HADAS DIARY – LECTURES AND CHRISTMAS DINNER 2007
Tuesday, 13th November 2007, Mata Hari’s glass eye and other tales: a history of archaeology and aerial photography. Martyn Barber – English Heritage Ariel Survey.
Tuesday 18h December 2007, HADAS Christmas Dinner.
Handel choral music with members of the Finchley Chamber Choir, followed by tour of St Lawrence Church Little Stanmore. We then adjourn to the Apollonia restaurant in Stanmore for the meal. Numbers are growing fast, but there is still room for more. This event is of course open to friends, so if you do not want to come on your own, why not bring a friend? You never know, they might then join HADAS.
A reminder that deposits are required by Jim Nelhams by 1st November, (please see contact details on page 4). The cost of £30 includes transport, the visit to St Lawrence’s Church with a brief choir performance, followed by the dinner in Stanmore.
Lectures start at 8.00pm in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Buses 82, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line).
DOROTHY’S DO – by Don Cooper
What a lovely occasion! Over a quarter of HADAS’s membership turned out on Sunday 30th September to honour Dorothy on the occasion of her retirement from her long service on the HADAS committee. We assembled at 12.30 for drinks followed by buffet lunch at 1.00. Old friends reminisced with Dorothy about old times. A collection of photographs suitably enlarged (prepared by Bill Bass) were on hand to stimulate memories. Dorothy was presented with an album containing the many old photos, some nice bottles of sherry and a “this is your life” booklet compiled via an interview with her by Andrew Selkirk. The lunch concluded with a short speech by the chairman and a reply by Dorothy.
Thanks are due to the many people involved in organising the occasion especially June Porges, Jo and Jim Nelhams, Bill Bass, Andrew Selkirk and all those who helped on the day.
An interview with Dorothy written by Andrew Selkirk will appear in a future edition of this newsletter.
THOMAS TELFORD – A LIFE 1757 TO 1834 – A 250TH ANNIVERSARY LECTURE GIVEN BY DENIS SMITH ON TUESDAY 9 OCTOBER 2007 reported by Liz Gapp
Thomas Telford was born 250 years ago this year in Westerkirk, Scotland; his father, a shepherd, died three months later aged 33 years. From these very humble beginnings, he rose to become the first president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Denis Smith, a lecturer in Industrial Archaeology, started with a brief overview of the life and work of Thomas Telford. This encompassed Architecture; Canal creation; Road-making; Bridges; Railways and Steam carriages; Fen Drainage; Docks, Harbours and Piers; Water supply; Church building; and even the Exchequer Loan Commission. Denis then expanded on this, illustrating his talk with slides. Thomas Telford first came to Langholm, Scotland, looking for work. His first job when he came to Langholm, where he trained as a stonemason, was to carve his father’s commemorative gravestone. His second job was a doorway at Langholm where a plaque now commemorates this. Thomas came south to Somerset House, London looking for better and more remunerative work. There one corner of masonry was carved by Telford himself, which Denis considers to be better carved than other work there. In London he met Sir William Pulteney (1729 – 1805), a wealthy man, who became a life-long friend and patron sponsoring various work for Telford including his appointment as county surveyor of public works for Shropshire. He also became great friends with Robert Southey, a Lakeland poet and Poet Laureate. Thomas Telford built a great number of structures many of which were illustrated by Denis Smith. The first structure was Montford Bridge in 1792 built in masonry with three segmental arches built for £5,800. At Bridge North he was the architect and building supervisor for a new church St. Mary Magdelene in 1792-4. Pevsner comments on it in one of his books. In 1796 Thomas Telford completed a 130 foot span iron bridge at Buildwas over the river Severn with the arch ribs in cast iron. The bridge was only replaced in 1905. In 1801 Thomas Telford came up