Volume 6 : 1995 – 1999 >
First, an apology from Dorothy – due to lateness in booking for our 1998 lectures the drawing room where our 1997 lectures were held has been booked by another group for the whole of 1998. We should be using the Stephens Room upstairs as we did in previous years. Any changes will be signposted on the night.
Tuesday 10th February
PLEASE NOTE The Stephens Room will not be available until 8.15 instead of 8pm due to an earlier booking.- Lecture to start at 8.30 as usual. Hopefully a very quick cup of coffee may be possible before the lecture. The Lecture is ‘A Report on the Excavation at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden’ by Gordon Malcolm.
Thursday 5th March
Visit to Lambeth Palace, The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and The Museum of Garden History with Mary O’Connel 1- Details, application form and map with directions enclosed. Numbers are limited, so hurry!
Tuesday 10th March Lecture to be Confirmed.
Tuesday 14th’ April Roman Villas in Sussex by David Rudling.
Tuesday 12th May A.G.M. All lectures are held at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley N3.
Members are reminded that the Society’s Library in the Garden Room is open on Lecture Nights and Librarian Roy Walker will be pleased to assist with member’s book requirements, several recent donations (including one by Ann Kahn, following a clear out prior to moving house) have increased our stock still further and have permitted the replacement of more fire-damaged stock.
MICHAEL ROBBINS CBE
Members will be sorry to hear that our President, Michael Robbins, has been ill. He has written to our Chairman, Andrew Selkirk, explaining that he is having to reduce his activities and therefore he will be relinquishing the presidency of HADAS at the A.G.M – with regret, as he has enjoyed his term. HADAS is most grateful to Michael for his help, interest and guidance and wishes him a speedy recovery.
Conference Time! 14 February 1998 Medieval London; Recent Archaeological Work and Research, a CBA Mid-Anglia Group Conference. A one day conference at the Museum of London. £24.00 including tea, coffee and conference papers. Tickets from Derek Hills, CBA Mid-Anglia, 34 Kingfisher Close, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8JJ.
AND… Portrait of a City – Continuing lectures on the Archaeology of London. Thursdays at 7pm at The Institute of Archaeology , Gordon Square ,WC I . Admission £5.00 on door. Including Londinium to Lundenwic (5 Feb) Saxo-Norman London (12 Feb) and The Medieval City (19 Feb). Very informative !
LECTURE REPORT – DIANA ROOKLEDGE
`Here’s Looking at You !’ Mummy Portraits From Ancient Egypt
Those of us who braved the elements to get to the January lecture had the pleasure of meeting some of the pre-eminent Egypto-Greek citizens of Hawara, an ancient city of the Fayum Oasis, with 12th Dynasty pyramid and Labyrinth, renamed Arsinoe when settled by the Greeks, and later known as Ptolomeus Eurgetus, when part of the Roman administration. We in turn were scrutinised by them, politely and without too much amazement, but they had perhaps got used to the appearance of 20th century humanity during their five months at the ‘Ancient Faces’ exhibition at the British Museum last year.
Our Master of Ceremonies on this occasion was Dr Paul Roberts, the eminent classicist from the British Museum, who had been one of the organisers of that unique exhibition. During his preparation for the exhibition he had the none too easy task of deciphering the handwriting of Flinders Petrie’s notebooks and journals, written up daily from 1888 when he started excavations there. It is thanks to Petrie’s meticulous recording and precise drawings of the finds in each tomb, that so much useful research can continue today, and that we know so much about period or possible family groupings. Petrie had gone to Hawara expecting to work on 12th Dynasty tombs, but quickly realised that the `Portrait’ mummies of the Roman period (approx.AD50 to 320 when mummification died out as Christianity took hold in Egypt) might prove to be more important. The portrait mummies represent perhaps 2% of the mummies of the period, and have been found in many sites in lower Egypt. The portraits are of three kinds – gilded, on linen, and on wood. The earlier ones have the portraits placed on to traditional Egyptian mummy cases complete with scenes of Osiris and Anubis. Those painted on linen and wood were attached to the traditional beautifully folded mummy-wrappings. Interestingly, the wood is mainly lime, brought from the northern shores of the Mediterranean and not so far found in Egypt before that time. Some of the pigments found were also not known in Egypt before Roman times.
