No. 559 OCTOBER 2017 Edited by Stephen Brunning
HADAS DIARY 2017/18
Tuesday 10th October at 8pm. The Curtain Playhouse excavations. Lecture by Heather Knight (MOLA)
Heather Knight will be talking about the archaeology found on the site of the Curtain playhouse and look at the kind of questions that archaeology on the Curtain site is raising and the new narratives that the archaeology is proposing, and how archaeology is contributing to our understanding of the evolution of 16th and 17th century theatre.
The Curtain playhouse was built c.1577 on the outskirts of the City of London and is one of the very earliest purpose built theatrical venues and operated as a place of public entertainment until the mid-1620s. During that time it staged many productions including William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Ben Jonson’s Every Man in his Humour. Of the handful of Elizabethan and Jacobean playhouses that were built in
London, the Curtain is one of the least historically documented and until the site was excavated in 2016 very little was known about it. The results of the excavation have astounded theatre historians and are contributing enormously to an interdisciplinary dialogue researching the origins of English drama.
Heather Knight is a member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and has been a Senior
Archaeologist with the MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) since 1995. Over that time Heather has focused on the archaeology of medieval and post-medieval urban development with a particular emphasis on theatre archaeology and has led the excavations of the Theatre and the Curtain, two Elizabethan playhouses in Shoreditch where many of Shakespeare’s early plays were performed. Heather is also a member of the Advisory Board for “Before Shakespeare”, a multidisciplinary research project focusing on early modern drama and the first 30 years of London commercial playhouses.
Tuesday 14th November at 8pm: The Hunting of Hephzibah Lecture by Jim Nelhams (HADAS Treasurer) PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF LECTURE. Sam Wilson is unable to make it but it is hoped the talk on the Battle of Barnet Project will take place next year.
Sunday 10th December. HADAS Christmas Party. Please see article in this newsletter and booking form enclosed or attached.
Tuesday 9th January 8pm: Prof. Christopher Scull The Anglo-Saxon princely burial at Prittlewell, Essex.
Tuesday 13th February at 8pm: To Be Confirmed.
Tuesday 13h March at 8pm: Roman London’s First Voices: Roman writing-tablets from Bloomberg, London. Lecture by Dr Roger Tomlin.
All Lectures are held at Stephens House & Gardens (Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8.00 pm, with coffee & tea served afterwards. Non-members welcome (£2.00). Buses 13, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central Station (Northern line) is a 5-10 minute walk away.
Carpenters Lock Re-opens in Stratford. Jim Nelhams.
The River Lea rises at Leagrave just north of Luton and its course takes a route southwards before joining the Thames via Bow Creek at Leamouth. A number of man-made changes have been made over the years, partly to power mills, including those at Three Mills, visited by HADAS when returning from our Canterbury trip. At Lea Bridge Road, where a waterworks and filtration beds were established, the river turns left over a weir before continuing southwards in what is known as the Waterworks River. A canal was built to aid barge traffic, and this also connects via the Hertford Navigation to the Regents Canal, giving access to North London, and further to the Grand Union Canal.
Three main passages of water, collectively known as the Bow Back Rivers, are to be found in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at Stratford.
On the west side is the Lea Navigation, in the middle, a short canal – the City Mill River, with the
Waterworks River on the east side. In recent times, the Waterworks River was widened to allow the use of large barges bringing and removing material during the construction of the Olympic facilities.
At the north end of the Olympic Park sits Carpenters Lock (just above arrow on map), which allowed barge traffic to pass between the river and the navigation. Originally built in 1934, it also helped control any water surges following heavy rain in Hertfordshire. This was after floods in 1928 put the Stratford railway works under water. The lock fell out of use in 1960, and following a ten year project costing £1.8million, it was officially re-opened for use on Bank Holiday Monday at the end of August. This allows complete circumnavigation of the Park.
The lock is unique within Britain, having unusual lock gates. Instead of the traditional vertical gates, there are concave metal gates. These resemble the gates of the Thames Barrier, but rather than being lowered under the water, they are raised to allow passage underneath. Each of the two gates, built in Sheffield, weighs 14 tons, and counterbalanced by weights, they are moved by electric motors. The original gates were operated by hydraulics.
We have booked the Drawing Room at Avenue House on Sunday 10th December from 12:30 to 4:00pm for our annual Christmas get together.
Following feedback after last year’s party (see Newsletter 550 – January 2017), we will follow the same format this year with a full Christmas Dinner courtesy of Malcolm Godfrey and his staff. The planned time for serving the meal is 2:00pm.
A separate booking form is with this newsletter. Please specify any special dietary requirements.
We look forward to seeing many members with a chance to chat in relaxed surroundings.
Hello and Goodbye – changes to our currency. Jim Nelhams.
Coins are very useful as dating evidence when found in archaeological digs. But traditional bank notes do not survive in the ground. Is that changing?
