No. 627                                               June 2023                                        Edited by Dudley Miles

HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming Lectures and Events

Lectures, which are currently not on Zoom, are held in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE . 7.45 for 8pm. Tea/Coffee/biscuits available for purchase after each talk. (Cash please.)

Buses 13, 143, 125, 326 and 460 pass close by Avenue House, and it is a five to ten-minute walk from Finchley Central Station on the Barnet Branch of the Northern Line. Bus 382 passes close to Finchley Central Station.

Tuesday 13th June 2023

HADAS Annual General Meeting
Followed by Jacqui Pearce –Top pots from 50 years excavation in London

Tuesday 12th September 2023

Mike Noronha, Barnet Museum – The Battle of Barnet Survey and Project

Tuesday 10th October 2023

Lecture to be arranged

Tuesday 14th November 2023

Kris Lockyear – Mapping Verulamium


Subscriptions by Cheque

The annual subscription was due on the 1/4/2023. Members who pay by cheque and have not yet sent their cheque, please address it to:

C/o Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley. London N3 3QE

If you have sent your cheque to Steve Brunning’s old address, please let us know.


Barnet Medieval Festival

(Poster from the Festival Website)


Barnet Medieval Festival returns on the weekend of 10th-11th June 2023 and we look forward to welcoming you to the fifth Festival at Byng Road playing fields. The Festival will feature re-enactments of the Battles of Barnet 1471 and the Second Battle of St Albans 1461 as well as displays by the gunners, archers and mounted knights. NEW this year will be a medieval fashion show and craft demonstrations for you to enjoy.

HADAS will have a stall on both days. This gives us the chance to meet many members of the public and maybe enrol a few new members. It is great if members can spend a time helping with this. Contact Don Cooper (contact info on back page of newsletter) if you can spend a little time.
If you just visit, there is plenty to see and do for all ages.

The Festival Website – Barnet Medieval Festival – Reenactment of the Battle of Barnet 1471 contains more information and some short videos.


Seahenge Jim Nelhams

Henge – a prehistoric monument consisting of a circular structure made of wood or stones.

The coastline around The Wash and the Northern coast of Western Norfolk have been marshy and made up of shifting sands. Kings’ Lynn, at the southern end of The Wash, was a busy Hanseatic Port but the entrance to the Great Ouse became silted up and now only smaller ships can reach the port.

In 1998, the shifting sands of Holme beach, some 20 miles north of Kings’ Lynn revealed something extraordinary. Preserved in the sand were the remains of a unique timber circle dating back 4000 years to the Early Bronze age. Although discovered on a modern beach, the circle was originally built on a salt marsh, some distance inland.

The discovery captured the imagination of archaeologists and the general public, and the site soon became known as “Seahenge”. The timbers made a circle some 21 feet in diameter, made up of 55 closely fitting oak poles, some 10 feet in length. In the middle was a large upturned stump. Dendro-dating showed that the timbers were all cut in the spring or early summer of 2049BC.

A decision was made to excavate the timbers, though there was some local opposition. The site was only exposed at low tide so work could only take place for between two and four hours each day and was dependent on the times of the tides. With funds from English Heritage (now Heritage England), the work was undertaken by Norfolk Archaeological Unit.

Seahenge was built by people living and farming near the salt marshes. Up to fifty people may have helped to build the circle, possibly coming together to mark a special occasion, perhaps the death of an important member of the community. It is thought that a body may have been placed on the upturned stump and left open to the elements. Birds and animals would have been allowed to pick the body clean before the bones were removed for burial elsewhere.


The large upturned oak stump

The timbers had been naturally preserved by a layer of thick peat, but began to deteriorate through exposure to the air and the wetting and drying of each tide. As they were extracted, they were sent for preservation to Flag Fen, near Peterborough. Then in 2003, they were transferred to the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth.

While at Flag Fen, the timbers were laser scanned to record the surface details. This showed that the 56 timber pieces came from between 15 and twenty trees. They had been cut and trimmed using up to 50 bronze axes – the circle dates from a time when such implements were thought to be rare and quite new.


Some of the timbers are today on permanent display in the Lynn Museum in Kings’ Lynn, arranged in a circle of their original dimensions.

