Newsletter-516-March-2014 – HADAS Newsletter Archive

Number 516 March 2014 Edited by Deirdre Barrie

Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8 pm, with coffee/tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members: £1. Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central station (Northern Line) is a 5-10 minute walk away.

Tuesday 11th March 2014 – Lecture on the Sandridge Coin Hoard by David Thorold
(Curator, Prehistory to Medieval, Verulamium Museum) The coins are the second largest gold hoard from the fifth century to be found in Britain and represent an extremely high value in terms of cash. Their condition and mint marks (which give the city of manufacture) provide considerable information on the way coins were used in late Roman Britain. The presence of the hoard close to St Albans also suggests that the region was a wealthy one, with local citizens connected to a thriving economy that spread across the Empire.
David Thorold first came to St Albans in 1991, and worked on a number of excavations, including the Folly
Lane chieftain burial, before getting a job at Verulamium Museum as assistant curator. David is now the Curator for Prehistory through to Medieval, and his specialism is in coins, although he has worked on a range of exhibitions including the Egypt series, Stanley Kubrick, maps, masks and Magna Carta. David has written a book on the Romans and Celts for school children, and is currently working on a booklet on the Sandridge Hoard. He worked on the excavation of the coins with the finder and Field Archaeologist Simon West. Stephen Brunning

Tuesday 8th April 2014

Brian James-Strong, River Lea Tidal Mill Trust; Restoring House Mill (working title)

Tuesday 13th May 2014
Malcolm Stokes (HADAS member); The bishop’s hunting park in Highgate

Tuesday 10th June 2014


Tuesday 14th October 2014

Dr Nick Ashton – British Museum; Finding Neanderthal tools in Norfolk cliffs

Tuesday 11th November 2014 – TO BE CONFIRMED.

Jo Nelhams adds: Re the Long outing to Kent 29 June to 3 July – we need your support to swell the numbers booked to make sure the trip is viable!

Membership Renewal – by Stephen Brunning, Membership Secretary

The HADAS membership year runs from 1st April, so all memberships are now due for renewal apart from those new members who have joined since January this year. I have enclosed a renewal form for those people who pay by cheque, and would ask that you return the form to me along with your remittance for the appropriate amount. Members who pay by standing order need take no action. The rates remain unchanged.

Anyone who thinks they should have had a membership renewal form or Standing Order form but hasn’t received one, anyone who wants to make their membership under Gift Aid and hasn’t already done so, or anyone who has any question at all about their membership, please contact me. (contact details on back page). Many thanks.

January 2014 Lecture – The Naval Graveyards of Greenwich – Malcolm Godfrey Reported by Liz Gapp

The lecture started with Malcolm introducing himself, explaining how he came to be involved with Greenwich and its graveyards. This was through his commission with the Royal Navy which he joined in 1971, and through his mess management experience he was offered the prestige posting at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. During its transition to new ownership he was asked to write up some history of the college, part of which involved the history of its associated graveyards. Subsequently, he has become the manager of Avenue House where our lecture series are held.

The main part of the lecture was started by showing us a diagram of the Royal Naval College buildings, describing the changes over the years. We were then shown where, the base of the Greenwich Palace that had been razed, had been packed in sand and grassed over once it had been archaeologically excavated. We were told that the chapel where Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn was also on the College campus.

A new palace, known as the King Charles wing, on the right hand side of the entrance, was started by Charles II. Unfinished due to lack of funds, it was finished eventually by William and Mary, James II not having been interested in it.
The Queen’s House was commissioned by Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I, in 1618. Inigo Jones was requested to do this, his first important commission. Work stopped in 1618, when Anne became ill and subsequently died. James took no interest in the building, and it was mothballed until Charles I gave it to his queen, Henrietta Maria. The building was completed structurally in 1635.

Following the battle of La Hogue in 1692, the complex was started as a retirement home for sailors at the suggestion of Queen Mary II who ordered that the King Charles wing of the palace be remodelled as a naval hospital to provide a counterpoint to the Chelsea Hospital for soldiers. It was designed by Christopher Wren, who initially produced something very like St Paul’s cathedral which blocked the Queen’s House’s view of the Thames. Wren had to redesign it at the Queen’s command to provide full views of the river. It is said that this is why it is fitted in so snugly with no extra room at the sides. Subsequent designing was completed by Hawksmoor and Sir John Vanbrugh.

