No. 476 NOVEMBER 2010 Edited by Stephen Brunning
HADAS DIARY Christmas Dinner Postponed: We hope more details of an event in January will be in next month’s Newsletter.
Tuesday, 9th November 2010, Archaeology and the Olympics. Lecture by David Divers. 7.45 for 8pm, Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. Non-members £1.
The archaeological work associated with the London 2012 Olympics commenced as early as 2003 when London’s two largest archaeological organisations, Museum of London Archaeology (formally MoLAS) and Pre-Construct Archaeology joined forces to provide archaeological services for London’s Olympic bid. The talk will focus on the work of the MoLAS-PCA team in identifying the significance of the Lower Lea Valley’s
archaeology and heritage, and the subsequent investigations to record and understand the site’s archaeology before its transformation into the Olympic park. Subsequent analysis of the results of the MoLAS-PCA work is currently being progressed by Wessex Archaeology.David Divers has been involved in the project since 2003 while working for Pre-Construct Archaeology, but became increasingly involved after joining English Heritage in 2004 where he provided archaeological planning advice to the host boroughs and the Olympic Delivery Authority. David has recently left English Heritage to
join MOLA so he, like MOLA and PCA, are unfortunately no longer involved in the project.
Lectures for 2011
Tuesday 11th January 2011
Jane Siddel: Science as a tool to help understand London’s archaeology
Tuesday 8th February 2011
Richard Stein: The Roman Wooden Water Pump – an ingenious machine
Tuesday 8th March 2011
Keith J Fitzpatrick-Matthews: The Archaeology of Baldock
Tuesday 12th April 2011
Dr Robin Woolven: Bomb Damage in London and Middlesex
Tuesday 10th May 2011
Ken Brereton: The Markfield Beam Engine – the influence of effluence
Tuesday 11th October 2011
Dr John Creighton: Silchester -: the revelation of an Iron Age and Roman city
Tuesday 8th November 2011
Nathalie Cohen: The Thames Discovery Programme
Change of lecture format Stephen Brunning
Up to now, HADAS have been advertising the lecture season from October to May. However, in line with other societies we have decided to change them to run on a calendar year basis from now on..
Norwich Trip Day 2 Jim Nelhams
Firstly, Jo and I would like to thank our fellow travellers for the kind gift that was sent to us. Back to the plot…..
Following a busy day on our way to Norwich, the intention of Day 2 was to stay in the Norwich area and not cover much distance. Our starting point was the Roman town at Caistor St Edmund. Then we would drive into Norwich and, following a guided tour of the city in our coach, our intrepid travellers would decide where they would like to visit. Pocket money was issued to at least partially cover any admission costs.
Caistor St Edmund Sheila Woodward
As we all know, “the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” Our scheduled arrival at Caistor St Edmund was somewhat delayed: first by the incompatibility of old narrow country lanes and a huge modern coach, and secondly by a Bank Holiday parade. But it did give us a chance to admire our coach driver’s superb skill in driving his monster vehicle backwards – thank you, Dave! We began our visit to Caistor St Edmund at its church, a pleasant unpretentious building (still in regular use) with a 950 year old nave which incorporates some “robbed” Roman tiles. The church and its manor were given by Edward the Confessor to the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, hence the dedication. The chancel and tower basically date from the 13th and 14th centuries but changing needs and fashions have produced many alterations. There are 13th century lancet windows in the chancel, some 15th century glass in both chancel and nave, and
faded traces of medieval wall painting in the nave. The showpiece of the church is its fine stone 15th centuryfont. The sides of its octagonal bowl display carved emblems of the four evangelists (winged man, winged lion,
winged ox and eagle) alternating with angels holding armorial shields. The bowl is raised on a stem decorated
with carved lions. A truly noble vessel.
It was slightly disconcerting to discover the church being used as a (temporary) finds store and refreshment base
by the archaeological team which had just opened up a trench in the churchyard! But this post-Roman church
and graveyard fit neatly into the underlying Roman town street pattern, which may indicate continuity from an
earlier church of late Roman date. No other post-Roman structures have been found on the site. The Roman
town was of course the focus of our visit to Caistor. We were met at the church by Will Bowden, director of
Nottingham University’s current excavations and he led us on a tour of the vast site.