At that time there was only one mummy portrait in Britain, that of the ‘Blue Lady’ now in the Petrie Museum, and Petrie felt he would pay his expedition costs if he could find a couple of portraits a week. He found 20 in the first month and soon talked of the path to his tent being ‘strewn with mummies’ and later of a ‘plague of gilt mummies’ which he himself did not rate very highly but thought he had better bring with him as ‘their gilt gaudiness may be attractive to British philistines’. As he started on some conservation, Petrie wrote ‘I wish I knew something about picture cleaning’ Some he covered in wet rice paper which set like concrete – those are now being reconserved – others he washed with water and covered with warm wax which had to be local and heated in local copper pots, but there were some disasters due to overheating !
He was visited on site by Schliemann (the excavator of Troy – Ed.) who brought with him a colleague who was fascinated by the study of race, and was allowed to take 40 of the skulls to Berlin for study. They have never been heard of since! However, in 1995, work started on 20 of the skulls which were brought to London and had been ‘stored’. To date, 5 have been matched to portraits, and two of these were in good enough condition for facial reconstructions to be attempted, and only later matched to the portraits. CAT scans show some of the bodies to be in excellent condition, others to have bones all crushed together inside their wrappings. The most common age of death was in the 20s and 30s, though one man who carved his own marker had left the age of his death blank and this had been filled in by a different hand as 66. There is still a lot of scientific analysis to be done.
The real pleasure of our evening with these beautiful citizens of Fayum was in looking at them, and admiring their hair styles and jewellery copied from the very latest in Roman high society, thus enabling accurate chronology and perhaps dating. Some we know by name or soubriquet – Hermione Grammaticae (thought to mean ‘exponent of culture’) who has found a suitable resting place at Girton College; Aphrodite, daughter of Didos, who died. aged 20; the young man Artemidorus, aged about 20; the austere and authoritative older man of Trajan style, his purple clavus (edging of his tunic) showing him to be a fully -fledged Roman citizen; the younger ‘Bruiser’, and the beautiful ‘Jewellery Girl’ hair piled high and covered in gems.
We hope they enjoyed meeting us!
Following the report in the January newsletter concerning closure of Barnet Council’s Archive Storeroom at Lyndhurst Avenue, your editor has been contacted by Joanna Carden, Archivist at the Barnet Local Studies and Archives Centre at Hendon Library. She writes:
`There have been developments on this front since the last HADAS newsletter; The Friern Barnet Bookstore (which is not open to the public, but used solely as a store) is to be emptied at the beginning of 1998. Another storage location for the Church Farm House artefacts has been found, and the remaining books are to go to Hornsey. Homes have been found for the building plans; Herts Archives and Local Studies Centre has agreed to take the plans relating to the former County of Hertfordshire, and the London Metropolitan Archives (formerly Greater London Record Office) are considering taking on the plans relating to the former County of Middlesex. The rate books are not to be thrown away, as it is hoped that space will be found for them at Hornsey.
The duplicate council and committee minutes have been offered to local societies, although so far only Barnet Museum has expressed an interest. We do actually have a full run of the signed minutes at the Local Studies and Archives Centre, so losing the duplicates is not a disaster. The duplicate electoral registers (mostly post amalgamation) are to go into the book sale. Should anyone, society or individual, wish to acquire any of these, please get in touch with us.(0181-359-2876).
There are some highways plans, transferred to us with the building plans when they were all removed from the basement of Avenue House and Hertford Lodge and now stored at the bookstore, and these are to return to Planning. The Hornsey destination for the rate books is a provisional one, but we are all relieved to know that this vital source of local information will not be destroyed. It is of course a pity that the building plans for Barnet will be split up, but rather that than being destroyed.’
HADAS were contacted by a couple of local newspapers , including the ‘Ham And High’ concerning this issue, though nothing has appeared in print at the time of writing.
