Issue no 286 January 1995 Edited by Liz Holiday
No meeting this month
Tuesday 3 January New Year Dinner at The Old Bank of England. There may be a few places left (or late cancellations). Contact Dorothy Newbury on 0181-203 0950.FINCHLEY
New meeting venue for 1995
AVENUE HOUSE, EAST END ROAD, 141NCHLEY, N3
Tuesday 7 February Mesolithic Sites in London. John Lewis from MOLAS describes some of the other sites in the London area contemporary with West Heath.
Tuesday 7 March Landscape Archaeology in North Wiltshire. Andrew Reynolds from the Institute of Archaeology, gives some recent results from the Compton Bassett Area Research Project. (We hope to be able to arrange a visit to Wiltshire this summer).
Finchley member, Miss A M Large, is delighted that HADAS will be meeting at Avenue House and points out that buses 143 and 326 will be particularly useful for members travelling from Hendon. Both stop in Gravel Hill, only a short distance from our new venue. Another member has written welcoming the change of venue and suggesting that perhaps the day could also be changed as some members cannot come on the first Tuesday each month. The second Tuesday has been suggested. Any support for this idea?
CHRISTMAS DINNER Bill Firth reports
This year’s dinner was held in The Old Bank of England, a Grade I listed building in Fleet Street on the corner of Bell Yard. Two earlier pubs, The Cock and The Haunch of Venison, were demolished in 1888 to make way for a new branch of the Bank of England which was set up to cater for the administration depart-ment of the Royal Courts of Justice_ The Bank occupied the building until 1975 when it was let to the Bristol & West Building Society and in 1994 the brewers, Fuller, Smith and Turner, took over the lease. Although it is now a pub, great care has been taken to retain and enhance the splendid features of the building.
The evening began with a visit to the Temple Church led by Mary O’Connell. We had a quick look at Brick Court, where Oliver
Goldsmith lived and died, Fountain Court (which by the time you read this will have featured in the last episode of Martin Chuzzelwit on TV) and the outside of both Middle Temple and Inner Temple Halls before entering the church.
Mary gave us an account of the history and the monuments in the church and then left us to wander round at our own pace admiring the various features. For anyone not familiar with the church, the original “round”, seriously damaged in 1941 but well restored, dates from 1185 and is in Transitional style. A small chancel was enlarged in Early English style to become “oblong” in 1240. The round is reminiscent of a chapter house and is decorated with “grotesques”. Most of them might be described as “mason’s naive” art, but among them are four kings. On the floor are recumbent figures, badly damaged in 1941, of Knights Templar. There are two fine monuments and a host of commemorative tablets in the “oblong”. There is lots more but not enough space to describe it …
From the church we crossed Fleet Street to The Old Bank of England where our dinner was served in a cosy room. It was all very friendly and I cannot do better than quote Dorothy from the menu:
” Our thanks to lain and Karen Anderson, managers, and to Xanthe in charge of banqueting, for receiving Mary and I in such a friendly and helpful manner in the first instance”
Our thanks go beyond the “first instance” to the occasion itself and must be extended to include Dorothy and Mary who arranged it all. Those who are going in January have a treat in store!
MEDIEVAL LIFE, a quarterly magazine of the Middle Ages, is due this year. Supported by the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York, this new publication will concentrate on the period between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. Although it will be for sale at selected museums and historic houses, it will primarily be available by subscription, price £8.50. Cheques, payable to Medieval Life should be sent to C J R Pickles, Rectory End, Gilling East, York, YO6 4JQ with your name, address and postcode.
On Thursday 17 November 1995, Edward Sammes, Vice President of HADAS, was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
The Antiquaries are the oldest of our archaeological societies and claim to he the most prestigious – the members, who call themselves Fellows, are encouraged to display their prestige by putting the letters FSA after their names. Thus Ted Sammes will in future be known as Edward Sammes, FSA.
The Antiquaries were founded in 1707 and met at the Young Divel Tavern; Stukeley soon became their first secretary and the driving force, and after various ups and downs, they acquired a Royal Charter in 1752. Today it occupies prestigious grace and favour premises at Burlington House in Picadilly, next door to the Royal Academy. It boasts one of the finest archaeological libraries in London and it holds meetings every Thursday evening at 5 o’clock in the winter months, preceded by the best archaeological tea in London.
Election is by ballot. Ballots are held three times a year: there are mahogany ballot boxes where you insert your hand, and nobody can tell whether you are voting aye or nay, and the officers distribute one cork ball per fellow per candidate. One black ball in four excludes: noes are counted first. Academics and professionals sail smoothly through, but anyone suspected of being an amateur, or of being in trade, or right wing in politics is always suspect. Ted, being an amateur, described on the ballot paper as being “Retired Assistant Chief Scientist, Western Research Labs Ltd” was inevitably in the suspect area.
After the votes have been cast, the counting of the ballots always takes place in very public view, the President counting the balls as he drops them into a glass howl. Barry Cunliffe, the President, was unable to be present and his place was taken by one of the Vice Presidents, Sheridan Bowman of the British Museum Research Lab, surely the youngest and most glamorous Vice President to preside at an Antiquaries ballot.
When the name Edward Sammes was called out we all held our breath. Postal votes: no
noes. The ballot box was opened: the ‘no’ box was empty! There were no noes at all: Ted was through! The rest was a formality, as the President counted the ayes – first those on blue paper, then the postal votes, then the little cork balls, till eventually it came to a grand total of 41.
Only one question then remained: was no-one going to be blackballed? An Antiquaries ballot is like a public hanging, and the Fellows always expect to have a least one good hanging per ballot. A Tudor historian came near. Apparently he is a star of the telly, and was therefore suspect. He duly received 11 noes: But alas! he received 49 ayes, so he too was through, despite the telly. (One fears that many Fellows do not actually watch the box and were therefore unaware of his heinous crime).
