page 1 Time Team & HADAS Diary
NEW SERIES OF TIME TEAM That time-honoured feature of winter Sunday evenings is back-the new series of Time Team. Channel 4, around 5.30pm (times and transmission order may vary); Series started 14 January. See www.channel4.com/history/timeteam.
4 February The Druids’ Last Stand Anglesey
11 February Sharpe’s Redoubt Shorncliffe, Folkstone
18 February A Port and Stilton Stilton, Cambridgeshire
25 February A Tale of Two Villages Wicken, Milton Keynes
4 March No stone Unturned Warburton, Cheshire
11 March The Domesday Mill Dotton, Devon
18 March The Cheyne Gang Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire
25 March Road to The Relics Godstone, Surrey
1 April The Abbey Habit Poulton, Cheshire
8 April In The Shadow of the Tor Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
HADAS DIARY-Forthcoming lectures Tues 13 February Lecture by Dr Andrew Gardner, lecturer in the Archaeology of the Roman Empire at Institute of Archaeology, UCL; The End of Roman Britain-what ended, when, and how?
Tues 13 March Lecture by Eileen Bowlt – LAMAS Chairman; The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) in the early days
Tues 10 April Lecture by Denis Smith-Lecturer on Industrial Archaeology; Thomas Telford (1757-1834) 250th Anniversary Lecture
Tues 8 May Lecture; by David Berguer- Friern Barnet and District Local History Society Chairman, and curatorial volunteer at London’s Transport Museum – Trams of North-West London
As ever, lectures take place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Lectures begin at 8pm. Non-members £1; tea/coffee & biccies 70p. 15-minute walk from Finchley Central tube station; several nearby bus routes; limited parking. TRANSPORT CORNER
Coming up on 3/4March 2007 is the first of the year’s open days at the London’s Transport Museum Depot at Acton Town, with the entrance right opposite Acton Town tube station on the Piccadilly/District Line-both easy interchanges from the Northern Line. Highly recommended. Lots of local stuff! Open 11.00-17.00 both days, admission £6.95 (concessions £4.95, accompanied children under 16 free). See www.ltmuseum.co.uk the theme for the weekend is London’s Transport in Miniature, with working model layouts and trade stands. Herewith a few pictures your ed. took last year to whet your appetites! Buses, trolleybuses, trams, tube stock, station signs, and much else, including a streamlined Feltham tram of the type that ran to Whetstone until 1938, as we will doubtless hear in the May lecture! The main museum at Covent Garden reopens to the public this autumn, after extensive refurbishment.
EXHIBITION AT CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM
Latest exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum on Greyhound Hill in Hendon is titled ‘Winterlude- Toys and More…’ and runs until 1 April 2007. Open Mon-Thurs 10am – 1pm and 2-5pm; Saturdays 10am-1pm and 2-5.30pm; Sundays 2-5.30pm. Admission free.
THE PAST FROM ABOVE; BILL BASS
This is the last chance to see this exhibition-‘a journey over the world’s greatest archaeological sites’- which ends at the British Museum on February 11th. It includes 100 aerial photographs taken by Swiss photographer Georg Gerster of historical landscapes and archaeological sites from around the world. Added to this are objects from the BM’s permanent collection relevant to the photographs and cultures. The exhibition is arranged by continent, starting with Africa (Olduvai Gorge) then moving through Asia, Australia, the Americas, then finishing at Europe with a specially commissioned photograph of the BM in its London setting. It’s a rich suite of aerial photographs showing the colour, texture and extent of fascinating sites and their settings, with accompanying relevant artifacts. Entrance £5.00, concessions £4.00. www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/thepastfromabove
HADAS members will have noted with regret the passing of Magnus Magnusson in January 2007, aged 77. A Scottish-raised Oxford graduate of Icelandic descent, and for many years host of the BBC Quiz ‘Mastermind’ with his catchphrase ‘I’ve started, so I’ll finish’ he was the firm but fair quizmaster for those under the spotlight in that famous black chair. He was also a scholar of Icelandic and Old Norse literature. Of course for those of us of a certain age, he will also be remembered as the presenter of the 1970s BBC2 Archaeology programme ‘Chronicle’. Who could forget that distinctive music as the title unfurled manuscript like across the screen? He was rector of the University of Edinburgh 1975 – 1978, and later chaired Scottish National Heritage.
HADAS IN DEVON AND CORNWALL
In these dark days of mid winter, a reminder of warmer (mostly) and drier (usually) times on our most excellent summer 2006 trip to the Eden Project nestling in its former quarry, the atmospherically derelict Bodmin Jail, the rather splendid Forde Abbey (with very free-range chickens), Seaton narrow gauge Tramway, and examining prehistoric cists and alignments on a very rainy and misty Dartmoor, followed by the highly entertaining ‘Murder Mystery’ evening at the Two Bridges Hotel. Spot the location at Okehampton NOT on the HADAS Itinery…is that a ‘Hampshire’ DMU on the old LSWR I see before me?? – and of course the famous Brunel Royal Albert railway bridge crossing the River Tamar at Saltash.