35th LAMAS LOCAL HISTORY
CONFERENCE – November 1997
The Conference on London of Human Frailty opened with Brian Bloice of S&LAS quoting the logistics of feeding and cleaning up after the horse population of London – facts recorded by Mayhew in his 1849 article on Labour and the Poor. Night-soil was removed by private contractors, and the sewermen, also known as flashermen, were employed by the Vestry or by private sewer owners. Public sewers were built in the 1860s following a series of cholera epidemics from 1830 to 1860. The poor lived in circumstances unpleasant for us to even contemplate. An impression was given of a fierce sub-culture fighting to exist – the sewer-hunters, or toshers, working in small groups for safety in the filth of the sewers, sieving for anything re-saleable. Their finds earned them around 6s a week from dealing with second-hand sellers. Patterers found a cleaner way of making a living by selling stationery, books and song-sheets. Do we still have such wonderful job titles?
Dr Lesley Hall, a senior Assistant Archivist at the Wellcome Institute had an intriguing title for her talk: Hairless Perverts with Twitching Lips – about the British. Sexology Society. Founded in 1913, they numbered a few hundred people, mainly literary and medical, from Bloomsbury, Hampstead and Chelsea. Lady doctors invited to join included Marie Stopes, who criticised them for their lack of effectiveness. Members had to be nominated, approved and over 25 years old. Their purpose was to investigate sexual psychology, and a library was set up. The Society’s final publication was in 1934 and the records of their studies on various matters have ended up in Texas via Houseman’s papers. We looked around the lecture theatre, but everyone seemed perfectly
Sinful Sport, by Dennis Edwards; a London Guide, described what we would call cruel sports: bear, bull, cock and duck fighting, and ducking ponds, such as those as Tottenham (Court) Road, were for duck baiting. rather than witch or scold duckings. Opportunities to go to such events were many as there were some forty public holidays such as the Duke of Cumberland’s birthday, Oak Apple Day, Deliverance from the Great Fire of London, and the Lord Mayor’s Show. Dennis Edwards quoted a German describing in 1710 the British who ‘act like madmen betting twenty guineas or more’ (on cockfighting). A Cruel Sports Act in 1835 apparently ended bull and bear baiting but cock and dog fighting continued. Cocks were led up’ from hatching and were weighed before a fight – as are human fighters. The Long Main was the name given to a series of cock fights lasting a week and both Pepys and Defoe wrote about the sport; the name Cock Pit Steps survives at Queen Anne’s Gate.
Then, from Sport to Opium Dens with Virginia Berridge of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine explaining how, with the influx of settlers from the Orient in the 1860s, unrestricted sales meant that opium was common to all levels of society. However, ten years on, the public image of the opium den was that of an evil
place – illustrated by a print by Gustav Dore -giving rise to public anti-Chinese sentiments. The Pharmacy Act of 1868 decreed that preparations over a certain strength must be sold from pharmacy shops. Adding to the seedy image was the death around of a music hall artist due to cocaine supplied by her dresser. A series of legislative measures were taken to curb the menace of drugs, including Regulations about opium not being allowed in lodging houses, an International Treaty signed at a Hague Convention, the 1914 Harrison Act in the US and in the UK the 1920 and 1923 Dangerous Drugs and Amendment Acts. Depressing to note how the problem has changed shape but not diminished.
Father Scott Anderson of St Andrew, Willesden Green, speaking on Sin and Good Works traced the history of the Anglo-Catholic movement, arising in the mid-1800s and evolving from the intellectual ‘Oxford movement’ to the 1866 consecration of the church of St Peter, Wapping dedicated to helping the poor. During a cholera outbreak, Father Lauder stayed to help while the professional people in the area fled. The Hospital for Sick and Incurable Children was run by nuns; it was recorded that the sisters were arrested for begging. The hospital did survive and moved to Edgware, later becoming a home for the handicapped and elderly. Another example of the movement was at St Pancras where Father Jellicoe campaigned in 1899 for better housing for the poor. In the 1960’s Father Bill Sherwood was in the news with his mission to the Bike Boys, to counter the opinion that Anglo-Catholics were backward-looking and paternalistic.
John Black of Royal Holloway & New Bedford College brought out some interesting facts about Plebeian Illegitimacy in 18th century London. Some 150-200,000 Settlement Statements are held in the London Metropolitan Archive; a wealth of material recording life histories. The study John Black discussed centred on 2,283 Bastardy Statements sworn to the Bench, from the three areas of 1) St Clement Danes, 2) St Mary-le-Strand and 3) St Leonard, Shoreditch. The statements noted occupation, place of residence and place of conception. Area 1) was the Inns of Court, etc; area 2) was a smaller parish with ‘traditional’ gentry and the population of 3) were poor weavers and better-off manufacturers. The study showed a pattern of servant illegitimacy where the fathers cited in the western, area tended to be shoemakers etc, in the eastern area they would be weavers.