Venta Icenoram (its Roman name) means “market place of the Iceni”. It is mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary.
and was the centre of one of the local civil administration areas set up by the Romans in the later 1st century
AD, largely based on the existing Iron Age tribal areas. The Iceni are best remembered in history and legend for
their anti-Rome revolt led by Boudica (Boadicea) in AD61, and its brutal suppression. The creation of Venta
Icenorum as a civitas capital or “county town” seems to have begun shortly afterwards and the layout of the
street grid has been dated to about AD70. The massive town-walls, constructed of stone and flint with an inner
earth rampart, were built two centuries later and are now the chief visible remains of the Roman town. The fate
of town and inhabitants after the 4th century disintegration of the Roman Empire is unknown. There is no
evidence of Saxon settlement within the town, though plenty in the area surrounding it. The Roman town
interior seems to have crumbled away gradually and by the 9th or 10th century Norwich had become the regional
The mighty walls of old Caistor remained very visible and attracted the attention of antiquarians from William
Camden (16th/17th century) onwards but the interest was speculative and rather passive. It was only in 1928,
following a very dry summer, that aerial photographs revealed spectacular details of the Roman street lay-out
and sparked off a new active enthusiasm. It was short-lived: excavation of the Roman town was carried out
between 1929 and 1935 but was never fully written up or published, and activity at Caistor again languished.
However, interest in the site continued, with most beneficial results. A generous bequest in 1984 and grants in
1992 secured the preservation of the site. It is now owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, is managed
jointly by the Trust and South Norfolk Council, and has been open to the public since 1995.
One of the best views of the site is from the London to Norwich railway line. Will Bowden recalls looking at it
as he travelled regularly to and from the University of East Anglia and thinking how many archaeological
questions might be answered by excavating there. It is one of the rare (in Europe) examples of a major Roman
town which has never been re-occupied and so is unaffected by later building work. Silchester and Wroxeter are
further examples. Last year, Dr Bowden’s objective was achieved and excavation at Caistor re-commenced.
In 2009, digging was confined to an area just south of the town; the remains of a 4th century Roman burial were
uncovered. Now, for the first time in 75 years, excavation has moved inside the town. As we walked across the
site from the church to the main trenches near the north wall, we were able to identify the street grid which had
been marked out in white lines (14km of them!) painted on the grass. The size of the place is breathtaking. The
excavation which will last for three weeks was already producing vast quantities of artefacts: coins, pottery,
metalwork, bones, etc. The unusually large number of iron styli emphasises the importance of written records in
an administrative centre. The 1929 dig seems to have produced similar evidence. The range and quantity of
animal remains suggest that butchering took place within the town walls, indicating a close link between the
town and its rural hinterland. A clearer picture of town life and activities is beginning to emerge. Some of the
recent finds were on display at the site centre; finds from earlier digs are in Norwich Castle Museum. According
to the local press, the archaeological team “is planning to dig deeper and see if it can discover evidence linking
the settlement to East Anglia’s Iceni queen, Boudica.” Remnants of her chariot perhaps? Or they might even
find clues to her burial place!
The return walk to our coach took us up and over those imposing walls of Venta Icenorum. Breasting the slope
in a howling gale certainly increased one’s admiration for the toughness and skill of those Roman builders.
Guided Tour of Norwich Patrick McSharry
Our tour of Norwich was led by John Marriage, a blue badge tourist guide, who provided us with an
informative, entertaining and eclectic mix of information. This was a coach sightseeing tour lasting 90 minutes.
Given the inclement weather that afternoon we were glad to be under cover even though it was very much a
whistle stop tour.
We learnt that Norwich had enjoyed the distinction of being the second greatest city of England. Indeed it was
the largest walled town in medieval England although today there is little visual evidence of the walls
themselves. It was the Anglo-Saxons who first settled the area besides the river Wensum and the ancient
settlement of ‘Northwic’ – as it was originally called and from which the city got its name – was first recorded in
Saxon times. Following the Norman Conquest Norwich became a thriving trading centre, equalling in
importance the City of London.
Today the sky-line of Norwich is dominated by two cathedrals. The first is the Anglican Cathedral dedicated to
the Holy and Undivided Trinity which was begun in 1096 and completed in 1145 (though only consecrated in
1276). It was founded by the first Bishop of Norwich, Herbert de Losinga, and is the most complete Norman
Cathedral in the country. It was a Benedictine foundation and was built of Caen stone (a pale honey-coloured
limestone transported over from Normandy) together with Norfolk flints and stone from Northamptonshire.
This edifice is defined by its imposing spire (315 feet in height) which is the second highest in England (after
Salisbury Cathedral – at 404 feet) and has the largest surviving monastic cloister in the country. It also enjoys
the distinction of being one of the finest complete Romanesque buildings in Europe as well as having the
biggest collection of decorative bosses in Christendom. What is more, the Cathedral Close is one of the largest
in England. We were able to view the Cathedral spire from St. James’s Hill on Mousehold Heath.
The second of the two cathedrals is the Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and enjoys the distinction of
being the second largest Catholic cathedral in the UK. Interestingly enough, Norwich is one of the few English
cities to have two cathedrals. It was built between 1882 and 1910 to designs by George Gilbert Scott and
funded by Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk. It is located on one of the highest points in the city
and “its style is said to be 13th century early English, a fine example of revival architecture.” For most of its
history it served as a parish church until 1976 when it was consecrated as a cathedral church for the newly
created Catholic Diocese of East Anglia and the seat of the Bishop of East Anglia.