In 1991, our “copper” coinage was changed to copper plated steel. In 2012, some iron content was introduced to the 10p, 20p and 50p coins. These changes were made to cut the cost of raw materials used in new coins but the result is that these coins can now rust.
More recently, we have seen the introduction of the polymer £5 note. How long will they last if buried in the ground?
More changes are under way. A new polymer £10 note was announced at Winchester Cathedral on 18th July this year, for introduction on 14th September, a year and a day since the £5 note was first used. By the time you read this newsletter, you will have started to see them. The notes feature Jane Austin, and the announcement was on the 200th anniversary of her death in Winchester, where her tomb is in the Cathedral. HADAS visited the Cathedral during our stay in the New Forest. A picture of the Cathedral also appears on the note.
The old £10 note will be withdrawn in the spring of 2018, and three months’ notice will be given by the Bank of England. Over £8 billion worth of the notes are in circulation.
Looking further ahead, a polymer £20 note is scheduled for 2020 with a picture of artist J W M Turner. And a new £50 will follow, though there is no decision on the date for this.
On 28th March this year, we saw the new 12-sided dual metal £1 coin, which contains no iron. This was introduced primarily to make forgery more difficult and expensive and the new coin is claimed to be the most secure coin in the world. It was estimated that up to 1 in 6 old coins were forgeries. The process is completed on Sunday 15th October this year when the old coins cease to be legal tender. So check your purses, pockets and money boxes and make sure you use them before that date. Not long to go!
When on the ‘Bus Pass’ outing on 29th June to the Crossrail Exhibition, we saw information about a
Crossrail walk, meeting at ‘Paddington Bear Statue’ on Platform 1 at Paddington Station on the 20th August. About 30 walkers gathered, this being the last in a series of 10 walks that started in February at different places on the Crossrail route. The first underground (Metropolitan Line) from Paddington to Farringdon was opened in 1864, at which time people could arrive at the main line station in horse drawn carriages. Some privately owned carriages could be loaded onto the train, so the occupants could travel in the comfort of their own carriage. Access was from Bishops Bridge Road and this access continued when motorised transport was introduced. Later the taxi rank was moved to Eastbourne Terrace, but with the Crossrail development it has returned close to its original location. Our walk started round the outside of the station and along Eastbourne Terrace, down the side of the station. The Crossrail station is below ground, but its entrance is visible from the road. The station will measure 260 metres in length and the new trains will be 200 metres.
With so much underground digging, it is essential to monitor movement, to ensure existing structures were stable and buildings were not affected. Along the route many prisms were attached to buildings from which robotic theodolites compiled data. These were evident as we walked past the exterior of Paddington Station. The tunnelling was done using TBMs (tunnel boring machines) and tradition is that tunnel machines are given female names before they are used. The 8 machines were used in pairs. The names were- Ada, named after Ada Lovelace the earliest Computer scientist, who worked with Charles Babbage, and Phyllis, named after Phyllis Pearsall, portrait painter who created the A to Z London Street map.
Elizabeth and Victoria are named after two Queens.
Jessica and Ellie named after Olympic Gold medal winners Jessica Ennis Hill (Heptathlon) and Eleanor Simmonds (Swimming Paralympics).
Sophia named after Marc Brunel’s wife Sophia Kingdom and Mary after Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s wife Mary Elizabeth Horsley.
A time capsule has been buried at Farringdon as well as the cutter head from TBM Phyllis. One of the objects in the capsule is a 2013 copy of the A to Z map of London streets.
From Paddington we made our way towards Royal Oak Station and the Westbourne Park area. Opposite Royal Oak Station there is a road named Westbourne Park Villas. Thomas Hardy lived for a time in one of the houses and there is a Blue Plaque. (see page 6). For a time, he worked for the Midland Railway. On the opposite side of the road, bordering the railway is a Grade 2 listed curved wall designed by Brunel. Walking to the end of the wall, we proceeded to a footbridge across the main GWR route and standing on the footbridge looking west was the site of the Brunel Engine sheds, which were exposed by the Crossrail excavations. Looking to the east the portal, the entrance for the 26 mile Crossrail tunnel under London was clearly visible.
Curved wall designed by Brunel
Some of the new trains are already running between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, though using only 7 of the 9 carriages because the platforms at the existing Liverpool Street Station, as opposed to Crossrail, are not long enough.
Entrance to 26 mile Crossrail tunnel
The original Great Western Railway plan was to have the terminus at Euston, which would be shared with the London and Birmingham Railway. The GWR Board pulled out of this plan and instructed Brunel to pursue his idea of a station at Paddington. His first station was constructed from wood and opened in 1838. With the rapid development of the railway, Paddington quickly neared capacity and by 1854 the wooden station was being demolished. Planning its replacement, Brunel moved some of the engine and carriage sheds and workshops to a field in Westbourne Park. The excavation exposed evidence of the Broad Gauge sheds and Standard Gauge as well as turntables. In 1861, the tracks into Paddington were modified to accommodate standard gauge. Many plans and drawings are still in existence, documenting the development of the site, which saw many changes. The GWR eventually outgrew the site and on the 17th March 1906 a new depot opened at Old Oak Common. By June much of Westbourne Park had been demolished.