The sexual activity of footmen became obvious from an analysis of peaks and troughs in birth dates; the footmen migrated with their employers and it is noted they were most procreative in the autumn!
Cathy Ross from the Museum of London, speaking on Bethnal Green Criminals, pointed out that the one and a half square mile area of Bethnal Green had remained a static, London-bred population, by-passed by main roads and surrounded by areas which, over the centuries, traditionally received immigrant communities. The population rose from 15,000 in the 18th century, to 130,000 by the end of the 19th century and fell to under 60,000 after WWI. The people within the community had their own culture and their own morality, not necessarily that accepted by the rest of London. The Booth Survey on religious influences saw them as independent, rough, poor, English. The Metropolitan Churches Fund provided for the building of twelve new churches dedicated to the Apostles from 1839-49. Bethnal Green had several Mission settlements to improve local ethical standards. Victoria Park was built in the 1840s in an area which had previously been a meeting place for ‘Infidels’. Bethnal Green was notorious for political dissenters meetings and for Sunday bands of music (Sabbath desecration). A book by Raphael Samuels on the East End Underworld described organised crime and noted the many different types of pickpocketing skills. With the building of an estate in one disreputable area, – the Nickel -Booth wrote in 1902 that the old population had
been dispersed and people in the new estate tended to be incomers. But that didn’t prevent the Kray phenomenon.
Once again, LAMAS produced an excellent event and we look forward to their Archaeology Conference in March.
Thanks to Vikki O’Connor for the above conference report.
Cat-astrophe Vikki O’Connor
An accident has befallen Henry Roots, ginger torn and hunting supremo of Church Farm House gardens. His tail has sustained a double fracture which is mystifying his human family. Theories include possible vehicle collision, squirrel power, or a falling gravestone in the Churchyard. Gerard Roots, curator of Church Farm House Museum, says the poor old mog is looking very sorry for himself – we hope he will recover his spirits by the new hunting season.
DOLLIS BROOK SEWER WORKS
English Heritage have informed us that a foul water sewer is to be laid by Thames Water along the Dollis Brook Valley. The area of interest for HADAS is the section covered by four exploratory boreholes in the Hendon Avenue/Village Road area opposite Holders Hill Road Other areas are expected to be professionally watched, but English Heritage have requested our assistance in checking the contents of the spoil heaps in the above area for anything of archaeological interest. There is a good chance that deep alluvial deposits may survive in the area and this is an excellent opportunity to check their archaeological potential, e g. Any evidence of the areas’ ancient environment. Prehistoric finds have certainly been made on the stream banks to the south.
We do not have a start date as yet, and we hope to be notified by Thames Water when work is to commence : However, work could start at very short notice, and it would be most helpful if local members could watch out for any signs of activity starting.
If you are able to help with this fieldwork or if you should observe any activity, please inform Brian Wrigley (0181 – 959 – 5982) who will be mobilising the HADAS forces.
HALF TERM AT THE MUSEUM OF LONDON;
Celebrating Tudor London : ‘Flower of Cities All’ ‑
Sundays 15,22 February Workshop Keep it Sweet! Making Tudor Pomanders with Brenda Coyle. 12.45, 2.15 and 3.30 pm.
Sundays 15, 22 February Performance A Step in Time : Tudor Dancing with musicians from ‘Baroque And Roll’. 1.30 and 3.00 pm.
ALBERT DEAN’S COPTHALL MEMORIES … (continued from the November Newsletter)
All the other fields were used as hay fields or just left to run fairly wild. Someone coming along with a tractor to cut the rough down every now and then, when it reached near jungle consistency.
So, apart from the ‘agricultural labourers’ from around the 1930s until Copthall Stadium was built, about the only ‘civilians’ to go in those fields were the rugby fans in the first field, the cricket fans in the long field, and us. Hardly any of the sports people ever moved outside the field their game was in. Very few people used the two main footpaths from Mill Hill and Mill Hill East, it was a long walk to Hendon from there, so most got the bus. Only one or two people might take their dog for a walk there on a good day. Otherwise, most of the time, the fields were as deserted as Dartmoor in a bad winter!