The history of Norwich has also been defined by its castle which today is regarded as architecturally the most
ambitious secular Norman building in Europe. It was built as a royal palace 900 years ago. Originally it was
constructed as a wooden fortification though later replaced by (Caen) stone. This was testament to the fact that
Norwich was such an important city. It was the only Norman castle to be built in the whole of East Anglia.
From the 14th century it was used as a prison, only becoming a museum in 1894. Its exhibits include fine art,
natural history and archaeology. This museum boasts the biggest collection of paintings by the Norwich School
of Artists, has the largest collection of ceramic teapots in the world and the largest collection of provincial civic
regalia in the UK.
We were further informed by John that Medieval Norwich had 57 churches within the city walls but only 31 of
these churches still exist today. That said, the city continues to be dominated by its churches and it still remains
the fact that Norwich has more medieval churches than any city north of the Alps. Not all of those churches
continue to be used as places of worship. In fact only eleven churches are still open for that purpose. During
the 1960s the Church of England, mindful of the ever dwindling population (due in part to schemes of
redevelopment) in the city centre (becoming more commercial and less residential) and declining churchgoing,
reached the conclusion that there was no longer a need for so many churches. During the 1970s and 80s
schemes of redundancy were implemented. The majority of those churches that were closed remain under the
care of Norwich Historic Churches Trust. Many of them took on new identities, very often as arts & craft
centres, community centres, and cultural centres. One was relieved to hear that the largest medieval church, St
Peter Mancroft, with its dominating tower (located on one side of the market place) still continues to be a place
of worship. It is sometimes mistaken for Norwich Cathedral. It was built in the mid 15th century and enjoys a
long tradition of bell-ringing. The second largest medieval church in Norwich, the Church of St. Andrew, also
continues as a place of worship. It is regarded as “one of the finest examples of East Anglian ecclesiastical
Other buildings of historical interest which we had the opportunity of viewing (though at speed) from our coach
included the St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’ Halls. These Halls were constructed over six hundred years ago and
were an integral part of the medieval precinct of the Dominican or Black Friars – in effect monasteries. After
the dissolution of the monasteries both buildings came under the control of the civic authorities and today both
Halls hosts a range of activities from conferences to fairs and even an annual beer festival. We also caught
sight of Surrey House, one of the most elegant and opulent Edwardian office buildings in Britain. It is the
headquarters for Aviva (formerly known as Norwich Union). It took 12 years to complete. The main hall
(known as Marble Hall) is made of the finest Italian marble. We were told that the hall contained 40 columns
comprising 15 different types of marble. The staircase is also of marble construction. The marble was originally
meant for Westminster Cathedral but the prohibitive cost forced the cathedral authorities to abandon its
acquisition and George Skipper, responsible for the construction of Surrey House, purchased the consignment,
and, as they say, the rest is history.
Three other structures worthy of mention which we flew past were the Assembly Room, used as a “House of
Assemblies” for the gentry of Norwich. Like so many other listed buildings in the centre of the city, this is now
a venue for visual and performing arts as well as hosting weddings, conferences and exhibitions. The present
structure is essentially a Georgian townhouse (“originally the site of a 13th century hospital and a secular college
and church for priests, who lived a communal life in the surrounding hall and cloisters”) and was for a time
used by Norwich High School for Girls. Also of interest was the City Hall completed in 1938 which enjoys the
distinction of holding the largest clock bell in the UK. The interior is art deco in style and the entrance is
defined by its bronze lions that greet visitors to the building. Like the two Cathedrals it dominates the skyline.
It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that Norwich has failed to modernise or lives in a time warp
architecturally speaking. New, innovative structures can be seen in the centre of the city and the Forum, the
landmark Millennium building for the East of England, is a stunning example of 21st century design. Its
prominent location sitting as it does on a pre-conquest settlement was a £65million project with the main
section forming an enclosing horseshoe. What is more, the structure connects with the distant past in the sense
that the glass façade forms a stunning entrance and embraces the church tower of St. Peter Mancroft referred to
One of the highlights of the tour was our visit to Mousehold Heath to get a panoramic view of the city and its
many significant buildings. This vantage point is dominated by HM Prison a category B/C multi-functional
prison for adult and juvenile males. This opened as a prison in 1887, on the site of the Britannia Barracks. We
were informed that it had the best equipped elderly lifer unit in the country. The prison’s commanding view
looking over the city of Norwich puts it in the premier league for being the most attractive situated prison in the
country. Now that I am a senior citizen it seems eminently sensible that, should I experience a reckless moment
necessitating custodial sentence, HM Prison Norwich would be my preferred choice. What a temptation!