with a design for a new London Bridge of one 600 ft cast iron arch that was published and much admired, including by the monarch and royal family of the day. However, it was never built and an investigation at Imperial College calculated that this design would have created so much thrust that the bases would have had to be huge. In 1796 Thomas built an iron aqueduct in Longdon on the Shrewsbury canal. This was a test bed experiment 186 feet long with square nuts and bolts, blacksmith made, not mass produced. Next came the Chirk aqueduct which with its use of masonry piers and iron arches reduced the quantity of masonry used. Then the canal aqueduct at Pont Cysyllte which an engineer, William Jessop, suggested could be made in cast iron. This was achieved by creating 19 arches with masonry columns and cast iron arches, and was illustrated in some nice coloured engravings. Canal barges make no difference to the weight loading due to the water displacement. To this day the 7/8” iron plates are still in place. Various other bridges were then built including: the Dunkeld Bridge over the river Tay in 1809; the Craig Ellachie in 1812-15; and the Waterloo Bridge in Betsw-y-coed, Wales, in 1816. A pattern started to emerge: that of bridges with 150 foot span. Thomas was not great with his road design over the bridges as they often took sharp right turns at the exit of the bridge. In 1821, at the age of 64, Thomas Telford bought his first house at 24 Abingdon Street, just opposite the Houses of Parliament. One of the reasons for this location is that engineering drawings for projects were only passed once a year by Parliament. If they were not submitted in time it meant that a project would be delayed for a year until the next approval date. One of Telford’s biggest projects was the building of the Caledonian Canal, which was a ship canal, not a barge canal, going from Fort William to Inverness. Unfortunately, although a magnificent piece of engineering, it was superseded by steam navigation before its completion.
More of his bridges followed including his first chamfered edge bridge, the Ova Bridge in Gloucester; the Conway Bridge; the 1826 Menai Bridge; and the Severn Bridge. He then built the Harecastle tunnel on the Trent and Mersey canal in Staffordshire in 1824-27. After that he built the Western and Eastern Docks of the Katherine Docks by the Tower of London. Today only the Ivory Docks survive. Interestingly this is one of the few cases where the whereabouts of the spoil from such a project can be traced as the Duke of Westminster used it in Pimlico. To build this, all the work was done using manual labour, wicker baskets, barges, and horse and carts – there was no automation or steam power to speed this up. The first ship came into the dock in 1829. In recent years, the Telford retracting foot bridge of St Katherine’s docks was saved for posterity. The Birmingham canal network was then built from 1790-1830 which can be seen in Smethwick in Birmingham from the cast iron Galton Bridge over the Birmingham canal. His only foreign project was the Gotha Canal for the King of Sweden, which used lakes as in the Caledonian Canal. One of his cast iron bridges, that for the Holyhead road over the Birmingham and Liverpool canal, has a commemorative plaque showing his qualifications as FRSL&E. This underlines that Thomas Telford was a member of the Royal Societies of both London and Edinburgh.
Questions after the talk elucidated that, coming from a humble background as he did, Thomas Telford was lucky to be Scottish as the educational system was better than in England. He was born too early to have had much work relating to the railways.
Many of Telford’s drawings are still available; the Telford collection is the largest collection of architectural drawings in Great Britain and probably the whole world apart from perhaps in Russia. One myth that was laid to rest is that the churches in West Scotland and Iona often claimed to be Telford churches were not in fact designed by him. Thomas Telford was born in humble circumstance; never married; but died a wealthy, acclaimed man who was buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey.