As we were very young and- ill advised then, in a period which some might consider to have even predated the `HADAS oscene’, we would very probably have missed the point that some of the curious bits and pieces we came across might have been pieces of pottery, etc., as against bits of weathered stone or half-rotted sparrow. But, even so, if the various adults who came and went had come across anything substantial, such as a 1920s gramophone needle, we would have known, wheedled such a titbit of information out of them, and got a good look at it. And if we had found a 1920’s gramophone, we would have gone on about it something chronic and had half the road out to it. And, if there were ancient stories of Roman Camps, etc., we would have heard. Regrettably, I can only say we had no such luck, no finds, no stories!
Some final points which should not be overlooked: (i) Contemporary rumour was that during WWII the Luftwaffe attack line on Hendon Aerodrome was more or less straight over Copthall Fields and short falling bombs often dropped in them. So any large circular patches in the clay anywhere around there might be the sites of craters or disposal works. Also, there was a good newt and dragonfly pond, about 20ft diameter, in the north-east corner of the long field, its old bed might appear similar. The only other pond in the fields was set in amongst some trees east of the Mill Hill East footpath entrance into the fields which is alongside the bridge over the old railway line. (ii) For some reason, possibly something to do with maintaining the soil quality, all the fields except the two sports fieldswere ploughed at least once at some time or other between about 1950 and 1955. I don’t think any of them were ploughed from then on. (iii) Somewhere amongst the hedging toward the Mill Hill side of the fields there was an old rusting harrow, a horse-drawn or very early tractor-drawn type. It was probably left from work in the fields in the second war but could have been there from long before that. In the 1950s it was almost rotted away and thoroughly overgrown, though we could stillclamber on it and work its levers. I don’t remember seeing it in wandering about after Copthall Stadium was built, so it might have been dug out and cleared away during the general tidy up of the fields just before the stadium was opened. We hardly ever went into the fields after the tidy up because the long field pond was filled in and most of the local wild life died off, a little survived in scattered pockets around the fringes, but nothing of any great interest. The other thing was the stadium of course, apart from the fact that it ruined every view and successfully obstructed just about every convenient route we used to go back and forth across the fields, we soon got the message that the council didn’t want local people using it until after the Olympics. Which baffled us, the whole site was about as inviting as a knacker’s yard. And, as we were used to hurdling genuine hay bales in the assault on the entirely mythical Castle Copthall and chasing equally mythical tigers through acres of really waist-high grass, we couldn’t credit the possibility that anyone would be likely to come half-way round the world just to run around in little circles on its very uninteresting little strip of tarmac. (iv) The Allotments end of the field that became Copthall Stadium’s main car park was used as an emergency rubbish tip for a few months about twenty-five years ago. It was the case that for a while anyone could drive up and chuck anything there. Over a few weeks there must have been several thousand dustbin-loads dumped there. Some of it was burnt off at the site and a good bit probably ended up in the hedging and ditching around that end of the field. (v) The cricket people didn’t have a
pavilion in those days, they and their fans used to congregate mainly along the hedges at the south-east corner of the long field and just leave their stuff by the hedges. There is probably a small treasure trove of assorted coins, watches and cigarette lighters in that area. Also, that was where the old keepers’ but was. It burnt down about 1960. The keepers had a small stove for making tea and getting a warm-up in the winter. One night, so the official story went, they forgot to put the stove out when they left. Personally, I’ve always been more inclined to the unofficial version, that one of them forgot about his fag at knocking-off time!
NEWS FROM OUR NEIGHBOURS
Enfield Archaeological Society (0181-804-6918)
20th February The Legend of Geoffrey de Mandeville (By HADAS’s Jennie Lee Cobban) The Historical Association (0181-455-8318)
26th February The Rise and Fall of The Lunatic Asylum Professor Roy Porter
12 February AGM , followed by Presidential Address – A Tale of Two Cities 2 London and Paris in Medieval Times – Mark Hassel
14 March 35th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists Museum of London. Non-members
£4.00. Morning – Recent Work; Afternoon – 25 Years of Digging in London,
Pinner Local History Society (0181-866-3372)
5th February Narrow-Boating Through History Iris Long
Work in progress – The digging Team are still in residence at Avenue House most Sunday mornings carrying on with post-excavation work, and are presently making good progress with the phasing of the Studio Cole excavation in Whetstone back in 1989, where evidence of medieval metalworking was found.