No tour of Norwich would be complete without reference to Norwich City Football Club also known as The
Canaries or “The Yellows”. John Marriage was astute enough to realise that failure to pass the stadium might
easily have resulted in a mass protest from our group whether we were supporters or not. We learnt that the
celebrated Delia Smith (television cook and writer) and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones took over the
majority of Norwich City’s shares in 1996.
I have to say that we received so much factual information during our tour that the brain became addled.
However three facts that stand out about Norwich were (1) that Edith Cavell (1865-1915), British nurse,
humanitarian and alleged spy, was born in Swardeston, a village near Norwich, and her body reburied at the
east side of Norwich Cathedral; (2) that Norwich is home to Caley’s Chocolate which uses only the finest
ingredients in all its products – their chocolate bars, for example, contain no vegetable fats and have a high
percentage of cocoa solids, making them ideal for chocolate lovers (Caley’s have been making chocolate since
1883); and finally (3) that Norwich is home to Jarrolds a large, family run department store, a rare occurrence
these days. Other facts and observations will doubtless coming flooding back to the readers of this article.
There are, I am sure, things that I have neglected to mention or have simply forgotten. The frailties of memory
I’m afraid! I make no apologies other than to say (in my defence) I have slept since the 29th August.
At the end of the tour we disembarked from the coach on the opposite side to the City’s theatre and spent the
next two-and-a-half hours visiting sites of historical and/or archaeological significance. My brother and I chose
to visit the Anglican cathedral and attend Evensong. We then took a leisurely walk through the city to meet our
coach. It had been a roller-coaster of a day but so enjoyable. My final reflection is this: Norwich is a joy.
Janus-like it looks to its past and to its future: honouring, preserving and cherishing its traditions; and yet
embracing the future as exemplified in its architectural development, the entrepreneurship of the Canaries and
its defiance of global corporatism in the vibrancy of Jarrolds.
Visit to Norwich Cathedral Jean Bayne
We entered the Cathedral through the twenty-first century Hostry, the new Educational and Visitor Centre, with
its modern wood and glass structures. It is sensitively designed to resonate with the purpose of the original
medieval Benedictine building for the care and hospitality of pilgrims for which it was constructed. Airy, light
and welcoming, it complements the traditional grandeur and magnificence of the Cathedral itself.
Norwich Cathedral was started in 1096 and finished by 1145 – as much a sign of the power of the Normans as of
the glory of God. A great deal of the architecture has survived in spite of fire, riots, lightning, hurricanes, the
Peasants Revolt and the Black Death, the Reformation, the Puritans and the Civil War and two World Wars!
There was destruction, however, but two major events in the past saved it from wholesale decimation. In 1538,
the Benedictine monks surrendered voluntarily to Henry VIII and were immediately re-founded as a secular
institution with no material destruction. And, secondly, the Puritans were prevented from following through
their plan to pull down the Cathedral and use the stone to repair the piers and work places of Great Yarmouth,
by the Restoration in 1660.
Though additions and replacements, particularly of the wooden roof by Gothic stone vaulting and the spire by
brick encased in stone in the 15th century and stained glass in the 19th and 20th have taken place as ‘natural
evolution’, they have enhanced rather than destroyed the particular character of this beautiful edifice. However,
I like to imagine what it was like when the cathedral was painted in bright colours as it was in the Middle Ages.
All that remains on the original Caen stone now are a few scraps of wall painting.
The elegant nave, long and narrow though beautifully proportioned, with its fat Romanesque columns is intact
from floor level to the clerestory, extending by 14 arcades. The two spiralled columns probably mark the place
of the original altar table. The roof is set with carved and painted bosses which, unusually, are narrative in
character and tell the biblical story from both the Old and New Testaments. (There are 1,106 bosses in the
cathedral as a whole.) There is also a central hole or vent in the roof which may have been used to hang an
angel with burning incense, the smoke from which signified prayers flying up to God. When we visited, the
glorious visual impact of the nave was complemented by an atmosphere of reverence and awe created by a choir
from Hertfordshire practising for Evensong.
Some features of Norwich Cathedral are particularly intriguing as they reflect local links. For example, the
copper font was a gift from the now defunct Rowntree chocolate factory: an imaginative and modern addition. I
also liked the Peace Globe in the North Transept with a space for prayer for reconciliation and understanding in
the world. From inside the globe, spirals of lighted candles shine out. Also in the North Transept, there is an
affectionate wall inscription to a ‘singing man,’ Osberto Parsley, who sang at the Cathedral during the reigns of
4 monarchs for fifty years from 1535 to 1585 and survived all the upheavals of the 16th century. He was clearly
a much loved local figure.