COUNCIL FOR BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY AGM AND WEEKEND IN YORK By Peter Pickering
From 14th to 16th September I was in York for an exhausting but most rewarding series of talks and events organized by the Council for British Archaeology. We were taken round three mediaeval guildhalls – Merchant Adventurers, Merchant Taylors and St Anthony’s, with their exceptionally fine roofs. The first two are in full use; the third is being restored after occupation by the University of York. It is hoped that a use will be found for it which will permit public access. Dr Philippa Haskin showed and described to us a recently discovered Roll of the Pater Noster Guild which describes, among other things, the food bought for their feasts. Simon Thurley, the Chief Executive of English Heritage, gave the Beatrice De Cardi lecture (in the presence of Beatrice herself, in her 94th year) entitled “Archaeology and Artifice – the fabrication of Mediaeval History”. This was an entertaining and thought-provoking account of how the early Inspectors of Ancient Monuments, though eschewing reconstruction, removed all later accretions from the abbeys and castles in their care, and determinedly mowed the lawns round the remains, thus giving an impression of a definiteness that did not reflect mediaeval reality. They seemed to prefer their ruins to be unroofed, and removed the roofs from Wharram Percy church and Appuldurcombe House. Of course, the style of presentation favoured in our own day is no doubt itself distorting. On Saturday we had a very interesting address by Mr Hugh Bayley, the MP for York. He is an active member of the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group, and emphasised the need to convince the Government that archaeology had an importance that went beyond tourism, and that it should be taken account
of by all Government departments, not just those with direct sponsoring responsibilities. He emphasised the value of writing to Members of Parliament pressing the case for archaeology. If each one only “went through the motions”, the result of a lot of people going through the motions was action. This is a lesson we all should learn. Dr Hall took us speedily through the archaeology of York, mentioning: the headless Roman burials (too many to be the result of a single particular historical event); the recently discovered traces of Anglo-Saxon York (hitherto surprisingly absent); St William of York (the response to Canterbury’s Thomas Becket); a fourteenth century bowl (for the game of bowls, not a container); and a wax tablet with a poem on it (the chorus ‘she didn’t say yes and she didn’t say no’). Christopher Norton and Stuart Harrison have a theory about York Minster as it was in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, working from fragments surviving after the Gothic rebuilding which started in the thirteenth century and from parallels elsewhere in England, France and Trondheim. Dr Mainman talked about the Coppergate excavations (Coppergate means ‘cup-makers’ street’, and has nothing to do with copper). Among the finds was a coin of Samarkand (forged – not silver). Dr Whyman described his work on the Vale of York, overlaying maps of land-cover with maps showing archaeological sites and crop marks. Dr Kenny talked about Community Archaeology Projects in York. It seemed to me that the distinction between community archaeology and old-fashioned archaeological society excavations and field walking is becoming very blurred, and that local history societies in the countryside are often undertaking archaeological investigations, whether involving digging or not. Several of them have professional support, perhaps paid for through money from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Such amateur/volunteer activity (and there is a lot of it) is almost all outside the urban area of York; the only exception seemed to be the vast Hungate redevelopment, where there is much more volunteer involvement than is usual now in London. It may be that London archaeology could learn from all this, though the circumstances may be too different. On Saturday afternoon there were four different walks. The first one I attended, led by the York City archaeologist John Oxley through the Foss area of the city, was largely away from the tourist track. He pointed out to us particularly the many changes in level in York, both natural (York is at the confluence of two rivers) and due to the build-up of deposits. He pointed out that the churches of mediaeval York tended to be built on higher ground. Among the unlikely visits we made was to a run-down yard, with weeds and parked cars, where nine-metre deep excavation had been carried out seventeen years ago in anticipation of a redevelopment that was yet to happen. We also stood in the car park in front of York castle, where a nineteenth century prison had so trashed the archaeology that there was no way of showing where mediaeval gateways shown on maps had been. We then went to Barley Hall, where we got the full tourist treatment from an ‘authentically costumed’ but well-informed guide with a Scottish accent. Excavation in the 1980s revealed that under a jumble of run-down derelict offices and workshops was a medieval townhouse, originally of the Priors of Nostell but later of Alderman William Snawsell, goldsmith and Mayor of York. Ironically, in view of Simon Thurley’s lecture, it has been restored to how it looked towards the end of the fifteenth century. Finally we visited the Church of All Saints Northgate, which has a truly