, Herts.


Site Code CRS14, TQ 25994 96482, May/June 2014.


“Cromer Road School was built in 1932, it was built on farmland which was part of the Woodcock Estate. Maps show the current school field was a recreational area, and the footpath which ran across it has been rerouted. Cromer Road School is close to the site of an earlier school, which Cromer Road replaced. The old school is now occupied by flats. The Maw’s factory was built to the north of the Cromer Road School’s site and was open from 1920 to around 1980, when it was demolished and houses built there” (Sarah Dhanjal – Field School Handbook ).

The project was primarily for the school children to learn some of the history of their area and get a feel for archaeological surveying and excavation – the school has recently had its 80th anniversary.

Archaeological setting

The East Coast Main Line runs north – south approx 300m east of the school and was built in the 1850s. Most of the village of New Barnet dates from the establishment of the station there.

Approximately ½ mile north of the school is Newmans Hill in Hadley Wood. There are remains of a circular earthwork here, thought to be of Iron-age origin. Just east of Newmans Hill is Livingstone Primary School, a development here found a substantial amount of medieval pottery. About a mile south-east is East Barnet village with known medieval occupation, and a mile or so west is the medieval settlement at Chipping Barnet, also with its association with the Battle of Barnet (1471).


A 20m x 20m resistivity survey was undertaken to the west of the school’s playing field; although a series of high and low contrasts were seen the results were inconclusive. Two 3m x 2m trenches were laid-out over likely looking areas.

Location of grid and trenches 1 & 2

Location of resistivity survey grid

Trench 1

This trench was used to give experience to and to teach the various groups of school children archaeological techniques and so did not go much below the topsoil layers.

After deturfing the topsoil consisted of a dark loamy clay-based soil, including gravel with small to large occasional pebbles. This layer/context covered the whole of the trench to an excavated depth of 18cm (the turf was levelled at 65.24 OD). Below the topsoil layers a field-drain in clinker packing was found running east-west, part of a complex of drainage for the playing/ recreational field. This was indicated by the high resistivity results from the survey.

The finds from the topsoil are typical from the mixed nature of these layers, including pottery – Post-Medieval Redwares 1650-1800 in date, Refined Whitewares (china) 1800-1900 in the form of sherds from plates, dishes and cups, and some Stoneware sherds 1700-1900. Building materials mostly small and fragmented – brick, roof tile and slate together with some corroded iron nails. There was a small amount of window glass together with some vessel glass both clear and coloured in nature – domestic vessels and beer/wines bottle etc. There were some clay tobacco stems. Other more modern finds included a hairclip and football boot stud (which caused some amusement with the school children).

Trench 2

After deturfing the topsoil was very similar to that of Trench 1, below were lenses and spreads of gravel. Beneath the gravel was a silty/sandy clay layer [007] around 15cm thick. Under the clay was a packed pebble layer [004]10-15cm thick. The clay and pebble layer was cut by a field drain again, packed with clinker for protection. The drain ran east-west, it was made-up of 10cm dia ceramic pipe in 30cm lengths. At 50cm depth from the turf (65.24 OD) the sandy yellow/orange natural clay was found.

Finds from Trench 2 were similar in nature to Trench 1 (above). More notable was a Post-Medieval Redware glazed ‘handle’ sherd, the handle would have fitted in a transverse manner and would have come from a substantial pot such as a storage vessel or garden container. Amongst the window and vessel glass finds was part of a medicinal bottle with measurement tabs on the side and a ‘paste’ jar base probably Victorian in date. Included in the clay-pipe tobacco items were two pipe-bowls, both with flat spurs and no other marks or decoration. They appear to date to around 1700-1770. An iron horseshoe was recovered (135mm x 120mm, bar 20mm x 9mm), another favourite with the young students. Other metal objects included a copper-alloy button 17mm in diameter.


As can be seen the trenches show the mixed nature of the area with use as farm or pasture land from the Post-medieval period which could explain the Post-medieval pottery and clay-pipe finds. Then, with possible levelling and dumping layers e.g. the packed pebble, and clay with gravel spreads, these are cut by the east-west field drain complex dating from the Victorian to early 20th century period, creating the recreational area and later playing field. Aerial photographs show allotments encroaching very close to our trenches from the south – another source of disturbance. There was a persistent but small amount of brick, tile and glass, either brought in as dumping material or from earlier demolished building in the vicinity of the site.

Other work

On the green opposite the school parch-marks indicate footings for a building constructed in the WWII period. The building was used for medical purposes and can also be seen in aerial photos. A resistivity survey was conducted here to show students a hands-on experience of the techniques we use to find buried features without digging them.


Thanks to the Hadas members who took part, Sarah Dhanjal and UCL students, Susan Skedd (school history project), Helen Schmitz (Head of School) and other staff who helped.

The Dumpy Level and William Gravatt Jim Nelhams

During our work at Cromer Road School this summer, somebody asked why we called one of our measuring instruments a “dumpy level”. Not knowing the answer, I looked for information about the instrument and its inventor.

Step forward William Gravatt. William Gravatt was born in Gravesend in Kent on 14th July 1806. His father, a well-to-do Colonel of the Royal Engineers at Woolwich, was not a man to give his children an easy ride through life. He instilled in them the belief that they should look after themselves. His father suggested him as an apprentice to Bryan Donkin.

Before completing his full apprenticeship with Mr Donkin, he gained employment with Isambard Kingdom Brunel who, “considered that he was a competent person to attend to the management of ‘the shield,’* in particular, and, in general, to the machinery belonging to the Thames Tunnel.” He was involved in an incident in the tunnel in 1827, when he was ordered by two directors of the project to take them into the tunnel by boat.

One of the directors stood up in the boat, hitting his head on the roof, and falling backwards into the water, causing the boat to capsize. Gravatt swam back to find a punt at the entrance, and managed to rescue all except one of the boat’s occupants. Brunel, having been summoned to the tunnel, assisted. “On the 5th of March, 1828, silver medals were voted by the Royal Humane Society to Mr. I.K. Brunel and Mr. William Gravatt for having hazarded their own lives to preserve those of their fellow-creatures.”

In 1832 Gravatt became both a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical Society, and in the proceedings of both Societies he took an active interest. Following the halting of work on the tunnel in 1832, Gravatt was, by the recommendation of his previous employer, Mr. Donkin, appointed Engineer to the Calder and Hebble Navigation. It was here that he commenced his first works, in the form of several river bridges, the arches of which were remarkable for their stability and cost effectiveness. The principle he adopted for their construction was the forerunner of the suspension bridge.

Gravatt was commissioned by Mr. H. R. Palmer to examine the country for the original scheme of the London and Dover Railway. During the early period of railway construction he devised the level known as the ‘dumpy’ and also the ‘level-staff’ which is now universally employed, but which is not generally known to have been introduced by him. This enabled him to survey across valleys and across land to which he was denied access.

He also designed a pocket-sized instrument, which he called a ‘nadir’. By using both the ‘nadir’ and a common box-sextant, it was possible to carry out surveys single handedly in areas where the lie of the land was prohibitively difficult or where the landowner may have had some opposition.

He worked on several other railways and was responsible for the design and building of what was then the world’s largest space telescope, erected on Wandsworth Common.

Gravatt died in Westminster on 30th May 1866 and was buried at the Church of St John of Jerusalem, South Hackney.

Holiday in Sicily Jean Bayne

Set in turquoise seas, Sicily owes its rich archaeological heritage to the importance of its strategic position and to its fertile lands. This small island, of nearly 10,000 sq. miles, has a captivating diverse landscape of mountains, valleys and coastal plains. It also bears the footprints of many civilizations: Greek, Roman, Arabic, Norman, Byzantine and Spanish. This legacy is reflected in the Sicilian language spoken by many Sicilians today—-a mixture of Greek, Latin, Spanish, Arabic and Norman French, incomprehensible to mainland Italians. It is also reflected in the monuments left behind by those who sought to exploit its military advantage and agricultural potential.

There is evidence for early Palaeolithic and Neolithic settlements scattered across the island and in the 10th century BC, the Sicili tribe arrived and gave its name to the island. But the greatest catalyst for change came with the arrival of the Greeks in 734BC. They landed on the eastern coast where they constructed a city-settlement in a sheltered bay near accessible water sources and within sight of Mount Etna. Giardini Naxos is an early example of deliberate town planning. The site is now an archaeological park: there is a small museum housing finds from digs; an interesting collection including pottery, stone and terracotta artefacts, vases, lamps, large jars and sacred vessels. The park itself is extensive. It feels like a tranquil orchard with orange and lemon trees—-a legacy of the Arabs—- walnut and olive trees, cactuses and oleanders, cypresses and mulberry trees. There is scattered evidence of building foundations, roads, walls and fragments of temples, furnaces and altars but no information and only a few signs. After a while, we turned back in the midday sun and missed, so I understand, a long 500 meter wall and 2 ancient pottery kilns at the far end of the park. It was sad to see ancient features so overgrown and badly maintained. I asked whether archaeologists were currently working on the site. I was told they came occasionally on Mondays! There was evidence of later fortifications and irrigation systems but the most exciting feature of the site was its ancient history and the fact that nothing had been built on most of the area in modern times. The city was destroyed in the 5th century BC and its citizens sent elsewhere to be slaves.

This, indirectly, led to the development of Taormina on a nearby hillside. It is now a charming, medieval town with narrow, winding, stepped streets and pastel coloured old houses, palaces and churches set high over the sea. It has a stunning, breathtaking Greek theatre located close to the cliff edge where plays and opera are still staged. Although it was built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC it was later rebuilt in brick by the Romans on the same site in the first century BC. The surrounding wall still stands and columns with capitals are in evidence. The proscenium arches and back wall are also still there —unusual in ancient theatres. With the backdrop of Mount Etna on one side and the sea on the other—both visible from inside the theatre, it was easy to imagine the wonder and excitement of long ago plays being performed.

Taormina became a popular venue from the late 19th century. Florence Trevelyan, one of Edward VII’s mistresses, was asked to leave Britain before his coronation and given £50 a year to go. She ended up in Taormina and married the Sicilian mayor. He gave her all the mountains behind the town and the island, Isla Bella, in front. She, in her turn, constructed a wonderful public garden overlooking the bay filled with exotic plants and curious small buildings made from a variety of materials: stone, cloth, pipes and bricks. And a few odd cannons are dotted about. D.H. Lawrence also lived here from 1920 –23 and wrote a famous poem called The Snake. A friend of mine who was a great admirer of Lawrence went to the information office to ask where his house was and mentioned the snake poem. She was told very brusquely that there were no snakes in Sicily and that the man was a liar! Such is the power of tourism! But the information office has nothing to fear: Taormina remains a huge attraction and was very crowded. It is still a target for the rich and famous as well as the ordinary tourist and this is a tribute to its outstanding beauty and ancient monuments. (Acton, in the early 20th century described it as becoming as boring as Bournemouth but he must have been having a very bad day!)

Syracuse, on the southern side of Sicily, was once the most important city in the Western world. At the beginning of the 5th century BC, it began to grow and expand and became a crucial trading centre under Greek influence and many of its grandest monuments are from this period. In 211 BC. it fell to the Romans in spite of the ingenious devices invented by Archimedes for its defence. He was subsequently hacked to death by the Romans. Later, it became an early centre of Christianity and briefly a capital when the Byzantine Emperor moved his court here in 663 AD. After that, it went into decline and played little part in the medieval conquests by Arabs, the Norman French and the Spanish. Nevertheless, it is a kaleidoscope of archaeological and architectural styles spanning many centuries.

We visited the Archaeological Park at Syracuse which is an amazing treasure chest of monuments. There is a 5th century BC theatre overlooking the harbour which, after later modifications, could seat 15,000 people by Roman times and an amphitheatre for gladiatorial combat which is the second largest to be found in the world. It was elliptical in shape with inscriptions still extant and a small tank in the middle of the arena for draining away blood. An enormous altar at the entrance was built in the 3rd century for a temple for Zeus: 450 bulls were slaughtered there at the same time. Further up the hill, there is an artificial waterfall and grotto fed by an ancient aqueduct and there is evidence of tombs. The quarries which provided most of the stone doubled up as prisons at one time. The most famous is Dionysius Ear—so named by the Italian painter Caravaggio— an immense cavern, which housed political prisoners. It was said that the emperor Dionysius could listen outside and hear what the prisoners were plotting because of the peculiar acoustics of this very tall cave. We had a go at singing Land of Hope and Glory to try out the echoes but it wasn’t as effective as a group of German tourists who had a much louder delivery!

We also visited Ortigia, a part of Syracuse, which had been the initial settlement area because of its island status and natural harbours. A few remaining columns and fragments of wall from the Doric Temple of Apollo were visible and date from 565BC.Close by is the Piazza Duomo which is a very attractive square. The cathedral which dominates it is a wonderful mixture of historical styles. It incorporates the body of a glorious temple from the 6th century BC which had doors of ivory and gold and painted scenes of battles long gone, Byzantine elements from when it became the first Christian cathedral and a Norman facade built after the earthquake in 1693. Baroque decoration was also added.

We saw other cathedrals, notably at Monreale, where the mosaics were sumptuous and shimmering and in Palermo at the Palatine Chapel which was also completely covered in amazing mosaics and had an unusual honeycombed wooden ceiling. These were both examples of Norman architecture and art. We also visited the dramatic site at Segesta. It had been a large 5th century city but the only visible remains were a lovely theatre high on a hillside and, a few kilometres away, a well preserved temple. Maintenance was evident at the temple and excavations are ongoing so perhaps more evidence will be added in time.

However, the undoubted highlight of the holiday was our visit to the Roman villa at Casale (Three km from Piazza Armerina) This was located nearer the centre of Sicily in rolling hilly countryside and felt very remote. It is believed to be a 4th century hunting lodge built by emperors Maximian and Diocletian for summer use. It was later abandoned and buried by a landslide in the 12th century. The mud covering helped to preserve the mosaics of this luxury villa for 800 years. More like a palace, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site on account of its scale, size and incredible mosaics. Excavations began in the 1950s and are continuing. It has been roofed for preservation and walkways allow the visitor to see the mosaics in full.

The villa is built on terraces and at the entrance is a complex bath house with latrines and a courtyard. The main part of the house also has a courtyard with rooms off. Everywhere there are pavement mosaics: mythological scenes, pictures of wild animals from Africa—lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, ostriches etc—and their capture and transportation to Rome, hunting scenes, flora and fauna, birds, domestic pictures e.g. of a family going to the baths with their slaves .The detail and narrative of some of these scenes are spectacular, particularly in the animal mosaics and the hunting story and help us to understand more about Roman life among the rich and powerful. These mosaics were examples of very advanced mosaic art and are thought to be the work of North African artists. The walls and columns were also painted and some evidence of this survives. There is also a basilica with a marble floor which was used as a reception room and several private family rooms. One very unusual mosaic is of ten women exercising in bikinis—not just a 1960s invention then! It is thought that this was the exercise room of the lady of the house as the women depicted were all respectable (seemingly you can tell by their hairstyles as married women put their hair up). Many of the activities shown, such as discus and running are represented here and are still part of the Olympic Games. They are thought to be taking part in a Pentathlon competition. The winner has a laurel crown.

Agrigento or Valley of the Temples is another unmissable sight. Built on a ridge overlooking the sea, the ruins of several Doric temples show up on the skyline to dramatic effect. A good harbour and fertile land encouraged the development of this area in the 5th and 6th centuries BC. Some of the city walls still exist with hollowed out sections for tombs, and ancient olive trees, several thousand years old, grow within a romantic, ruined landscape. There are the ruins of 4 main temples .Firstly, the temple of Hercules which has 9 columns remaining and is dedicated to a demi-god rather than a more important one .Traces of the white stucco which covered the temples can still be seen here. In contrast, the second temple of Concordia is well preserved and the most complete, probably because it was converted to a Christian church in the 6th century. It is fenced off, however, so you need to circle it to admire its tapering columns. Thirdly, the Temple of Juno, half in ruins. shows evidence of fire damage. A mammoth pile of rubble denotes the fourth temple: the Temple of Jove /Zeus, the largest Doric temple ever built or partly built. Left in ruins by the Carthaginians, it was also brought down by earthquakes and stone robbing. Intriguingly, the toppled body of a massive stone giant—8 metres high— lies in the middle on the ground. It would have been upright in the temple, acting as a column. I understand all these temples are lit up at night; it must be a fabulous sight !

We were also interested to learn that an English gentleman, Alexander Hardcastle, went out to Agrigento after the Boer war and excavated parts of temples, roads and walls. He was trying to find a theatre but did not find it. In the end, he lost all the family fortune and died in an asylum in 1933. His house is still there, though, and is now used for administrative purposes for archaeology.

Cefalu was our last port of call: a delightful fishing village with long sandy beaches. Caught between a wall of rock and the sea, it boasts a magnificent medieval cathedral (1131) where later baroque decorations have been stripped off to reveal Byzantine style mosaics. High above the altar is the figure of Christ Pantocrator with his long face and powerful eyes. In the town, we looked for the famed Arab wash house but walking around and down steep lanes leading to the sea, we missed it! And had a coffee instead!

Beautiful Sicily! We felt we only had quick tasters of the historical and archaeological treasures it had to offer and its magnificent landscape of valleys, mountains and sea. I hope to return.

The Old Lighthouse, Dungeness Lydia Stanners

The HADAS visit was on a beautiful still summer day. Views of France, the outline of Dover and Pevensey could clearly be seen. The journey to the top, although 167 steps, is far from onerous as there are many places to sit and rest but I am not sure how many HADAS members braved the climb. My sister and I are always full of admiration for the determination of some of our amazing frail customers who can and do make it to the viewing gallery and think nothing of it. It is stunning to see, from the viewing gallery, the 360 degree panoramic views over Romney Marsh to Appledore, uncountable 500 odd shingle ridges (each the product of a major storm), Marconi’s experimental station, the old keeper’s accommodation together with the sprinkling of old railways coaches transformed into homes, mixed in with the original fishermen’s cottages and WWII buildings that form the Dungeness community today, made famous by Derek Jarman’s garden book. We also like watching the light railway train puffing along the track on its way from Romney Station. It is, however, humbling to think that the Lighthouse was the last view of Britain so many local agricultural workers and their families, unloaded under the Poor Laws of the mid 19th century, ever saw on their way to Australia from embarkation at Gravesend.

Dungeness has seen a succession of five lighthouses dating from the first 17th Century wooden bonfire type situated near the sewer outfall behind the Power Station, the second next to the old Coastguard Cottages, the third 18th century stone building which once stood in the centre of the Lighthouse keeper’s roundhouse accommodation next to the Old (fourth) Lighthouse and the final fifth Lighthouse built near the water’s edge, locally referred to as “the stalk” due to its modern construction.

The most important feature of The Old Lighthouse is the Great Lens lit by an incandescent mantle into which paraffin oil was vaporized by the use of compressed air. This enabled the light to shine out for 18 miles and was at the time of build, considered more efficient than electricity. However, briefly towards 1959 the electric light bulb was used as it had become acceptably efficient. The Lens, however, still remained clockwork and had to be wound every 24 hours!

Dungeness has its own climate due to the fact that it has constantly grown outwards into the English Channel because of reverse long shore drift and strong currents driving the pebble beach to prograde some 6 metres a year in some parts. In Roman times the shore was nearer Lydd, thus Dungeness is very much a medieval landscape.

Standing close to the late 18th century waterline The Old Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1960 due the construction of the Nuclear Power Station directly due south blocking the beam from the Great Lens and sector lights which, in respect of the former, then needed to be seen 20 miles out to sea. The redundant fourth Lighthouse was sold by Trinity House to the Dungeness Estate but later came into my family by chance in the summer of 1983. My father James Stanners bought it at the suggestion of his friend, James Godden, the local fairground operator, when he accompanied the latter to a London Auction where the Lighthouse had been put up for sale along with a selection of local authority assets. After my parent’s death the intervention of my late husband ensured that The Old Lighthouse remained in family hands.

The top of the lighthouse provided excellent views of the power station, and also the loop on the railway track, where the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway turns for its return trip towards New Romney and further destinations, and of our train waiting to take us.

View from the top of the lighthouse towards the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and towards the Dungerness Power station.


Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th. November. Nautical Archaeology Society and Thames Discovery Programme Annual Conference. Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN

Thursday 20th November, 7.30pm, Camden History Society, Camden Local Studies Centre, Holborn Library, 32-8 Theobalds Rd. WC1X 8PA. Evelyn Wrench’s Postcards of the Early 1900s. By Peter Blackman.

Thursday 20th November, 8.15pm. Hampstead Scientific Society, Crypt room, St John’s Church, Church Row NW3. The Post Office Railway. Talk by Chris Taft.

Wednesday 26th November, 7.45pm, Friern Barnet and District Local History Society, North Middx. Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL.
Victorian Xmas Cards, Talk by David Green, Visitors £2.

Friday 5th December, 7.30pm, Wembley History Society, English Martyrs’ Hall, Chalkhill Rd, Wembley HA9 9EW (top of Blackbird Hill). Kensal Green Cemetery. Talk by Henry Vivian- Neal. Visitors £2.

Tuesday 9th December, 6.30pm. LAMAS, Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London, London Wall, ECY 5HN. The Gentle Authors’ Magic Lantern Show of LAMAS Slides.
Glass slides taken by members of LAMAS more than a century ago. Visitors £2.

Tuesday 9th December, 7.45pm, Amateur Geological Society, the Parlour, St Margaret’s Church, Victoria Ave. N31BD. A History of Life in 10 Fossils. Talk by Dr Paul Taylor (Natural History Museum).

Wednesday 10th December 7.45pm Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Ferme Park Rd. Weston Park N8 9PX. Bounds Green, A Fascinating Corner of Haringey. Albert Pinching. Visitors £3. N.B. The 12th November talk is changed to The Crocus King- EA Bowles of Myddleton House, by Bryan Hewitt.

Thursday 11th December, 7.30pm. Camden History Society, Burgh House, New End Sq. NW3 1LT. The West End in the 1800s, Emerging Pleasure District. Talk by Dr Rohan McWilliam. Visitors £1.Wine and mince pies from 7pm.

Wednesday 13th December, 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Trinity Church, The Broadway NW7. John Lewis, 150 Years in Retailing. Judy Faraday.