Beyond the pulpitum screen in the nave, the choir stalls are in the same position as those of the Benedictine
monks and the earliest ones date from 1420. Many are misericords and are highly decorative, featuring flowers,
leaves and faces rather than biblical imagery. Most recently Norwich City Football Club donated a misericord at
the Millennium, with carvings of players and supporters. St Luke’s Chapel also has a local connection as it was
used by the Guild of St Luke, representing the plumbers and glaziers of the city of Norwich. Now it houses a
rare and well preserved reredos depicting the crucifixion which dates from 1381, painted on 5 joined oak
boards. It was re-discovered in 1847 as the oak boards had been used as a table with the painted side down in
order to hide them during the Civil War!
Nearly all the stained glass is Victorian apart from a few fragments of medieval glass which have been saved.
But in the North Transept, there are six new twentieth century windows. Three came from St Stephen Walbrook
in London and three more were added in a sympathetic way by a later artist and, although all are clearly
modern, they blend in with the decorative style of the Cathedral.
In contrast, the earliest phase of Christianity is symbolized by the Presbytery which is modelled on the basilica
of the Imperial Palace in the ancient Roman city of Trier in Germany. The Bishop’s throne stands here, echoing
the position of the seat of the chief officer of the old basilica. Norwich is the only northern cathedral with the
throne still in this position. The Presbytery reflects three medieval building periods which resulted in greater
light and beauty in the windows and roof design.
I have highlighted a few aspects of Norwich Cathedral which interested me. But there are many other wonderful
objects and places. The link between the beginnings of the building and subsequent centuries is evident
everywhere within the cathedral. St. Catherine’s Chapel, for example, reserved for silent prayer, has quotations
from T.S.Eliot on the door: ‘The still point of the turning world’. A Latin inscription on the richly carved
pulpitum screen reads: ‘this work was started in 1463 and finished in 1833’ Moreover, the cloisters, which took
over 100 years to reconstruct (1297- 1430), show changing tracery patterns and events down the centuries
including Thomas à Becket and the visit of Queen Elizabeth the First. (Time also stands still: there is a game
played by the monks carved into one of the stone benches, still visible) The twenty-first century has already
been represented by, firstly, a stepping stone labyrinth in the middle of the cloister which symbolises a
continual journey on a path to the centre, suggesting a spiritual journey or pilgrimage. This was to
commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee (2002). And, secondly, at the Millennium carved figures of two
people who were important in the history of the Cathedral and the city were placed on the west front of the
Cathedral: St Benedict, whose rule the monks followed, and Mother Julian, a mystic hermit who lived in
Norwich in the fourteenth century.
New additions are integrated into the ancient structure in a subtle, imaginative way which in no way detracts
from the impact of the whole. It suggests a living, vibrant institution, closely attuned both to its own
congregation and the outside world, following the traditions of hospitality, worship and learning laid down by
the Benedictines many centuries ago.
Norwich Castle Deirdre Barrie.
“This does not include battlements or dungeons,” said the entrance ticket to the Castle. But it did include entry
to the main keep, the natural history gallery, two art galleries, the Anglo-Saxon and Viking galleries and a
special Boudica (spelt with one “c”) gallery – good value for £5.
Norwich Castle is one of the city’s most famous landmarks – the square, light keep is all that remains of a
complex of buildings. William the Conqueror’s only castle in East Anglia stands four-square on a motte, with
unusual external decoration of blank arcading. It replaced over ninety Anglo-Saxon houses on a natural mound.
The pre-Norman defences are thought to have been merely ditches and walls against sea raiders; but by 1075
the timber castle had been built, followed by the 1120 building, roughly seventy feet high, of flint faced with
stone brought from Caen. (The building was refaced in 1835-8 with Bath stone.) At the top of the walls there is
still a fighting gallery, a high walkway within the walls (from which visitors are banned by Health & Safety).
The castle was built as a royal palace, and inside the keep is a splendid illuminated model showing scenes of
life in the castle during the reign of King Henry I.
The building was in use as a jail for hundreds of years until it was bought by the city in 1887 for use as a
museum / art gallery. The castle has been besieged several times and in the 16th century an army of rebels led
by Robert Kett and his brother protested in vain against the enclosure of common land by landlords. The
rebellion failed, and in 1549 Robert Kett was hanged from the castle walls.