remarkable set of mediaeval glass. One of the windows is based on an anonymous Middle English poem called the Pricke of Conscience, concerned with the final fifteen days of the world. In the window each of the final days has a separate panel with a Middle English text that paraphrases the poem; the seas rise and fall, buildings (including the spire of the church the window is in) are destroyed by an earthquake; human beings hide in holes, emerging only to pray. Finally, the stars fall from the sky, the bones of the dead rise, and the world burns on every side. Another window has each of the nine orders of angelic beings, from common angels to seraphim. The day concluded with a ‘mediaeval’ feast in the Merchant Adventurers Hall.On Sunday there was a walk along part of the walls of York, and then an enthusiastic account by a founder member of the Pontefract and District Archaeological Society, which grew out of a WEA class in the 1950s, and has done a lot of work since. The Yorkshire CBA Group described what it was doing to encourage its
members to take better account of landscape. Then there were two talks with similar themes – archaeological investigation of a large geographical area – Dominic Powlesland on the Vale of Pickering and Peter Halkon on the Foulness Valley. Mr Powlesland told us that, in the Vale, ‘there is no part of the landscape that is empty’; archaeology is everywhere. Instead of field-walking Mr Powlesland prefers full excavation of one-metre squares. Dr Halkon was bringing together all the information that could be found (with great community involvement) and had identified a large number of curvilinear hill-fortlets. The Annual General Meeting followed. Nick Merriman, the President, emphasised the importance of the political and economic context of archaeology. The new Prime Minister had little interest in culture; Secretary of State James Purnell was interested in culture but little in archaeology; the Minister, Margaret Hodge, showed interest in the social and educational, but not the grimier aspects of archaeology. So there was a need, in putting our case to Ministers, to use arguments they would understand and could relate to access, regeneration and diversification. Though the Olympics were undeniably a threat to the financing of heritage, the Cultural Olympiad would provide an opportunity which should be seized. We should also be ready to respond to the legislation expected next session to change the regulatory framework. Mike Heyworth, the Director, reviewed the year, mentioning the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group; the CBA’s listed building casework; the Young Archaeologists’ Clubs (the CBA hopes soon to have two more people working on education); the new Marsh Archaeology Award for community archaeology; widening the number of outlets for the CBA’s magazine ‘British Archaeology’; and the importance of the CBA website. Peter Olver presented the accounts. There was virtually no discussion. The final item was the Thornborough henges – a lecture by Dr Harding and then, in the afternoon, a visit to this remarkable set of three henges in a virtually straight line (like the stars in the belt of Orion?), with three more henges in the same alignment within twelve kilometres. Each of the Thornborough henges had originally a double circuit of banks and ditches, and there was a cursus nearby. One of the banks of the middle henge is well preserved, the southern one has suffered more plough damage, and the third is concealed in trees. Dr Harding speculated interestingly on the significance of the complex; he was inclined to dismiss the idea that each henge was the monument of a different chief, and to prefer a more democratic model of a major pilgrimage site. He pointed to the absence of finds in the henges; there was an area nearby with flint debris, but it was out of sight of the henges themselves. There was little discussion of the controversy over the preservation of these henges, which have been under threat from quarrying.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVALUATION AT “THE STOCKS” by Don Cooper
Site Code: HDY07 National Grid reference: 524460 197320
Site address: The Stocks, Hadley Green West, Hadley Green, Barnet, Herts. EN5 4PP.
At the request of David Hampson of Oliver and Saunders and with the approval of Barnet Council’s planning department and English Heritage, the Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) carried out an archaeological evaluation on the above site. The planning application (N06949G/06 with subsequent amendments APP/N5090/E/06/2029489 and 2029494) submitted was for a new two storey detached house to be built on the site of a standing house that had been built in the mid-1920s, the footprint of the old and new houses to be approximately the same.
2.Geological & Topographical
The site is located north of Barnet High Street on the left-hand side of the Great North Road, midway across Hadley Green. The house has private road access. The area is more or less level, and is
made up of grassland with a few trees and ponds. The garden of the house is approximately 70m long and backs on to a footpath, which in turn borders Old Fold Golf course. According to the Geotechnical and land contamination assessment report carried out by LBH Wembley, the geology of the site is of London Clay overlaid by Stanmore gravel to a thickness of 2.5m, which in turn is overlain by made ground of an average 1.4m thickness. The made ground consists of top soil with a little gravel and brick. The site is approximately 130m OD.