Friday12th December, 6.30pm. Friends of the Petrie Museum, UCL Lecture Theatre, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Sq. The Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project. Talk by Kasia Szpakowska.
ALSO Saturday 13th December, Study Day, Secrets Revealed, Artists and Epigraphers in Egypt. Tel 020 76792369. Email

Thanks to our contributors: Bill Bass, Jean Bayne, Don Cooper, Jim Nelhams, Lydia Stanners, Tim Wilkins and Eric Morgan

Newsletter-523-October-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

By | Past Newsletters, Volume 9: 2010 - 2014 | No Comments

No. 523 OCTOBER 2014 Edited by Vicki Baldwin




Tuesday 14th October, 8pm Stepping into Britain. The early human occupation of northern Europe. Lecture by Dr. Nick Ashton of the British Museum. Fieldwork over the last ten years has pushed back the evidence of early humans in northern Europe from 500,000 to almost a million years ago. Sites on the East Anglian coast in particular at Pakefield and Happisburgh have revealed evidence of stone tools associated with extinct animal fossils and a wide range of environmental data.

In 2013 there were further discoveries at Happisburgh of human footprints, the oldest known outside Africa. In combination the evidence allows us to reconstruct the human habitat and examine the difficulties of dealing with cold, long winters. Did they have clothes, shelters or fire? Did they seasonally migrate? Or did they have functional body hair to protect them from the cold. These questions will be addressed in the talk to provide a picture of life a million years ago on the edge of the known world

Tuesday 11th November, 8pm A Hamlet in Hendon – the Church Terrace site from the Mesolithic to the 21st Century. Lecture by Jacqui Pearce. Jacqui is one of the principal authors of our latest book, and tutor of the HADAS Finds Group whose work over many years resulted in the publication of the 1973/74 excavations.

Sunday 7th December, 12 noon – 4.30 pm (approx.) HADAS Christmas Party. Buffet lunch. Booking details coming soon.

All the above events, unless otherwise stated, will be held at Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, starting at 8pm, with tea/coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members are welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 and 460 pass nearby. Finchley Central Station (Northern Line) is a short walk away.

Fulham Palace – volunteering opportunity 6th-24th October

This is a community archaeology project. They are looking for volunteers with archaeological experience who can commit to 3 days minimum over the period. Please check the website for further details.

Volunteer Opportunities with our Community Archaeology Dig

HADAS Move Vicki Baldwin

In their infinite wisdom, Stephens House & Garden (formerly Avenue House) decided that given our penchant for delving into and under the ground, we would be happier if we relocated from the Garden Room to the basement. Actually this is a larger and more straightforward space without the awkward nooks and crannies afforded by the Garden Room.

The move took place the week beginning 31 August 2014 and we are still sorting and rearranging books, files and boxes. This should be completed fairly soon and our regular Working Party Sunday mornings restored. We are now located at the bottom of the stairs in the car park.

fJacqui Pearce for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational day!

The HADAS Cleaning Party.

Book Launch Jo Nelhams

On Sunday August 3rd, the culmination of many years work was marked appropriately at ‘The Greyhound Pub’ in Hendon, with the official launch of the book ‘A Hamlet in Hendon’. This tells the story of the HADAS archaeological dig in 1973-74, which was just up the road from The Greyhound, fulfilling Themistocles Constantinides’, our founder’s, aim of finding proof of the Anglo Saxon origins of Hendon.

Over 40 members (including Percy Reboul who participated in the dig), former members, contributors and guests gathered to celebrate this tremendous event. Some had travelled many miles to be there.

There are too many contributors to mention individually, but our thanks must go to Jacqui Pearce, our lecturer, who has taught and guided ‘The Finds Group’ since its inception, to produce this wonderful book. This class is still going strong on Wednesday evenings from September to March and will be looking at finds from the Arkley kiln in the next session.

‘A Hamlet in Hendon’ is the second book that has been completed and published by ‘The Finds Group’. The first book was titled ‘The last Hendon farm : the archaeology and history of Church End farm’.

Please Note: ‘A Hamlet in Hendon’ by HADAS Finds Group price £20 ISBN: 978-9503050-8-0

is now available. Please contact Don Cooper (details on back page) for further information.

Mill Hill Archaeological Study Society

The Archaeology of the Anglo-Saxons – tutor Scott McCracken
A course of 20 classes, beginning 3 October 2014. Cost for 20 classes: £150

More information at

Rome, Egypt and Africa Study Day
Mosaics to Mummy Portraits: the arts, architecture and people of Roman Sicily, Syria, Egypt and North Africa

A study day with Dr Paul Roberts, Head of the British Museum’s Roman collections, Co-Curator of Ancient Faces and Curator of the spectacularly successful Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
Saturday November 22nd 2014: 10.00 am – 5.30 pm
Cruciform Lecture Theatre, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
The four lectures: From Greece to the Normans: the Splendour of Sicily
Rome in Africa, Africa in Rome
Ancient Faces
Palmyra Bride of the Desert
For further information (including full lecture synopses) & ticket sales (£40 each) via PayPal:

Getting to Grips with Pots and Pipes: the archaeology of everyday artefacts from Saxon times to Queen Victoria – a workshop on 2nd August 2014 at Stephens House & Gardens (Avenue House). Report by Stephen Brunning.

Since September 2001 HADAS has been running a successful 22-meeting Finds Processing evening course. I was well aware that not everyone could commit to a full two-terms and the idea was muted for a one day intensive workshop/study day. With Jacqui Pearce at the helm, this went ahead in early August.

After a very slow start attracting participants, we ended up with 15 people. Two had come down from Oxford Archaeology for the day, with a further person from Twickenham (AOC Archaeology). Eight delegates were HADAS members.

The day was split up with two PowerPoint talks in the morning on medieval pottery & Tudor and Stuart pottery, with a coffee break in between and a chance to ask questions & handle finds bought in by Jacqui from the LAARC. Attendees were also encouraged to bring along artefacts for identification. After a buffet lunch on the terrace (a mistake as it turned out due to a large number of flies interested in the meat sandwiches), we had a two more talks on Georgian to Victorian pottery & An Introduction to Clay Pipes. As in the morning session, the afternoon talks were separated with a tea break and finds handling. The day ended with a final handling session, questions and evaluation.

Of the artefacts bought along by attendees, two are particularly worthy of mention here. The first photograph is an oil jar with the U standing for Unguentum (an ointment used to treat dry, scaly or chapped skin), and Rosarium (a rose garden); therefore the vessel is an apothecary jar for oil of roses. Further research is ongoing to establish its date and source. The second photograph is a Dutch Delftware wall tile (1620-1640) as identified by Ian Betts, Ceramic Building Material Specialist at MOLA.

Many thanks to Jacqui Pearce for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational day!

An Update on the former Church Farm House Museum Don Cooper

I am sure most HADAS members will remember the reprehensible events that took place around March 2011, when Barnet Council unilaterally closed the museum in this lovely old grade II* listed farm house, made the staff redundant, and sold off most of the collection of objects at auction. The house has stood empty ever since.

However, at a meeting on 8th September 2014 the Assets, Regeneration and Growth Committee of Barnet Council approved a new plan for the building.

The plan is to lease the building rent free to Middlesex University for seven years less a day and give the University £280,000 towards the regeneration (the council’s words) of the building. The university will take responsibility for the maintenance of the building and the grounds. The grounds will be available to the public. The University will use the building for educational meeting rooms and the arrangement also specifies that the building to be made available for community use from Monday to Friday evenings from 19.00 and on Saturday and Sunday from 0900.

The bad news is we have lost our lovely local museum, the good news is this important local heritage asset will no longer be empty and deteriorating, but hopefully will be looked after at least for the next seven years.

Tally Ho! A Place to Meet – arts depot from 4th October

An exhibition inspired by the history of the artsdepot site, from the 19th Century Tally Ho Coach Company to the art deco Gaumont Cinema. Artist, Jacky Oliver, will work with the community to create a centrepiece for the exhibition which launches at artsdepot’s Fun Palace Birthday Bonanza on Sat 4 Oct.

In partnership with the Finchley Society. Venue: Café Foyer

‘Predators and Prey’ – last chance to see rare Roman mosaic from Lod, Israel Jean Lamont

In 1996, workmen repairing a road in Lod (ancient Lydda) uncovered a large mosaic, thought to have covered the floor of the entrance hall or atrium of a wealthy resident 1,700 years ago. It is on display at Waddesdon Manor (NT) near Aylesbury until 2nd November. The exhibition has toured America and Europe, and this is its only UK venue.

An octagonal centrepiece depicts lions and their prey, surrounded by individual panels showing various animals, birds and sea creatures. There are wide borders at each end showing more marine scenes. There are no humans, deities or seasons. The quality and condition of the mosaic are astonishing. In addition, there are a brief introductory video showing the discovery and lifting of the mosaic and a small exhibition of domestic Roman artefacts which will be familiar to HADAS members – especially as most have been borrowed from the BM!

The display is in the Stable Block. Entry is free, but non-NT members may have to pay an entry fee to the grounds. Further details at or phone 01296 653226.

HADAS Kent Trip – Day 3 Jim Nelhams

Tuesday was always going to be a challenging day, visiting Dungeness and the Romney Marsh, but we had not expected to lose half an hour stuck in traffic before reaching our first destination at Lydd, so our visits to the church and the local museum were slightly rushed.

Dungeness Andrew Coulson

The word Dungeness is old English for the headland (ness) beyond Denge marsh. This headland is composed of sea-borne shingle derived by long-shore drift from the beaches of Brighton, Eastbourne, etc. to the west. The land is very barren and very flat, probably reaching no more than 5 foot above sea level at high tide. The annual rainfall is about 8 inches, which qualifies it as a desert. In the words of a friend of mine, “it is the land God forgot.

Sylvia Javes

At least 600 plant species can be found at Dungeness. This is surprising when one considers that the area has very low rainfall, and the shingle drains very quickly. Plants generally are adapted to the conditions by having long roots, fleshy leaves, the ability to fix nitrogen, or a certain amount of salt tolerance. When we were there, the wild flowers were spectacular. There were colourful stands of Viper’s Bugloss, Yellow Horned Poppy, Valerian, Restharrow, Wild Carrot and Sea Kale among many others. There are a few dwellings on the peninsula, and people seem to take the view that there is no point in trying to make a formal garden. Simply add a few rocks or driftwood and work with whatever wild flowers come along – and this is exactly what the power station has done outside its visitor centre.

The flowers are important in supporting invertebrates, particularly bumble bees. Dungeness has the very rare Short-haired bumblebee, reintroduced in 2012 after going extinct in Britain in 1988, and also the Shrill carder bee, which was also thought to have disappeared from the area. There was a poster about bumblebees in the power station visitor centre, suggesting that they are trying to be sympathetic to the environment.

Lydd Church Micky Watkins

Lydd Church is so unusually large for a parish church that it is called the Cathedral of the Marshes. It is 199 ft. long, and the tower is 132 ft. high and visible from afar. It is built over a Romano-British basilica of the 5th century and we could see some remaining arches of this buried in the wall in the north west corner. It was a church in the Anglo Saxon period, but most of the present church is medieval. As it was such a large and important church, many fraternities and guilds met here in the 15th century. Each guild met in a particular chapel or part of the church with their own altar and saint.

The first rector recorded is Peter de Winchelsea in 1283. A later rector was Thomas Wolsey (later Cardinal Wolsey in the time of Henry VIII), but it is doubtful whether he spent much time here as he had many parishes and, no doubt, many tithes.

The church was severely damaged by bombing in World War II. The chancel was destroyed, but was well restored, leaving out the Victorian ‘improvements’. The modern stained glass windows over the altar are very pleasing and elsewhere the windows are mostly plain glass so that the church is flooded with light.

On the floor and north wall there are some brasses which depict the well clothed, well-heeled merchants of Lydd during the period between 1557 and 1616 when the wool trade flourished. In the North Chapel there is an effigy of Sir Walter de Meryl, a Crusader in chain mail and armour. There is also a very colourful bust of Thomas Godfrey and above it the coats of arms of his ‘three severall wives’. He lived to see his children ‘well disposed of in marriadge into severall worthy families & to see parents of many hopefull children to his great comfort’. Surely the wish of all parents.

Lydd Museum Jim Nelhams

Lydd Museum is run by volunteers, who had kindly agreed to open it for us. It is housed in the old fire station, and an old hand-pumped engine stands outside. The exhibits include some interesting wheeled exhibits including a horse drawn bus used to take passengers to the railway station. Not sufficient for a HADAS outing.

Rather more interesting was a large wheeled cart. Faced with the problem of bringing fish from their boats across the shingle, special carts with wide wooden wheels were developed (see photo). The wheels seem to owe something to the skills of a barrel-maker. In front of the cart is a wooden wheelchair.

The photo of a cart in use seems to show a lighthouse of which more next month.

And what should we find on a building next to the church? A Stephens Thermometer!

Lydd Airport Jeffrey Lesser

We passed the Rype in Lydd which is a very large flat area, a remnant of marshland.It recalled to me the neighbouring Lydd (Ferryfield) airfield from which my wife and I flew in 1956. The short route Lydd-Le Touquet was flown by Silver City Airways, carrying 3 cars and up to 10 passengers. The bonnet of our Ford Anglia had to be opened for inspection, revealing our flat camping kettle wedged on top of the engine. My explanation was accepted that it was a quick method of having heated water ready for boiling for tea when we stopped.

Visit to Dungeness B Power Station Patrick McSharry

On the third day of our trip, Tuesday 1st. July 2014 we visited the Dungeness B Power Station. What a contrast to our visit in Canterbury on the first day. The towering Dungeness Power Station matched Canterbury Cathedral in its proportions, as dedicated to energy production as the latter was to prayer. As a group we visited the award winning visitor centre which gave us the opportunity of enjoying the interactive exhibition zone before 10 of us embarked on a site tour to see the plant in operation with the rest of the group going off to see the Dungeness Lifeboat Station.

The tour itself around the plant lasted just over one and a half hours. We were all kitted out in special clothing plus a special electronic device which allowed us to hear (as well as communicate) all that was said to us. The plant is owned and run by EDF Energy, one of the UK’s largest energy companies as well as being the biggest producer of low carbon electricity. What is more EDF Energy is one of the three largest energy companies in Europe. We learnt about nuclear safety (always an over-riding priority), how a nuclear reactor works and how electricity is generated. On the technical front we learnt something about ionising radiation and nuclear waste disposal [nuclear waste products are classified into three categories – high, intermediate and low level – based on how radioactive they are, and this determines how they are treated]. We also discovered that an episode of Dr Who had been filmed on the site.

Our guides for the tour were Jo and Sarah. Their fluency of delivery, their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm was simply breath taking. More impressive was their supreme ability to explain and reduce complex ideas and processes in accessible layman’s language.

Dungeness B has also picked-up and learnt lessons from the tragic disaster of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan which flooded with sea water causing further problems in an already dire situation. A new retaining wall has been built around Dungeness B to prevent similar flooding, in the event of a disaster. EDF’s commitment to safety is impressive.

Finally, but not least, EDF has been awarded the Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark in recognition of its work to protect the unique flora and fauna of the vegetated shingle around the Power Station .

On this year’s HADAS excursion we have been privileged to see two different Cathedrals: one dedicated to Spiritual power and the other to Nuclear! A memorable experience, indeed.

Dungeness Lifeboat Station Andrew Coulson

Anyone looking at a map of southern England would pick out the narrows where the English Channel meets the North Sea. The distance between Dungeness and Cap Griz Nez is about 25 miles and this strait, known as the Dover Strait, caters for most of the mercantile shipping bound to and from Europe. The possibilities for maritime disaster are unlimited.

The situation was exactly the same in the 1820s and the recently formed Royal National Lifeboat Institution decided to do something about it. In 1826, they planted a lifeboat station at the tip of Dungeness. This lapsed from use in 1839 but was revived in 1854 and continues to the present day.

There are presently three methods of launching a lifeboat; down a slipway from a lifeboat house, from an anchorage in a harbour or from a beach. The Dungeness boat has always been launched from a beach. Originally a very large, sturdy rowing boat with mast and sails stowed and the crew aboard, mounted on a cradle if one was available, would be pushed into the sea by horses, with the launch and recovery crew using ropes to keep the boat facing into the seas. At this time, the women of the community often played a prominent part in the process, as indeed they still do. Once launched, they would take shelter and wait for the boat’s return. Sometimes it did not. But usually it did and the then recovery part of the process would take place.

Nowadays things are a little different, but not entirely; mechanisation has just taken over. The boathouse is about 100 yards from the sea and this difference is traversed by the cradle – which holds the boat – and the tractor which pushes it. Both items of equipment are mounted on tracks, about 4 foot wide at a guess, running over 7 idler wheels with propulsion wheels at each end powered by a diesel engine. I imagine the tractor is waterproofed. Top speed is about 1-2 miles per hour and the entire system, at least 60 feet long, and weighing in the region of 40 tons with the boat on board. On reaching the sea, an arm extends to push the boat out at the same time as the cradle bed slopes to allow gravity to assist. The boat is usually launched bow first. The tractor driver can launch the boat by himself if necessary. The tractor cost £1,500.000 pounds.

The boat is a very new one, the first of the Shannon class in service. Made of fibre reinforced plastic, it weighs 18 tons and has a crew of 6. Its capacity is 23 survivors with its self-righting facility or 79 without it. Coxswain Stuart Adams explained how this worked. When the cabin is sealed, the air-bubble and the low position of the heavy engines bring the boat upright.

The main attraction of the boat is its speed. At 25 knots (30 mph), it IS fast. I remember being told in my youth that 8 knots was the most they could do – any faster and the crew would be washed out of it. In the Shannon class however, the crew are all in the cabin unless the upper steering position is manned, which is not likely when making a passage at speed in rough weather. The two engines at 650 hp each operating twin water jets, which means that the manoeuvrability is “phenomenal” and it can be beached without damage. The crew are seated two by two in the cabin strapped opposite their screens. Each man has his own position with the helmsman front left. The screens are interchangeable and can show inter alia the radar pictures from Dover Coastguard and the boat and cctv pictures from the boat. The crew have headsets and intercoms.

But some things do not change. The RNLI is strictly voluntary, as it always has been. It exists on donations and bequests from the public. The only crew members that may be paid are the coxswain and the engineer, whose job it is to ensure that the engines are fully functional at all times. As there is a training launch every fortnight and no one knows when a real call-out may come, this is a matter of necessity. Each time the Dungeness boat is launched costs £4,500. With 237 stations to maintain throughout the British Isles, the cost to the RNLI is about two and a half million pounds per week. Although the crew totals 6, the number of persons trained to operate the boat is about 30. The ideal is to have everybody trained to fulfil two or three roles on the boat, and the same goes for the launch crew. It is, as the coxswain pointed out, worrying to find on a call-out, that nobody present can drive the tractor. It takes 20 minutes to launch the boat from the moment that the pagers go off, and each crew member must live within 3 miles of the boat house.

When the station was founded, sailing ships were the bulk of the “customers”; in essence they still are, but they no longer carry heavy goods, nor are they so big. The introduction of lanes in the channel, constant patrolling by coast guard vessels, radio warnings, to say nothing of international safety agreements, have much reduced the problem, but not entirely. Nowadays the problem is yachts and small cabin cruisers, and worst of all a basic lack of skills. This is epitomised by a boat that was obviously in trouble and when asked what charts they had, held up a copy of the A-Z. They were from London and hoped to sail to Liverpool. The school summer holidays are known as “Purgatory” in the lifeboat house.

Believing that prevention is better than cure, the RNLI has encouraged their crews to give talks and demonstrations of the safe way to sail and to demonstrate the basic level of safety kit. Perhaps the most basic lesson is how to get the lifeboat. Simple: dial 999 and ask for the coastguard. They will work out what area is involved and alert the relevant boats. In the case of Dungeness, their area extends from Dover westwards to Rye. Obviously they do not have to stick to these limits – they are for guidance only.

The name of the boat is “The Morrell”; a tribute to a very generous bequest given by Mrs Barbara Morrell of Bromley in Kent. The full amount of the legacy was six million pounds from which the boat and tractor cost three and a half million. But the lifeboats have a way of supporting themselves. Last year, the Dungeness team raised £51,000 for the rescue services and the Church, holding concerts, bingo sessions, brass band events, etc. and acting as an information centre.

Then a short ride to Lydia’s lighthouse, where we were to meet up again with group one. But that’s for next month.

WHAT’S ON Eric Morgan

Tuesday 30th October, 8pm Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), East End Road, N3 3QE. Church End Town Centre: Where to Next? Discussion addressed by Dennis Pepper. Also feedback from Finchley in Bloom and a picture quiz. Non-members £2. Further details to September newsletter.

Friday 31st October, 6.30pm Friends of the Petrie Museum, UCL Lecture Theatre G6, Institute of Archaeology, 31 Gordon Square WC1. What Did Petrie & The Ancient Egyptians Ever Do For Bolton? Talk by Jacqueline Hyman.

Saturday 1st November, 10.30am – 4.30pm G.A.Festival of Geology, UCL, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT. Displays by Geologists Association members & affiliated clubs (Amateur Geological Society will have a stand here), sales of fossils, minerals, books, maps & geological equipment, amateur photographic competition, geological talks. Also walks & field trips on Sunday 2nd November. Free.

Sunday 2nd November, 10.30am Heath & Hampstead Society The Heath & Kenwood – How They Relate to Each Other. Meet at entrance to Old Kitchen Garden east of Kenwood House. Walk (leaders TBA). Lasts approx. 2hrs. £3.

Thursday 6th November, 8pm Pinner Local History Society Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park, Pinner. A Concise History of Whitefriars Glass. Talk by Mike Beech. Visitors £2

Wednesday 12th November, 2.30pm Mill Hill Historical Society Trinity Church, The Broadway, NW7. Garden Cities: History & Development. Talk by Josh Tidy.

Wednesday 12th November, 7.45pm Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, corner Ferme Park Road/Weston Park, N8 9PX. The Friern Hospital Story. Talk by David Berguer (Chair Friern Barnet L.H.S.) Visitors £3. Refreshments & sales 7.30pm.