Autumn/ Winter exhibitions at Church Farmhouse Museum Gerrard Roots
The Phoenix Cinema: 100 Years (2 October 2010- 3 January 2011)
The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley, which is celebrating its centenary, is one of the oldest surviving purpose
built cinemas in the UK. In its many incarnations over the past hundred years (from the Picturedrome to the
Coliseum to the Rex) it has survived two world wars, the doldrums in cinema-going from the 1950s onwards,
and the arrival of the multiplexes in the 1980s. The Phoenix has just re-opened after a £1 million restoration,
funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Millions of people have seen films at this unique venue (currently 70,000 admissions a year) and among its
many fans and supporters are its Patrons: Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Maureen Lipman, Bill Patterson, Michael
Palin, Mark Kermode, Judi Dench and Victoria Wood.
This touring exhibition tells the story of the Phoenix and its competitors in the boroughs of Barnet and
Haringey, and is augmented here with material from the Cinema Museum, LB Barnet’s Archives and the
The exhibition is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Film London and the UK Film Council’s Digital Film
Archive Fund, supported by the National Lottery.
‘A sin but not a crime’: the Restoration and the Regicides
The Museum is also displaying for the first time in London, an exhibition on loan from the Cromwell
Museum at Huntingdon on the grim fate of those signatories to the death warrant of Charles I in 1649
after the restoration of Charles II in 1660. (9 October 2010- 9 January 2011).
Church Farm’s 1850s dining room will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas from 6 December to 6
January, and between the same dates we will be displaying Christmas cards created especially for the
Museum by the calligraphers of the North London Lettering Association.
Church Farmhouse Museum, Greyhound Hill, London NW4 4JR. Tel 0208 359 3942. Admission free.
Proposed demolition of the White Bear Public House – The Burroughs Peter Pickering
Many members will recollect fondly the White Bear Public House almost opposite Hendon Town Hall.
According to the history of the environs of St John the Evangelist, West Hendon (published in 1996 or
thereabouts), “The White Bear has a long history. Originally the alehouse was named simply The Bear and
adopted the “White” at the time of the Wars of the Roses. After the second Battle of St. Albans London
declared for York and the Earl of March became Edward IV, hence the ‘White Bear.”
After vicissitudes, in which it became a Firkin pub with an alliterative name, then reverted to its old name, and
finally a Fried Chicken emporium, there is a planning application to demolish it and replace it with a building
of up to five storeys (plus two basement levels) comprising a retail unit, 14 self-contained dwellings,
landscaping and car parking. The application has attracted a large number of objections (no doubt from some
who want to keep the pub and from others who do not mind its loss but think the replacement monstrous). I
have objected on behalf of HADAS emphasising that since the site is very important archaeologically,
being within one of the early medieval hamlets of Hendon and opposite the Burroughs Gardens site where
HADAS found medieval remains in 1972. No consent for redevelopment should be given without stringent
conditions requiring a full archaeological investigation, including excavation, before any construction begins
on the site. No doubt English Heritage will insist on an archaeological condition, but Barnet’s planners must
understand that there are strong feelings locally about this. I expect the application will go to a Planning
Committee of the Council before Christmas, and shall look out for it.
Who invented the barcode? Stewart Wild
There’s something that nearly everyone uses every day, all over the world, and that has been adopted by over a
million companies. Every time we go shopping, check in for a flight or just buy a newspaper, it’s right by us.
Even those tiny stripes that appear on almost every letter we receive are an example.
So who invented the barcode? And when?
Amazingly, it was over sixty years ago, in 1949, that Norman Woodland, a lecturer in mechanical engineering
at Drexel University, Pennsylvania, was asked by a supermarket manager to design an electronic checkout
system. Later, having moved to Florida, Woodland pondered the idea while sitting on a beach. Drawing Morse
Code in the sand, he extended the lines and created the first version of the iconic uneven stripes.
He patented the design, but prior to the invention of the laser it had little practical application. Thus in 1952,
while working for IBM, he sold the rights, for very little, to a small company, Philco, later absorbed by RCA.
Coincidentally, he was still working for IBM in the late Sixties when his invention came back to him, so to
speak, as IBM took over some of RCA’s products. The Universal Product Code, as it was known, was
developed in the Seventies into the practical sales aid we know today.
Now nearly 90, and living in a retirement home in New York, Woodland still gets a kick out of being known as
the “father of barcodes”.
If anyone would like to read the full, complicated story, and get to grips with the technical details, it’s all here:
Remember this the next time you go shopping!
CBA Annual Study Weekend – Cornwall October 2010 David and Emma Robinson
The weekend was hosted by the Council for British Archaeology South West Region and based in Truro. We
thank all those who helped to make the event such a great success; in particular, in Cornwall Caradoc Peters,
Adam Spring, and Tony Blackman (President of the Cornwall Archaeological Society and Chairman of the
Cornwall Heritage Trust) and nationally Mike Heyworth (Director of the CBA) and his team. Thanks too to all
the speakers, guides and volunteers who gave freely of their time and helped make the weekend so memorable.