3.Archaeological and Historical Background
Having consulted the Ordnance Survey of 1878, the site appears to be in an agricultural field belonging to the then Old Fold Manor Farm. Old Fold Manor is believed to date back to around 1140AD, when a deed grants the area to one Hugh de Eu. The eastern boundary of the field is a footpath which is believed to be the route of the old Great North Road. The stocks that give the house its name are shown on the map to be further east on the other side of the footpath. The house first appears on the 1935 Ordnance Survey map. The demolished house appears to have been built in the mid-1920s on a green-field site. The area, originally known as Gladsmuir Heath, is the reputed site of the Battle of Barnet in 1471. Archaeological activity in the area has, however, failed to identify the site or sites of the battle. The television series “Two men in a trench” included a programme on the Battle of Barnet and examined Old Fold Manor Golf Course and its surrounds, but failed to find any evidence of the battle. This is written up in a book of the series by Pollard & Oliver (2002). Old Fold Manor some 400m to the north, has also been the subject of an archaeological evaluation (Malcolm, 1991) in 1991 (Site Code GOF91) and although evidence of the old manor building was identified there was no evidence of the Battle of Barnet. There is no known Roman activity in the area, although Ermine Street (the modern A10) is not far away. Other periods are represented only by occasional chance finds. The site which is about 130m OD seems to have been an agricultural field for much of recent history. The small footprint of the development, disturbance by the foundations of the present house, coupled with the unlikely survival of artefacts from the Battle of Barnet, (even if it took place on Gladsmuir Heath aka Hadley Green!!) made this a somewhat unpromising archaeological investigation.
The evaluation was achieved by site watching. Initially, the pile driving was observed so as to review the geology. Then the foundation trenches were observed both in the trenches and examining the spoil from those trenches. Metal detecting was carried out on the garden behind the house.
The examination of the foundation trenches revealed no evidence of any structures other than those from the demolished house. The layer of top soil was (surprisingly!) sterile with little or no evidence of previous human activity, one clay pipe stem and a few pieces of post-1900 pottery were all that was found. The results of the metal detecting survey were similarly meagre. Pieces of modern iron pipe, modern coins and nails represent the sum total of the finds from the garden.
No evidence of the Battle of Barnet or indeed any other previous activity was found on the site of the new house at Hadley Green West.
HADAS would like to thank the building staff on site especially Len Jones, the site supervisor, for their full co-operation and assistance in carrying out this evaluation. Thanks also to HADAS members Vicki Baldwin, Bill Bass, & Andrew Coulson for all their help.
Malcolm, Gordon. 1991. Archaeological evaluation: Old Ford Manor, Barnet. London: Museum of London.
Pollard, Tony & Oliver, Neil. 2002. Two Men in a Trench: Battlefield Archaeology – The Key to Unlocking the Past. London: Michael Joseph Ltd.
THE STEPHENS COLLECTION – by Peter Pickering
Many readers will know that there is a small museum at Avenue House dedicated to “Inky” Stephens and writing equipment generally. I hope most members of HADAS will have looked around it at some time. The collection is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2pm until 4.30pm. To keep it open we need more stewards (Avenue House itself is staffed, but they are not responsible for the collection). In the last year or two some stalwarts have had to give up for one reason or another. Replacements are urgently needed. We ask each volunteer to be a steward once a month. A rota is drawn up, but if an allocated day is inconvenient, it is always possible to change it. The work is not onerous, and being a steward provides an opportunity for private reading. There is a trickle of visitors, ranging from people at some event at Avenue House who drop in for a few minutes, to people who have made a special journey to see the collection and study it carefully. We provide information for stewards to help answer visitor’s questions.
If you feel able to help and would like to know more, please telephone me on 020 8445 2807, or email email@example.com.
Other Societies’ Events Compiled by Eric Morgan
Thursday 8th November 6.30pm. LAMAS. Terrace Room, Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2. Hinemihi: The Maori Meeting House at Clandon Park, Surrey. Talk by Dean Sully (NT). Refreshments from 6pm.