1201 High Road, Whetstone, London N20.
This is the area of a former ‘B&Q’ site now being developed for housing. As this was a fairly large site near to Totteridge Road/High Road junction where evidence of medieval occupation is known, an archaeological evaluation was conducted by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA).
Mostly small amounts of post-medieval pottery, peg-tile and other material were found in the five trenches sampled. The area seems to have been used for quarrying and agricultural purposes; the lack of occupational finds appears to reflect this.
1255 High Road, Whetstone, London N20.
This site is the Council offices just north of the ‘B&Q’ site as above; permission is being sort to turn this into a residential block. Associated development at the base of the site may disturb any remaining archaeology; hopefully this will be protected by an archaeological condition.
(Holly Lodge) 189 Barnet Road, Barnet.
This is a development near the junction of Barnet Road and Barnet Gate Lane, Arkley. It’s a possible area of medieval occupation together with a later brick and tile works, and north of Barnet Road there is Arkley Windmill, a listed corn mill.
The site is in an Archaeological Priority Area (APA). CFA Archaeology Ltd carried out an evaluation here finding very small amounts of mid to 19thC deposits, including tin-glazed ware pottery. The area is thought to have been levelled by the building of the 19thC brick and tile works before Holly Lodge was built.
48 Chesnut Grove, East Barnet
A planning application has been received to develop this area for housing. Some of the land here may have been landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown when it was the estate of ‘Little Grove’ between 17681770; this includes a fish pond which could indicate earlier occupation of the site. Historic England has recommended detailed research and assessment by a historic landscape specialist.
70 High St, Barnet.
This is currently under development; all that is left of the original building is the front face/facia. As the structure is in an APA where the medieval heart of High Barnet is thought to be, it is hoped the archaeological condition attached to the planning approval is carried-out.
Other Societies’ Events, compiled by Eric Morgan.
Wednesday 11th October 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Trinity Church, The Broadway NW7. Almshouses:
an international, national and local perspective of their origins and development. Talk by Simon Smith.
Tuesday 24th October, 7.30pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society, Pennefather Hall, Christ Church, St
Albans Road, Barnet EN5 4LA. Protecting the Roman Empire. Gillian Gear Memorial Lecture given by Matthew Symonds (expert on Roman archaeology and forts built to protect the Roman Empire). Tickets on the door £3 for members, £5 for visitors. Refreshments included.
Saturday 4th November 10.30am to 4.30pm. Geologists Association, Festival of Geology, University College. Gower Street, WC1. Lots of stalls from geological societies from all over the country, including The Amateur Geological Society.
Wednesday 8th November, 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Trinity Church, The Broadway NW7. House Mill, Bromley by Bow: the world’s largest surviving tidal mill. Talk by Beverly Charters.
Friday 10th November, 7.45pm. Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction of Chase
Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ. A glimpse of the Black Death at West Smithfield. Talk by Don Walker (MOLA). Visitors £1
Friday 17th November, 7.30pm. COLAS, St Olave’s Church Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7BB. Recent archaeological discoveries at Holy Family School, Walthamstow. Talk by Shane Maher (PCA). Visitors £3. Light refreshments afterwards.
Saturday 18th November 10.30am to 6pm. LAMAS Local History Conference, Weston Theatre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN. Pastimes in Times Past: Entertainment in London. Includes local history displays by societies all over London. Afternoon refreshments are provided free. For tickets and further information visit http://www.lamas.org.uk/conferences/local–history.
Tuesday 21st November, 8pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet
(opposite museum). AGM. Also Barnet Physic Well, Well Approach, EN5 3DY. Well is open on Saturday 25th November from 2-4pm. FREE entry.
Wednesday 22nd November, 7.45pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. North Middx Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. Behind Closed Doors: the life of a Prison Officer. Talk by Pauline Martindale. Visitors £2. Refreshments.
Saturday 25th November, 11am to 3pm. Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society. St John the Baptist Church, Barnet, EN5 4BW. Talks by Mike Ingram & Nathen Amin on subjects connected to the Wars of The Roses. There will also be a medieval re-enactment plus afternoon tea and stalls including the Battle of Barnet Project & The Battlefields Trust. Come and learn about the NEW Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society. Tickets are £12.50 for adults and £6.25 for children. For further information and to book tickets please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday 25th November 10am-4pm. Amateur Geological Society. North London mineral, gem and fossil show.
Trinity Church, 15 Nether Street, N12 7NN. (Near Tally Ho pub and Arts Depot). Jewellery, raffle and lucky dip. Lots of stalls. Refreshments. Entrance £2.
Thursday 30th November, 8pm. Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, N3 3QE. The ghost of Lily Painter. Jean Scott Memorial Lecture given by Caitlin Davies. Visitors £2.