Friday 14th November, 6.30pm Friends of the Petrie Museum UCL Lecture Theatre G6, Institute of Archaeology, 31 Gordon Square WC1. Living in a Cultic Landscape: The Khentkawes Settlement at Giza. Talk by Ana Tavares.

Wednesday 19th November, 8pm Barnet Museum & Local History Society Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite museum). AGM

Friday 21st November, 7pm C.o.L.A.S. St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark lane, EC3R 7NB. Recent Discoveries in Battersea. Talk by Kasia Olchowska (MOLA)

Saturday 22nd November, 10am – 5pm LAMAS Local History Conference, Weston Theatre, Museum of London. Law & Order (for details see September newsletter)

Thursday 27th November, 8pm Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), East End Road, N3 3QE. Xmas in London. Jean Scott Memorial Lecture given by Brenda Cole. Non-members £2.

Saturday 29th November, 10.15am – 3.30pm Amateur Geological Society’s Mineral & Fossil Bazaar St. Mary’s Hall, Hendon Lane, N3 1TR. Including rocks, books, crystals, gemstones, jewellery. Refreshments. Admission £1.

newsletter-522-September-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

By | Past Newsletters, Volume 9: 2010 - 2014 | No Comments

No 522 September 2014 Edited by P McSharry


Tuesday 14th October at 8pm: Finding Neanderthal tools in Norfolk cliffs. Lecture by Dr Nick Ashton of the British Museum.

Tuesday 11th November at 8pm: A Hamlet in Hendon – the Church Terrace site from the Mesolithic to the 21st century. Lecture by Jacqui Pearce. Jacqui is one of the principal authors of our latest book, and tutor of the HADAS Finds Group whose work over many years resulted in the publication of the 1973/74 excavations.

Sunday 7th December: Christmas Party 12 noon – 4.30 pm (approx.) Details coming soon.

All the above events unless otherwise stated will be held at Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. Lectures start promptly at 8.00 pm, with coffee /tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members welcome to the lectures (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central Station (Northern line) is a short walk away.

HADAS Long Outing 2015

Our long outing in 2015 will be from Tuesday 15th to Saturday 19th September, staying at the Best Western Forest Lodge Hotel at Lyndhurst in the New Forest, and expecting to visit Salisbury, Winchester, Beaulieu and Bucklers Hard among other places. Any suggestions would be welcomed. At this time, we have booked the whole hotel, but we will need firm numbers by Christmas. The provisional cost is unchanged from the last three trips – £450 per person sharing a room and £495 for a single room. Please let Jo or Jim Nelhams (contact details on newsletter back page) know if you would like to come.

The Archaeology of the Anglo-Saxons

The arrival of the various Anglo-Saxon ethnic groups following the end of the Roman occupation marked a major change in the political make-up of Britain. The nature of this settlement and the emergence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms will be examined, along with the later arrival of the Vikings and the interaction of the two peoples. The unification of England into one kingdom will be studied. Themes such as settlement patterns, burial practices, political organisation, trade and urbanism will be explored for both the Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods. The course will finish with the end of Anglo-Saxon rule in 1066.

The course is arranged: by the Mill Hill Archaeological Study Society. Venue: The Eversfield Centre, 11 Eversfield Gardens, Mill Hill, NW7 2AE. Time: 10.00 – 12.00 Fridays beginning 3rd October 2014. Cost: £150 for 20 classes. Tutor: Scott McCracken.

Enrol at the first meeting. If you have not previously attended the Society’s meetings please contact the Secretary: Peter Nicholson 020 8959 4757.


49th Local History Conference Saturday 22 November 2014
10.30am – 5.00pm
Weston Theatre, Museum of London

Coppers, Crooks & Counsel: Law & Order in London

Download booking form by Ctrl+click or go to

10.30-11.00 Doors open: displays by societies in Clore Learning Centre

11.00 Opening by John Clark, President of LAMAS
11.05 Portals of the Law: How people Got Access to Justice in Medieval London – Dr Penny Tucker, historical author
11.50 Law and Business in 17th-Century London: The Lord Mayor’s Court and its Litigants – Prof. CW Brooks, History Dept. University of Durham 12.35 Presentation of Local History Publications Award – introduced by John
12.45-2.00 Lunch break – time to view societies’ displays on the floor above the

Weston Theatre
2.00 The Police of London in Transition 1750-1850 – Jerry White, Professor of History at Birkbeck
2.45 Transported Beyond the Seas: Criminal Justice and the Experience of
Punishment in the Late 18th and 19th Centuries – Tim Hitchcock,

Professor of Digital History, University of Sussex
3.15-4.00 Tea – available in the Weston Theatre foyer and the Clore Learning Centre

4.00 London’s Prisons in the 19th Century – Alex Werner, Head of History
Collections, Museum of London
4.30 Detectives in Fiction – Dr Kathryn Johnson of the British Library 5.00 Close

Local history displays by societies will be on show from 10.30am, before the conference starts at 11.00am, in the Clore Learning Centre, on the floor above the Weston Theatre, where they can be seen throughout the day, particularly during the lunch period and the afternoon break.

The Museum has disabled parking spaces for blue and orange badge holders, but they need to be booked in advance (limited space) – call Security Office 020 7814 5552. Otherwise there is an NCP car park beneath the Museum.

Lunch is not provided but may be purchased from the Museum’s cafes and bar, or bring your own to eat in the Clore Learning Centre Lunch Space, above the Weston Theatre.

Afternoon tea with biscuits will be provided free of charge in the Weston Theatre foyer and upstairs beside the local history displays.

Tickets will available from 1 September: £12 before 31 October, or £15 from 1 November. They can be purchased using PayPal via the LAMAS website, by downloading the booking form (details above) or contact Eleanor Stanier (tel: 020 8876 0252, e-mail: 48 Coval Rd, London SW14 7RL.

Kent Trip Day 2 – Dover Jim Nelhams

This would have been a tricky day without good weather. As usual, Don had booked the sunshine – so no problems. In a recent trip to Folkestone, we had hoped to visit the Roman Painted House, but the M25 conspired against us. The Painted House does not open on Mondays, so was not on our busy list for Day 2 – see Day 4 for our visit there.

Our coach dropped us midway between Dover Museum (council supported) and the pedestrian underpass under the M20 link Road. While this underpass was being constructed in 1992, workers discovered the remains of a Bronze Age boat, which after conservation is now to be found in the Museum. Part of the boat could not be excavated and remains under an office block.


The main purpose of our visit to the museum was to see the Bronze Age Life Gallery and the internationally important Bronze Age Boat. Curator Jon Iveson met us and described the finding of the boat, in September 1992, during excavations prior to the construction of the A20 road link between Folkestone and Dover, and later conservation work. The boat was in the centre of the town 6m below the present road surface and close to standing buildings. At this level the wood was waterlogged and preserved by the anaerobic sediments in which it was buried. The position, at the bottom of a deep cramped shaft, well below modern hightide level and continually flooded, posed many practical problems. It was decided to cut the boat in pieces, using a rotary saw and lift them out by crane. The whole process was recorded on 130 hours of video and there was world-wide media interest.

The surviving hull measures 2.2m by 9.5m but since it was not possible to excavate fully, the total length is not known and there are several theories. When originally seen the tool marks of its fabrication were visible. Such a large unexpected find was impossible for the Canterbury Archaeological Trust to handle and after arranging for the thirty-two pieces to be stored in a water-filled tank, funding was sought. The Dover Bronze Age Boat Trust was created in 1993, with the purpose of raising funds for preserving, publishing and displaying this important artifact. It was also decided to use it as a basis for a new gallery of Bronze Age Life in Dover museum.

Following the detailed recording of all the pieces at a scale of 1:1 the timbers were soaked in a solution of PEG for 16 months before being taken to the Mary Rose Trust for freezedrying. The necessity of cutting the vessel in sections made this simpler and the timbers remained intact with minimal shrinkage and deformation. For display the parts were repositioned and laid on a supporting frame.

The remains of the boat consist of four large planks hewn from logs of a huge straight-grained oak tree. Two flat planks form the bottom, each carved out of half a log, leaving upstanding cleats and rails to allow jointing with other boat timbers. These planks were joined together along a central butt joint, with transverse timber and wedges hammered through the cleats and central rails. Curved side planks, also possessing side cleats, were stitched to the bottom of the boat using twisted withies of yew. On the top of these there was another row of stitches; there were clearly two further planks to add height. She had been made waterproof by pressing a mixture of beeswax and animal fat into the stitches and along the seams, where pads of compressed moss wading had been added.

Figure 1 Source:

The layout of the Bronze Age Gallery is very dramatic. The boat is in a central island case, gleaming in the bright light. Even with the truncation, the length is impressive. The themes of the wall cases explain the importance and put it in context. The tools and materials used in making a half scale reconstruction are displayed, with an interpretation of the original form. Another case shows the development of early boat design, including comparisons with the Ferriby boats found near the estuary of the River Humber in 1937. Several sections offer suggestions for the use of the boat. In the base a particular type of glauconite sand, not local to Dover, was found giving evidence of travel into the English Channel. Since there was no support for a mast it is probable that paddles were used.

The Langdon Bay Hoard of 360 bronze tools, weapons and ornaments discovered during the 1970’s at a possible ship-wreck site shows the

size of trade. It was suggested that such items, pottery and jewellery were exported in exchange for copper, tin, gold, amber, faience, furs, exotic animals and slaves though alternative explanations see the hoard as being of French type implements, an import of scrap bronze from northern France. In order to explain Bronze Age life, evidence from Swedish rock engravings, Danish bog finds and continental house sites was used. .

The Polar Bear Jo Nelhams

As we climbed the stairs to the gallery housing the Bronze Age boat, we came across a large glass cabinet in which was an enormous polar bear. It certainly gave one an idea of how powerful and frightening these animals are, and the huge size, when in a vertical stance. He is certainly not a cuddly Teddy Bear!!!

The Polar Bear was brought back to Dover by the Medical Officer of the 1894-7 Jackson-Harmsworth Arctic Expedition, Dr Reginald Koettlitz. An old boy of Dover College and a doctor in Dover, Dr Koettlitz was an intrepid explorer. His travels also took him to the Antarctic where he was Surgeon to the National Antarctic Expedition of 1904-7 led by Captain Scott. The bear stood in the surgery of Dr. Maurice Koettliz, the
explorer’s nephew, until the 1950s when it was given to the museum.

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I Jo Nelhams

After viewing the Bronze Age boat, there was time to wander around the rest of the museum.

In the corner of one of the galleries was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1. This portrait is one of the few paintings made for the civic environment. Dover was one of the towns that commissioned their own portrait to be displayed in the Town Hall as evidence of their loyalty to the crown.

The portrait was commissioned in the fortieth year of her reign. The cost was 25 shillings, with a special wooden frame carved with Tudor heraldic supports of a dragon and lion costing 6 shillings and 9 pence under the city mayor, “Jeromy Garrett”. The Queen is shown as head of state wearing her parliamentary robes.

Dover Town Hall

A short walk up the High Street led us to the Town Hall where we were greeted by Derek Leach, chairman of the Dover Society and two other volunteers. Tea and coffee also awaited us, and suitably refreshed, and after a brief introduction, we were divided into three groups for conducted tours of the building.

The Town Hall has a chequered history. It was founded by Hubert de Burgh, then warden of Dover Castle, in 1203. For the first 300 years, it served as a hostel for pilgrims, particularly those travelling from the continent to visit the shrine of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury, and a hospital for the sick.

For the next 300 years, it was used by the Crown as a naval victualing yard, with its
own bakery and brewery, one of several supplying the nation’s warships.

In 1834, it was sold to Dover Town Council and converted for use as a meeting hall, courtroom and gaol, and enlarged by two of the best known Victorian architects, Ambrose Poynter and William Burges. With local government reorganisation, its role as a civic centre has largely ceased.

The main area, the Stone Hall, has six Victorian stained glass windows showing important events in Dover’s history. The walls are adorned with portraits of monarchs, past mayors and Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports, including Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

St Mary’s Church Jim Nelhams

We had passed this church on our way to the Town Hall, and returned to it on our way back to the coach. Lindsay Powell Williams, one of our guides at the Town Hall, gave a brief history of the church and allowed us time to look around.

Although little evidence remains, it is possible that the original church was of Saxon origin. The current building, which sits, as does much of central Dover, on a Roman

structure, was built between 1066 and 1086, when the Domesday Book lists three churches in the town.

The present building is largely of Victorian construction and dates from about 1843. During the rebuilding, original Norman piers and arches were taken down, the stones numbered and then re-erected in their new position.

The church lost most of its windows during WW2. Most of the replacements show various historical associations between the church and the town. One, more recent window commemorates the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster of 1987 when 193 passengers and crew lost their lives.

Leaving the church, there was time for a brief walkabout. Andy Simpson and Jeffrey Lesser visited the Dover Discovery Centre next to the museum.

Dover Discovery Centre Andy Simpson

I did a quick visit to the Dover Discovery Centre (library, to you or I) at the end of the High St/Market Square, which has bright modern galleries flanking either side of the main entrance, both sides permitting viewing of exposed archaeological remains, with detailed caption panels – the footings of a demolished medieval church on one side (the town side), and parts of the Classis Britannica and Saxon Shore forts on another – not far from the Painted House and its Shore Fort west wall remains, visited and much enjoyed later that week.

Visible are the footings of the North Gatehouse of the East Gateway of the Classis Britannica fort, consisting of a rectangular room with semi-circular front dating to c.AD 130-140, discovered by Brian Philp and his team in 1974; it is overlain on its front edge by the rather overgrown solid drum-like bastion of the later Saxon Shore Fort dated around AD 270, still standing some four-six foot in height.

Jeffrey Lesser

The Dover Discovery Centre contains a reconstruction of a double Anglo Saxon grave discovered in 2009 near Wolverton in the Alkham Valley. It is unusual in that it contains two male skeletons arranged one above the other, but separately like a double decker bus. The upper is supported by a plank which lies on two short pillars of chalk. Two femurs from an earlier burial support a plank above the upper body. The upper plank is in turn surmounted with a skull, possibly belonging to the owner of the pair of femora. Were these two warriors related? A defensive ditch surrounded the mound which contained the grave.

Dover Castle Jim & Jo Nelhams

We could not visit Dover without going to the castle, which overlooks the town, but it is not as easy as you might think. There are car parks at the top of the hill within the walls, close to the main ticket office. These are reached by road through narrow and low arches (rather lower than our coach) and across a bridge leading to Canons Gate, but coaches have to drop their passengers lower down the hill below the Constable’s Gate, the main entrance since it was built by Hubert de Burgh around 1217, with a steep climb to the entrance. Luckily, we had spotted this on our reconnaissance, so had arranged for a minibus to meet the coach and take 16 of our party to the highest car park near the castle keep, while the more energetic of us scaled the footpath entrance.

The castle can be divided into four main sections. The earliest features on the site include the “pharos” or Roman lighthouse and the Anglo-Saxon church, St Mary in Castro. The pharos is a unique survivor in Britain. Another lighthouse once stood on the other side of the valley, but has not survived. Between them, they provided navigation aids for crossing the channel. Further towers were opposite on the French coast.

The next section, the inner bailey, dates from the twelfth century and formed the medieval heart of the castle. In the 1180s, Henry II remodelled the castle, planning its Great Tower as a palace. King John and Henry III continued to build extensions forming the rings of defensive walls surrounding the Great Tower.

From the 1740s onwards, the medieval banks and ditches were reshaped as the castle was adapted for artillery warfare.

In more recent times, during WW2, it was the headquarters for the Admiralty’s regional command, which utilised and adapted the “wartime tunnels”, constructed in the Napoleonic era.

Dover Castle has been of great strategic importance being located overlooking the shortest sea crossing from the continent. For over 800 years, it has been expanded and adapted above and below ground to meet the changes and challenges of the development of more powerful weapons and warfare.

From the top of the Great Tower, there are clear views across to France, and through the Channel, with its busy traffic of ferries and other shipping.

A surprise in Dover Castle Don Cooper

The inner bailey of Dover Castle has been set up as English Heritage believe it would have looked in King Henry II’s time, say AD1180. It is an extremely colourful recreation and with wood fires on each floor the castle feels almost comfortable. The recreation was completed in 2009 and has been open to the public ever since. It is well worth a visit.

However, what really took my eye was a Mappa Mundi or map of the world, hanging in one of the “king’s” rooms. English Heritage commissioned Phil and Tamara Pleasant to re-create an authentic 12th century Mappa Mundi. They took as a starting point the Sawley Map said to be the only surviving English 12th century Mappa Mundi which is in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, modified the detail from the Mappa Mundi in Hereford Cathedral which dates to about 1300 and changed the orientation so the east is at the top and Britain at the bottom. It is centred on the Mediterranean.

The map is 3ft by 4ft and is hand-crafted in calfskin leather. The ink/paint is made from ground-up lapis lazuli, malachite, oak galls, gold leaf and “Dragon’s blood” made from the root of a shrub. It is a serious modern attempt to re-create a medieval world map.

One can imagine King Henry looking at his map of the world much as we do and wondering about the animals and peoples living in those far-away places.

My thanks to the English Heritage guide who told us all about it.

Other Societies’ Events, compiled by Eric Morgan

Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th September, 11am – 6pm. Enfield Town Show – Town Park, Cecil Road, Enfield. Enfield Society & Enfield Archaeological Society will have stands here.
Lots more stalls. Admission £3 (concessions available).
Sunday 14th September, 12 – 5.30pm. Queen’s Park Festival. Harvist Road, NW6. Willesden Local History Society will have a stand here. More stalls, entertainment, etc.

Saturday 20th September. Silk Road Festival – Cricklewood Broadway, NW2. Lots of stalls all along the Broadway and roads adjoining. Also entertainment.

Monday 29th September, 6pm. Gresham College at Museum of London. 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Sleepwalkers: How Europe went to War in 1914. Talk by Christopher Clark
(St Catherine’s College, Cambridge). Free.

Thursday, 2nd October, 1.00pm. Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, ECIN 2HH. Exploring Ephemera: The Illumination of History. Talk by John Scott on the role of everyday documents illustrating the development of UK in the 19th century.

Thursday 2nd October, 8.00pm. Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. From Roxeth to the Royal Fusiliers: A Story of the Great War. Talk by Doug Kirby. Visitors £2.

Mondays at One. London Archaeology: Gresham College at Museum of London. 150, London Wall, EC2Y 5HN – in conjunction with the City of London Archaeological Trust. Demonstrating the City’s historic environment.

– Monday 6th October, 1pm. Pompey of the North – The Bloomberg Site. Talk by Sadie Watson (Mola). The extensive excavation provided a detailed narrative for the early Roman period. Waterlogged sediments preserved structures & artefacts. Free.

– Monday 13th October, 1pm. London in the not-so-Dark Ages. Talk by Lyn Blackmore (Mola). An overview of the results of over 40 years of research into the origins, development & decline of Middle Saxon Lundenwic.

– Monday 20th October, 1pm. Vanishing Archaeology: The Greenwich Fore-Shore. Talk by Natalie Cohen (Mola). Nearly 20 years of investigation of the Thames Intertidal Zone have revealed activity from Mesolithic to Modern.

– Monday 27th October, 1pm. The Archaeology of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Talk by Dr John Schofield (Mola). Recent work has brought together what we know of the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Cathedral beneath and around St Paul’s.

Tuesday 7th October, 2 – 3pm. Harrow Museum – The Granary, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow, HA2 6PX. A General History of Pinner. Talk by Pat Clarke (Pinner LHS & LAMAS). Cost £3.50.

There are also exhibitions: Wednesday 10th September – Sunday 12th October: Our Harrow Stories, memories, objects, experiences of Harrow; Wed. 15th October – Sun. 4th January 2015 ‘Good Old Roxey’ – a pictorial history of South Harrow in the 19th & 20thCentury.

Wednesday 8th October, 1pm. Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, ECIN 2HH. Interpreting Ely Cathedral. Talk by Dr Lynne Broughton. Free.

Wednesday 8th October, 6pm. Gresham College at Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Cultural Revolution: Palaces of the early Stuart Kings. Talk by Simon Thurley (CEO of English Heritage) on patrons of art and architecture.

Monday 13th October, 3pm. Barnet Museum & Local History Society, Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opp. Museum) July 1, 1916: The Somme – Day One. Talk by Dennis Bird. Visitors £2.
Wednesday 15th October, 7.30pm. Willesden Local History Society – St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS (Nr. Magistrates’ Court) ‘Bigamists and Two-Timers’. Talk by Signe Hoffos (CoLAS & F.O.K.G.E.) on some of the rather naughty people buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.

Friday 17th October, 7pm. CoLAS – St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7NB. Beyond the Mithraeum: Excavation of the Bloomberg London Site. Talk by Michael Tetrean (Mola). Visitors £2. Light refreshments after.

Friday, 17th October, 7.30pm. Wembley History Society – English Martyrs’ Hall, Chalk Hill Road, Wembley, HA9 9EW (top of Blackbird Hill, adj to church). The Jewel of Wembley. Talk by Philip Grant (Brent Archives) on the story of Burma and its people at the British Empire Exhibition from a 1924 scrapbook. Visitors £2.

Friday 17th October, 7.45pm. Enfield Archaeological Society – Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/jnc, Chase Side, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. Life and Death in 19th Century London. Talk by Michael Henderson (Mola). Visitors £1. Refreshments 7.30pm.

Wednesday 22nd October, 7.45pm. Friern Barnet and District Local History Society – North Middx Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. Back to the Drawing Board: Transport systems that failed. £2.

Saturday 25th October, 9.45am – 4.30pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society Day Conference: In and Around the Cambridge Road: the longest consecutive numbered road in the country – with a speaker from Bruce Castle Museum. Also Dr Martin Dearne (E.A.S.), and Dr Jim Lewis (Author), Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. For more details and booking: Tel. 020 8363 9495, or visit or email:

Thursday 30th October, 8pm. Finchley Society Drawing Room, Avenue House (Stephens House), East End Road, N3 3QE. Discussion Meeting. For further details see Finchley Society’s Sept/Oct Newsletter. Non-members £2.

