No. 638 May 2024 Edited by Jim Nelhams

SUBSCRIPTIONS fell due on 1st April. The amounts are unchanged from last year – £15 for a full member plus £5 for an additional member at the same address. Full time students pay £6. Standing Order payments have been received. Thank you if you pay by cheque or directly to our bank and have already done so. If you have not yet paid, please do so now.

It saves HADASs money if you pay directly online to our bank account. Our account is Sort Code 40-52-40 Account no. 00083254 in the name of Hendon and District Archaeological Society. Please show the description as “Subs” followed by your surname. If you prefer to pay by cheque or cash, please send your payment to Jim Nelhams at the address shown on the back page of this newsletter.

HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming Lectures and Events

Lectures are normally face-to-face, though lectures in winter may be on Zoom. Lectures are held in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, 7.45 for 8pm.
Buses 13, 125, 143, 326 and 460 pass close by, and it is a five to ten-minute walk from Finchley Central Station on the Barnet Branch of the Northern Line. Bus 382 also passes close to Finchley Central Station. Tea/Coffee/biscuits available for purchase after the talk.

Tuesday 14th May 2024

Owen Humphreys (Finds Specialist at Museum of London Archaeology):

“London’s Roman Tools”

Tuesday 11th June 2024 at 7.30pm

HADAS Annual General Meeting followed by a lecture:


Your chance to let us know how we are doing and what you would like us to do for you. The meeting will be followed by a talk on “Clay Pipes” by our President, Jacqui Pearce. Members will receive reports and information about the meeting. Still time for nominations and resolutions.

Tuesday 12th September 2024

Wendy Morrison (Chilterns Heritage & Archaeology Partnership (CHAP):

“Beacon of the Past Hillforts Project”

Other Dates for your diary:
VE day celebration at Avenue House on 3rd/5th May 2025
Barnet Medieval Festival 8th/9th June 2024 at Barnet Rugby Football Club, Byng Road, Barnet.
Heritage Day at Avenue House on Sunday, 1st September 2024
RAF Museum – Light & Flight in November 2026 more details later.


What is Heritage Barnet? Don Cooper

Heritage Barnet is a loose assembly of Barnet-based societies involved in cultural heritage in the Borough under the chairmanship of Martin Russell MBE, Representative Deputy Lieutenant of Barnet. The inaugural meeting took place at Avenue House (now Stephens House and Gardens) on Friday, 27th January 2023. Its role is “to act as a focal point for existing and new local heritage bodies”. The proposed objectives include:

  • To stimulate and extend interest in heritage in all parts of the Borough particularly those which are under-represented in this field.
  • To co-ordinate all the various heritage groups.
  • To make each other aware of, oversee and record heritage locations, objects and activities under threat and work for their conservation/safety.
  • To promote best practice and exchange information free of charge between existing heritage groups. (This could involve both virtual and in-person communication).
  • To identify opportunities to promote awareness of heritage throughout the Borough as well as provide a forum for societies to advertise and share their resources and assets.
  • To make available to schools a range of resources, particularly relating to local history which now features prominently on the Primary National Curriculum.

In pursuing these objectives, Heritage Barnet:

  • will seriously consider the problem of personnel and attraction of volunteers.
  • will adopt Stephens House as its home.
  • will endeavour to hold meetings in a range of locations around the Borough in order to promote its message.
  • will seek to arrange activities, displays and events around the Borough, (some of which could piggy-back on other events including the possibility of a Heritage Week).
  • will be apolitical.

Heritage Barnet

  • will not be unnecessarily bureaucratic and will not involve subscriptions.
  • will not become a membership organisation in its own right.
  • will not seek to become a trust or limited company.

The following are some of the members of Heritage Barnet.

  • Finchley Society
  • Friern Barnet Local History Society
  • RAF museum
  • Local Family History Society
  • Barnet Museum
  • Barnet Arts Council
  • Barnet Archives
  • Stephens House and Gardens
  • St Mary’s Hendon
  • Local Councillors
  • Barnet Medieval Festival

The latest meeting was held on Friday, 19th April 2024 at Avenue House and well attended.


There were discussions on the fate of Tudor Hall a Grade 11 listed building and one of the oldest buildings in Barnet which is being sold by Barnet College.

The issue of Church Farmhouse, Hendon a Grade 11* listed building one of the most important buildings in the Borough which is being relinquished by Middlesex University and returned to Barnet Council, was discussed. These buildings are important to the heritage and history of Barnet.

