Issue No 298 January by Liz Holiday
January: No lecture meeting this month
Tuesday 9 January Evening visit to The Royal Institution & Faraday Museum. Meet at 6.30pm at The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, W.1 Phone 018
to reserve your place. Price £4 per person.
Please note new lecture day: second Tuesday in the month, 8pm for 8.30pm in the ground floor Draw
House, East End Road, Finchley, N.3
Tuesday 13 February (Not 11 February!) The Archaeology of the Jubilee Line Extension .Mike Hutchinson
Tuesday 12 March
Boxgrove Discoveries. Simon Parfitt
CHRISTMAS DINNER A Reveller reports A freezing night with snow in the air and ice underfoot did not deter the stoic band who ventured into darkest Hertfordshire on 5 December. The party was welcomed to Verulamium Museum by Museums Director Mark Suggitt and his hospitable staff. There was just time to look round this wonderful collection, make a brief visit to the conservation laboratory, whip through the museum store, and enjoy a glass of wine before going on to the Waterend Barn Restaurant in the centre of St. Albans. The Little Barn, where the dinner was served, was brought from Great Hormead in the 1960s and re-erected next to The Large Barn, already in use as a restaurant. The Large Barn dates from 1610 and was brought to the city in 1938 from the farm at Waterend Manor, Wheathampstead by Ralph and William Thrale, who owned and ran a long established bakery business. Waterend Manor was the birthplace in 1660 of Sarah Jenyns, who as wife of John Churchill became Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, Queen Anne’s favourite and confidant. The pure air of St. Albans is said to have contributed to her longevity – she died aged 85 at Holywell House.
However, HADAS revellers preferred the festive atmosphere of the Little Barn to the cold air outside and adorned with paper hats, eagerly despatched an excellent traditional Christmas dinner.
Heartfelt thanks to Dorothy Newbury who arranged the evening; Mrs Rosamund Adlard who organised things at Verulamium Museum and the Manageress and staff at the Little Barn. Both venues are highly recommended for a visit – the museum for its superb disnches and teas.
LOCAL STUDIES AND ARCHIVES Local History Librarian, Jill Barber has left Barnet for Westminster and until her replacement is appointed the opening hours of Local Studies and Archives have been altered. Until further notice the hours are:
9 .30-12 .30
Before visiting the collection, it is best to make an appointment by telephoning 0181-359 2876.
Ted Sammes is no longer in intensive care, but remains in The Brompton Hospital, following a heart by-pass operation; Victor Jones has left the Royal Free and is staying at a convalescent borne in Surrey; Mary O’Connell is in hospital in Bristol for a knee operation and Dorothy Newbury is sporting a broken wrist (right hand, of course!) after a tumble while feeding the birds in her garden. (Dorothy hopes members will excuse her for not writing her little personal notes on their Newsletters this month).
Our best wishes to Ted, Victor, Mary, Dorothy for speedy recovery and to any other members who are not on top form at present.
JANE AUSTEN – A HENDON CONNECTION A note from Joanna Gorden
The recent interest in Jane Austen, her works, life and world, inspired a search at the Local Studies and Archives Centre for some additional information behind part of a facsimile letter from Jane Austen to her niece Anna Lefroy, wife of Benjamin, who lived for a time in Hendon.
“If your uncle were at home he would send his best love, but 1 will not impose and Base fictitious remembrance on you – Mine I can honestly give, and remain Your affectionate Aunt. J. Austen”
The letter was written when Jane was at Han Place and addressed to “Mrs B. Lefroy, Hendon”. After looking through the rate books, it was established that she was recorded in the poor rate books from May 1814 to the last entry in February 1819, when the entry reads “Mr.Lefroy or occupier”. They were in possession of a house valued at £40 per annum and a field at £10 per annum. Rate payers at this date are recorded alphabetically, which is not helpful for tracing location. However, the new occupier of a property usually refers back to the previous one, so it was possible to find the next occupier, a Mr.Beale and after him, from April 1821, a Mr.Holgate.