TRANSPORT CORNER ANDY SIMPSON
Following Bill Firth’s report last month on the imminent demise of the former Finchley Tram/Trolleybus/Motorbus depot, those members with left over Christmas book vouchers may be interested in three local transport books published at the end of last year.
Following on from the previously reviewed ‘Barnet and Finchley Tramways’ Middleton Press have added ‘Enfield and Wood Green Tramways’ by Dave Jones to their ever expanding series on London Trams. Priced at £11.95 hardback, this 96 page book features more of the former Metropolitan Electric Tramways empire from North Finchley via New Southgate to Palmers Green and Enfield to the north and Wood Green, Alexandra Palace, Harringay, Manor House and Nags Head to the south. There is the usual detailed track plan, extracts from large scale Ordnance Survey Maps and a splendid series of photographs. There are three shots of Woodhouse Road, North Finchley, featuring Edwardian open-top tramcars and a 1930s Feltham streamlined tram. The photographs are reproduced to the usual high standard and the street scenes offer a wealth of period detail,
The volume on tramways along the Edgware Road and the Hendon/Colindale/Edgware areas is expected to be published in the summer.
Also by Middleton Press in their ‘London Suburban Railways’ series is ‘Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace’ describing in mainly pictorial form the former Great Northern Railway line from Finsbury Park via Stroud Green, Crouch End, and Highgate to Cranley Gardens and Muswell Hill to Alexandra Palace, closed to passengers in July 1954. At Park Junction the line continued north to East Finchley –
this section surviving as the Mill Hill East and High Barnet Branches of the Northern Line. At Highgate depot track was recently relaid to serve as a test track for the new Northern Line tube Trains which are scheduled to enter service this year. They are externally similar to the recent Central Line stock and will gradually replace the existing 1959-62 stock (Some of which was itself passed down from the Central Line ) and 1972 stock. So at least those lengthy waits at Camden Town or Golders Green will be in more modern seats!
The book itself includes lovely shots of Edwardian tank locomotives heading for High Barnet via Crouch End and photos and plans of Park Junction between Highgate and East Finchley. Another excellent book for rail buffs and local historians alike. This is in the usual Middleton format – 96 Hardbound pages for £11.95.
Weighing – in somewhat larger, heavier and pricier is the A4 format Trolleybuses in North-West London – A Pictorial Survey ‘ published by the London Trolleybus Preservation Society at £15.00.This has colour photographs on both covers and 8 colour pages within, featuring the old Trolleybus enthusiasts favourite haunts at North Finchley (three photos) and Golders Green in particular. There are lovely shots of a dewired trolleybus at Golders Green CI was late for school/work/lunch/our date – the poles came off !’) and Golders Green in the snow on the eve of trolleybus abandonment in the area in January 1962. There are even colour shots of Colindale Depot (demolished in 1964) and the terminus at High Barnet with the church as the backdrop. The black and white photos cover the whole period of Trolleybus operation in the Barnet/Finchley/Golders Green/Cricklewood/Craven Park/Sudbury/ Colindale/ Edgware/Canons Park area on quality glossy paper. They reflect on an era well within living memory that now seems like another age . Relics are few – other than a dozen or so preserved London trolleybuses, some of them in working order at the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft. Once Finchley Depot disappears, your scribe knows only of a curved wall recess that once held a traction pole at the site of Colindale Depot to suggest trolleybuses ever ran in Barnet, unless anyone knows different
We are now well into the new 8 part Time Team series on Channel 4 at Sunday Teatime as usual. At the time of writing we have still to see programmes on the return to the Gloucestershire Roman Villa from the last series, a quick trip overseas for Beaker Folk in Mallorca, a Shropshire Manor House site and the vanished Tees – Side medieval village at High Worsall. Not forgetting the Friday afternoon updates on how the excavations proceeded off – camera. Perhaps these cold be repeated at some stage when some of us are home from world
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