Newsletter-521-August-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

By | Past Newsletters, Volume 9: 2010 - 2014 | No Comments

No. 521 AUGUST 2014 Edited by Stephen Brunning


Saturday 2nd August. 10am-4pm. Getting to grips with pots & pipes: the archaeology of everyday artefacts from Saxon times to Queen Victoria. Day workshop at Stephens House & Gardens. Please see July 2014 newsletter or website for details and how to book. It is not too late!

Sunday 3rd August 1.30pm. “A Hamlet in Hendon: The archaeology and history of Church End from excavations at Church Terrace, 1973-74”. Book launch at The Greyhound Public House for HADAS members and invited guests. Please see July newsletter or contact Jo Nelhams for more details.

Tuesday 8th October at 8pm: Finding Neanderthal tools in Norfolk cliffs. Lecture by Dr Nick Ashton of the British Museum.

Tuesday 11th November at 8pm: A Hamlet in Hendon –the Church Terrace site from the Mesolithic to the 21st century. Lecture by Jacqui Pearce. Jacqui is one of the principal authors of our latest book, and tutor of the HADAS Finds Group whose work over many years resulted in the publication of the 1973/74 excavations.

Sunday 7th December: Christmas Party 12 noon – 4.30 pm (approx.) Details coming soon.

All the above events unless otherwise stated will be held at Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. Lectures start promptly at 8.00 pm, with coffee /tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members welcome to the lectures (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central Station (Northern line) is a short walk away.


Membership Renewals – a reminder. Stephen Brunning.

Many thanks to everyone those who has paid their subscription. At the time of writing however 28 members have still to do so. If you intend to renew this year, I would be grateful to receive payment by 1st September 2014 at the following rates: £15 (Full), £5 (each additional member at the same address), £6 (student). My address is on the last page of this newsletter.

It is not necessary to return the renewal form enclosed with March’s newsletter. A piece of paper with your name, postal address, telephone number and email address (if applicable) will suffice. I will then be able check the details we hold are still correct. It would also be helpful if you could indicate your willingness to receive the newsletter by email. This helps to keep our costs to a minimum. Thank you.

The House Mill, Miller’s House and Clock Mill. Jim Nelhams

The lecture on 8th April 2014 by Brian James Strong and Beverley Charters was advertised as “House Mill and its restoration”. On our return journey from the trip to Kent, we were able to fit in a visit and learn more about this important site. The write-up below is an amalgamation of the lecture and our visit.

Thanks to Vicki Baldwin and Harry and Marilyn Burgess.

Last but not least on our holiday jaunt, was our visit to Three Mills Island on our homeward journey. As some HADAS members may recollect, Three Mills Island was featured at the April meeting, so it was good to visit the site so soon afterwards.

Upon our arrival at the mill, the group assembled in the visitor’s information centre where we were afforded hot drinks, and given a brief overview of the site. We then split into two groups and were taken on a tour of the mill by our knowledgeable, enthusiastic guides.

“Probably the largest tidal mill in the world”. The House Mill is a Grade 1 listed 18th century tidal mill. It is located on a man-made island 1 mile north of the confluence of the River Lea and the Thames at Blackwall. Milling had taken place in the area for over 1000 years and mills are recorded in Domesday. These would have been watermills, as windmills were not introduced until later and the area was known as Three Mills from Medieval times. As a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries the mills, part of Stratford Langthorne Abbey, were sold. It is known that they milled flour for the bakers of Stratford who provided bread for the City of London. Flour was not the only product. In 1588 the milling of gunpowder for use against the Armada was recorded.

In 1728 the mills were part of the distilling industry and were run by the Huguenot Peter Lefebvre. Coopers and carpenters also worked on the site which had its own piggery utilising the waste products from the distilling. By 1776 Daniel Bison was in charge and he and his son built the House, so-called because it was set between their two houses. Both Bisons died in 1777 and the mill passed into the ownership of Philip Metcalfe, a friend of Samuel Johnson. In 1802 the mill was burned down but then rebuilt. Following the death of Metcalfe in 1819 the mill was neglected until taken over by Nicholson’s Gin in 1872. The two stages of distilling gin were not allowed to take place on the same site and the raw spirit was stored “in bond” until taken elsewhere for rectifying.

At its point of maximum use, the House Mill had 4 waterwheels running 12 pairs of millstones. The nearby Clock Mill had 3 wheels running 6 pairs of stones. Production was in shifts, using the power of the river on the ebb tides, with milling for 6-8 hours per tide compared to a steam engine which could work for 24 hours. Production continued on the site, and also pig farming was introduced with up to 5000 pigs being kept in its heyday. The site was eventually owned by Nicholson’s Distillery, and the mill was last operational in 1941, when the area was bombed during the Second World War. An unlikely tale tells that the River Lea burned for a week due to the barrels of spirits from the bonded warehouse. Probably not, though!

Sadly, the mill then fell into disrepair, and became derelict. A number of the millstones were removed in the 1950’s as they were valuable and were sold to the cosmetics industry. The battle to prevent demolition began in the 1970’s, and since 1986 it has been owned by the River Lea Tidal Mill Trust.

The Trust began work in 1989 to preserve the mill and rebuild the miller’s house. While the area was being prepared, the original marble and Portland stone floor of the miller’s house was discovered along with between 1,480 and 1,500 roof fragments. It was also found that the house and mill were built on an artificial island and the original piles from the 1763 house were uncovered. It appears that the piles had been driven in, planks laid on top and then the brick walls were constructed!

The mill building has now been fully restored. The House Mill has been afforded English Heritage Grade 1 listed status.

The 5-floor mill itself is of timber frame construction with brick cladding. Some of the timbers had been recycled from the hulls of old ships. The shape of these allowed the building to flex and probably contributed to its survival.

The mill has a 19th century Poncelet waterwheel with curved float and Fairbairn’s “Silent Millstone Machinery”. These were still in use in the 1930s, and apparently use gravity and centrifugal force thus dispensing with the “damsel”. It cannot be claimed that Fairbairn (1789-1874) actually installed the system, but it is possibly the only surviving example. In addition there is the Pattern Store containing a complete set of wooden patterns – all recorded but not all the functions are known.

The House Mill remains a reminder of the vibrant industrial heritage of the River Lea and the Thames. There is still much that the Trust wishes to do to realise their plans for the House Mill. At present it offers a fascinating glimpse into the past and “probably the largest tidal mill in the world” is well worth a visit.

The area of the East End of London has since had an enormous regeneration project, in preparation for hosting the 2012 Olympic Games. As a result, the River Lea is no longer fully tidal, as a dam was put in place, prior to new housing being built.

The House Mill has been given a £2.65 million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore the machinery of the mill and provide wider community benefits.

For HADAS members wishing to visit the site, it is just a short walk from Bromley-by-Bow underground station. Tours are conducted on Sunday from May to October. A word of caution; call before visiting, as the site is manned by volunteers, and on a previous visit Jim had found them closed on arrival.


Local History Lovers Needed

James Pollard 1792–1867 The ‘Tally-Ho’ London – Birmingham Stage Coach Passing Whittington College, Highgate (1836)

Arts depot will celebrate its 10th birthday in October 2014 and has embarked upon an ambitious heritage project, Tally Ho: A Place to Meet, in partnership with the Finchley Society, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are looking for members of the community to help bring this project to life by feeding into an exhibition and oral history archive focused on two periods in the history of the artsdepot site – The Tally Ho Coach Company (early 19th century) and the Gaumont Cinema (1937-1980).

We need local History Lovers

Do you have photos, posters, ticket stubs, programmes or other materials relevant to the history of the Gaumont Cinema or the Tally Ho Coach Company?

We want to hear your story

We’re looking for willing volunteers to take part in oral history interviews, which will be contributed to local archives. Do you have memories about the Gaumont Cinema that you would like to share?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please contact the heritage project team to discuss how you can get involved.

You can reach us at:

Email: Telephone: 020 8369 5462 (Tuesdays and Thursdays)


HADAS Long Outing to Kent. Day one: Canterbury.

In the Footsteps of Pilgrims Kevin McSharry

Sunday 29th June and the intrepid Hadasians sallied forth from the fastness of Barnet to follow in the footsteps of Pilgrims to Canterbury, their base during their exploration of the County of Kent over the next five days. Appropriately, their first port of call was the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury, to give its full and proper title, which has been a place and centre of Christian worship since the time of the Romans.

The etymology of the name Canterbury can be clearly traced in the successive variants of the name: It was an important pre-Roman centre for the local Celtic tribe the Cantiaci; Durovernum Cantiacorum was the Roman name; and Cantwareburgh the old English. The word cathedral comes from the Latin Cathedra = seat i.e. the seat or base of a bishop.

It is said that from the tiny acorn a great oak grows; and so it certainly was in the case of Canterbury. In 597 CE the Benedictine monk Augustine, at the behest of Pope St. Gregory (the first of sixteen of that name and often called Gregory the Great), led a mission to the pagan king of Kent Aethelbert and his Christian wife Bertha. Augustine’s mission was to bring Christianity to Kent and beyond. Thus from an acorn sown in the soil of Kent in 597 CE did the National and International importance of Canterbury spring. It is an amazing story.

Augustine was the first Archbishop of Canterbury and Justin Welby, Augustine’s successor is the 105th Archbishop and Primate of England. The Church of England, focused on the See of Canterbury, is regarded as the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the symbolic head of that Communion. There are 37 Provinces, covering 165 countries, in the Communion all linked by history and doctrine to Canterbury.

Let us not think that Christianity did not exist in Britain before Augustine. It did! – on the Celtic fringes but it had become isolated from the See of Peter in Rome.

Figure 1: Canterbury Cathedral

To do justice to the building that is Canterbury Cathedral (picture above) and the layers of history that
enfold it would take volumes. One could explore the Cathedral for days and even then barely peel back the layers of the history of this magnificent structure.

If Augustine was the first Archbishop to put Canterbury, as it were, on the National Map, it was Thomas Becket, the 39th Archbishop who saw it gain international prominence – at least in the context of Europe. Thomas achieved this by sacrificing his life in the heart of the Cathedral on the 29th day of December 1170 when he was assassinated by alleged emissaries of Henry II the Angevin King of England, Lord of Ireland and ruler of more than half of France. Thomas was proclaimed a martyr and within two years of his death canonised a saint. Thomas’s tomb became a shrine and an International Centre of Pilgrimage.

Figure 2: Geoffrey Chaucer

Our own Geoffrey Chaucer, father of English Literature, wrote of those pilgrims in his “Canterbury Tales”. Chaucer is a crucial figure in developing the legitimacy of English at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were French and Latin. Chaucer’s sister-in-law was Katherine Swynford, third wife of John of Gaunt and stepmother of Henry IV, also buried in the Cathedral, of whom we will hear more anon.

Becket’s shrine was dismantled and destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII. Nothing of its magnificence remains. The actual site of the martyrdom is a cross before which is a prie-dieu where on May 29th 1982 the Bishop of Rome, John Paul II, and the Bishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, knelt in prayer for the unity of Christendom.

Figure 3: the nave of Canterbury Cathedral looking towards the screen and quire

Two tombs in the Cathedral have echoes resonant of the Wars of the Roses, that dynastic internecine conflict. On the north side of Trinity Chapel, and directly adjacent to the site of the shrine of St. Thomas Becket, is the tomb of King Henry IV (Henry of Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire) the usurper Lancastrian King who deposed his first cousin Richard II and seized the throne of England for himself and his heirs. On the south side of the shrine lies Edward of Woodstock (later known as the Black Prince) Henry IV’s uncle and father of the deposed Richard II.

The Battle of Bosworth (22nd August 1485) brought closure to the dynastic war of the Red (Lancastrian) and White (Yorkist) Roses. However, memories of that Battle and the conflict of the Roses have headlined the news as the good people of Leicester prepare to give honourable burial to the last Plantagenet King, Richard III, in their Cathedral after he was discovered under a municipal car park.

Chichele Road in our own Cricklewood is a local connection with the Great Cathedral of Canterbury. Henry Chichele, 60th Archbishop of Canterbury (1363-1443) is also buried in the Cathedral by the upper choir. Chichele founded All Souls College Oxford, which, and I surmise, owned land in the Boroughs of Barnet and the adjacent Brent hence Chichele Road.

Figure 4: tomb of Henry Chichele

Henry Chichele is buried in a cadaver tomb which depicts his naked corpse on the lower level; while on the upper level he is shown resplendent in full archiepiscopal robes. The inscription on his tomb reads: “I was a pauper born then to primate raised. Now I am cut down and served up for worms. Behold my grave” – an accurate description except for “pauper” which was wide of the truth.

Canterbury Cathedral, headquarters of the Anglican Communion, lies in the heart of the City of Canterbury. The ecclesial prominence of the Cathedral is the raison d’être for Canterbury’s importance both on the national and international stage and the reason why pilgrims and tourists flock to this small provincial Home County city. Its prominence has caused it to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Cathedral was rightly our first port of call in the City of Canterbury, the base for our explorations of the Garden of England, Kent, and where we were comfortably housed in the well-appointed and excellent Best Western Hotel Barton Abbots. The Cathedral was the starting point of our explorations over the next five enjoyable, interesting and stimulating days.

(Sadly, our time in the Cathedral was truncated by a special service, and we were unable to schedule a return visit to do justice to this splendid building.)

St George’s Church Frances Radford

After arriving in Canterbury, the first building to strike one is a knapped flint and stone tower, all which is left of St George’s Church after the Baedeker night raid on the city on 1st June 1942. The plaque giving this information was placed here in 1992, the 50th anniversary of the bombing. Another plaque states that “Christopher Marlowe, dramatist, was baptised in the church 26 February 1564 and died at Deptford 30 May 1593” – a short life! Marlowe was assassinated in a tavern brawl possibly, so it is thought, either in a dispute over a bill or more likely due to his involvement in secret service activities.

Canterbury Cathedral Simon Williams

The Anglo-Saxon cathedral had been gutted by fire in 1067 and was a ruin. The first thing that Benedictine monk Lanfranc, later to become its Archbishop, did on his arrival in England in 1070 (with the backing of William the Conqueror) was to perform a re-build with Caen stone.

Archbishop Lanfranc’s Crypt (c.1120) by buggy (2014) Simon Williams

It was encouraging that there was a full-access disabled route. I was led by a kind guide round the east end of the Cathedral past substantial, intriguingly hidden, Dissolution ruins, and to the cloisters (1396-1420). Here was an enlightened crypt access entry point; no need to dismount from my disabled steed here or in the crypt itself; but I could drive straight in and around! Inside, the low-light and unhurried, uncrowded ambience was very atmospheric, which was enhanced by candlelight. Here plain short pillars give way to a flourish of fanciful capitals, including tumblers and caricatures of zoomorphic musicians, which were carved vigorously and energetically; those at the west end are the earliest cushion capitals in England. Surprisingly, original chancel columns and 7th century (or disputably 9th century) cross fragments from Reculver’s Saxon Church are also to be found within. St Gabriel’s Chapel (c. 1110) has a fine display of wall-paintings which were preserved by chance.

A special thanks to Jim for kindly arranging the hire, collection and return of the scooter from outstandingly helpful Finchley All-Mobility, together with our driver Gareth for the arduous task of knocking it down, re-assembling, and unloading/lifting it back into the coach at almost every stop of the holiday.

St Gabriel’s Chapel Dot Ravenswood

The beautiful wall-paintings in St Gabriel’s chapel are exceptionally well preserved because they are in an apse which was walled up in the late 12th century and only reopened in 1879. The arched recess is covered in biblical scenes painted in bright reds, blues and yellows, with figures holding explanatory banners. Some of the lettering on the banners is legible: the words “sed vocabitur… est nomen” help to identify one of the scenes as the Naming of John the Baptist. Canterbury Historical and Archaeology Society (CHAS) has photos and more information on its website: http://www.canterbury-

Figure 5: one of the capitals in St Gabriel’s Chapel.

A Boat on the Stour Liz and Andrew Tucker

Whenever we go on holiday, if there is a river, seaside or Venetian canal nearby we always look for a boat trip. In Canterbury, it was a lovely sunny day for a trip along the river Stour. This river consists of a number of different branches. There was a choice between a punt and a rowing boat. We chose the rowing boat as being more stable.
Setting off from a landing stage with a ducking stool by it, our own guide rowed us past various historic buildings, which reminded us even more of Venice, as they were mostly pizza restaurants. We had to duck as we went under some very low bridges, including the oldest road bridge in Great Britain. We passed a green, overgrown island, once the site of a Franciscan monastery.

Passing the landing stage to go in the other direction we were in time to see the rower on another tour boat pitch over backwards and vanish under the surface. He quickly reappeared as the water was only a metre deep, but did not look too happy, and we had to chase after one of his oars.

On the way back, we passed a modern building, the Marlowe Theatre, named after Canterbury’s famous playwright. The guide reminded us of the strange theory that Marlowe was not murdered, but escaped abroad, to act as a spy and write Shakespeare’s plays. I don’t know if he really believed this!

Museums Jim Nelhams

With so much history, it comes as no surprise that that the city has several museums. Nearest to the Cathedral is the Roman Museum which boasts a Roman mosaic in situ. Like many Roman sites, it was discovered by accident. The dig itself is nicely documented.

The Heritage Museum shows local history through the ages. It also invites you to re-visit childhood with the original film props for Bagpuss, the Clangers, the Pogles, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog.

All these characters featured in films by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, who both came to live near Canterbury and began collaborating in 1958. Oliver Postgate wrote the stories, produced the films and animated the characters, which were made by Peter Firmin and his wife Joan. Many of the programmes were filmed in Firmin’s barn in Blean, just outside Canterbury.

You can also meet Rupert Bear and his Canterbury creator Mary Tourtel in fun-packed displays. These include original illustrations by Tourtel and her successor, Albert Bestall, as well as memorabilia and images of the latest animated Rupert Bear.

Mary Tourtel, who was born in Canterbury and studied art here, was asked by the Daily Express to invent a children’s character for the newspaper, to match those of rival press. Her creation, Rupert Bear, first appeared in the Daily Express on Monday 8 November 1920 in a single frame illustration to the story of ‘Little Lost Bear’, which continued daily. Tourtel illustrated and wrote Rupert stories until 1935, after which Albert Bestall continued the strip cartoons.

Ted would not let me escape without mentioning the Beaney Art Museum and Library. This has displays of a number of historic artefacts. Most of the art is by local artists. The highlight during our visit was on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum – an extensive display entitled “The Teddy Bear Story”, telling the story of the “invention” of the articulated Teddy Bear, with lots of examples from Steiff up to the present day.

“ALL OVER BY CHRISTMAS”. Reviewed by Peter Pickering

I have just been reading David Berguer’s very timely new book with this title. It is an account of the First World War from the perspective of our part of North London; as the blurb says, it tells the story of how civilians coped with everything from sugar rationing to Zeppelin raids and how initial patriotism and optimism gave way to war weariness and a realisation that victory was by no means inevitable. The book discusses many aspects of the impact the war had, including those on taxation, and on the work of women. It contains a large number of illustrations, many culled from the Barnet Press, ranging from crudely anti-German cartoons to exhortations to eat less bread and to make cakes with egg-substitute. The many extracts from letters from men in the trenches are striking and moving; the Barnet Press encouraged people receiving such letters to send them in for publication (one describes the extraordinary Christmas truce of 1914 – though this particular company were forbidden by their officers to accept the challenge to a game of football). More remarkably, one young lady wrote long letters every week throughout the war to her fiancé who was serving in Egypt and Turkey; he kept them, and their daughter has allowed extracts to be published. Since she worked in the City, they reveal the impact of the war there, as well as in Muswell Hill, where she lived. The book has appendices listing the names on war memorials in Finchley, Friern Barnet and Whetstone, with biographical details as available, and of the Zeppelin and aeroplane raids in Britain.

The book is published by Keith Martin’s Chaville Press (148 Friern Park). I thoroughly recommend it.

Want to learn a new subject….for free? Stephen Brunning

Try FutureLearn. They are an online education company wholly owned by the Open University in partnership with 20 well know UK universities and other institutions.

There are a number of courses to choose from, with more being added all the time. I am halfway through “England in the time of Richard III”. This is delivered online only over six weeks with a different theme each week. Other courses vary between 2 and 10 weeks. The time commitment again varies; mine being just 3 hours per week. There are a couple of Roman courses in there (Hadrian’s Wall & the archaeology of Portus), plus Shakespeare & Maritime Archaeology.

Learners (as they are called), read articles, watch short videos, and listen to audio interviews. They then have to option to comment on the module which other learners can see and reply to. A really nice touch is the ability to download and print the video transcripts. At the end of each week there is a multiple choice test review which the computer scores and counts towards your overall mark. Due to the large number of participants, no direct contact is possible with the lecturer although I have seen her reply to a couple of comments on the blog.

At the end of the course learners have the option of buying a “Statement of Participation”. These cost £24 each plus p&p. I was wondering how the company made their money and guess this could be one way. There is no obligation to purchase though.

Other Societies’ Events, compiled by Eric Morgan

Friday 15th August, 7pm. C.O.L.A.S. Wapping Walkabout. Guided walk led by Peter Smith (qualified London Guide). Meet at Tower Hill station by bronze statue of Trajan. Lasts 2 hours. Cost £4 (non-members).

Sunday 31st August, 3-5pm. Avenue House (now Stephens House & Gardens). East End Road, N3 3QE. Bothy Gardens Annual Garden Party. ALSO Sunday 17th August & Sunday 21st September, 1-5pm. Bothy Gardens Open Afternoon. HADAS are usually in the Garden Room on Sunday mornings from 10.30am.

Monday 8th September, 3pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Church House, Wood St, Barnet (opposite museum). Political causes of the First World War. Talk by Alan Smith. Visitors £2 (members free). ALSO Saturday 13th September. Coach outing to Ely Cathedral. For details contact Pat Alison at 37 Ladbroke Drive, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 1QR (tel 01707 858430) or email, or telephone Barnet Museum on 020 8440 8066.

Tuesday 9th September, 7.45pm. Amateur Geological Society, The Parlour, St Margaret’s Church,Victoria Avenue N3 1BD (off Hendon Lane). Portals to the Past: geology and archaeology on the Crossrail Project. Talk by Jay Carver (Crossrail Lead Archaeologist).

Wednesday 10th September, 7.45pm. Union Church Hall, Corner Ferme Park Road/Weston Park N8 9PX. Alexandra Palace: the way forward. Talk by Duncan Wilson. Visitors £2. Refreshments 7.40pm.