The nature of the place meant that the inmates were generally old and infirm; hence the need for the graveyards, of which eventually there were three. The first graveyard, at Maze Hill Nos. 32 to 40, was quickly filled with bodies, necessitating the need for a second. So a second, much larger graveyard was established in Goddard’s Garden, a piece of land known as Great Garden Ground. Huge numbers of bodies were buried there, very tightly packed. Burials were on Tuesdays and Thursdays when they would be brought across from the Infirmary. The process was that a trench would be dug containing 18 coffins arranged 2 abreast to a depth of 16 feet, with space for a minimum of 4 inches of earth between each coffin. If there were not sufficient coffins to fill the trench, it would be left open until it was full, sometimes for as long as three weeks.

Eventually 24,000 bodies were buried there, and in 1847 Dr Liddell, Director General of the Medical Department of the Royal Navy, recommended closure of the Goddard’s Garden Graveyard; and a new graveyard was created on land known as East Greenwich Pleasaunce in 1857. Burials in the new graveyard continued until 1981, although the Royal Hospital closed in 1869. The largest number of burials there was of 3,000 bodies, moved from the Goddard’s Garden graveyard when a new dining hall was built for the Royal Hospital School, and a railway tunnel to extend the line from Greenwich to the East coast was cut through the site.

In 1925 1247 skulls and 58 boxes of bones were removed from Goddard’s Garden and reburied in Pleasaunce graveyard. This was to make way for Devonport House to be built to accommodate the nurses for the Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital. A later extension to the dining room was built on piles to minimise the disturbance of bodies and need for reburial.

The Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital was a follow-on, named for the last of the three hospital ships moored in the Thames off Greenwich. This last ship was eventually broken up in 1872, when the last of the patients were transferred to the hospital building. This new hospital was for the care of merchant mariners, rather than men from the Royal Navy. This in its turn closed in 1986, and in 1998 to 1999 the building was converted to a library by the University of Greenwich.

The burial plots at the Pleasaunce are in 5 main areas. The mass re-interment of the 3,000 bodies is just inside the Main Gate, and is a grassed area marked with concrete posts. The other areas are the Greenwich Hospital Plot and Royal Hospital School, the Officers’ plot, the Ratings’ and other ranks’ plot, with a random plot for others. The random plot contains people such as Sir John (Dr) Liddell, Captain Henry Parker, Mark Halpen Sweny, James Shepherd, John A Shakes, Admiral Sir Astley Cooper-Key, and interestingly Anthony Sampayo who was French Ambassador to England.

In the Greenwich Hospital Mausoleum are Admiral Thomas Masterman Hardy (of “Kiss me, Hardy” fame); Admiral Lord Hood (governor of the hospital when Nelson’s body returned to England on Christmas Eve, let the bearers in as no-one else was around); and Admiral Lord Rodney.

In the main plot are Thomas Allen (Nelson’s manservant, with a separate obelisk); Captain John Simpson (a late starter at the age of 17, retired at 71, died aged 84); Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Boulder Thompson (Served with Nelson).

The Queen’s House has had several incarnations: the Royal Naval Asylum then the Royal Hospital School which was moved to Holbrook in 1933, on land given by shipping magnate Gifford Sherman Reade in 1921.

The Greenwich Hospital closed in 1869, the building then becoming the Royal Naval College which in turn then closed in 1997, subsequently being known as the Old Royal Naval College, a foundation set up in 1998 to look after the buildings.

Finally, mention was made of some of the penal executions that took place in the area, where bodies were hung, drowned in 3 tides, and left hanging as a warning, after having been covered in tar. Fortunately, noone lived in the near vicinity as the smell would have been unpleasant.

This was an excellent lecture given by an enthusiastic lecturer.