Dorothy recently had a phone call from Mrs Enderby, to tell her that John, one of our founder members, and for many years Principal of Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, is ill in hospital. They moved to Fontmell Magna, Dorset several years ago, and we had a delightful day trip there a few summers ago. I am sure he would like to hear from any of you who remember him who would like to write, and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
Some readers will be aware of the excellent magazine London Railway Record, available from such venues as London’s Transport Museum, Motorbooks of Leicester Square, and the Ian Allan shop at Lower Marsh, Waterloo. The January 2007 issue features a nine-page illustrated article by John Butcher on ‘The Hendon Factory Branch’. This was the short-lived Midland Railway/Grahame White company branch off the Bedford-St Pancras line that left the main line at Silkstream Junction, Colindale, crossed the German Prisoner-of-War built Aerodrome Road into the Hendon ‘London Aerodrome’ airfield, ran right around the airfield boundary, and terminated in a fan of sidings on Edgware Road just north of the former Tramway Depot on the Hyde. Travellers could even book tickets to the small halt ‘ Hendon (Factory Platform)’ just inside the camp on Aerodrome Road The line opened in August 1918, closing in early 1921, though the tracks survived in situ to c.1930, requiring a bridge in the Northern Line embankment still visible in Montrose Park, and even today a small engine shed also survives in Montrose Park.
LAMAS CONFERENCE 2007
A reminder about the LAMAS Conference of London Archaeologists, that many members go to. This year it is at the Museum in Docklands 17 March11am – 5.15pm-This is due to the redevelopment of the MoL’s lecture theatre. Because of the change in venue, places are restricted and the cost is £7 for LAMAS members. £9 for non-members. Early booking is advised.’ Details and booking. Jon Cotton, Early Dept MoL, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
RESISTIVITY DAY BILL BASS On Sunday February 18th, 10.30am, at the Garden Room of Avenue House there will be an informal meeting between members of the St Albans archaeology group (part of SAHAAS) to compare and contrast our different resistivity surveying equipment and methods. St Albans use their own self-built machines, where we use the manufactured CIA system. We have in the past surveyed an area of the Gardens, which we can use as a fixed reference point to test results. If time and the personnel are available we may also show the use of GPS equipment and how this can be tied in with a resistivity survey.
HERTFORD LODGE, EAST END ROAD, FINCHLEY.
Anyone wishing to live practically ‘over the shop’ for HADAS lectures and Garden Room activities can now buy an apartment on the adjacent refurbished Hertford Lodge site-new build and refurbished 2/3 bedroom apartments priced £525,000 – £875,000…
Page 4 William Wilberforce
WILLIAM WILBERFORCE PETER KEELEY
We are celebrating the bicentenary of the passing of Wilberforce’s’ Bill to abolish the transatlantic Slave trade by organising a series of free lectures to which all HADAS Members are invited. When Wilberforce retired from parliament in 1825 he chose to live in Mill Hill, which was at that time in open country. He bought a house at the top of Highwood Hill with 140Acres and a number of tied cottages. Because times were hard he immediately reduced the rents for his tenants. Throughout his life he used his Christian principles to guide him and is still an enduring influence often quoted by American Presidents when they come to office. However by the time he came to Mill hill he was not in good health and found the 7-mile journey to Hendon Church, even in a carriage difficult for him and the other Mill Hill residents. He therefore decided to build a Church at Mill Hill St Paul’s Church was built in 1830, the land being given by Sir Charles Flower who owned Belmont House. It cost £3527.4.0 a quite considerable sum in those days, most of it paid for by Wilberforce, who by this time was short of money. In October we hope to open the New Wilberforce Community Center having excavated below the church Crypt and replaced the floor of the church to double the floor area. The first free talk to which all members and their friends are invited is on Friday 9th March at 8.15pm by Andrew Dismore M P for Hendon, “William Wilberforce the Parliamentarian and his contribution to the slave trade Act. It will be held at St Paul’s’ Church Hall in the Ridgeway Mill Hill where there is ample parking.
Why is the US gallon smaller than the British one? STEWART J WILD
British visitors to the United States who rent a car soon find out that the gallon of gasoline in US filling stations is not the same as the gallon back home, in fact it’s considerably smaller. Why is this? The difference dates from before the American Revolution when our British colonies in the New World used weights and measures supposedly equivalent to those used in England. But the system of standard weights and measures wasn’t well established in Britain in the 18th century and the standard copies taken to the colonies differed from place to place. Thus the US bushel and gallon, and their subdivisions, often differed from the corresponding British units, causing many arguments between traders. The colonies eventually adopted the British wine gallon of 231 cubic inches as standard, but England at the time was using not only the wine gallon as a standard but, confusingly, also the ale gallon of 282 cubic inches. In 1824 Parliament established the British Imperial gallon as 277.42 cubic inches (the volume occupied by 10lbs of distilled water at room temperature) and decreed its use throughout the Empire. Of course the Americans took no notice and thus the American gallon remained at 231 cubic inches, nearly 17 per cent smaller. To confuse things even further, the American fluid ounce is slightly /larger/ than the British one because the US pint (one-eighth of a US gallon) is divided into 16 fluid ounces. In Britain, the pint, although larger, is equivalent to 20 fluid ounces.