Friday 12th September, 7.45pm. Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/Junction of Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ. The Rose Theatre discovered & The Rose revealed. Presidential Address by Harvey Sheldon (also HADAS President). Visitors £1. Refreshments 7.30pm.

Saturday 13th September, 10am. Enfield Society. Heritage walk around Edmonton. Led by Monica Smith with visits to Lamb’s Cottage & All Saints Church. To apply for tickets FREE please send SAE and include your telephone number to: Emma Halstead, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield EN2 OAJ. (Maximum of 2 tickets per person). Jubilee Hall telephone number 020 8363 9495.

Sunday 14th September, 11am-3pm. C.O.L.A.S. at the Tower of London for the Mayor’s Thames Festival. Together with the Thames Discovery Programme, Thames 21, Museum of London Docklands, Historic Royal Palaces & various other groups. Displays of ceramics, pipes, shoes & leather plus other foreshore finds.

Wednesday 17th September, 7.30pm. Willesden Local History Society. St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS (near St Margaret’s Court). Willesden & the First World War. Talk by Margaret Pratt (General Secretary).

Wednesday 17th September, 7.45pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield EN2 0AJ. Enfield’s Industrial Heritage. Talk by Stephen Gilburton. .

Friday 19th September, 7pm. C.O.L.A.S. St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7NB. Life and Death in the Bronze Age of Southern England: new discoveries in the Thames Valley and beyond. Talk by Neil Wilkins. Visitors £2.

Saturday 20th September, 11am-3pm. C.O.L.A.S at the Museum of London Docklands for the Mayor’s Thames Festival. Together with the various groups as on Sunday 14th September (above). Displays & activities. West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, E14 4AL.

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st September. London Open House Weekend. FREE access to over 800 buildings, including: Myddelton House & Gardens, Bulls Cross Enfield EN2 9HG (Saturday 10am-4pm), Three Mill House Mill, Three Mills Lane, Bromley-by-Bow, E3 3DU (Saturday & Sunday 11am-4pm). A guided tour of the grinding stones and waterwheels is available at this historic site which was the subject of the HADAS lecture in April 2014. Details at

Sunday 21st September. Finchley Goes to War. Special commemorative walk led by Mark King (London Blue Badge Guide) will explore Finchley’s role in WW1, including a wide range of stories, various forms of memorial, home of the very first soldier to die in the war, public buildings that served as wartime hospitals, how Finchley’s green fields played a vital role in feeding local families, plus the famous “naked lady”. Starts at Henly’s Corner and includes a break at Stephens House. Details and booking at

Wednesday 24th September, 7.45pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. Bugging the Nazis in WWII. Talk by Helen Fry. Non-members £2. Refreshments and bar.

Thursday 25th September, 8pm. Finchley Society. Martin School, High Road, East Finchley N2 (entrance at the end of Plane Tree Walk). Outreach Meeting. Covering topics relevant to the East Finchley area. Visitors £2. (HADAS are digging here).

Saturday 27th September. Enfield Society. Dugdale Centre, Enfield Museum, Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, Enfield EN2 6DS. Day Conference. Focusing on the current exhibition looking at World War I in Enfield. Talk by Ian Jones (EAS) along with re-enactors telling the story of the Cuffley airship crash and a soldier in WW1 uniform talking about his kit & weapons, plus a display of firearms and a presentation on the Lee Enfield Rifle. Tickets cost £13 and include lunch, morning coffee and afternoon tea. To book send SAE to “Study Day”, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield EN2 0AJ. Please include your telephone number and enclose cheque for £13 made payable to “The Enfield Society”.

Newsletter-520-July-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

By | Past Newsletters, Volume 9: 2010 - 2014 | No Comments

No 520 July 2014 Edited by P & K McSharry

HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming Events: –

The Hendon and District Archaeological Society presents
Getting to grips with Pots & Pipes: the archaeology of everyday artefacts from
Saxon times to Queen Victoria
with Jacqui Pearce BA FSA MIfA on Saturday 2nd August 2014
at Stephens House and Gardens 17 East End Road, Finchley, London N3 3QE from 10.00am to 4.00pm

For the archaeologist, pottery and clay tobacco pipes are among the most common finds made during excavation. This one-day workshop aims to provide an introduction to identifying these ubiquitous artefacts, and to understanding their role in the everyday lives of the people who used them, through specialist-led presentations and handling sessions.

Attendees are also invited to bring along finds for identification. The workshop will consist of presentations in the morning, on medieval and post-medieval pottery, and in the afternoon on clay pipes. A number of finds-handling sessions have been built in throughout the day.

Jacqui Pearce is Senior Specialist, medieval and later ceramics, at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology).

Tickets cost £20 which includes morning coffee, buffet lunch and afternoon tea.


Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) is pleased to invite HADAS members to the launch celebration of its latest book:

“A Hamlet in Hendon. The archaeology and history of Church End from excavations at Church Terrace, 1973 – 74”

When Themistocles Constantinides founded HADAS in 1961 it was with the main aim of finding and proving the Anglo-Saxon origins of Hendon. In 1973 an opportunity arose to excavate at Church Terrace that finally proved the ancient origins of this part of Hendon. Now, 40 years later, this exciting book brings together all the evidence from that excavation and relates the story of one of the original hamlets that made up the parish of Hendon. This beautifully produced book, at over 200 pages, has maps, diagrams and analysis of the excavation and the related finds, and is packed with full-colour photographs.

Don Cooper, our HADAS Chairman has written in his introduction “We are hugely proud of this book. It is not only a record of the excavation and post-excavation analysis of this site, but is also a major contribution to the history, origins and development of Hendon. It is a fine example of what
local archaeological societies can still achieve.”

HADAS will formally launch the publication of this book at an event on Sunday August 3rd 2014, from 1.30 p.m., at “The Greyhound” public house, Church End, Hendon, NW4 4JT, close to the site of the excavation. In addition to receiving free copies of the book, members of HADAS will be available to discuss the book and the wider activities of HADAS. Light refreshments will be available.

As a HADAS member, we are delighted to invite you to this event and we hope that you will be able to join us. For our planning we would be grateful if you could confirm your attendance by contacting Jo Nelhams, HADAS Secretary, on 020 8449 7076,, or write to her at 61 Potters Road, Barnet Herts EN5 5HS.

Annual General Meeting – Tuesday 10th June 2014 Jo Nelhams

The 53rd Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday 10th June at 7.45pm in Avenue House (now Stephens House). I would like to thank all those who came along to this rather special AGM to
celebrate the publication of the HADAS book, ‘A Hamlet in Hendon’.

The meeting was attended by 36 members with apologies from a further 14.

The Chairman, Don Cooper opened the meeting announcing the recent death on May 10th of John Enderby, a founder member. He also offered apologies from the President Harvey Sheldon, who was indisposed.

Peter Pickering, the Vice Chairman, took the chair to conduct the business of the re-election of Don Cooper as Chairman, which was unanimously approved. Don took the Chair for the remainder of the meeting.

All other officers and members of the Committee offered themselves for re-election.
The Committee consists of Chairman: Don Cooper, Vice-Chairman: Peter Pickering, Hon. Treasurer:Jim Nelhams, Hon. Secretary: Jo Nelhams, Hon. Membership Secretary: Stephen Brunning, and committee members Vicki Baldwin, Bill Bass, Roger Chapman, Eric Morgan, Andrew Selkirk, Tim Wilkins, Sue Willetts and Simon Williams.

The Chairman explained the changes at Avenue House. Avenue House is now to be known as ‘Stephens House & Gardens’ Our use of the Garden Room and Garage will cease, but we have been allocated alternative accommodation in the basement, which is large enough to store the contents of both the Garden Room and Garage. The rent will remain the same and will be held for 3years.

The meeting closed at 8.12pm.

Post AGM.

Last September Jim and I attended the first LAMAS conference on Historic Buildings. Harvey
Sheldon gave a short, but very interesting, presentation about the London Walls. As he attends our AGM to chair the meeting, we asked if he could do a similar lecture for us and he kindly agreed. However, the best-laid plans sometimes have a hitch. Unfortunately Harvey was unable to attend, but miraculously he managed to engage at very short notice John Shepherd with whom he had been working on this topic. Our grateful thanks go to John for his contribution.

A report of the lecture follows.

After the lecture copies of the recently published HADAS book ,’A Hamlet in Hendon’ were distributed to the members who were present, with some liquid refreshment to celebrate the occasion.

Many thanks to everyone for a memorable evening, a special AGM.

The City Wall of London by John Shepherd Liz Gapp

John started his well-illustrated talk by showing the familiar outline of the city walls of London. He explained that current conventional thinking suggested that the date of building for the land wall side was fairly inexact, from 180 to 240 AD. The riverside wall was more precisely estimated at 270 AD. If this is true it implies a few generations difference between the times of building the two different parts of the wall.
The first point raised was to consider whether Londinium was always the shape we assume it to be today.

In 1944, as peace approached, Kathleen Kenyon, then acting director and secretary of the Institute of Archaeology, noted that restoration of the bombed City of London ruins gave an opportunity for archaeological work to provide a greater understanding of the origins of London. The first suggestion was that it was the Roman elements that should be pursued. Professor Grimes, who replaced Mortimer Wheeler as Director of the Museum of London, pressed for both Roman and Medieval to be pursued, and Ivor Noel Hume specifically traced the Medieval origins.

In the 1940s, it was known that the original city wall was Roman, but precise knowledge of when it was built was not known until Professor Grimes, via his archaeological ‘interventions’ was able to narrow it down in the 1950s.

John’s interest in the problem started in the 1980s, when he was research assistant to Professor Grimes. Through a series of small strategically placed trenches, Grimes had been able to identify the Cripplegate Fort, within the NW corner of the city walls, as a standard ‘playing card’ shape similar to those on Hadrian’s Wall. This could be read as part of Hadrian’s reorganisation of his administration network, for use by the Roman military who were the civil servants of the day. Grimes dated it to c.120 AD, before any probable date for the walls themselves. He was most proud of this set of excavations, and would have preferred his CBE to have been awarded for this out of his more than 45 excavations in the area, rather than his discovery of the Mithras temple for which he actually won the award. He considered this latter excavation to be just pure luck, whereas the identification of the fort was as a result of educated hard work.

With the architecture of the fort shown to be the same as that used on Hadrian’s Wall, Grimes was able to work out the proportions and located the fort’s western gate, which later became one of the six City gates. This was published together with Audrey Williams, the unsung heroine of Grimes’s days

The city walls near the Cripplegate Fort were very well designed, with the North-South wall following the fort walls exactly. Mortimer Wheeler’s notes on the city wall in the fort area also said that it was built over an existing Roman wall.

In 1946, at Bastion 14, it was noticed that two walls had a Commodus coin stuck in the mortar, giving a date for construction as after 180 AD, the date of the coin. It was also noticed that at some points the Roman wall had a second later wall built exactly alongside it. At St Alphage, it is possible to see the join of the fort wall against the city wall.

The West Gate had large 12 inch blocks at its base which showed signs of being worked.

Interestingly, when Bazalgette’s sewer was being built in London, the men often came across parts of the old London walls. As it affected their work rate, a plan was kept of these.

Excavations at St Paul’s tube station uncovered a concrete foundation that was so solid it needed explosives to destroy it. The solidity of it suggests that there could have been a triumphal arch there – was this an earlier entrance to the city?

The later City Wall was constructed in the 9th to 11th century. Interestingly, while in this later era there was a great quantity of rubbish pits, none of them were near the West Gate, implying that it was still in use then. It was not until Neville’s House was built in the 13th century in that area, and across the West Gate, that it was blocked up.
To summarise; the West and North walls look like defensive walls. Evidence elsewhere shows that the city gates pre-dated the city walls, which look to have joined up the gates, so formalising the status of the city. In places, the direction of the wall in relation to the gate seems to bear this out. The earlier Commodus coin gives a terminus post quem date for the wall. Part of the ditch is dated to the late 2nd to start of 3rd century and has a cut culvert dated to the late 3rd and 4th century. This means the early 3rd century is missing.

The date of 220 AD as the latest date for the land wall, which Peter Marsden suggests, comes from the discovery of coin moulds and coins dated 220 AD, which were found in the cut. So this was apparent good evidence for this date. However, the amount of debris identified with the coins and moulds suggest this is a later dump from elsewhere, so cannot be used as a dating baseline. Dendrochronology from the riverside wall suggests a date of 270 AD as the main construction date for the riverside wall.

Examination of the structure of the whole city wall shows it to be consistent; with a red brick base, Kentish ragstone on top of this, topped with more red bricks.

The proposed new theory by Harvey and John is that, looking at the structural evidence, it is probable that the whole wall was built at the same time – so the land wall was not built until 270 AD. This begs the question as to why, all of a sudden this was considered necessary.

To consider this, a look at the social history of the time is necessary. Britain was a major supplier of grain for the Roman Empire. This meant that it became very wealthy. However, if the list of Emperors is examined, it can be seen that this era was also very turbulent with many short-lived Emperors, often in competition with each other.

This great grain wealth led to many late Roman buildings in Britain and a lot of silver being used there. However, the great rivalry for these supplies meant that a chain of Saxon shore forts were built to protect them, as the great rivalries in the elite hierarchy meant that whoever had access to these supplies was in the strongest position.

The Ammianus Marcellinus ‘Res Gestae’ Book XVIII Chapter 2-3 gives detail of this.

This unrest is one of the bases for concluding that it was much more logical for the building of the wall to have been one ‘short’ continuous event rather than two separated by generations.

John concluded by saying ‘watch this space’ as he and Harvey are still researching this theory.

The Bishops of London Hunting Park and Lodge Malcolm Stokes

In his lecture to HADAS on Tuesday 13th May Malcolm Stokes gave us a full account of what is known about this somewhat enigmatic medieval feature. Malcolm is a local historian who has long served on the Publications Committee of the Hornsey Historical Society. He has a keen interest and extensive knowledge of the Hornsey and Haringey areas. His particular field is parish boundaries as evidence of ancient roads and properties.

Medieval churchmen, often of high birth, loved the sport of hunting as much as other members of the nobility. The existence of a Hunting Park and Lodge in north London belonging to the Bishops of London is well known, though there is relatively little recorded evidence of its existence and exact location. The earliest is a deed of 1227 granting land in St. Pancras parish. It refers to a property adjoining the “Bishops’ Park”. Other documents exist, which were sealed or given at the park. One dated 1335 is the last of these. In 1390 tolls for the area were farmed out to one William Payable, which is taken to be evidence that the park no longer belonged to the Bishops of London.

During the 15th century the Lodge itself figured in a conspiracy against Henry VI. Eleanor of Cobham, wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, was accused of having consulted with astrologers and one Margery Jourdemayne in order to precipitate the death of the king, thus allowing her husband to ascend the throne. This conspiracy is said to have taken place at the Bishops’ Lodge. Shakespeare mentions it in “Henry VI, Part II”, but sets the meeting of the conspirators in the Duke of Gloucester’s garden.

John Norden, in his description of Middlesex of 1593, mentions the park and it appears on his map as “Lodge Hill.” Other current local names, such as Bishops Avenue, also relate to its existence.
Malcolm Stokes demonstrated how he has traced the outlines of the park. Ancient enclosures often followed parish boundaries. With the aid of photos and maps we were shown the probable position of the woodland. It straddled the parishes of Hornsey and Finchley and had three gates. From one of these, the “High Gate”, now the “Gateway” pub, the boundary ran north along the course of Southwood Lane, and then across the Archway Road towards Highgate Wood. At this stage it followed the edge of the high ground to the left (west) and the steep drop to the right (east). The enclosure then turned west along the northern edge of Highgate Wood. A second gate probably stood where the railway crosses the old Great North Road at East Finchley. The boundary then curved southwest and finally south towards the Spaniards Inn, site of the third gate. From there it ran east along a line just south of Hampstead Lane along the former parish boundary. The present road is just north of this and dates from the building of Kenwood House. A sunken ditch near the latter’s restaurant is probably a visible sign of the enclosure.

The site of the Bishops’ Lodge buildings is thought to be shown by several ditches on Highgate Golf Course, enclosing an area of 70 foot square. It will have been a substantial building, large enough to house the bishop and his retinue. John Norden mentions ditches 70 foot square and debris of “brick tile and Cornish slate”. Though it would be fascinating to investigate this feature with modern archaeological methods, it is not likely that permission for this would ever be given.

This lecture on a piece of local history was not only most instructive, but may well evoke images of a medieval hunt on future walks in Highgate Wood.

Visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Harbour Jim Nelhams

On Thursday 15th May, our gold coach transported us to Portsmouth for a visit to the dockyard. Our pilot was Gary, who looked after us so well last year on our trip to Buxton.

The Historic Dockyard is within the Royal Naval dockyard and the Victory is still on the Royal
Navy list having not been decommissioned. Although our main purpose was to visit the new Mary Rose Museum, opened late last year, there are lots more things to see, including Nelson’s Victory and HMS Warrior. Our tickets allowed us access to all of them, including a harbour boat tour, giving us the chance to follow particular interests.

The Mary Rose Museum, while it has display cabinets as you would expect, makes maximum use of the hull that was raised from the Solent. After an initial introductory display, the route uses glass lined corridors at the level of the various decks. On one side is the hull itself, currently still being treated and visible through carefully located windows. On the opposite side are displayed many of the finds from the wreck positioned directly opposite the relevant part of the ship, such as the carpenter’s cabin and the surgeon’s cabin. All of the items are originals – no replicas needed. Such is the volume and variety of finds that it would be easy to spend a whole day in the Mary Rose Museum without looking at anything else.

The following notes show how wide these interests go.
The Harbour Andy Simpson

No-one touring the dockyard, or those lucky enough to take the harbour tour, could miss the area being dominated by a former aircraft carrier and several of the Royal Navy’s remaining Destroyers and Frigates.

Biggest of these was former aircraft carrier R06 HMS Illustrious – the ‘Lusty’ to her crew – nowadays called an ‘Amphibious Ship-Landing Platform Helicopter’ but still retaining the bowmounted ski jump from her days launching Sea Harriers before HM Government decided if something had to go it should be the Harriers (and Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft) rather than the Tornado force. Weighing in at 20,000 tonnes she is the last survivor of a class of three, including the late lamented Ark Royal, since scrapped on an Indian beach.

Lying immediately ahead of her was one of our total destroyer force of six, D36 HMS Defender of the new Type 45 Daring Class. A hefty-looking 7,350 tons with a crew of 191, she mounts a rapidfiring 4.5 inch gun – very useful for shore bombardment, as proved in the Falklands War – and a Lynx or Merlin helicopter in her aft hangar.

Also in the line-up were two or three Type 23 Frigates, including F229 HMS Lancaster, hosting a ceremony of some sort. Weighing in at 3,500 tonnes and mounting the usual 4.5 inch gun and Lynx or Merlin helicopter as well as Harpoon anti-ship missiles. There are 13 of this class, which often pop up in the news after another successful anti-drugs patrol in the Caribbean, for instance. See

A rather smaller and older vessel was the partly restored, dry-docked Gallipoli veteran Monitor M33, owned by Hampshire Museums Service.

The Warrior Andrew Coulson

Personally, I thought that the Warrior was magnificent but, in many respects, she was a one week wonder. As a result of her invulnerability and offensive power she compelled the navies of the World to abandon sail and to invest heavily in research into iron hulls, armour, engines, speed, armour piercing shells and gun range, a process that continues to this day.

Before the Warrior, navies had not changed much from the time of the Mary Rose, some 330 years previously. While differing in degree, but not in principle, they had stayed roughly the same. After the Warrior, they could not afford to.

The Spinnaker Tower Ruth Wagland

I have seen the Spinnaker tower several times from cross channel ferries and admired it greatly, the opportunity to actually go up the structure was too good to miss. After I had absorbed as much as I could of the wonderful Mary Rose exhibition I walked the short distance to the tower.

It’s 170 metres high, the centre piece of the Portsmouth harbour redevelopment. The lift goes swiftly to the first of the three viewing platforms after which the other two are reached by stairs. The top platform is open to the sky with a mesh covering. The views from each platform are spectacular with a 360 degree view from the top. There is a ‘Sky Walk’ with a glass floor of 4 panes, each measuring 205 x 95cm, nearly 8 square metres in total, which is 100 metres above sea level giving a dizzying view below.

Altogether a great addition to a terrific day.

Kismet? Jean Lamont

I happened to reach the top deck of the Victory in time to hear one of the Guides giving a very graphic account of the death of Nelson on exactly the spot where he is supposed to have been struck down (commemorated by a brass plaque). He described how Nelson always appeared during a battle dressed in all his honours – four orders of chivalry and other medals from earlier campaigns (or “bling” as the guide described it!) to establish his authority and encourage his troops, so he made a fairly easy target for any sniper. However the guide maintained that all the smoke generated by the battle would have made it a very difficult task to pick out any individual, and so did not believe that Nelson had been deliberately targeted, but it was simply a lucky shot. He said that the French climbed up into the rigging and fired downwards (which the English troops were forbidden to do, because of the risk of fire) and detailed all the organs the shot hit on its trajectory down through Nelson’s body! Nelson was carried below and died three and half hours later, Hardy relaying the news of the progress of the battle to him throughout the afternoon.

He dismissed the idea that Nelson might have said “Kismet, Hardy” as the word did not enter the English vocabulary until many years later, but it was not unusual for men to kiss in those days and it would not have been thought strange for him to ask Hardy to kiss him.

On the Mary Rose, I particularly liked the collection of musical instruments and the interactive display which enabled visitors to listen to the sound of the instruments in tunes of the times.

Musical Instruments Tessa Smith

What caught my eye at the Mary Rose was a small display of musical instruments, a tabor (drum), three pipes, fragments of two fiddles and an exciting discovery – a doucaine, an early form of oboe. These musical instruments were found in the orlop (good word for scrabble), the bottom deck of the ship, above the hull, and had probably been packed away until needed as entertainment for the ships crew. Sadly they were never unpacked.

The melody was played on the pipes and the rhythm on the tabor to entertain the crew with sea shanties and work songs. I can imagine the sailors singing “I’ll go no more a ‘roving with you sweet maid” and dancing the sailors hornpipe, that is if they were written or invented in the 16th century. (Does anyone know?)