Adios Buxton Jim Nelhams

The weather forecast for our journey home was not encouraging, but go home we must. We decided to leave slightly earlier and stop at Cromford Mill, on our original plan but deferred, because of earlier diversions, and on our route to Crich.
Cromford Mill Jean Bayne

Thomas Carlyle described Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) as ‘a plain almost gross, bag-cheeked, pot-bellied Lancashire man – of copious free digestion. He was also a genius: a persistent and determined visionary, an imaginative inventor, a meticulous planner, and an astute manager. His invention for spinning cotton yarn, powered by water – the Water Frame – brought about the modern factory system and helped to develop the Industrial Revolution.

Interested in mechanical devices, he purloined the results of others’ inventions to develop his own, and persuaded wealthy investors to back him. His first attempt at a cotton-spinning mill in Nottingham used horses to turn a capstan, but they needed feeding, stabling and supervision and failed to work 24 hours a day. In short, economically inefficient; he thought water power would be more effective. Originally a wigmaker, he had travelled extensively around the North West buying hair and remembered the water courses at Cromford. So he rented a site at Cromford Brook to harness the Cromford Sough, a lead mine drainage channel, and later the Bonsall Brook as constant sources of water power for his cotton-spinning invention. In 1771, the first mill of five storeys was built and then extended in 1785. It was constructed to house his water frame machines and perfect the essential mechanisation of the pre-spinning process. None of his machines had been made before, so he had to advertise for joiners, clockmakers and wheelwrights etc. with particular skills.

The first mill is on your left, at right angles as you come into the complex of buildings that now make up the site. It is now only three storeys high instead of five, as it was reduced by fire in 1929. The building was eleven bays long and 30 feet wide. A wooden aqueduct, later replaced by a cast-iron one, brought water from the Cromford Sough across the road. It fed the enlarged overshot water wheel built close to the mill, which was augmented by a second wheel powered by the Bonsall Brook when an extension was added in 1785. There is a hole in the mill wall where the first wheel went, and the remains of the wheel-pit of the second one can still be seen. The Arkwright Society has been exploring and excavating the site and restoring buildings since 1979. It has uncovered the foundations of the transmission system, which converted the power of the water wheel to drive the machinery for cleaning and carding on the upper floors, as well as the spinning on the first and second floors.

A second mill was constructed in 1776-7 and was an ambitious project. Arkwright had, by now, perfected his machinery and built a 7-storey mill with a mill-wheel housed within the building. It was a very large wheel which necessitated a deep pit – which can be seen today – and a good head of water. He linked the Cromford Sough with the Bonsall Brook to get the strong flow. But, as the water which left the pit was at a lower level than the River Derwent into which it drained, Arkwright had to construct a long culvert and open channel to get the water away. The wheel is estimated to have worked at 20-25 HP. There was a drive-shaft taking power to the water frames on the floor above. The mill was stone built with 16-17 bays, and had space for offices and storage as well as machinery. It even had lavatories on each floor! The second mill no longer exists, although there are remnants of an added annexe surviving.

By 1790s, the mill complex reached the peak of its production .The water supply began to be lost about the 1840s, and the mills finally closed down in the 1880s. At the height of its working life, Arkwright employed 800 operatives. Many were women and children from the surrounding villages, but he also built hostel accommodation on site for unmarried male employees who came from further afield. Only the foundations remain of ‘The Barracks‘ (1786) as it was called. He also built the first industrial housing at Cromford: 27 three-storey houses of a good standard with gardens.

Other buildings were constructed in the 1780s, housing machinery, warehouses, stabling, packing sheds and offices including the Counting House. From outside the complex, one of the main buildings has few windows at lower levels. This may have been because another building abutted it. Or, it has been suggested that it may have been constructed in this way to deter Luddites. General security was also provided by the Mill Gateway, with separate access for both pedestrians and horses. One of the buildings would have contained a warehouse for loading cotton on to barges on the Cromford canal wharf situated outside but close by the complex. This gave a link to another canal which was intended to provide a through route to Manchester. But this only came about later in the nineteenth century when the Railway was constructed. However, the canal network proved useful for increased trade.