The caterers were excellent; for example, after a busy day in the field the delicious authentic Cornish pasties at
Truro College. And the weather was glorious! This was fortunate since much of the programme took place in
the field. However, peoples’ inclinations and walking abilities were taken into account and this was reflected in
the options offered. This was clearly welcomed and may well have been a reason why the weekend was more
than fully subscribed. The two main themes of the programme were the iconic prehistoric landscapes of Bodmin
Moor and the Cornish Mining Landscape around Camborne and Redruth – the latter a World Heritage Site.
We travelled down by train. The length and slowness of the journey reminded us that even now Cornwall is a
remote part of the country. Our first visit was a fascinating guided tour of the Cornish Archaeology Collections
at the Royal Cornwall Museum by their curator Jane Marley. The displays told the story of settlement in
Cornwall and proved helpful in putting our site visits into context. Indeed, before returning to London we
returned to the Museum for a more detailed personal perusal – not only of the archaeological collections, but
also the other impressive regional collections.
In this short piece it is impossible to give more than a flavour of the weekend. It is difficult to make a selection
since we were spoilt for choice. But rather than to give an overview we have chosen to single out a few
personal highlights which we believe for us most strongly resonated with the selected themes for the weekend.
On Friday evening we were welcomed by Sarah Shobrook, Head of Higher Education at Truro College and
Mike Heywood. Mike spoke of some of the challenges facing CBA and reminded us of the difficult financial
climate we now face. He further reminded us that it is only with the support of individuals such as ourselves
that they are able to continue their work to promote “Archaeology for All” – together with the wide-ranging
services that CBA offers in the UK. He was followed by the 32nd Beatrice de Cardi Lecture introduced by
Professor Charles Thomas CBE, former Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies and Honorary Vice-
President of the CBA. Beatrice, the distinguished first secretary of the CBA, graced us with her presence. She is
also notable for having worked in the field with Sir Mortimer Wheeler. This keynote paper was given by Pete
Herring of English Heritage and entitled “The Historic Landscape Characterisation programme and its origins in
Cornwall”. Cornwall Historic Environment Service pioneered the methodology for Historic Landscape
Characterisation – publishing the study of the whole county in 1996. The study sought to establish and map the
predominant historic landscape character of each parcel of land in Cornwall. The technique is becoming
increasingly sophisticated as the possibilities of technology are harnessed. Most of England is now covered.
The presentation highlighted the power of this tool for the identification, protection and management of land
with cultural and natural heritage value.
One of the most persuasive speakers on Saturday was Tony Blackman (see above), a distinguished amateur
archaeologist and keen observer of the Bodmin landscape. He explained how he and his wife had recently
discovered a new type of standing (or rather leaning) stone that is kept in place by being propped up from
underneath by a smaller, though extremely substantial, stone. However, Tony chose to take as his main theme
the radical alterations occurring in the landscape as a result of changes in environmental management practices
from the early 1990s. In essence the number of sheep, cattle and ponies grazing the moor was cut substantially
with the result that vegetation (notably bracken) has colonized areas which previously had been controlled by
grazing. A series of photographs taken over a fifteen year period demonstrated the truth of the argument and
showed just how difficult it has become to identify sites which were obvious even ten years ago. Certainly, we
have to admit that without expert guidance we would not have located many of the monuments on the moor.
Tony added that at some sites Natural England are now engaged in using chemical sprays to keep the ground
relatively clear – an ironic outcome given that it was their policy to reduce grazing in the first instance.
The accuracy of Tony’s words was brought home to us during our last field trip of the weekend when we visited
the Carn Brea prehistoric sites. This hill top stronghold has massive defensive walls around it but the growth of
bracken and gorse was so extensive that it was only possible to distinguish them as bumps covered in
Turning to the second main theme of the conference, that of mineral extraction and its impact on the natural
landscape, most of Sunday was spent in the Camborne and Redruth area. An excellent series of presentations
was given at Pool Mines but, as ever, the speakers were pressed for time – a great pity since each one had a
good deal of interesting material. The first speaker on this occasion (other than the Lord Lieutenant of the
County) was Phil Hosken who gave an excellent and humorous account of mining in the locality from the
origins of the Industrial Revolution with particular reference to the development of the vacuum and steam
engines in Cornwall as a response to the demands of deep mining. He also paid due regard to the late Fred
Dibnah and his popularisation of industrial archaeology and heaped Cornish praise on him because Fred never
mentioned the invention of the steam engine without reference to Richard Trevithick as being responsible.
Emphasis was also laid on the fact that, whilst George Stephenson will always be associated with the successful
development of the locomotive, Cornishmen were at the forefront of its actual invention and practical
application. As Phil expressed it “it is always the second mouse that gets the cheese”. The group was also
fortunate in being able to see (at the King Edward Mine) a working beam engine originally used for lowering
and raising both men and materials in a deep mine shaft.