This little tableau of early instruments brought to life for me another layer of the Mary Rose experience.

Musical Instruments (continued) Jo Nelhams

The Mary Rose had kept hidden many secrets until its lifting from the depths of the Solent in 1967. Early musical instruments are rare and little was known of the doucaine. The shawm, an early form of the oboe, is well documented. The doucaine is mentioned in literature between 13th and 17th centuries, but an actual example was unknown until the instrument was discovered on the Mary Rose. The doucaine has a cylindrical bore like a clarinet, whereas the shawm and oboe both have a conical bore. The doucaine has a double reed, as does an oboe today, but its tone is more subdued, like that of a clarinet.

There are only about 60 recent replicas in the world, just as rare are the people who can play them.

There were also parts of two fiddles on board. There are only three known examples of the old fiddles and two of these were found on the Mary Rose. Their body is more angular than a violin.
The oldest known example of this kind of instrument is the Angel musician in Gloucester Cathedral circa 1280.

Skeletons in the cupboard Liz Tucker

We’ve always been interested in the Tudors, mainly because of the music, so were very keen to see the Mary Rose. It’s nice to remember that Henry VIII did other things besides getting married, beheading people and closing monasteries.

Having studied biology, I was particularly fascinated by the way you could reconstruct people’s lives from their bones, either from their injuries, or deformities caused by their way of life (from the archers to the cooks), and by the film of the facial-reconstruction expert.

It is also possible to work out where crew members came from, and what they ate, by the isotopes in their bones. I was slightly disappointed that this was only touched on at Portsmouth, but a smaller exhibition in Croydon some years ago went into more detail, stating that many of the crew came from Spain. Presumably the Spanish were Henry’s allies against the French, at that time; he would be on to his sixth wife by then, so the Spanish might have forgotten how he treated the first one. (Andrew pointed out that you could also deduce that the crew were not all English, from the rosaries found on board.)

Bows and arrows Dot Ravenswood

The sheer size of the bows we saw was astonishing. Made from yew staves between 168cm and 183cm long, they were so heavy to draw that men who used them regularly developed larger muscles on their left side, which took most of the strain when they braced the bow, than on their right. Some of the 172 longbows raised from the ship were found at the archers’ posts behind the gunports, while others were still lying in their boxes. Nearly four thousand arrows, between 71cm and 76cm long, were found, and some of these were on display, fletched with substitutes for the original goose or swan feathers. We also saw some of the leather spacers in which the arrows were kept ready for use, and the bracers or armguards worn by the bowmen. While there would have been a group of specialist archers on board, most of the crew would have been capable of shooting with a bow and arrows to a distance of 200m, since that was the required qualification for military service. All landsmen over the age of seven were obliged to practise regularly at the butts, where the targets were set up; and perhaps that’s how the archers’ jargon entered common speech. When we say that somebody was the butt of jokes, or needed another string to his bow, we are using archery terms.

And other finds Simon Williams

Among the 18,000 artefacts found aboard – of particular interest were – a rare circular shield with a hand-gun in its centre, the skeletal remains of a rat and the ship’s small whippet-like dog. There was also a huge cauldron for cooking; the oldest surviving crow’s nest from a mast, complete with a large arrow-like missile for hailing explosives or fire down onto the enemy and their sails.

Surprising for exclusively sea battles, there were many pikemen, bill-hookmen and archers on board. This was to repel the enemy from boarding. Some gun carriages were in particularly good condition and together with their guns they made a fine display.

Of a crew of 700 (usually 415), only 35 survived. Most couldn’t swim.

Unanswered questions Andrew Tucker

In the Mary Rose exhibition they did not give the end of the story of the Battle of the Solent. They said that the French had an invasion fleet bigger than the Spanish Armada, but not what happened to it after the Mary Rose sank.

According to Wikipedia they landed some troops on the Isle of Wight, had a couple of skirmishes with English forces and then went home.

One of the exhibits was a ruler. The description said that Tudor inches were smaller than modern ones. Is that right? It implies that their feet, yards…miles were also smaller. When did the inches get bigger?

A good day out, although I could have done with a couple more hours on the site.

How to get there Jim Nelhams

While the tickets are quite expensive, they give good value for a full day visit. Should you wish to visit yourself, the dockyard entrance is less than ten minutes’ walk from Portsmouth Harbour station with direct trains from London Victoria – but make sure you are in the right carriage as the train splits at Horsham.

Individual dockyard tickets allow you to return again within one year.

Thanks to all our contributors for their excellent and very varied homework!!! Well done.

Other Societies’ Events Eric Morgan

Tuesday 8th July. 7.45pm Amateur Geological Society. The Parlour, St. Margaret’s Church, Victoria Ave, N3 IBD (off Hendon Lane). ‘The Pros and Cons of Fracking in the UK’. Talk by Prof. Peter Simpson (Imperial College).
Saturday 12th July, 9.00am. Barnet Museum & Local History Society. Coach outing to Chatham Historic Dockyard where there are numerous attractions to visit and ships to board at your leisure including: – the Victorian Ropery, submarines, historic warships, lifeboats and the Smithery – with collections from 2 national museums. There are plenty of places to eat and areas to picnic. Leave Barnet Odeon, Great North Road including Station Road 9.00am. Leave Chatham 5.00pm. Cost £26 (includes entrance fee to Dockyard). Send cheques to Pat Alison at 37, Ladbrooke Drive, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 1QR (tel No: 01707 858430) stating your name, address & telephone number. If receipt required SAE or email or telephone Barnet Museum on 0208 440 8066.

Wednesday 16th July, 7.30pm. Willesden Local History Society. Tour of St. Mary’s Churchyard & Church. Led by Margaret Pratt & Cliff Wadsworth, including a short walk around the grounds and an informal talk in the church. Meet at the bottom of Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS (nr. Magistrates Court) junction with High Road.

Sunday 20th July & Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th August, 2.00pm. Crouch End Walks – World War 1 Tours of Crouch End. Led by Oonagh Gay & Paul Sinclair. Topics covered include: the war memorial, conscientious objectors, auxiliary hospitals, rationing, zeppelins & Gotha bombing & the Belgian refugees & German & Austrian internees in Alexandra Palace. Lasts 2 hours. Meet at cnr of Middle Lane/Priory Road, N8, nr. Priory Road entrance & mini roundabout. Cost £7 & after there is tea and cake £3 at the Earl Haig Hall in Elder Ave, N8. Places are going fast & reservation is essential. E-mail or phone 07539 399549 and pay on the day. The walks draw on the archives of the Hornsey Historical Society.

Sunday 20th July, 11am – 4pm. Headstone Manor Excavations. Pinner View, North Harrow, HA2 6PX. Public Open Day. Tours of the dig, displays, medieval re-enactments & hands-on activities. Free admission. (see previous newsletters for further details & information).

Sunday 3rd August, 2.30pm. Heath & Hampstead Society. Sandy Heath & the Heath Extension.
Meet at the cattle trough & flower stall, Spaniard’s Road, NW3 (nr Spaniard’s Inn). Walk led by Lynda Cook (HHS). Lasts approx 2hrs. Cost £3.00.

Saturday 2nd – Saturday 9th August. Avenue House (now Stephen’s House) East End Road, N3 3QE. World War One Week. Avenue House was commandeered during WW1 as a hospital. There will be varied events, exhibitions & activities in the house & garden. A poppy garden will be planted in the rockery. There will also be a French Casualty Clearing Diorama on display.

Friday 8th August, 9.00am. Mill Hill Historical Society. Coach trip to Tunbridge Wells &
Scotney Castle, visiting Tunbridge Wells’ famous Pantiles Arcade. Scotney Castle is a National Trust property near Lamberhurst, Kent and is a mixture of old & new with its glorious 770 acres of gardens. Depart St. Michael’s Church, Flower Lane NW7 at 9.00am. Latest date for booking is
Wednesday 9th July to Keith Dyall, 26 Millway, NW7 3RB. Price including entry to castle is £27.00 (£16 for N.T. members. Email: ). Phone 020 8959 7147/07788 677103. Please send S.A.E together with cheque payable to Mill Hill Historical Society stating your name & telephone number. Don’t forget to bring your National Trust membership card if appropriate.

Saturday 9th – Wednesday 13th & Monday 18th – Friday 22nd August. WEAG & Copped Hall Trust – Archaeological Project Field Schools 2014 – continuing excavations of the Tudor Grand

House, near Epping Forest. Cost £90 per week (non-residential). Course Directors Christina Holloway, Lee Joyce, John Shepherd (who spoke at our AGM). For further information & to book contact: Andrew Madeley (Tel no: 020 8491 6514, e-mail or access or

Sunday 10th August, 2.30pm. Enfield Society – Heritage Walk around Bush Hill Park. Led by Joe Studman. To see five grade II & four locally listed buildings, passing the Anchorage, Brooklyn, Castleleigh and the Clarendon Arch (over New River). The history and personalities associated with them are explained along with many other stories. Lasts 90 minutes. Please send S.A.E. for tickets to Heritage Walks, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield, EN2 0AS (max 4 tickets) & include own telephone number. Jubilee Hall telephone number 020 8363 9495.

Tuesday 12th August, 2-3pm. Harrow Museum. The Granary, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow, HA2 6PX. ‘History of Optical Microscopes’ – talk by Derek Sayers. Cost £3.50.

Tuesday 12th August, 7.45pm. Amateur Geological Society. The Parlour, St. Margaret’s Church, Victoria Ave, N3 1BD. Members evening. Talks by members include Mike Howgate (Chairman) on ‘How Oil Men won the War’ & Meg Hardie on ‘A Glimpse of Tasmania’ and a display of competition entries.

Tuesday 19th August, 6.00pm. Highgate Wood. Historical Walk (Roman Kilns, etc). Meet at Information Hut (entrances off Archway Road or Muswell Hill Rd, N6) Free.

Tuesday 26th August, 2-3pm. Harrow Museum. The Granary, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow, HA2 6AX. ‘The Glories of the Nile’. Talk by Frank Weare. Cost £3.50.

Sunday 31st August, 11am – 4pm. Highgate Wood – Heritage Day. Information Hut (see 19th August). E-mail: or for further information. Tel: 020 8444 6129. Free.

Newsletter-519-June-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

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No. 519 JUNE 2014 Edited by Mary Rawitzer



Lectures are held at Avenue House (now Stephens House), East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, at 8pm. Tea/coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by. Finchley Central Station (Northern line) is a short walk away.



Please note the earlier start: 7.45pm
The AGM business will be followed by:
LECTURE “The London Walls“ by HADAS President: Harvey Sheldon
The evening will continue with complimentary copies of the Church Terrace book ‘A HAMLET in HENDON’ being distributed to members (one per household) by the President, followed by a celebratory drink of wine or juice or coffee if preferred.
This book will bring back memories to those members who dug at Church Terrace in 1973/74. After much work by Jacqui Pearce and the HADAS Finds Group, the account of the excavations is complete. This was the dig, led by Ted Sammes, which fulfilled the ambition of our founder, Themistocles Constantinides, to discover if there was Saxon occupation in Hendon. It is thanks to Ted Sammes’s legacy that “A Hamlet in Hendon” has come to publication.
We hope many members will come – join us in the celebration of this momentous achievement

Sunday June 29th to Thursday July 3rd: Long Outing to Kent.

Tuesday 14th October: Finding Neanderthal Tools in Norfolk Cliffs.
Lecture by Dr Nick Ashton, British Museum.

Tuesday 11th November: To be confirmed

Sunday 7th December HADAS Christmas Party. Over recent years, we have met at Avenue (Stephens) House for a social gathering. This has proved very successful and well worth repeating. Please note in your diaries that we have booked the Drawing Room, where we have our lectures, for Sunday 7th December. Details will be circulated in due course.

Sad News: John Enderby Mary Rawitzer
The last of HADAS’s founder members has died. John Enderby was one of the group instrumental in forming the Society in 1961, was at one time HADAS Vice-Chairman and then became a life-time HADAS Vice-President. His was a hugely energetic presence in our part of North London: he had been Principal of Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute for 31 years before retiring in 1992 and then moving to Fontmell Magna in Dorset. There at one stage he was on just 7 committees, a significant reduction from the 14 committees he had been on in London. He had unrivalled knowledge of our local area and of HADAS in its early years and was assiduous at keeping in touch with us.
At the Institute John had been a great champion of education for adults, making sure that courses were varied and affordable, carrying out repairs himself when possible and caring for his staff while leaving them free to get on with their teaching. While in London he had also been a very active fund-raiser for the North London Hospice which was able to open its building in 1992. In his retirement he kept up his vigorous interests as an amateur archaeologist and local historian and was also a long-serving churchwarden for St Andrew’s Church and for some time keeper of the church’s archives. John kindly arranged a HADAS visit to Fontmell Magna, in 1998.where there was so much of interest to see.
There will be a memorial service/celebration of John’s life at St Andrew’s on Monday 2nd June at 2pm. HADAS members are welcome but no flowers please Our condolences and thoughts go out to all his family.
A Call for Information.
Holy Trinity church, Church Lane, East Finchley is producing a leaflet which it is hoped will then be expanded into a booklet for church visitors.
Richard Askew, who is collecting all the information, together, has asked for help from anyone who has any old photographs, engravings or information about Holy Trinity Church and its local history. He is especially keen to find photographs, paintings or engravings which might show the various stages or the changes the church went through over the years. The aim is to share everything they find on the history and events that shaped the church and to show the effect the church with its growing number of visitors has had on the surrounding communities.
Please see what you can find and email Richard Askew on or phone him: 07977 197 797.

Some North London clay tobacco pipe makers by Don Cooper
Recently HADAS had an enquiry from a lady about her ancestor who was a clay tobacco pipe maker. She had read in our online newsletter archive that we had discovered a clay pipe stem with “W. Tingey” on one side and “Hampstead” on the other (see Figs.1 & 2) in an excavation at 296 Golders Green Road (The Old Forge), site code GGR91.

Figure 1 “W. TINGEY”

Figure 2 “HAMPSTEAD”

From census records and trade directories, it is clear that “Tingey” referred to the Tingey family who were a family of clay pipe makers. In the 1841 census, William Tingey was a clay pipe maker aged 55 living in Peckham while his son, William H Tingey, aged 23, was a clay pipe maker based in Tower Hamlets. By the 1851 census William H Tingey had established his clay pipe manu-facturing business at 2 Johnston’s Yard, Hampstead, (later called Johnson’s Court), while his father continued clay pipe making in Peckham. By 1870, his father had joined him in Hampstead in the family business. However, by the end 1872 both father and son were dead, and there is no record of the grandchildren taking up the business. The Tingey clay tobacco pipe manufacture in Hampstead lasted between 20 and 25 years up to 1872.

Reference to another clay pipe making family turned up some days later, when Roger Chapman showed us a clay pipe stem with “Harrison” on one side and “Highgate” on the other – Figs 3 & 4.

Figure 3 “HARRISON”

Figure 4 “HIGHGATE”

Using census and trade directories again, we find two Harrisons, possibly brothers, have a clay pipe manufacturing facility at 3, 4 5 and 6 Muswell Hill Road. In the 1861 census, we find John and Francis Harrison and William Stuckey making clay pipes, with Stuckey’s wife working as a pipe trimmer and, at least, one of Stuckey’s children also employed. By the 1871 census the business has grown, and is employing more pipe makers who are shown as lodging with John Harrison. In the 1881 and 1891 census John and Francis are still making pipes and have a substantial business. The business seems to have continued to manufacture clay tobacco pipes until 1902.

Among the most common clay pipe fragments we find in Barnet are those marked William Andrews of Highgate, though the one illustrated in figures 5 & 6 is the mark of his son, George Andrews. According to the Society for Clay Pipe Research (vol. 8, p25), William Andrews became an apprentice pipe maker in 1814. His subsequent pipe manufacturing factory was in Southwood Lane, Highgate. William Andrews died in February 1837 and in his will dated 1834 he left his pipe manufacturing business to his son George, other sons got other legacies also in the clay pipe making industry.

At some time in the 19th century, as shown on the 1894 Ordnance Survey Map, the northern part of Southwood Lane, after crossing Archway, has been renamed Muswell Hill Road.

Figure 5 “G. ANDREWS”

The Andrews business was clearly a successful financial operation as, according to William’s will, as well as leaving his son George the factory and a cottage, he left “copyheld” cottages to at least three of his other sons as well as provision for his daughter and wife. George was already a pipe maker with an address in Kentish Town.

Figure 6 “HIGHGATE”

Did he sell out to the Harrisons? Perhaps the Harrison factory was on the site of the Andrews one? Where was their kiln? And is there any trace of it now? Why did these clay pipe makers set up their businesses in Highgate with, as far as I know, no suitable clay in the area? There would, however, have been enough timber for the kiln locally so perhaps that is the reason. We need more information on our local clay pipe makers. If you know any more about the pipe making families do let me know. See contact details at the end of the newsletter.

A Success Don Cooper

In our April Newsletter (No. 517) we published a request from Brian Reid from Australia asking for information as follows:
“My father attended Woodhouse School in its early years. I’d like to obtain a copy of Percy Reboul’s book ‘By Word and Deed: A Chronicle of Woodhouse School 1922 – 1949’. I’m wondering if you could suggest how I might obtain a copy? Percy told me he doesn’t have a spare copy but that I should keep trying the usual book sources. But I’ve had no success. Of course I’m happy to pay for it.

I’m also looking for The Woodhouse Logs numbered 12 & 13, which I believe will be the 1929 issues. Do you know if there is any way I can obtain them?”

We said if anybody could help they should contact me. I have now heard from him once more:

As a result of your efforts on my behalf I now have a copy of By Word & Deed. Rosemary offered me the one which had belonged to her aunt. In turn I was able to send her a scan of the 1929 School photo and she found her aunt in it.

In turn (again!) I have found my father in one of the house photos!

Now I am going to again approach Hugh Petrie at Barnet Archive & Local Studies to see if I can find a way to get him or someone else to copy the two missing Woodhouse Logs (the 1929 editions).

I don’t know if you publish success stories in your newsletter, but this is one – thanks to you and Rosemary. I am most grateful.

The “Rosemary” involved is Rosemary Coates, Newsletter Editor, The Finchley Society.
Thank you Rosemary!
Tuesdays 3rd & 17th June & 1st July, 2-3pm. Harrow Museum, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow HA2 6PX . Archaeology Season: Excavate London! Talks I, II & III from the MoLA team who have their summer excavation at Headstone Manor this year (see May Newsletter for more details). Cost £3.50 per talk. Also exhibition here, Wed 4th June-Sun 7th Sept, Mediaeval Harrow – A Guided Tour.
Fri. 13th June, 8pm.Enfield Archaeol. Soc., Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/jn Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ. Walbrook Square & Temple of Mithras. Talk on the excavations by John Shepherd. £1.
Sat. 14th June, 12.30-5.30pm . Highgate Summer Fair. Pond Square, Highgate Village N6. Many stalls, including Hornsey Historical Society and Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution.
Fri. 20th June, 7pm. COLAS. St Olave’s Parish Halol, Mark Lane, EC3R 7NB. Skeleton Green Revisited: Further Excavations at the Romano-British Cemetery at Braughing, Herts. Talk,Mark Hinman (PCA) £2.
Fri. 4th July, 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society (see 13th June above). Terror from the Skies: The Air War on Enfield 1914-18. Ian Jones (EAS). Visitors £1. Refreshments from 7.30.
Sat. 5th July, 11am-5pm. Kensal Green Cemetery Open Day. 391 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5AA or Harrow Rd, W10 4RA. Tours, displays, refreshments, stalls, incl. Willesden Local History Society.
Sat. 5th July & Sun. 6th July, 12-7pm. East Barnet Festival, Oak Hill Pk, Church Hill Rd, EN4 8JS. Many community stalls, incl. Barnet Arts Council. Music, dance, classic cars, food. market tent.
Sun. 6th July, 10.30-5pm. North London & Essex Transport Society. Uncompleted Northern Line Extensions, 60th Anniversary Tour. Examines the former GN & LNER branch lines from Finsbury Park to Highgate & Alexandra Palace closed July 1954. Also the Branch from Mill Hill East to Edgware & beyond to Bushey Heath. Led by Jim Blake (transport historian & author). Begins Finsbury Pk, lunch break at Highgate. To attend, send names, address, e-mail details plus £10 per person & s.a.e. to JH Blake, 8 The Rowans, London N13 5AD (make cheques out to JH Blake).
Sat. 12th & Sun. 13th July, North London & Essex Transport Society. 60 Years of the Routemaster. Finsbury Pk, N4. Largest ever gathering of Routemasters, display of earlier & later vehicles, special Routemaster-operated free service, stalls, etc. Further details: Free.
Sat. 12th & Sun. 13th July. Enfield Archaeological Society. Festival of British Archaeology: Dig at Theobalds Palace. Cedars Park, Cheshunt, Herts. For more details contact Mike Dewbrey (phone office hours. 01707 870888) or see
Sun. 13th July, 2.30pm. Enfield Society. Heritage Walk around Winchmore Hill. Led by Joe Studman. See the Quaker Meeting House & Graveyard, a Georgian Schoolhouse, The Old Bakery (16th C), etc and hear historical stories. Lasts 90 minutes. Send name, phone no. & s.a.e. for tickets to: Heritage Walks, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield EN2 0AJ.
Tues. 15th July, 2-3pm. Harrow Museum.(see Tues.3rd June). The Manor & Medieval Harrow Pat Clark (Pinner Local Hist. Soc. & LAMAS). £3.50.
Tues. 15th -Sun 20th July. Enfield Archaeological Society. Festival of British Archaeology: Dig at Elsyng Palace. See Sat. 12th/Sun. 13th July for contact details.
Sat. 19th & Sun 20th July, 11am-4pm. Festival of British Archaeology: COLAS at the Tower of London. Access to Tower Beach at low tide 10.30-11.30am Sat, 11am-1pm, Sun. Free public displays, handling finds of COLAS, LAARC & Historic Royal Palaces, games, Roman dress-up and much more.
Sat. 19th July, 10.30am. Battlefields Trust. War Walk: London in the First World War, 1914-18. Led by Chris Everett. Meet Holborn Tube. Further details:
or phone Harvey Watson 07818 853385.
Fri. 25th July, 7pm. COLAS (see Fri. 20th June). Permanently Magical: Sir John Soane’s House & Museum. Talk, Helen Dorey. Visitors £2. Light refreshments afterwards.
Tues. 29th July, 2-3pm. Harrow Museum.(see Tues.3rd June). Stephenson: Rocket Man. Talk by J Page On Rocket’s development & new age of steam. £3.50

Newsletter-518-May-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

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No. 518 MAY 2014 Edited by Dot Ravenswood

Lectures are held at Avenue House (now Stephens House), East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, at 8pm. Tea/coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by. Finchley Central Station (Northern line) is a short walk away.