There was only one Mr. Holgate in Hendon at this time: William Wyndham Holgate, who lived at Heriot House, Brent Street, Hendon where he practised as a doctor for more than30 years. His daughter, Agnes Beattie Holgate, was born in 1828 and in later life painted scenes round Hendon, including Heriot House itself. The paintings and sketches were donated to Hendon Library in 1934 by her niece Mary Holgate. Agnes herself married the Lavaliere Giacomo Filippo Angelo Medori of Rome in 1859. She died in 1880 and is buried in Florence. Heriot House no longer exists, although Heriot Road and Christchurch are built on part of the site.
Book Review by Roy Walker
A Walk Along Ancient Boundaries in Kenwood by Malcolm Stokes. Published by Hornsey Historical Society, 1995. Price 12.00
Malcolm Stokes has undertaken extensive research into the various ancient boundaries of Hornsey and has now produced a pocket-sized guide to one location – Kenwood. Hopefully this is the first of such guides as it not only provides a detailed map, noting all features relevant to the boundaries being followed, but a wealth of historical background. All this in twenty-four well-illustrated pages for just £2.00 (This is almost the price of a pint at The Gatehouse, Highgate where an iron boundary plate of 1791 survives).
Malcolm, a HADAS member, but writing under the aegis of his local group, The Hornsey Historical Society, traces the old St.Pancras parish boundary, together with those of Hornsey, Finchley and Hampstead parishes. The location of each visible marker is given and we are told where they should be if they have now vanished. The importance of the landscape is not neglected and the changes effected by Lord Mansfield in 1793-96 are discussed. The publication provides a timely link by HADAS’s current work on Hampstead Heath. The Saxon ditch which we are recording forms, in part, the boundary of St.Pancras with Hampstead. The clear descriptions of the boundary markers, notes from boundary reports of 1854 and 1874 have put flesh on the bones we face most Sundays. A copy of Malcolm’s guide has been bought for the HADAS library but I strongly recommend that you add this book to your own shelves and support this project undertaken by the Hornsey Historical Society.
TRAINED SPOTTERS Dan Lampert
When I read of the abandoned viaducts near Brockley Hill in a recent Newsletter, I realized that I must he a walking fossil because I worked on the engineering design of this intended Underground Railway extension.
The countryside where the line was to be built was then known as Metroland. It was mostly fields and villages. The line route was agreed in 1932 and it required a viaduct in the vicinity of Brockley Hill. There were three structural possibilities for the viaduct – a series of steel girders on concrete abutments, reinforced concrete bridges on abutments or red brick arches. Coloured pictures were prepared by the London Passenger Transport Board showing how the different designs would look. These were exhibited at various locations in Meroland and the public were asked to chose. The choice was for red brick arches – this was said to be more in keeping with the surroundings.
In 1939 engineering projects which were considered non-essential to the war effort were stopped. The LPTB worked on supporting existing viaducts against bomb damage, providing water seal doors each end of the Tube tunnels under the Thames, protecting power generating stations etc. As an engineer I was designated to be in a “reserved
occupation” and I was assigned to repairing bomb damage from the 1940 London blitz. When this ended I joined the armed forces.
In 1945 the Edgware branch of the Northern Line had a very low priority. Green Line bus services and extended bus routes began to serve the area until finally the rail connection was abandoned.
Continuing the engineering theme, The Millennium Commission is considering ideas and designs for projects to celebrate the year 2000. The Evening Standard magazine gave details for some schemes from London’s past which never made it. They include:
Unbending the Thames. In 1796 Willey Reveley unveiled a radical plan to straighten the river Thames to relieve congested shipping. This plan, described as novel, grand and
captivating proposed that three massive channels should he cut through the City from Woolwich to Wapping and the old curves could he used as three huge docks. Alas, the engineering work was too complex and the scheme was rejected.
A few years later in 1799, the sculptor John Flaxman suggested a colossal statue of Britannia to be sited near Greenwich Observatory. Standing over 230 feet high, flanked by lion and shield, clutching a spear in her raised right hand this impressive monument could act as a beacon for shipping. But, alas…
In the early 1880s when Egyptmania was sweeping Britain, Thomas Wilson, an architect, came up with the idea of building a replica Great Pyramid of Primrose Hill to serve as a burial vault. The immense structure, taller than St.Paul’s on a base larger than Trafalgar Square, would contain 215,296 catacombs and accommodate 5,176,104 individual burials. Parliament did not share Wilson’s enthusiasm for the project and rejected it in favour of a more conventional cemetery in Kensal Green.