Arkwright dominated the area. He built his own chapel, St Mary’s, which later became a church. At the beginning he had a house close to the mill, but later built Willersley Castle, an imposing dynastic seat with rolling lawns. It was behind the mill on rising ground and without a direct view of it. Richard Arkwright never lived there as it caught fire in 1791. His son, however, completed it and lived there for the rest of his life. By 1843, the younger Richard Arkwright was a landed gentleman investor, reputed to be the richest commoner in Europe. From artisan to aristocrat in two generations!

There is no doubt that Arkwright Senior, whose driving force was to make money, was the founding father of the factory system, rationalising the spirit of production in keeping with the zeitgeist of the age. And he provided a model for the rest of the industrialising world. From a modern perspective, the employment, in the early days, of seven-year-old children and the 24-hour working schedule with 13 hour shifts is horrific, but was gradually modified throughout the nineteenth century. Later, under Arkwright’s son, contemporary reports suggest that the general health and mortality rates of both children and adults in the mills was better than that of the very poor and unemployed. He raised the age for work to ten, and insisted that children should know how to read, and provided some education. A Sunday school had been set up in 1785 and Arkwright Senior had encouraged clubs and friendly societies. So there was some effort to ameliorate the condition of the poor, even if it was in his own self-interest to do so. Work in the mill was still very hard, but preferable to the lead mines or the fields.

Cromford Mill is in a ruinous state at present .But, it is possible even now to half shut your eyes and see the workers coming and going in this relatively small and compact site: the mill wheel turning, the water frothing and churning, the clatter of machinery and horses and carts and, perhaps, the sharp ping of clogs on the limestone ground. Arkwright had many other mills which were mostly sold off by his son. He did retain Cromford, however. And the site was used by other industries for some time. Restoration work by the Arkwright Society, which bought the site, will help to bring it back to life in a twenty-first century context.

Cromford was the first cotton-spinning mill powered by water, and the first example of cotton production on an industrial scale. In recognition of this, UNESCO declared Cromford and other mills in the Derwent Valley a World Heritage Site in 2001. Industrialisation changed forever the way people lived and worked.
As one historian has observed ‘the factory system substituted capital for labour, machines for skill, factory for home and mill discipline for family work routines’.(Cromford Mill Guide)
Rain-spattered Cobbles Andy Simpson

And so to what, for obvious reasons, was a highlight of the visit for me – the Crich Tramway Village – the
National Tramway Museum, established by the Tramway Museum Society in a Peak district quarry above Matlock in 1959, and expanded gradually ever since, with electric trams and their supporting equipment collected from around the world running there since June 1964. See

When we arrived there to collect our genuine old penny to exchange for our mile-long tram ride up the slope from ‘Town End’ to Glory Mine, it was pouring down with rain, the rain barely stopping all the time we were there. Fortunately, with shop, pub, running sheds and display hall we could stay under cover when not on the tram. Two trams with their volunteer crews were initially running for our enjoyment – Leeds 345 ‘Convert’ car built 1921 and rebuilt and upgraded in 1939, and Blackpool ‘standard’ balcony car 40 built 1926, withdrawn in 1963 as the last open balcony car to operate in normal service in the UK. The specially adapted former Berlin wheel-chair fitted ‘access tram’, No. 3006, built in 1969 also came out later.

Amongst strong contingents from the last traditional UK street tramways – Leeds (closed 1959), Sheffield (1960), Glasgow (1962) and Blackpool (still running) – there is also a healthy London contingent in the collection. As part of my long-standing involvement with the London County Council Tramways Trust, I worked on the restoration of ‘LCC E/1r’ double decker 1622 (rescued derelict from a Hampshire wood) at our former Bethnal Green and Ilford workshops in the early 1990s; the Trust, through financial donations and sales of transport memorabilia and books, have also paid for the restoration (twice!) of LCC B-class open top car (and one-time ‘snowbroom’ works car) 106 of 1903 and most recently, the elegant Edwardian London United Tramways open top bogie car 159 of 1902 which ran only until 1921 and survived built into a house; next up is LCC no 1 of 1932 – as ‘Bluebird’ the last complete new tram built for the original first-generation London Tramways before the Croydon light rail system came along, which later ran in Leeds until 1957. Also present is prototype Feltham car 331 of 1930 that once ran on the Metropolitan Electric Tramways from Cricklewood to North Finchley and Whetstone until 1936 when replaced by trolleybuses (and was later sold to Sunderland), and one side of the former 1890s-built London Street Tramways No 39 horse car in the display hall. Barely a dozen London trams escaped the scrapman, most being burnt by George Cohens’ ‘600 Group’ at the Penhall Road, Charlton ‘tramatorium’ 1950-53.