Golders Green Steam II Andy Simpson

Newsletter readers may remember that in the July 2021 issue (No.604) I wrote about the industrial tank locomotive ‘Hastings’ built by Hunslet of Leeds in 1888; my interest arose from its time as a contractor’s locomotive when it was used in the construction of Golder’s Green tube depot circa 1905-1907. Having passed to the Kent and East Sussex Heritage line at Tenterden for preservation in 1964, it steamed again in 2021 for the first time since 1965.

It was a guest loco at the recent Bluebell Railway ‘Branch Line Gala’ weekend and on Friday 21 April 2023 I was able to visit, see and photograph her and enjoy a brake van ride and ‘main line’ run with her. Branch Line Gala Weekend 2023 – Bluebell Railway in Sussex (

Although a game little engine, an attempted run up the 1 in 60/75 bank from Horsted Keynes to the East Grinstead terminus pulling four coaches weighing some 120 tons proved too much for Hastings and her even smaller helper, a pretty little Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway 0-4-0 ‘Pug’ tank familiar to those who built Airfix kits back in the day; they expired just north of West Hoathly tunnel and after a lengthy ‘blow up’ retired winded – but still pulling coaches – back down the bank to Sheffield Park loco shed.


HASTINGS at Horsted Keynes station on the Bluebell Railway 21 April 2023.
The cab of ‘Hastings’ showing various fittings and controls including two whistles, pressure gauges, the regulator handle, the gauge glass showing boiler water level, and the all-important white enamelled cans for the driver and fireman’s tea!


Lakeside Nature Reserve Dudley Miles

Lakeside Nature Reserve is a hidden gem in the heart of Finchley, between Squires Lane and Strathmore Gardens. Unfortunately, there is no public access, but it can be glimpsed from a track behind Strathmore Gardens.

The lake was constructed as a reservoir by Peter Edmund Kay in the late 1890s to supply water to Claigmar Vineyard. Kay started trading as a market gardener in 1872, and by the end of the century Claigmar Vineyard was a site of almost thirty acres in Church End, out of which some sixteen acres was occupied by 145 greenhouses, producing around 100 tons of table grapes, 100 tons of tomatoes and 20,000 dozens of cucumbers. This meant that the vineyard’s water requirements were enormous, and Kay met them by building a two-acre reservoir. Rain falling on the greenhouses was collected in the reservoir, which held about five million gallons. It was then pumped to the tops of water towers, from which it was distributed to the greenhouses.

The system was built at great cost, but it was able to supply all the water needed by the greenhouses, saving a water rate of more than £700 per annum, equivalent to around £70,000 today. The soft rain water was also better for the crops than the hard and cold water supplied by the water company. Kay was well known for his water management, and in 1900 he read a paper to the Royal Horticultural Society on “Saving and Using the Rain”.

The land of Claigmar Vineyard was gradually sold off in the 1920s, mostly for house building, but the reservoir and adjacent land was sold to Finchley Urban District Council in 1923 for the use of the electricity department, and by 1934 it was also providing premises for the highways and fire brigade departments. The site was presumably sold by one of the Council’s successor authorities, as it is now the gated estate of Pentland Brands Limited.

In the 1990s, the reservoir and a small area of woodland around it was designated a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation, called Lakeside Nature Reserve, by the London Borough of Barnet. It is described in the London Ecology Unit’s 1997 publication, Nature Conservation in Barnet, which may now be partly out of date.

The lake has fish, frogs, toads and terrapins, and there are waterfowl such as mallards, tufted ducks, coots, barnacle geese and moorhens. There are small areas of white water lily, and a few plants on the margin such as water mint, fool’s water cress, yellow iris, water-plantain and purple-loosestrife. There is an island which has sycamores and poplars, with dense undergrowth. The belt of trees on the lake margin has white poplar, white willow, alder and sycamore, with an understorey of hawthorn, elder, bramble and ivy, and some patches of comfrey and Michaelmas Daisy.


Claigmar Vineyard in 1920, with the reservoir in the centre (Ordnance Survey 26 inches to a mile Mid-Finchley map, reduced to c. 8 inches to a mile)
Aerial photograph of Claigmar Vineyard in 1921, showing the reservoir. Squires Lane runs vertically up the right hand side.


Claigmar Vineyard reservoir, now Lakeside Nature Reserve, photographed by Dudley Miles in 2010

Other Societies’ Events Eric Morgan

Not all societies and other organisations have returned to pre-Covid conditions. Please check with them before attending events.

Saturday 10th June, 12-5 pm. Highgate Festival. Pond Square and South Grove, Highgate Village, N6. Lots of stalls including Highgate Society, and Highgate Literary and Scientific Institute. Also, craft and food stalls and music stage.