Tuesday 13th May The Bishop’s Hunting Park in Highgate. Lecture by Malcolm Stokes (HADAS member). Successive bishops of London held land in both Finchley and Hornsey. The parish boundary between them passed through the hunting lodge of the bishops, and the park itself was fairly equally divided between the two ancient parishes now in Barnet and Haringey. The gates into the park were the Gatehouse in Highgate and the Spaniards and the site of the old White Lion where the old Great North Road passes under the railway bridge at East Finchley. The first recorded date for the park is 1227 but it could be a century older. It probably ceased to be used for hunting in the fourteenth century when the bishop started collecting tolls for crossing the park along the road from the Gatehouse to East Finchley. All that survives of the hunting lodge are the partial remains of a moat in Highgate Golf Course.

Thursday 15th May Outing to Portsmouth to see the new Mary Rose Museum and, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Royal Navy Museum.

Tuesday 10th June ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 7.45pm Avenue (Stephens) House
The AGM will begin a little earlier this year. This is because our President, Harvey Sheldon, will deliver a lecture after the meeting on “The London Walls”. We hope that members will come along and support the AGM and the President, who will chair the meeting and then proceed with his lecture. We hope that a large number of members will be present.

Sunday June 29th to Thursday July 3rd: Long Outing to Kent.

Tuesday 14th October Finding Neanderthal tools in Norfolk cliffs. Lecture by Dr Nick Ashton, British Museum.

Tuesday 11th November To be confirmed

Sunday 7th December HADAS Christmas party. Over recent years, we have met at Avenue (Stephens) House for a social gathering. This has proved very successful and well worth repeating. Please note in your diaries that we have booked the Drawing Room, where we have our lectures, for Sunday 7th December. Details will be circulated in due course.
Cromer Road Dig Jim Nelhams

As part of the History Project at Cromer Road School in New Barnet, we will be digging on the school field for the week starting Monday 9th June. This is a joint effort with UCL, and Sarah Dhanjal will be talking to the children and preparing booklets for them. UCL will provide some students, but we also need HADAS diggers, both to provide some muscle and to help supervise and aid the children. About 60 children from year 5 (10-year-olds) will be involved at different times.

Prior to the event, we will survey the school field to help select our trench sites. We also hope to survey a grassy area in front of the school where we know there was a building in the 1940s. This should show some nice results for the children and teachers to see. The school plans to hold an open session at the end of the school day on Thursday 12th June, so that parents can see what we are doing.

● If you would like to help, even for only one day, please contact Bill Bass, Don Cooper or Jim Nelhams.

The Sandridge Gold Hoard

Lecture by David Thorold

11th March 2014
Report by Peter Pickering

David Thorold is the Prehistory to Mediaeval Curator at the Verulamium Museum. He told a large audience a dramatic story of good old-fashioned golden treasure. It was found in September 2012 by a metal detectorist going out for the first time with a new cheap machine. The machine bleeped;
he dug and there was a gold Roman coin. It bleeped again and there was another. When this had happened fifty times it struck him that he ought to report his find. So he went to the shop in St Albans where he had bought his detector, and with the shop-owner they told the museum. Then David went with them to the field, and more and more gold coins emerged, 159 in all. Nothing else; no sign of a container; and the coins were scattered around (probably the consequence of mediaeval ploughing), and at different depths, some virtually on the surface. It was sometimes difficult to see them, because their colour was like that of the sand in which they lay. They were taken to the British Museum, where they have been studied and conserved (though gold is so unreactive that it requires little but careful cleaning).
David described the coins. They were all solidi, the basic gold coin of the late Roman Empire. They were all very similar. Round the heads, which were scarcely differentiated, were the names of five emperors, from Gratian to the brothers Honorius and Arcadius (who ruled the Western and Eastern empires respectively at the beginning of the fifth century). Most of the reverses showed the symbolic crowning of the emperor by Victory while he was trampling on a barbarian enemy; there were a few different reverses, with a similar message, and one with a personification of Rome. The coins had mint marks, showing that they had originated from all over the empire; most of them were marked from Milan, but there were also examples from Trier, Rome, Ravenna, Lyon, Constantinople and Sirmium in Croatia.

Late Roman gold coins are well made and quality-controlled (unlike the silver and bronze currency); David used mediaeval pictures to illustrate how this was achieved. They did not circulate in the way that modern coins, or the Roman silver and bronze, did (though one of those in the hoard showed signs of wear); they were basically used for the payment of important officials and the army, and in the tax-collection system, and were regularly melted down and reissued. It is difficult to relate the values of solidi to the values of the other late Roman coins (in the way that is possible for the coinage of the earlier empire), but David gave some indication when he told us that a good-quality slave might have cost ten solidi.

David, naturally, speculated on why these coins – which should have been returned to the state in taxes, and not retained by a private individual – came to be buried in a field by the Roman road north of Verulamium. The date of deposition was likely to be at the very end of Britain’s time within the Roman empire, say around AD 410. There was no reason to attribute a ritual reason for the burial; possibilities were a wealthy army officer going on a posting and putting his savings somewhere where he would be able to find them again; a wealthy merchant depositing them when he went on a business trip; or a wealthy landowner going with his family to Gaul when Roman order was breaking down, leaving his estate to be run by his bailiff, but hoping to return when control was re-established, as it had been on occasions in the past.
The talk was very well presented, with many pictures of shining gold coins. David is preparing for the day when the coins come back from the British Museum, and are displayed – in very secure conditions – in St Albans.
Garden Room Archive Processing Bill Bass

Work on processing finds from our excavations continues at Stephens (Avenue) House. Another major activity for the Sunday morning team is the writing-up and conservation of archives to museum standards for previous HADAS digs, e.g. at Rectory Close and Church Crescent near St Mary’s Church, Finchley. This area was investigated by HADAS in the late 1970s as the old rectory was being demolished for new development; the digs were well published in the newsletters of that period.

However, over time the finds and paper archive (from many excavations) can get separated due to various factors such as a number of storage sites, the mounting of exhibitions, material going for specialist reports, different card records, photographic records and various filing systems etc. We are not alone as many societies have this problem – as indeed do major archives and museums. We trawl through our files and finds to pick up as many of the missing or separate elements as possible and assemble them as best we can.

The following are really notes to give an idea of what we have done to the Rectory Close and Church Crescent archive to tidy it up and better present it. You will see that some material is not with us.

If any members can add further information about archives please get in contact. Other sites and archives getting this treatment include 1970s digs at Fuller Street and Peacocks Yard in Hendon. Further work is taking place to tidy up and conserve the archive of the 1960s dig at Church Terrace in view of its imminent publication. »»»

St Mary’s Finchley – Rectory Gardens (RC78) and 33 Church Crescent digs (CC79) 1978 & 1979. Review of Archive – 2014

In 1978 HADAS obtained permission to undertake investigations on the site of the old rectory gardens at St Mary’s Finchley, prior to construction of the Rectory Close sheltered housing. Three trenches were dug, A, B, & C, and as a result of the findings in trench C, after lengthy negotiations, a further trench – D – was dug the following year, 1979, in the garden of 33 Church Crescent. Of the 3 initial trenches, A & C proved worth continuing and B was closed. Trench A, nearest to the church, was 4m x 2m and excavated to a depth of 1.3m. Trench C, adjacent to the back garden of 33 Church Crescent, was 2m x 2m and excavated to a depth of 2.2m. Neither trench was excavated to natural. Both trenches revealed redeposited, mixed layers yielding finds from 13thC to late 19thC. This was due to landscaping of the grounds at the time the (now demolished) Victorian rectory was built. Trench C revealed the possible profile of a deep ditch. The following year, the edge of a shallow pit or ditch with pockets of metal detritus along the perimeter was found at 33 Church Crescent in trench D.

Levels in trenches are not always clear but markings on finds are in Roman numerals, e.g.
stratum I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII. Depths occasionally appear in cms.

Both the finds and the paper archives appear to be incomplete in that we have a comprehensive bone catalogue detailing both sheep and cattle bone but no actual bone. This assemblage may have been discarded but there is no information concerning its fate. Likewise Part II of the original report details finds according to period but there is no finds report. Some of the finds mentioned are not present in the extant finds assemblage.

We have re-bagged and labelled the finds in our possession; assembled the paper archive into a coherent form; and scanned and identified the photographic negatives using the existing site archive.


Finds listed in part 2 of the report Prehistoric:
Three struck flints (FR78) Two struck flints (CC79) Medieval:

1. Neck of biconical vessel, partial heavy dark brown glaze – Cheam kilns 14th/early 15thC 2. Eight sherds of off-white sandy fabric, dark green glaze with press-mould wheat-ear design – Kingston Ware 13th-14thC (two rejoined sherds CC79 green glaze)

3. 17 portions of rims and body sherds of gritty-grey wares 12th-14thC
4. Portion of base + three sherds of gritty redware 12th-14thC
5. 16 assorted sherds in redware, eight with traces of green or brown glaze
6.. One small sherd of pinkish fabric in yellow glaze, possibly Stamford Ware 11th-12thC Post-medieval:
1. Six small fragments of sheet glass c.1mm thick and partly degraded
2. Neck and mask of Bellarmine (Bartmann) jar 17thC
3. 32 sherds of clay-pipe including marks by G. Andrews of Highgate, a spur with initials
DC (possibly Dan Crabb of London 1723)
4. Corner of blue & white glazed ceramic tile

It appears from the report that a number of yellow bricks which were referred to in a list were not actually from the digs but were surface finds made during the rebuilding period post 1973. HADAS Research Minutes refer to glass Salt Cellars + 2 stoneware pots; and the 17thC stoneware is also mentioned as being found at this time (1973), none of which is now present in the finds archive. A set of retrospective Finds Catalogue Sheets has been created (2014) which includes all small finds and other building materials including field drains, glass, metal and other finds that have not always survived into the present archive.

Paper Archive

2014 review
Finds Catalogue Sheets
Original Report drafts 1 & 2
Dig site plans and sections
Development plan
Newspaper cuttings/display captions
Photos/negatives/CD of scanned negatives.
Struck Flint Report
Animal Bone Catalogue


HADAS Newsletters – May 1978, June 1978 and May 1979 (FR78), November 1979 (CC79)
London Archaeologist – Vol 3 (10) FR78, Vol 3 (10) CC79
HADAS Committee Minute report 12/5/78
Notes with finds (Specialist notes)
A Place in Time, HADAS 1989
Notes/correspondence/letters (with archive)

Subsequent to this dig, an excavation was carried out by the DGLA in 1990 on the site of St
Mary’s School, Finchley (site code REG90), about 200m north of the Rectory site. This found extensive medieval occupation – pot, hearths, beam slots etc. The archive of this site is stored at the London Archaeological Archive Resource Centre, Hackney.

A Trip to York Jo Nelhams
On Saturday 29th March, Jim and I were at Potters Bar Station at 7am. We were going on an outing arranged by our daughter Maria, for a family celebration. Just after 7.30, the Sir Nigel Gresley steam train appeared out of the mist puffing and steaming into Potters Bar. The platform was crowded with passengers, like us remembering these great pieces of engineering, once our regular mode of transport. The fact that we are still able to experience a journey on a steam train is all down to enthusiasts and volunteers. Our next stop was Stevenage, where our daughter, her husband, our son and his wife and our granddaughter Lara boarded the train. The sun was shining and we set off from Stevenage and puffed our way north. The journey took five hours as we had stops to replenish the water. This was accomplished with water trucks being brought alongside the train at convenient stopping points, and pumped into the tender. No troughs are still in place from which water could be picked up, no tanks at the stations today. We had a first class compartment, the carriages being of the old design with corridors. Our granddaughter was constantly wanting to look out of the window and was fascinated by the wafts of steam that floated past the windows. We had just over three hours in York and then the return journey. All along the route both ways there were big crowds of spectators, cameras at the ready to record the spectacle. A really splendid day out.

Sir Nigel Gresley is normally based at Southall, and a recent picture in The Daily Telegraph showed it pulling carriages along the reconstructed track at Dawlish, originally planned by Brunel, which had been badly damaged by the winter storms.
The Great War
David Berguer, Chairman of the Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, has written a history of the Home Front in the Great War. The book, All Over by Christmas, describes what was happening around Barnet, Finchley and Friern Barnet while its men were away fighting on the Western Front. Based on articles in the local press of the time, letters from home and interviews with local residents describing everything from sugar rationing to Zeppelin raids, the book runs to 277 pages and has over 140 illustrations. Appendices include chronologies of the Home Front and the Western Front, details of Zeppelin and aeroplane raids over Britain, and lists of the war dead recorded in various local churches and on war memorials.

The book (ISBN 978 0 956 93449 9) is published at £15.99 plus £3 post and packing by Chaville Press of 148 Friern Park N12 9LU (, and is also obtainable from Waterstone’s in North Finchley and Barnet or on Chaville Press also published David’s earlier work The Friern Hospital Story: The History of a Victorian
Lunatic Asylum. His other local history was Under the Wires at Tally Ho: Trams and
Trolleybuses of North London 1905-1962, published by The History Press


Newsletter Editor desperately sought! Sue Willetts

Each month a different HADAS member edits this monthly Newsletter, helped and supervised by Sue Willetts and Mary Rawitzer. We have 11 editors. We need one more. It’s not difficult, involving mainly putting together items sent by others, though editors’ original articles are also welcome. We supply a helpful hints document and there’s always back-up.

Someone out there with a computer:
Your Society Needs You!
Contact: Sue (

Increased Postal Charges

As seems to be becoming a regular habit, Royal Mail have increased the charges for postage stamps from 50p to 53p for 2nd class mail and 60p to 62p for 1st class. Although our newsletters are franked, which is cheaper, we would encourage all members to receive the newsletter via email. HADAS are holding the cost of membership subscriptions for another year despite these increases. PLEASE CONSIDER RECEIVING YOUR COPY OF THE NEWSLETTER BY EMAIL.

The Admiralty Telegraph at Childs Hill Dot Ravenswood
In the 1970s when I was living in Childs Hill, I visited Sarum Chase, the spectacular neo-Tudor mansion built by the royal portrait painter Frank Salisbury on the edge of the West Heath in 1931. The house has a steep back garden which runs right up to the summit of Telegraph Hill – a hill which marked the Anglo-Saxon boundary between Hampstead and Hendon. Salisbury was enthralled by the site. In his autobiography he wrote: “Telegraph Hill rises from the junction of Platt’s Lane and West Heath Road to one of the highest
points in Hampstead overlooking London, with a wonderful view across country to the Chilterns. It was the place where the beacon was lit to carry the tidings of the Spanish Armada. What a place for a garden! What a situation for a House!”

I climbed the path up Salisbury’s garden and came out on a patch of waste ground at the top of the hill. There was nothing there except the remains of a small rectangular concrete base and a few broken bricks and other bits of rubble lying about among the weeds. I wondered what kind of building there might have been on this isolated site. A garden shed?

Telegraph Hill, as I later discovered, was the site of an optical telegraph station constructed by the Admiralty during the Napoleonic wars as a means of communication with the fleet. The system was the brainchild of Lord George Murray, who proposed it in 1794. This station, built in 1807, was the second in a chain of 16 that connected London with warships lying in the harbour at Great Yarmouth. There were intermediate stations at Woodcock Hill, St Albans, Dunstable Downs, Lilley Hoe, Baldock, Royston, Gogmagog Hills, Newmarket, Icklingham, Barnham, East Harling, Carleton Rode, Wreningham, and Strumpshaw.

Each station consisted of a wooden hut surmounted by a vertical frame 20ft high holding six (later eight) wooden shutters. The shutters were connected to ropes by which they could be opened and closed in 63 different combinations, each representing a different letter or word. Twenty-six combinations stood for letters of the alphabet, 10 for the numbers 0 – 9, and 27 for key words. The stations were manned by Royal Navy personnel who observed the previous station in their chain through telescopes, received messages, and copied them on to the next station. At distances of 11 miles or so, the shutter movements were not always easy to read. But the system worked..

By 1808, 65 stations were in operation. Murray’s telegraph was a dramatic improvement on the old method of sending messages by a man on horseback, although the often repeated claim that the first chain could transmit messages from London to Deal in 60 seconds sounds like wishful thinking; and the claim that the telegraph was used to transmit the news of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo is disputed. What is certain is that the shutter system was abandoned in 1816 once the Napoleonic wars were over. It was replaced by a simpler system.

● Above left: A view of the telegraph erected on the Admiralty Office at Charing Cross in 1796 (detail). The National Maritime Museum has an architectural model, and there is a working replica of the shutter system in the Museum of Communication at Burntisland in Fife (

Other Societies’ Events Eric Morgan

Friday 6th June – Sunday 29th June, 10am – 6pm. Museum of Water, Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA. Art installation to which you are invited to bring some water – a melted snowman, a baby’s bath … – in your own bottle to add to its collection. Phone 020 7845 4600 or contact

Saturday 7th June The City Lit Archaeology course: The Medieval Port of London, 1200-1500. For further information visit or phone 020 7492 2652.

Monday 9th June, 3pm. Barnet Museum & Local History Society, Church House, Wood St, Barnet (opposite museum): 200 Years of MCC at Lord’s. Talk by Penri Morgan.

Sunday 22nd June, 12 – 6pm. East Finchley Festival, Cherry Tree Wood (opposite station, off High Rd N2). Lots of stalls, including Finchley Society and Barnet Borough Arts Council.

Thursday 26th June, 8pm. Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Rd, N3 3QE. AGM, followed by refreshments or wine and cheese. Non-members £2.

Wednesday 28th June, 7.45pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane N20 0NL. The Foundling Hospital of Barnet. Talk by Yvonne Tomlinson. Visitors £2. Refreshments and bar.

Monday 30th June – Friday 4th July, Monday 7th – Friday 11th July & Monday 14th – Friday 18th July, 10am – 5pm. EXCAVATE LONDON at Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow HA2 6PX. Five-day courses taught by MOLA archaeologists and MOL curators. Fee: £295 for one week, including sandwich lunch. Book on 020 7001 9844.

Newsletter-517-April-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

By | Past Newsletters, Volume 9: 2010 - 2014 | No Comments

No. 517 APRIL 2014 Edited by Peter Pickering

HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming Lectures and Events.

Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8 pm, with coffee/tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members: £1. Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central station (Northern Line), is a 5-10 minute walk away.

Tuesday 8th April 2014: House Mill and its Restoration. Lecture by Brian James-Strong and Beverley Charters of the River Lea Tidal Mill Trust.

The lecture will be in two parts. Brian will talk about the House Mill and its historic importance in the Lower

Lea Valley, the setting for London’s Industrial Revolution. He will explain the activities of the River Lea Tidal Mill Trust to date, including the restoration of the fabric of the House Mill, and give details of building of the contemporary adjacent Miller’s House, which currently serves as a visitor and education centre. He will touch on the distilling industry, and the part that Three Mills played in this over its 200 years of operation. He will also discuss the special significance of some of the remaining milling machinery, in particular, the Fairbairn-style millstones.

Beverley will provide an overview of the Trust’s current plans for the next stage of restoration. “Saving the largest tide mill in the world!” This will include the heritage machinery (four wheels, two sets of grinding stones and the sack hoist), exhibition and interpretation throughout the buildings, and improved visitor and education facilities; she will bring us up to date on the fundraising campaign, which includes an imminent Round 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

On 10th and 11th May there will be the National Mills Weekend at the House Mill. For details see “Other societies’ events” at the end of this Newsletter.

Tuesday 13th May 2014 Malcolm Stokes (HADAS member); The Bishop’s Hunting Park in Highgate

Thursday, 15th May 2014 Outing to Portsmouth on to see the new Mary Rose Museum, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Royal Navy Museum. Cost is £40 per person. We need to make firm bookings of both the coach and the dockyard but do not yet have quite enough participants to make this viable. So do what you have been meaning to do and book. Why not bring a friend? It should be a great day out!

Tuesday 10th June 2014 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Sunday June 29th to Thursday July 3rd, Long Outing to Kent. Lots of members are coming on this, but there is still room for a few more. So if you have not yet booked, do not hesitate to get in touch with Jim Nelhams (contact details at the end of this Newsletter).

Tuesday 14th October 2014 Dr Nick Ashton – British Museum; Finding Neanderthal tools in Norfolk cliffs

Tuesday 11th November 2014 – TO BE CONFIRMED.

Sunday 7th December HADAS Christmas party
Over recent years, we have met at Avenue House (now Stephens House) for a social gathering. This has proved very successful, and well worth repeating. Please note in your diaries that we have booked the Drawing Room, where we have our lectures, for Sunday 7th December. Details will be circulated in due course.

‘The Archaeology of the First Peoples into Australia’ course Peter Nicholson

The Mill Hill Archaeological Study Society is running a course of six classes with this title. The course will examine the archaeology of the first of the native peoples into Australia. We will investigate theories regarding the entry and date and which human species first entered the new lands of Australia. We will study the arrival of the first people into Australia about 50,000 years ago through both archaeology and aboriginal oral traditions. We will examine how these first people adapted to their new environment and how their art and material culture developed. Specific topics include rock art and the extinction of the megafauna. The course tutor is Scott McCracken. The course is on Friday mornings from 10 to 12, beginning 4th April, in the Eversfield Centre, 11 Eversfield Gardens, Mill Hill, NW7 2AE. The cost for the course will be £45. Enrol at the first meeting; if you have not previously attended the Society’s meetings please contact the secretary, Peter Nicholson (020-8959 4757).