In this short report it is sadly not possible to do justice to the full programme for the weekend which was clearly
very thoughtfully put together by the organisers. We look forward to next year’s CBA Study Weekend with
anticipation – although at present the location has not been finalised.
Berlin Researchers crack the Ptolemy Code – from Spiegel Online International
A 2nd century map of Germania by the scholar Ptolemy has always stumped scholars, who were unable to
relate the places depicted to known settlements. Now a team of researchers have cracked the code, revealing
that half of Germany’s cities are 1,000 years older than previously thought. This unusual map draws on
information from the mathematician and astronomer Ptolemy who, in 150 AD, embarked on a project to depict
the entire known world. Living in Alexandria, in the shadow of its monumental lighthouse, the ancient scholar
drew 26 maps in coloured ink on dried animal skins — a Google Earth of the ancient world, if you will. For the
full report, see http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,720513,00.html
Other Societies’ Events Compiled by Eric Morgan
Friday 5th November 10.30 -12 noon. Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries. South Friern Library. Colney
Hatch Lane. N6. Industries along the Edgware Road. Talk. Coffee.
Friday 5th November 2.45-3.15pm. Museum of London. London Wall EC2. 19th Century Posters. Tour by
Curator Julia Hoffbrand. FREE.
Saturday 6th November 10.30-4.30. Geologists’ Association Festival of Geology. University College London.
Gower Street WC1. Exhibitions, Fossil & Mineral displays, Stonecraft, Books, Maps, Geological Equipment
and talks. Also Sunday 7th November. Walks and Field Trips. Further details 020 7434 9298. E-mail
email@example.com. Visit www.geologistsassociation.org.uk. Admission FREE. The Amateur
Geological Society will have a stand here (See also Sat. 27th November).
Tuesday 9th November 2-3pm. Harrow Museum. Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. Story of
the Snapshot. Talk by Tony Earle (who gave HADAS a talk on the history of the Underground). £3.
Wednesday 10th November 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society. Wilberforce Centre, St Paul’s Church, The
Ridgeway NW7. Bricks and Skeletons: St Johns Church Stanmore from 1632. Talk by Frederick Hicks.
Finishes at 4pm.
Tuesday 16th November 6.30pm. LAMAS. Clore Learning Centre. Museum of London, 150 London Wall
EC2. Volunteer Inclusion Programme: Inclusive archaeology at the LAARC . Talk by Glynn Davis & Adam
Corsini. Refreshments 6pm.
Thursday 18th November 8pm. Enfield Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Junction of Chase Side,
Enfield. Dig for Victory. Talk by Russ Bowes. (For Enfield Archaeological Society meeting here on 19th
November, please see October’s Newsletter).
Friday 19th November 7pm. COLAS. St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. Excavations at the Roman
cemetery, Trinity Square, Southwark. Douglas Killock. Cost £2.
Friday 19th November 7.30pm. Wembley History Society. St Andrew’s Church Hall, Church Lane,
Kingsbury NW9. The Wembley History Society Collection Project and Update. Talk by Gillian Spry (Museum
Archive Manager). £1.
Sunday 21st November 10.15am-12.45pm. Copped Hall Trust. Tour of Copped Hall. Epping. Pre-book on
01992 571657. (HADAS did resistivity & surveying here with WEAG).
Thursday 23rd November 1-1.45pm. Museum of London. London Wall EC2. Bio-archaeology of Roman
Women. Talk by Dr Rebecca Redfern. FREE.
Thursday 23rd November 2-3pm. Harrow Museum. Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. Sir
Christopher Wren. Talk by John & Jo Brewster. £3.
Wednesday 24th November 8pm. Barnet & District Local History Society. Church House, Church Lane,
Wood Street, Barnet (opposite museum). AGM.
Thursday 25th November 2.30pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3.
The Parish Poor of Barnet based on 18th & 19th century records of the overseers of the poor. Talk by Yasmine
Webb (Barnet Archivist) £2.
Saturday 27th November 10.15-3.30pm. Amateur Geological Society. Mineral and Fossil Bazaar. St
Mary’s Hall, Hendon Lane N3. Including rocks, crystals, gemstones, jewellery. Refreshment. £1. (For
LAMAS on this date – see October newsletter).
Monday 29th November to Sunday 5th December. Barnet Borough Arts Council. The Spires, (outside
Waitrose), High Street, Barnet. Painting & What’s On (inc HADAS). 5/12 Xmas Fair.
Thanks to this month’s contributors:
Deirdre Barrie, Jean Bayne, Patrick McSharry, Eric Morgan, Jim Nelhams, Peter Pickering, David & Emma
Robinson, Gerrard Roots Stewart Wild and Sheila Woodward.