Sunday 18th June, 12-5 pm. Hampstead Summer Festival. Keats House and Community Library, 10, Keats’ Grove, NW3 2RR. Art Fair. Open exhibition of paintings and sculptures, craft stalls, food and wine bar. Free admission. Held in the gardens. Please check for latest information. Also involved is Hampstead School of Art.


Tuesday 20th June, 7.30 pm. Camden History Society. Talk hopefully on Zoom. Untold London: stories from the time-trodden streets. By Dan Carrier. Please visit for details. Talk is about his book of walks in the deserted streets of Central London during lockdown to uncover the forgotten stories the heart of the UK capital holds.

Thursday 22nd June-Tuesday 4th July. Hampstead’s Art Street. Canvas murals along the walls of Keats’ Grove, painted by local artists.

Saturday 24th June-Sunday 2nd July. Proms at St. Jude’s Music and Literary Festival, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb, NW11 7AH. For full details
The Festival also includes Heritage Walks. Each walk must be booked in advance via website.

Sunday 2nd July 12-5 pm. Big Fair in Heath Street, Hampstead, NW3. Over 100 stalls including crafts, food and drink. Music stage. Free admission.

Sunday 2nd July, 10.30 am. Heath and Hampstead Society. Constable and Hampstead. Meet at Spaniard’s End (by flower stall and cattle trough) near Spaniard’s Inn, Spaniard’s Road, NW3. Walk led by Suzanne Grundy. Lasts approximately 2 hours. Ends at St. John’s Hampstead Parish Church, Church Row, NW3. Donation £5. Please contact Thomas Radice on 07941 528034 or e-mail or visit

Sunday 9th-Sunday 23rd July. Enfield Archaeological Society. Elsyng Excavation 2023. At Elsyng Royal Palace in the grounds of Forty Hall, Forty Hill, Enfield, EN2. To join the dig please contact Dr Martin Dearne. Email or visit This year the society is focussing on the Inner Gatehouse, believed to have medieval origins. Also Sunday 16th July, 11 am-4 pm, Open Day. Includes finds identification, displays and craft activities.

Monday 10th July, 3 pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society. St. John the Baptist Church, Chipping Barnet, corner High St./Wood Street Barnet, EN5 4BW. Tree dating and what it tells us about the Old Barnet Shop. Talk by Martin Bridges. Please visit

Tuesday 11th July, 8 pm. Amateur Geological Society, Finchley Baptist Church Hall, 6 East End Road/corner of Stanhope Avenue, N3 3LX (almost opposite Avenue House). Looking at the South Coast from the Isle of Wight westwards along to Devon. Talk by Stephen Krause (AGS). Examining the structures and pictures from the air to understand how the coastline of this attractive and geologically interesting part of the UK was formed. Visitors £2. Refreshments in interval.

Saturday 15th-Sunday 30th July 2023 CBA Festival of Archaeology. For more info. please visit CBA Festival of Archaeology – 15-30 July – Archaeology 2030


Wednesday 19th July, 6 pm. Willesden Local History Society. Visit to Tin Tabernacle, Cambridge Road, NW6 5BA (off Kilburn Park). Meet there for guided tour. For more information. please visit

Friday 21st July, 7 pm. COLAS. Talks hopefully on Zoom. Members’ Night. Talks by members of the society. For details. please visit

Friday 21st July 7.30 pm. Wembley History Society. St. Andrew’s Church Hall (behind St. Andrew’s New Church), Church Lane, Kingsbury, NW9. The 1948 Olympics at Wembley. Talk by Philip Grant (WHS). Visitors £3. Refreshments in interval.


Most groups shut down in mid-July until September.

With many thanks to this month’s contributors: Dudley Miles, Eric Morgan, Jim Nelhams, Andy Simpson

Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman Don Cooper, 59, Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8440 4350)

Hon. Secretary Janet Mortimer, 34, Cloister Road, Childs Hill, London NW2 2NP
(07449 978121) e-mail:

Hon. Treasurer Roger Chapman, 50, Summerlee Avenue, London N2 9QP
(07855 304488) e-mail:

Membership Secretary Vacancy

While we have no Membership Secretary

for the present, please address any change of member addresses or other miscellaneous correspondence to:

HADAS, c/o Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, London N3 3QE

Website at: – join the HADAS email discussion group via the website.


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