Request from overseas Don Cooper

We have had an email from Brian Reid from Melbourne, Australia as follows:

“My father attended Woodhouse School in its early years. I’d like to obtain a copy of Percy Reboul’s book ‘By Word and Deed: A Chronicle of Woodhouse School 1922 – 1949’. I’m wondering if you could suggest how I might obtain a copy? Percy told me he doesn’t have a spare copy but that I should keep trying the usual book sources. But I’ve had no success. Of course I’m happy to pay for it.

I’m also looking for The Woodhouse Logs numbered 12 & 13, which I believe will be the 1929 issues. Do you know if there is any way I can obtain them?”

Can anybody help him? Please let Don Cooper know if you can (contact details at the end of this newsletter).

The Prittlewell Anglo-Saxon Burial Report by Simon Williams
Nothing beats a talk by the expert on site at a dig; thank you, Ian Blair (Senior MOLA Archaeologist) for a fascinating talk. The site was found during a road-widening scheme. The burial took place 1,400 years ago. The Prittle Brook runs nearby, and the site aligns precisely with Southend pier, being on an E – W alignment.

Prittlewell is in the same league as Sutton Hoo. There are far more imports found here than at the Taplow burial; and the chamber area is bigger. Sutton Hoo is an exception because it is in a ship.

The only named king likely for the burial is Saebert (d. 616), king of the East Saxons and the first to convert to Christianity. This theme is reinforced by a gold cross being laid over each eye. There is a lamp-stand placed on the foot-end of the ghostly soil stain of the coffin (probably closed alight). There was a lot of cloth; the chamber was probably draped with very bright cloths. The tomb and its contents were buried within an oak board compartment.

Organic preservation was very, very poor due to an (acid) sand context. Most enthrallingly, artefacts were found to be on their original hooks, having been hung against the walls – artefacts such as a flagon, stunning glass jars, a folding “campaign” stool, and a gold buckle which was beautiful, impractical, and not quite finished to the exacting standards of the Sutton Hoo one: the back-plate was not a true fit. The 57 gaming pieces turned out to be of marine provenance, with an antler dice. Also found were two gold coins, and gold brocade for a tunic’s shoulder.

The lines of the 3.5m chamber are its only remains and the ghost of its inner walls is indicated by the hanging objects.

Members will remember that HADAS excavated at Hendon School in 2012 (see newsletter no 498 September 2012). One of the items we found was a flash drive which presumably been lost and eventually stamped into the ground. It was bashed and covered in mud. After it was cleaned and washed we were able to read it. Gabe Moshenska of UCL has created this comic strip to illustrate what we found.

Buxton finale
Here is the final report from our Buxton trip last year. We hope you have enjoyed the articles submitted regarding our trip to Buxton. We had contributions from 18 members: our thanks to them all. And the trip encouraged further research – hence the contribution from Emma Robinson.

Foxton Locks and Inclined Plane Vicki Baldwin

By the time we reached Foxton Locks on a stretch of canal built to link the Birmingham and Leicester branches of what is now the Grand Union Canal, the weather had taken a marked turn for the better. As we walked to the locks along the towpath the tranquillity of the setting belied the reality of the mercantile and industrial nature of the canal network. These were the watery superhighways of the industrial revolution – never meant for the leisure pursuits and peaceful reflections of weekend walkers and boaters.

A bend in the canal brought us to the top of the ten locks. Started in 1810 and finished four years later, these are arranged in two flights of five, with a holding pool halfway up that allowed boats to pass. Foxton is the largest flight of staircase locks on the English canal system and rises 22m (75ft) from top to bottom. Foxton was built to the narrowboat width of 2.1m (7ft) rather than the barge width of 4.2m (14ft) partly due to the lack of water available. Originally the pounds alongside the locks for containing the water during opening & closing were larger, but the construction of the Inclined Plane boat lift truncated their area.

With increasing use of the canal system throughout the 19th Century, the narrowness of the locks coupled with the time taken to negotiate the flight (about 45 minutes) presented a substantial problem. An alternative solution was presented in the form of the Inclined Plane boat lift. Inclined planes were already in use that required the cargo to be unloaded into trucks that were then raised and lowered on tracks. An example is the Hay Incline built in 1790. Experiments had been made using water tanks to contain the boats at Bulbourne. When the Foxton Inclined Plane was built, it represented the pinnacle of such technology in this country. The barges were floated into large water filled, counter-balanced caissons and transported to the top or bottom of the incline using a steam pump. This system was capable of raising 2 loaded barges and lowering 2 loaded barges at the same time. There was no need to unload cargo into narrowboats in order to negotiate the locks so wide boats could be used for the whole journey. In addition it took around 12 minutes using the Inclined Plane, a substantial saving in time.

The Inclined Plane took 2 years to construct and came into use in 1900. The pump house, now the museum, had been completed in 1897. Foxton locks fell out of use somewhat due to the success of the Inclined Plane. However, the development of the road network was beginning to move cargo away from the canals. The locks were refurbished in 1909 to allow for night use, and in 1911 the lift was closed to save money. During the First World War it was kept in reserve in case it was needed for the war effort. Finally, in 1927, it was scrapped and the locks received a major refurbishment at the same time.

1929 saw the formation of the Grand Union Canal Company with pleasure grounds and sea-going ships. Subsequently there was some effort on the part of the government to improve the canal system. Nationalisation in 1948 meant a re-categorisation for the waterways into Freight use, Cruiseways and Remainder. Fortunately this section was classed as Cruiseway and so effort was put into keeping it working.

Subsequently major work has been carried out by volunteers and the area is attractive spot not just for those afloat but also for visitors who prefer terra firma. Jon and I visited the tiny Bridge 61 pub with its lovely homemade Scotch Eggs and Foxton Locks & Inclined Plane beers served from a bar that looked like a domestic serving hatch. A very pleasant end to an interesting trip.

Saxon Crosses and Carvings at Bakewell Church Emma Robinson

Our visit to Bakewell was memorable at a number of levels but I was particularly pleased to visit the Saxon High Cross (dated to the 10th century or earlier) in the churchyard of All Saints Church. This church was founded in the early 10th century and probably after the Bakewell Cross was carved. Much more could be said of the collection of 37 pieces of Anglo Saxon or Anglo Scandinavian sculpture now in or around All Saints Church – including the shaft of a second cross. Some fragments were found during restoration work in the 1840s – whilst others were found or dug up in the locality. Overall the collection forms part of one of the largest survivals of carved stonework of this period in the country – although much more still needs to be discovered about their history.

It is a legend relating to the origins of the Bakewell Cross, however, that particularly interests me. Local tradition has it that the cross originally stood at the Hassop Cross Roads (OS grid ref. SK223722) and it was subsequently moved to the churchyard. An HLF funded project testing this tradition is underway and forms part of a project being undertaken by Archaeological Research Services Ltd, the Parochial Church Council of Bakewell Church and the Bakewell and District Historical Society.

English Heritage, however, only allowed ‘keyhole surgery’ around the foundations of the Cross’ current location. But the findings were remarkable in that the cross base was found to be resting on the foundations of an ancient wall … and further under this wall was a skeleton from which a tiny fragment was successfully carbon dated to the 11th century. So since the cross predates the skeleton it must have been moved from its original position. But where was this? Explorations of the cross base revealed a gap into which a boulder has been concreted. The origins or purpose of this gap cannot be confirmed with any certainty – but it might be helpful in detection work?

The focus of the research now moved to the Hassop Cross Roads and investigations of the Longstone Enclosure Map (the name in itself is a clue). In summary, the enclosure map was superimposed on an aerial photograph of topographical remains in the field and the location of the site of the ancient cross roads determined. Following magnetometer surveys sufficient evidence was gathered to justify that the ancient track-ways identified could well be those of the legend and digging commenced. It was certainly “Archaeology for All” with groups of all ages from school children to Bakewell U3A members involved. Many generations of ancient tracks were revealed.

Finds indicated that they had been through routes from possibly as early as the Mesolithic period – although used more heavily at some periods. A stone mound was found at the cross roads which could have been the previous support structure of the cross base. The mound has a stone foundation at the right depth and a jumble of roughly squared stones which look remarkably similar to the stone foundations of the cross found in the church yard. However, as the Journal of the Bakewell & District Historical Society [1] records “… lack of time and heavy rain prevented further excavation”. It is so often thus!

[1] Stetka, J., 2013. Chairman’s Report, Journal of the Bakewell & District Historical Society. pp. 5-13.

Water Tower Excavation at Avenue House, Finchley Bill Bass


Following a successful interim HLF Grant application for restoring the gardens, work has begun on identifying various structures on the estate. One such structure is the Water Tower which appears to be closely connected with a now demolished substantial laundry/hothouse building. The Tower, which is listed, has a colony of Pipistrelle bats – a protected species. Currently the Tower has no apparent ground floor entrance.


H.C. Stephens (of Stephens Ink) bought the existing Villa of Avenue House including the adjoining Little Church Field in 1874. This field and the garden of the Villa were then landscaped by a famous gardener called Robert Marnock, “who was said to be the best landscape gardener of his time”. Later Stephens bought the Great Tapes field to the east of the estate. About this period the Water Tower (1880), Laundry, Bothy and water management system were built. The Bothy is said to be one of the earliest buildings constructed of reinforced concrete.

“At this time the principal approach to Avenue House was laid out, a long straight drive along the southern boundary with an entrance on Manor Way and probably a second entrance from East End Road. This approach underlined the importance of the garden elevation at the front of the house; carriages arriving by the long southern drive would arrive at the terrace on the garden side. After passing through Great Tapes Field (now the sports ground east of Avenue House grounds), the Bothy would have been the first structure that visitors would have seen entering the estate via the drive. The initial view of the carriageway would have been of the east facade (the main accommodation and courtyards); as the carriage progressed the view would have been the south elevation, the side wall of the accommodation and looped iron fence and gates of the garden (in place of the 4m high walls elsewhere). This view would have allowed direct views into the Bothy garden and the impressive arrangement of glasshouses and palmhouses etc. The setting of the Bothy, slightly elevated above the carriageway by a few metres, would have dramatically enhanced its appearance. This would have been followed by views of the water tower and additional hot houses on the southern side of the drive”. (Extract from Avenue House’s draft Conservation Management Plan 2013).


Site code: SVH13, NGR: TQ 25282 90177

The management of Avenue House asked HADAS to investigate a possible entrance in the ground on the north side of the Tower. It was proposed to clear an approximate 5m x 5m area by hand; within this area there is a possible indentation which may have indicated such an entrance to a basement level. An initial investigation began early November 2013.

Water Tower

“In February and November 1879 Stephens wrote two letters regarding the hardness of the water that he was being supplied with. On 22nd November he stated in a letter to Messrs Atkins & Co. of Fleet Street ‘A water tower of so great a height would be rather objectionable. Can I not receive the water into a tank and softening apparatus on grounds and after softening pump it into a 2000 gall cistern just high enough for house once a day for supply by gravitation to house cisterns?’ The Water Tower was built the following year. The tower is 9m high and features three separate compartments for storing water”. (Review of Water Engineering at Avenue House by Marcus White, Nov 2013).

On the NE side of the tower a series of pipes rise on the outside of the tower supplying water to/from each of the three stages. The pipes are clad in wooden shuttering (this shuttering can be seen entering the different stages of the tower) and are thought to be a later modification and partly, if not wholly, connect to those in the excavated ‘valve pit’.

The same review states that the use of the tower is not yet fully understood e.g. whether the tower was actually used for water softening; did it supply just the laundry or the rest of the house and gardens? Much of the pipework is not original being ‘an afterthought or modification’.

“The 1894-96 Ordnance Survey plan shows glasshouses present on the site running west from the Water Tower. These glasshouses were the laundry that was operating for the estate. There are no laundry facilities built into the design of the house and so it is clear that Stephens intended for this work to be carried out remotely right from the estate’s inception. The laundry and Water Tower had their own gate within the perimeter fence and thus no internal access was required”. (Marcus White 3.3.2 page 20)

Avenue House Water Tower, Trench 1 excavation

Trench 1 was placed 1.50m directly north of the tower base; it measured 1.80m EW x 1.50m NS. There was an existing ‘opening’ in this area; it had been suggested that this was an opening to a basement room of the tower or access to a plant or pump room.

On cleaning the top of the opening it was found that a rough concrete slab had been laid over the area, and within this was a frame made of bent metal piping to fashion a handmade manhole cover. The cover had subsequently been lost leaving an open hole that had silted-up. Excavation began of the silty fill; this was a light-brown organic, leafy/silty material [context 003], and judging by the relatively modern sweet wrappers etc the fill had accumulated over the last few years.

Further excavation began to reveal a ‘chamber’ (valve pit). The chamber measured approximately 1.50m EW x 1.50m NS; the depth was 0.75m with a sump in the floor being a further 0.22m deep. It was bounded on the south and east sides by concrete (probably part of the concrete foundation of the tower), the north side consisted of a modern brick wall, and the western side was a mixed roughly made wall of brick with lumps of mortar and concrete. The chamber contained a complex of various pipes, including:

• An EW foul sewer pipe along the south edge of the trench (86.00 OD)  A series of 3 smaller < 8cm iron water pipes running EW. • A (?) distribution pipe running (86.19 OD) NS to/from the tower and exiting north from the chamber.A junction takes the same feed eastwards and westwards exiting the walls of the chamber. These pipes have square ‘key’ controlled valves. A further two smaller diameter pipes < 4cm came off the feed pipe controlled with keys and taps and may be ‘sampling’ pipes. • Another 3 smaller diameter pipes crossed the chamber with keys and taps; many of these smaller iron pipes centred over a sump cut approximately in the middle of the chamber floor. Three ceramic drain pipes fed into the chamber, one from the north, one from the SE and one from the west. • A cast-iron pipe crossed the trench and chamber from SW to NE (86.25 OD). This cut across the rough western wall. Beyond the western wall was a disturbed context of mixed brown/yellow sand/silt with a mortar/rubble feel. This was a much disturbed context from the works around the chamber and the continued work and replacement of the pipe system. Finds [layer 003 fill of the valve pit] Metal 2 x circular metal (valve) tags 38mm diameter, one with ‘E’ stamped on it, small amount of iron strapping, small amount of thin lead sheeting – used as partitioning on the western side of the pit wall. Building material Small amounts of slate and a sherd of field drain pipe. Bone Large (cattle?) bone, joint end, butchered with straight clean cut across the bone. Small chicken type leg bone. Miscellaneous A selection of modern plastic, metal and rubber finds. [layer 004 western side of the trench, outside the valve pit] Pot Single sherds of Redware (flowerpot), Refined Whiteware, Tin-glazed Ware (plate rim) 1800-1900. Building material Small amounts of brick & slate fragments, clinker, white-glazed brick fragment. Metal An amount of corroded nails, cast-iron fragments, thin lead sheeting (used as a partition on the west wall of the valve-pit). Clay pipe A stem to bowl fragment, stamped ‘BENNEVIS’ on the stem. Clay pipes stamped with 'Ben Nevis' are known as cutty pipes (short stem pipes). They were made by a great many pipe makers and were very popular up to the beginning of the 20th century, but seem to have stopped being made after the Second World War. They were exported all over the world. Cutty pipes were made for manual workers so they could hold them in their mouths while using their hands. The pipes were sometimes called 'nose warmers' and in Ireland called 'Dudheen'. Cutty is Scottish slang for short. (D. Cooper – personal comm.). Glass Several fragments of clear modern vessel glass. Discussion Trench 1 appears to be placed over an inspection/valve pit and drainage chamber controlling the flow of water to and from the tower (not yet fully understood) with other pipes passing through. Pipes head west towards a building variously described as a laundry or hot-house. The jerry-built cover, north modern brick wall and brick/mortar west wall, seem to infer the 'chamber' has been rebuilt and modified over the years with the insertion/repair of various pipes and plumbing. Wooden shuttering attached to the NE side of the tower covered a similar series of pipes/keys/taps running from the ground vertically up to various stages in the tower. Further work is proposed to try and establish what lies outside the 'valve-pit', an entrance lobby to the laundry/hothouse is known from maps. Other work is needed to sort out how big the laundry and ancillary buildings were, and how this relates to an adjacent 'glasshouse/hothouse' mentioned in documents and seen on maps (for Trench 2 see Newsletter 514 Jan 2014 p5). References: Review of Water Engineering at Avenue House by Marcus White, Nov 2013. Avenue House, Draft Conservation Management Plan 2013. The Godfrey Edition, Old Ordnance Survey Maps, Finchley 1896. Laundry – What Laundry? Don Cooper, HADAS Newsletter No. 514, Jan 2014 Martin School Bill Bass HADAS members had a brief inspection of a gas pipeline being laid across the playing field in conjunction with the new works at the school where we found an air-raid shelter last year. The pipe had been laid and turf kicked in but we got a fair idea of what was going on. The pipeline which ran from the 'field' classroom to the High Road was about 30-40cm wide by 7080cm deep. It showed the make-up being the usual 40cm ish of topsoil over natural clay. We found several spots where the pipe had cut the (1913) field drain system and evidence of other types of field drains (possibly earlier than the one we are familiar with). Finds included pot and metal, also a heavily worn 1902 penny and a possible utensil bone handle. In the area of the air-raid shelter were familiar spreads of brick rubble probably clipped off a wall below. We hope to continue excavation this summer to pinpoint the shelter entrance. Exhibition and Book Enfield Archaeological Society in collaboration with Enfield Museum Service are producing a greatly enlarged and lavishly illustrated new edition of the late Geoffrey Gillam’s grounding breaking work “Enfield at War: 1914-1918” originally published in 1982. The new edition is written and edited by Ian K Jones. The book is being issued to coincide with a major exhibition at the Dugdale Centre, Thomas Hardy House, London Rd, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 6DS on “Enfield 19141918” to commemorate the beginning of the First World War. The exhibition will run from late March 2014 to January 2015. The book can be ordered from Ian K Jones, 18 Corby Cresent, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 7JT. The book costs £15.00 plus £3.30 postage and packing, please enclose remittance when ordering Other Societies' Events Eric Morgan Thursday 24th April. 7.30pm Finchley Society. Christ Church, High Road, North Finchley N12 (opposite Homebase). 'Finchley to Friern’ Talk and Slide Show by Mike Gee. Refreshments 7.30 pm. Non-members £2. Saturday 3rd May. 2-4pm Myddleton House Gardens Bulls Cross Enfield EN2 9HG 'Walking in the footsteps of Mr Bowles'. An informative tour highlighting the history of the man and his gardens £4 Tuesday 6th May. 1pm Gresham College at Museum of London, 150 London Wall. 'The Gresham Ship. An armed Elizabethan Merchantman recovered from the Thames'. Talk by Dr Gustav Milne. Further details at Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th May. 11am to 4pm. National Mills Weekend. Three Mills House Mill, Three Mills Lane, Bromley-by-Bow, E3 3DV. Discover this Grade I listed Mill, the subject of our April lecture. Go to for further information. Other Societies' Events (continued) Sunday 11th May. 9.30am -4pm. Lea Valley Walk - Lea Bridge to Three Mills. Experience the industrial heritage and natural history of the south of the Lea Valley. Start at Waterworks Centre, Lammas Road (off Leabridgehead), Leyton E10 7QB Cost £15. Go to for further information. Sunday 11th May. 10am. to 6pm RAF Museum, Grahame Park Way, NW5 5LL The Hendon Model show, 2014. Commemorating the centenary of the First World War. Static and Motorised Model displays. For details, visit Also until Wednesday 30th April 'Pilots of the Caribbean.' Volunteers of African Heritage in the RAF. Exhibition with Black Cultural archives. free admission. Monday 12th May. 3pm Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite museum) 'Culture Wars: Jewish Immigration to the East End, 1880-1890.' Talk by John Lynch. Wednesday 14th May 7.45pm. Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church Hall, corner Ferme Park Road, Weston Park, N8 9PX 'Treasures in the Tower of London.' Talk by Garry Wykes. Visitors £2. Refreshments before. Thursday 15th May 7pm. London Archaeologist. Institute of Archaeology 31-4 Gordon Square WC1. Annual Lecture on 'The important Roman and Mediaeval Bloomberg Site' Sadie Watson (MOLA) Thursday 15th May 7.30pm. Heath and Hampstead Society St Stephen's Church, Pond Street, NW3 (corner Rosslyn Hill) 'How the Heath was saved.' Talk by Helen Marcus with readings, songs, poetry and pictures. £5 donation at door. Friday 16th May 7pm COLAS St Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3 7NB. 'The King's Yard - Archaeological Investigations at Convoys Wharf, Deptford. 2000-2012’ Duncan Hawkins Visitors £2. Refreshments after. Sunday 18th to Sunday 25th May. Barnet Borough Arts Council. The Spires (next to W H Smith) High Street, Barnet. Art and Information exhibition (including HADAS details) Wednesday 21st May. 7.30pm Willesden Local History Society, St Mary's Church Hall Neasden Lane NW6 2TS (near Magistrates' Court) 'Forty years of Willesden's History.' Talk by Irina Porter about the Society's forty years existence since 1974. Thursday 22nd May. 7pm Enfield Society Heritage Walk. Guided walk around Enfield town, to include entrance to the Tudor Room and probably St Andrew's church. Meet in the Market Place. Please send a stamped addressed envelope for tickets to Heritage Walks, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield EN2 0AJ Thursday 22nd May. 8pm Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. 'Frustrated Communication - a UK charity. Talk by David Bays preceded by A G M. Other Societies' Events (continued) Wednesday 28th May. 7.45pm Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane N20. John Donovan Memorial Lecture. 'Life in a Big Company' Talk by Dr Stan Gilks. Preceded by A G M Non-members £2. Refreshments. Thursday 29th May. 8pm Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House. 'Cinema: Story of the Moving Picture' Talk by Tony Earle. Non-members £2. Refreshments Saturday 24th to Saturday 31st May Finchley Literary Festival. Main event at Avenue House on Saturday 31st May consists of invited speakers discussing/debating 'Women writing as men and men writing as women' and includes book signing and sales by guest authors. Other events including workshops, spoken word, poetry slam, talks and local author book promotions will be held in other venues including two local libraries, two local cafes and a bookshop. Saturdays (various) in May. 'Trinity in May'. Trinity Church Centre, 15 Nether Street N12 7NN. Festival of Arts, Music, Literature and Lots More.