Then there was London’s answer to the Eiffel Tower at Wembley Park. Building started in 1891, was abandoned in 1894 when the money ran out and the stump was finally blown up in 1907.
The grandiose idea of an Overhead Airport with eight radiating runways, each half a mile long, resting on the rooftops of St.Pancras and Kings Cross stations was proposed in 1931. (Unfortunately, technology available at the time couldn’t match this vision… and the plan was dropped.
Public Record Office Publications have recently published Maps for Local History (£8.95 ISBN 1 8731 6217 0). It provides a guide to the records of the tithe survey 1836 – c.1850, a national land tax survey 1910-1915 and a national farm survey 1941-45. This helpful hook (with such a misleading title) explains the historical background of the surveys, lists the information content (with indexes) and tells you how to use and find the records.
CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM The current exhibition features over 25 homemade and commercially manufactured dolls’ houses, dating from the 1840s to the
present day. Sizes range from a matchbox to a five foot high cabinet. There is also a wonderful assortment of miniature furniture and fittings on show.
If you’re intrigued by small things, you will marvel at the skills used to make such detailed miniature objects. All the material on show has been specially lent to the Museum by local residents and collectors from slightly further afield. Well worth a visit, particularly if you have children or grandchildren who would enjoy a treat.
The dining room remains decorated in full traditional Victorian style for Christmas until Saturday 6 January and Dolls Houses closes at 5.30pm on Sunday 7 January.
The Museum will be open on Wednesday 27, Thursday 28, Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 December, closed on New Year’s Day and then open again as usual at 10.00am on Tuesday 2 January.
NEWS FROM OUR NEIGHBOURS Enfield Archaeological Society welcome visitors to their meetings in the Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side and Parsonage Lane. Tea is served at 7.30; meetings start at 8pm. On Friday 19 January Ian Jones will be talking about Iran Before Islam_
Pinner Local History Society meets at 8pm on the first Thursday of the month in the Village Hall, Chapel Lane, Pinner. On 4 January Sue Selwyn will be speaking on Dante Gabriel Rosetti and the Pre-Raphaelites and on 1 February Dr. Colin Bowlt will describe North London Woodlands in History.
The Society’s annual Local History Day will he held from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday 24 February at the Winston Churchill Hall, Ruislip. The theme is People on the Move.
Speakers include Dr. Jonathan Cotton (Prehistoric Footprints in the West London Landscape); Dr. Isobel Thompson (Incomers and Natives: Harrow Weald, 1845); Eddie Cohen speaking about movement of the Jewish community from the East End and Dr. Philip Sherwood who describes how the building of Heathrow destroyed a community.
Tickets for the day cost £4 and if you would like to go please phone Liz Holliday on 01923
267483 by 31 January.
THE MUSEUM OF LONDON
The Roman London gallery re-opens on 30 January, with new models, extra room settings and a reconstructed street. Nearly 2000 objects will be on display. From 30 January to 9 February visitors can watch a craftsman plastering and painting the walls of the room settings using Roman methods.
On Sunday 14, 21 and 28 January at 2.30pm and 3.15pm, as part of their family events, the Museum of London will be holding thirty-minute object handling sessions on the theme Winter Warmers. Suitable for all over the age of 7 years, visitors will have the chance to handle a fascinating selection of winter things from the Museum’s handling collection.
In their series of fifty-minute lectures Excavating London Today on Fridays at 1.10pm:The Jubilee Line: excavations update by Alistair Green on 12 January; Excavations in Eden Street, Kingston-upon-Thames by Patricia Miller on 19 January and Bullwharf Lane, City of London by Julian
Ayres on 26 January.
For sale: a 400 page Roman history in mint condition – From Constantine to Alaric by F.P.Stevens. Price £5. Phone Rosemary
Bentley on 0181-959 5830.