It is important that we ensure that our local councilors are aware of the importance of these buildings to make sure the future of the building is secured for the people of Barnet.
Short talks were given by:

Lester Hillman, a local historian on the Battle of Barnet.
Reverend Dr. June Gittoes, Vicar of St Mary’s Hendon on her church and local parishes.

HADAS Archaeological Watching Brief Michael Hacker

Highgate Wood Clay extraction pit
April 2024

Highgate Wood, London N10 3JN
LB Haringey
Grid ref: TQ 23348891
Elevation, 100.43 m OD
Date: 08/04/2024
Site Code: HI024

Background and conclusions

A series of archaeological interventions in Highgate Wood in the 1970s showed that during the 1st and 2nd century AD an important Roman pottery-manufacturing site existed on the site of Highgate Wood. Locally sourced clay was used to build the pottery kilns and to manufacture a wide range of pottery.

In April 2024, the Friends of Highgate Wood Roman Kiln (FoHRK) excavated a small pit in Highgate Wood to extract clay for use in the manufacture of replica pottery. The pit was located close to the site of the Roman pottery,

The Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) conducted a watching brief during the excavation of the pit. This confirmed that no significant archaeological deposits were present and observed that a seam of clay, suitable for pottery production exited at this location.


Mary Rose Whistles Jim Nelhams

A previous newsletter contained details of musical instruments discovered aboard the wreck of the Mary Rose. These included two square fiddles, a “tenor Shawm”, three tabor pipes (long wooden pipes) and a drum.

Excavations have continued in the Solent and among other discoveries are four silver whistles. Readers will be familiar with whistles used for relaying orders and indicating the time on ships, much as bugles are used by the army. The shrill notes of whistles would have been audible above gunfire. Three of the whistles were suspended on silver chains, the fourth, the smallest, on a ribbon threaded with gold,

Such whistles are still used today in modern navies, and though more typically made of chrome-plated brass, they are identical to those used by Henry VIII’s men. A well-known use is “piping the side” as visitors of rank are welcomed at the head of the gangway.

Devon has Earth’s oldest fossil forest Stewart Wild

Earth’s oldest fossil forest has been found – and it’s near a Butlin’s.

The fossilised forest, dating from 390 million years ago, has been found in the high sandstone cliffs along the Devon and Somerset coast of southwest England by researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Cardiff.

It predates the previously oldest known fossil forest, in New York State, by about four million years. Their findings were reported in the Journal of the Geological Society.

Researchers say that the fossilised trees were found in the Hangman Sandstone Formation near Minehead, on the south bank of the Bristol Channel, near what is now a Butlin’s holiday camp.
Dr Christopher Berry, from Cardiff’s School of Earth and Environmental Studies, said: “It was amazing to see them so near home. It is our first opportunity to look directly at the ecology of this forest, and to evaluate its impact on the sedimentary system.”

SOURCE: Daily Telegraph, 8 March 2024, item edited by Stewart Wild


Welsh Harp update

From Barnet Council

With the works nearing completion at the Welsh Harp Brent Reservoir, national waterways charity Canal & River Trust is now allowing the reservoir to once again re-fill with water.

The reservoir repairs and maintenance, supported with funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery, will ensure that the popular green space remains safe and available for residents of Barnet. The works have overhauled the infrastructure that controls the day-to-day water levels in the reservoir.

The reservoir remains open to the public throughout the works, but signs are in place warning visitors not to walk on the reservoir’s drained area and mud for their own safety.

From Canals and Rivers Trust

Project update: 16 April 2024

We’ve now successfully completed a range of critical works at the reservoir. These works include the replacement of the pulley wheels, brackets and chains to both sluice gates which will allow the gates to be safely operated in the future.

We were also able to inspect the dam structure and undertake a range of minor concrete repairs.

The painting works to the Valve Tower to protect the metal structure from future corrosion, is progressing very well. We’ve completed the painting between the -5.5m and -2.0m (below weir crest) levels. We’ll be painting the remaining upper section from a floating pontoon to allow the works to continue as the reservoir refills.


Exhibition at British Museum Jim Nelhams

Legion – life in the Roman army

From family life on the fort to the brutality of the battlefield, experience Rome’s war machine through the people who knew it best – the soldiers who served in it.
The Roman empire spanned more than a million square miles and owed its existence to its military might. By promising citizenship to those without it, the Roman army – the West’s first modern, professional fighting force – also became an engine for creating citizens, offering a better life for soldiers who survived their service.