And hence to Foxton – and sunshine! (TO BE CONTINUED)

(Minor) Apologies for February 2014 Newsletter Layout
Last month’s newsletter production was fraught – the reversed last pages were the ultimate result of the large number of interesting pictures in the issue. Some computer systems just refused to handle the large files involved, so time ran out along with the chance to check everything. Apologies from whichever of us actually caused the problem.

Some people getting the newsletter also found a few pages very faint. We have enough spare, good, copies to replace these. Please contact Jo Nelhams (details back page) if you need one. Thanks, Mary Rawitzer
The Museum of London is coming to Brent Cross Shopping Centre

This March drop by Brent Cross to discover Barnet’s history, and handle archaeology found in and around the borough! Join Museum of London experts and local volunteers (possibly HADAS members!) to find out how we care for objects from the past – plus handle real artefacts from Barnet and its surrounding areas. Hands-on Archaeology, Brent Cross Shopping Centre Thursday 13 March-Friday 14 March, 9am – 8pm. For more information email

“Unearthing Barnet” is part of a series of events taking place through the year, bringing Museum of London artefacts and expertise to London’s outer boroughs. Keep an eye on our website for information on our next project location:


Until 15 March: Crossrail’s “Portals to the Past” Exhibition, Crossrail’s Visitor Information Centre,
Tottenham Court Road, 16-18 St Giles High St. WC2H 8LN (near Centre Point). Sat. 10-5, Tue-Thu 11-7, Wed. 11-5.30 pm. An exhibition of recent finds from the Crossrail Archaeology Programme. Weekly lecture: Wed. 6pm. More than 50 objects displayed for the first time. (See website: )

Thursday 20th March, 2-3 pm. Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury EC2V 7HH. “London’s Myths and Legends”, talk by Robert Stephenson (CoLAS) “From the Roman Temple to Diana by St Paul’s Onwards“. Free, but please book with Eventbrite. Visit Email: Tel: 020 7332 1869/3803. For further details, see February Newsletter.

Thursday 27th March, 8pm. Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Rd., N3 3QE. “Do Front Gardens Matter?” Discussion with a panel. Intro. by Mike Gee. Visitors £2. Listed in Feb Newsletter.


Wednesday 2nd April, 5pm. British Archaeological Association, Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1V OHS. “The Staffordshire Hoard Project: The Current State of Knowledge.” Talk by Chris Fern. Tea 4.30 pm.

Wednesday 2nd April, 8 pm, Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society, Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St., Wealdstone. “The Secret East End.” Talk by Diane Burstein (London Guide). Visitors £1.

Thursday 3rd April, 8pm, Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park, Pinner. “Celebrating Shakespeare: how anniversaries of his birth and death have been marked.” Talk by Richard Foulkes. Visitors £2.

Friday 11th April, 2-3 pm, Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, EC2V 7HH. “London’s Traditional Customs and Ceremonies”. Talk by Robert Stephenson. Free, but please book with Eventbrite (as 20 March above).

Monday, 14th April, 3pm. Barnet Museum & Local History Society, Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite Barnet Museum). “The National Census and a House In Clerkenwell.” Talk, Marlene McAndrew.

Monday 14th April, 7.45 pm, West Essex Archaeological Society, Woodford County High School, High Road, Woodford Green, E18. “Local Military Archaeology” – talk by Guy Taylor (COLAS and HADAS).

Wednesday, 23rd April, 7.45 pm, Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf
Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 ONL. “A View of the New River” – talk by Rachael Macdonald. Visitors £2, refreshments.

Thursday 24th April, 8 pm. Finchley Society, Christchurch, High Road, North Finchley, N12 (opposite Homebase). Talk details not yet finalised. (Please see Mar/Apr Finchley Society Newsletter. Please note different venue. Visitors £2. Refreshments.

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