HADAS IN THE NEWS
HADAS got some good coverage recently in the local free weekly newspaper, the Barnet Press, 4 January edition –‘Digging in the dirt reaps new rewards for archaeologists’ with colour photos of Chairman Don Cooper and Publicity Officer Tim Wilkins spread over two pages! The Birkbeck post-excavation course, publications and fieldwork were mentioned.
Page 5 British Postbox design & use
BRITISH POST BOX DESIGN AND USE- A review of the January Lecture by Jo Nelhams.
A New Year and a lecture that was perhaps a little out of the normal remit for HADAS, as we ventured into Industrial Archaeology. Stephen Knight introduced himself as the Curator of the Colne Valley Postal History Museum which, as he said, is a rather rand name for his back garden! He proceeded to deliver a very entertaining lecture packed with information of postal history.
The earliest days of the development of the Royal Mail was in the mid 17th century where service post offices were housed in inns. However, Paris was many years ahead of London in having posting boxes on the streets, as they appeared in 1653.
The oldest post office letterbox still in existence in England was believed to have been in a wall in Wakefield, and is dated 1809. It is now in the city Museum.
In 1840, when uniform Penny Postage and postage stamps were introduced, Roland Hill proposed roadside posting boxes. Anthony Trollope, the author, who lived for a short time in Barnet, had another life as a surveyor’s clerk at the Post Office, and was appointed as the Western District Surveyor. Roadside posting boxes were introduced to the Channel Islands as part of his scheme for improving the islands’ postal services, and mainland pillar boxes were introduced in 1852. In 1854, Roland Hill, the newly appointed Secretary of the Post Office informed the Treasury that the experiment had been a success.
Stephen took us on a tour in pictures of numerous shapes, sizes, colours, changes of decoration and design of post boxes throughout the British Isles. I am sure that many of the audience were surprised at the diversity of designs that can be seen from the very ornate to the rather plain.
The first boxes in London were rectangular in shape and stood about 5 feet tall, with a posting aperture designed to prevent urchins from stealing the mail.
Ciphers distinguish the monarchs in shoes reign the post boxes were erected. There are numerous Victorian boxes to be seen around London and around the country, many of which are quite ornate. The ‘Penfold’ was hexagonal in shape and made in the 1860s and 1870s. In Malvern, there are early fluted boxes (1857) that are still in use.
Edward VII has a very ornate cipher, where George V is quite plain, with no ‘V’. Although Edward VIII was not crowned, there are about 150 letterboxes that survive. There is one in Elliot Road, Hendon, East Finchley High Road, and Wagon Road in Hadley Wood.
George VI had a relatively short reign and wartime restricted the number of new boxes. The crowns change and Elizabeth II boxes have St Edward’s Crown with E II R, except in Scotland where the design was changed to use the Scottish Crown, as the population rebelled because the Queen is Elizabeth 1st of Scotland.
British letterboxes were exported to many colonies of the former Empire, and can be seen worldwide. Often it is the enthusiastic amateurs who are the driving force in preserving some of our history and heritage. Stephen is a member of the Letter Box Study Group, a dedicated group of people who are instrumental in promoting awareness in this interesting area of industrial archaeology.
Page 6 What’s on
OTHER SOCIETIES’ LECTURES & EVENTS ERIC MORGAN
Sunday 4 February 10.30am HEATH & HAMPSTEAD SOCIETY Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 Artefacts of the East Heath Walk led by Michael Welbank Donation £2. Lasts two hours.
Sunday 4 February, 2pm IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FAMOUS Guided walk-meet at High Barnet Tube Station. Led by Paul Baker (City of London Guide) Costs £5. Lasts two hours.
Thursday 8 February 6.15pm LAMAS Terrace Room, Museum of London 150, London Wall, EC2 – AGM and Presidential Address, followed by 17th Century Palaces-Talk. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DAY. Refreshments 5.30pm
Thursday 8 February FRIENDS OF CRICKLEWOOD LIBRARY Cricklewood Library, Olive Road, NW2 – Brondesbury and other Parts Talk by Len Snow.
Monday 12 February 3pm BARNET & DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY Church House, Wood St (Opposite Museum), Barnet Wars of the Roses-The Two Kings Talk by Alan Smith
Wednesday 14 February 8pm MILL HILL HISTORICAL SOCIETY Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7 –Industrial Archaeology in and Around Mill Hill – Preceded by AGM
Thursday 22 February, 2.30pm FINCHLEY SOCIETY Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3 –Finchley Common Part 2-After Enclosure Hugh Petrie
Wednesday 28 February 8pm FRIERN BARNET & DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY St John’s Church Hall (Next to Whetstone Police Station) Friern Barnet Lane, N20-Unknown Whetstone John Heathfield £2 Refreshments 7.45 pm and after meeting.
Thanks as ever to this month’s contributors; Bill Bass; Peter Keeley; Eric Morgan; Jo Nelhams; Dorothy Newbury, Stewart Wild.