Expansive yet deeply personal, this exhibition transports you across the empire, as well as through the life and service of a real Roman soldier, Claudius Terentianus, from enlistment and campaigns to enforcing occupation then finally, in Terentianus’ case, retirement. Objects include letters written on papyri by soldiers from Roman Egypt and the Vindolanda tablets – some of the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain. The tablets, from the fort near Hadrian’s wall, reveal first-hand what daily life was like for soldiers and the women, children and enslaved people who accompanied them.

Roman military history perhaps stretches as far back at the sixth century BC but it wasn’t until the first emperor, Augustus (63 BC – AD 14), that soldiering became a career choice. While the rewards of army life were enticing – those in the legions could earn a substantial pension and those entering the auxiliary troops could attain citizenship for themselves and their families – the perils were real. Soldiers were viewed with fear and hostility by civilians – not helped by their casual abuses and extra roles as executioners and enforcers of occupation – and they could meet grim ends off, as well as on, the battlefield. Finds in Britain include the remains of two soldiers probably murdered and clandestinely buried in Canterbury, suggesting local resistance.

What did life in the Roman army look like from a soldier’s perspective? What did their families make of life in the fort? How did the newly-conquered react? Legion explores life in settled military communities from Scotland to the Red Sea through the people who lived it.

Visitors are advised that this exhibition contains human remains. The British Museum is committed to curating human remains with care, respect and dignity. Find out more about human remains at the British Museum.

Admission is by ticket only. The exhibition continues until 23rd June 2024.

OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS Compiled by Eric Morgan


Thursday 16th May, 7 pm. London Archaeologist Lecture Theatre, U.C.L. Institute of Archaeology. 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY. Annual Lecture and AGM. Also on Zoom. AGM will be followed by Annual Lecture – Recent Excavations near Holborn Viaduct and the Unexpected discovery of a Roman Funerary Bed – given by Alex Blanks (MOLA). Please book on Free.


Friday 17th May, 7 pm. COLAS, St. Olave’s Church, Hart Street, London EC3R 7NB. Talk also on Zoom. Excavations at Maritime Academy, Frindsbury – A new Palaeolithic Site – by Letty Increy (U.C.L.). Please book via Eventbrite. Visit HADAS may send out the link details to its members. Visitors £3 at the church.

Saturday 8th June, 12-5 pm. Highgate Festival. Pond Square and South Grove, Highgate Village, London, N6. Lots of stalls including Highgate Society and Highgate Literary and Scientific Institute. Also Crafts, Food, Music.

Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June, 10.30 am. – 5 pm. Barnet Medieval Festival. Barnet R.F.C. Grounds, End of Byng Road, Barnet, EN5 4NP. Lots of stalls including HADAS, Barnet Museum and L.H.S., Barnet Society, Battlefields Trust. Battle of Barnet Re-enactments. Food and Drink Stalls. For more info please visit

Monday 10th June, 7.30 pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society, St. John The Baptist Church, Chipping Barnet, Corner High Street/Wood Street, Barnet. EN5 4BW. The HADAS Barnet Hopscotch Excavation. Talk by Bill Bass (HADAS). Please visit

Friday 14th June, 7.30 pm. Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/Junction Chase Side, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. Medieval Buildings. Talk by James Wright. Please visit for further details. Non-members £1.50 at the door. Refreshments to be available.

Saturday 22nd June 3 pm. Wembley History Society. Barham Park Library, Harrow Road, Sudbury, HA0 2HB. (Please note different venue and time and day). Wembley’s Air Raid Wardens in WW2. Talk by Philip Grant (Archivist).

Sunday 23rd June, 12-6 pm. East Finchley Festival. Cherry Tree Wood, East Finchley, London. N2 9QH. (Entrance off the High Road, opposite Tube station). Lots of stalls including Finchley Society, Friends of Cherry Tree Wood (Roger Chapman, HADAS). North London U3A. Also crafts, Food, Music.

Wednesday 26th June, 7.45 pm. Friern Barnet and District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, London. N20 0NL. Holborn and Little Italy. Talk by Diane Burstein (Blue Badge Guide). Please visit Non-members £2. Bar available.

Thursday 27th June, 7.30 pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue (Stephens’) House, 17 East End Road, London. N3 3QE. Annual General Meeting – For further details please visit Non-members £2 at the door. Refreshments in the interval.

Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June, 12-6 pm. East Barnet Festival. Oak Hill Park, Churchill Road, East Barnet, EN4 8JP. Lots of stalls including craft and food stalls, bar, music, stage, classic cars on Sunday. Please visit for details.


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 Ave, London N2 9QP (07855 304488)

Membership Sec. Jim Nelhams, 61, Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS (020 8449 7076)

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


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