Afterwards the Sammes supporters gathered round and we mutually congratulated ourselves – Lady Hanworth, Ann Saunders and others -each hoping to be the first to telephone Ted with the good news. We then went to the Fellows room on the top floor for some sherry commiserating with each other over the lack of hanging and vowing that next time we would do better.
The next week Ted duly completed the process, appearing in his best suit to be formally admitted, signing the ‘Book’ and shaking hands with the President – Barry Cunliffe in person – and graciously accepting our plaudits. So the next time you see Edward Sammes, FSA bow low …
(Contributed by our Chairman, a fellow Fellow)
SHEILA KELLAWAY applied to join Mary O’Connell’s City Walk in October but instead of becoming a member of the group, found herself inveigled into leading part of it to help Mary cope with the large number of members who turned up!
GRAHAM JAVES has recently succeeded Arthur Jones as Hon.Editor of Hertfordshire Publications, the imprint of Hertfordshire Libraries, Arts and Information, in association with Herts Association for Local History.
DIERDRE BARRIE is happy and settled in her new home in Enfield and has been busy researching the area with a view to a HADAS visit.
THE ” THING ” Bill Bass investigates
A couple of months ago a stone bowl-shaped object was handed in to Gerrard Roots at Church Farmhouse Museum. It had been dug up from a garden in Hillside Gardens, Edgware. Gerrard then asked HADAS if we could identify the “thing”.
Its dimensions are 20cm diameter (top), 10cm (base),12.5cm (tall) and weighed a hefty 10 lbs with walls 2.5cm thick. Around the opening are four rounded lugs. The fabric appears to be an unpolished marble-type stone.
The object lived in the boot of my car for several weeks as it was shown to various people including HADAS members, Barnet Museum and the Rector of Monken Hadley. To some it suggested a garden ornament (bird bath), others thought maybe a stoop which held holy water or perhaps some other piece of church architecture.
Finally, I took it to the British Museum. They said it was a mortar, possibly used by an apothecary or chemist to grind medicine. Dating was difficult – perhaps 19th century -and it may have come from Italy.
Gerrard suggested a mortar in the first place -so back to you Gerrard!
If you need something identified, it can be taken to the BM Department of Medieval & Later Antiquities on weekdays between 2 and 4.40pm – go to the information desk first.
INFORMATION WANTED – CAN YOU HELP ?
A friend of Peter Keeley is researching medieval bronze cooking pots and skillets. Bronze cooking pots with three legs come in all sizes; skillets are usually saucepan-size with
long handles, sometimes with names and dates cast into the handle. Peter’s friend is looking particularly for information concerning the foundries, as some of these pots appear to have similar marks to those found on local church hells. Any information would he appreciated to Peter Keeley, 9 Parkside, Mill Hill, NW7 211 : 0181-959 2864 (evenings).
SITE WATCHING with Bill Bass
In 1990 and 92 HADAS excavated 19-29 Barnet High Street This site is now being fully developed. Whilst the foundations were being dug a substantial “well”-type structure appeared which would have been behind Guyscliffe House, a now demolished Victorian building. The feature was 230cm diameter, made with frogged bricks laid in English bond fashion and double brick wide. Its inner face was completely mortared. A depth of approximately 3 metres was visible, beginning 1 metre below the present (car park) surface. Although described as a “well”, it could have been a sump of some kind or a cistern.
HADAS members have been watching tree planting at Mill Hill Park (between Dawes Lane and A41). The holes did not reveal any obvious archaeology but this area was once a Victorian rubbish dump, so several sherds of 19th century and later date pottery were found.
Last month when mentioning closure of the Passmore Edwards Museum, 1 also referred to Harlow Museum. To put the record straight, Harlow Museum is still open for business.
CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM
The current exhibition Synagogue in a Suburb illustrates the history of the Jewish community in Hendon and includes personal memorabilia as well as religious artefacts. On show until 15 January; but note, closed on Monday 2 January.
Barnet, Edgware, Hadley & Totteridge by Pamela Taylor and Joanna Corden was published on 9 December by Phillimore, price £12.95. It completes the trilogy of pictorial histories covering the Borough, (Finchley & Friern Barnet was published in 1992 and Hendon, Childs Hill, Golders Green and Mill Hill in 1993).
This volume covers the north part of the Borough and as with it companion volumes, is prefaced by an excellent, although necessarily brief, introduction to the history of the area. There are 162 illustrations selected from Barnet Libraries’ own collection, together with material from Barnet Museum, Enfield’s Local History Unit and a number of other individuals and institutions. Dates range from a manorial map of Edgware dated 1597 to a photograph taken in 1994 of the old Regal Cinema in New Barnet. Some pictures of East Barnet, New Barnet, New Southgate and Osidge are included but by keeping to the present Borough boundaries, the authors have had to exclude much interesting material from the “wrong” side of the Edgware Road and in the Cockfosters area.
I did find the arrangement of material rather confusing (dodging from Barnet to Edgware and back) but this was more than compensated for by the quality of the reproductions and the excellent captions. Besides – it kept me alert from beginning to end! Copies are for sale in all Barnet Libraries, at Church Farmhouse Museum and from Archives and Local Studies in Egerton Gardens. The earlier volumes are also still available.
A NEW FREE LEAFLET Museums on the Northern Line is a pocket-size guide
produced by London Museum Service supported by London Underground’s Northern Line. Lists 19 museums all within easy reach of the tube, giving opening times and brief details of material on show. Copies from all libraries and museums in the Borough.