Sunday 11th November 11-11.45, 12-12.45, 1-1.45, 2-2.45, & 3-3.45. LAARC. Mortimer Wheeler House, Eagle Wharf Road, N1. Shoreditch Park Remembered. Discover what lies beneath in a tour of this site destroyed by the blitz. Excavated by MoL. Call 0870 444 3850 for more details, or visit the website www.museumoflondon.org.uk.
Wednesday 14th November 8pm. Mill Hill Historical Society. Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway NW7. British Post Box Design & Use. Talk by Stephen Knight. (Curator – Colne Valley Postal Museum).
Thursday 15th November 8pm. The Enfield Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane (junction of Chase Side), Enfield. Discovering Enfield’s Historic Buildings. Talk by Stephen Gilburt.
Thursday 15th November 7pm. Friends of Cricklewood Library. Cricklewood Library, Olive Road, NW2. Medieval London Now. Talk by Hillier Wise.
Friday 16th November 7pm. COLAS. St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. Butrint: The Myth of Aeneas. Talk by Oliver Gilkes (University of East Anglia). Visitors £2. Light refreshments.
Friday 16th November 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane (junction of Chase Side) Enfield. The Old Welsh Bridge, Shrewsbury. Talk by Bruce Watson (MoLAS). Refreshments, sales & info 7.30pm. Visitors £1.
Friday 16th November 7.30pm. Wembley Historical Society. St Andrew’s Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury NW9. Kingsbury & its Pubs. Talk by Geoff Hewlett (Wembley Historian). Visitors £1. Refreshments.
Friday 16th November 7.30pm. Barnet Borough Arts Council. Brent Cross Shopping Centre (outside M&S).
Painting and What’s On (including HADAS).
Saturday 17th November 10.00am to 5.00pm. LAMAS 42nd Local History Conference. City of London School for Girls, Barbican. They Came to London: 1,000 years of Migration. Introduced by Dr Simon Thurley (President of LAMAS) who will also present the Annual History Publication Awards. There will also be displays of recent work and publications by Local History Societies. Cost £10. For further information contact the secretary: Ann Hignell, 24 Orchard Close, Ruislip, Middlesex HA4 7LS. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE AND PRICE INCREASE.
Sunday 18th November 2-4pm. Museum of London Walk. St Pancras Station & Beyond. Celebrate the re-opening of this stunning Victorian station as Eurostar’s new terminal. Cost £7.50. Call 0870 444 3850 for more details, or visit the website www.museumoflondon.org.uk.
Monday 19th November 8.15pm. Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries. Church End Library, Hendon Lane N3. Monumental Brasses, a Record of Past Times. Talk by Susette Palmer.
Monday 19th November 8.15pm. Ruislip, Northwood & Eastcote Local History Society. St Martin’s Church Hall, Eastcote Road, Ruislip. Recent Medieval Finds in London. Talk by Geoff Egan. Visitors £2.
Tuesday 20th November 2.30pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane (junction of Chase Side) Enfield. Street Names in the City. Talk by Paul Taylor.
Friday 23rd November 8pm. Barnet & District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street (opposite Museum), Barnet. AGM.
Monday 26th November-Sunday 2nd December. Barnet Borough Arts Council. The Spires (outside Waitrose), High Street, Barnet. Painting and What’s On (including HADAS).
Wednesday 28th November 8pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. St John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone police station), Friern Barnet Lane, N20. The History of Money. Talk by Richard Selby. Refreshments 7.45 and afterwards. £2.
Thursday 29th November 2.30pm. The Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3. The Statue of La Delivrance: an enquiry into its history. Talk by John Rickard. Non-members £2 (info board unveiled in Sept).
Saturday 1st December 10.15am to 3.30pm. Amateur Geological Society. St Mary’s Hall, Hendon Lane N3. Mineral & Fossil Bazaar. Including rocks, crystals, gemstones & jewellery. Refreshments. Admission £1.
Sunday 2nd December 10.30am. Heath & Hampstead Society. Burgh House, New End Square, NW3. Artefacts of the West Heath. Walk led by Michael Welbank. Donation £2, lasts 2 hours. (HADAS excavated here in the 1970’s).