HADAS has got off to a good financial starts this year, thanks to much hard work and goodwill from members. Our Hon. Treasurer, his brow comparatively unfurrowed (long may it stay so), announces that last month’s Minimart made £234; and previously the Books-and-Coffee morning so expertly organised Philippa Bernard and Daphne Lorimer had added £64 to the kitty. That’s a grand total of £298.72, and merits warm congratulations to all concerned.
Christine Arnott, who master-minded the Minimart, sends this note:
“The magnificent result was due to a combination of factors: splendid work by the stall holders and helpers, not only on “the day” but also beforehand, collecting, sorting and pricing items; and the generosity of many members who donated their culinary efforts, unwanted gifts and surplus goods … to say nothing of those who came to buy.
Various local charities benefited from what was left over – among them Oxfam, the Red Cross and Jumble Sales run by the Free Church (NW11), Brownies and Cubs in Finchley and Hendon and a Hampstead school. The residue of books went to an ex-servicemen’s organisation. Nothing was wasted.
Small items have been retained for the HADAS stall at Finchley Carnival next July, when we hope to raise funds under a “Victoriana” banner. From the way the collection is developing, however, “Miscellanea” might be a more appropriate description.”
April Lecture – “There was no Road to Petra”
It is of course not strictly true to say that there was no road to Petra. Indeed its wealth and reason for existence depended upon the fact that it lay across the main trade routes which centred on the Red Sea port of Aqaba. The Nabateans were the first to recognise Petra’s ideal situation as a customs post and protective hideout. They steadily grew wealthy there from approximately 600 BC to AD 106, when the Romans captured the city after laying siege to it. During their occupation the Nabateans produced elaborately facaded tombs cut into the soft pink rock of the bordering cliffs.
The only road into Petra was — and still is – via the Wadi Musa and through the steep narrow gorge called the “Siq.” At the head of this the modern traveller/tourist hires a horse or mule; the subsequent ride through to the remains of the city is one of the greatest experiences of any confirmed visitor of ancient sites.
HADAS members will learn about Petra, its history and archaeology, in our final winter lecture, by Mrs. Betty Hellings-Jackson, on April 6th; as usual, it is at Central Library, Hendon, starting with coffee at 8.00p.m.
Our Librarian, George Ingram, would appreciate it greatly if the half dozen or so members who have books on loan from the book box would return them, if possible, at the next meeting. Alternatively, if for any reason you can’t return a borrowed volume, would you ring and George and confirm that you still have the book, as he is about to start his end-of-winter stocktaking.
Annual General Meeting
Don’t forget that the last event of this season will be the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 5 May next at 8.00p.m. The Chair will be taken by Vice-President Eric Wookey, one of our founder-members.
Houses of the People
A report by Joanne Wade on the HADAS February lecture.
Joan Harding’s lecture was remarkable in two ways: firstly it taught us a great deal about the structure of the houses of the ordinary people, built of local materials, which survive disguised and unstudied everywhere in England; and secondly it gave a marvellously vital impression of the past inhabitants of those houses, possessed by the same lack of money and, in their desire to be fashionable, the same petty jealousies as we are today.
Miss Harding used examples from the discoveries made by her Domestic Buildings Research Group in Surrey to illustrate the development of houses from the Middle Ages. The two main types of Medieval House were the small hall-house, with one room above a kitchen at one end of the hall, and both ends divided off into a room below with a room above it; the “best” end was the one furthest from the kitchen.
In each case the hall was open to the roof and the smoke from the fire in the centre drifted up, blackening the rafters, and escaped through to gablets, small triangular holes in the gables. The frames of these houses were made of oak, cut on the Weald, and were prefabricated in carpenters’ shops. The beams therefore had to be marked so that they could be set up in the right order on site: shallow, long marks are older than chiselled, short ones. The walls were constructed of wattle and daub.
In the 1550s change began, since coal was introduced and its acrid smoke meant that the fire was moved to one end of the hall and a smoke-bay channelled the smoke up and out of one gablet. Houses built in this period have their rafters blackened at one end instead of all over. Wood was being used less, since it was needed for ships; so bricks were developed in the 1570s, and with them chimneys were built.
There was generally no room for chimneys in small hall-houses so that they had to be built outside, but hall-houses were right out of fashion so that most people did all they could to disguise them. Halls were floored over, roof lines changed to obliterate gablets and massive, very prominent chimneys shot up.
Similarly, when staircases, as opposed to ladders, became common, people placed their front doors in their stair turrets so that visitors could not help noticing their new symbol of prestige. The “brick trick” of the eighteenth century however is the most surprising: that people would “build” a brick house by covering beams with a veneer of brick tiles. Only when you go to the side of the house and see the beams underneath do you realise a “Georgian” house is basically Medieval.
The people of the past were expert at keeping in fashion as cheaply as possible; by studying the backs of their houses, which were hidden from the road and were altered far less, and by looking at the colour and shape of the roof-beams, the D.B.R.G. have discovered signs of the original building. Joan Harding does not grieve at the corruption of these mediaeval houses: they were built to serve the needs and whims of their inhabitants rather than to last. The changes in, and additions to, them tell the story of the changing lives and fortunes of their owners.
As they follow-up to Miss Harding’s talk, members may like to have the names of two booklets. “On the dating of English houses from external evidence,” by J.T. Smith and E.M. Yates, is reprinted (1974) from Field Studies, vol. 2, No. 5 (1968). It deals with stone, timber frame and brick houses, and is profusely illustrated with helpful line drawings of various “dating” features. Further information obtainable from E.W. Classey Ltd, Park Road, Faringdon, Berks.
“A systematic procedure for recording English vernacular architecture,” by R.W. Brunskill, is reprinted from the Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, vol. 13 (1965-6). The reprint is now out of print, but there is a copy in the HADAS book box. It contains pages of detailed diagrams which show the recording procedure for the various parts of houses built of different materials: walls, windows, roof structure and materials, chimneys, dormers and special features.
A word from our Treasurer.
A new financial year is again upon us, starting on 1 April, and we enclose a form with this Newsletter which you can use to renew your subscription.
After much consideration — and greatly helped by the efforts of our fund-raisers — the Committee has decided to leave the subscription rates unchanged for another year. They are:
Full membership – £1.00
Under 18 – 65p
Senior Citizen – 75p
Any member who wishes to pay by standing order should contact the Hon. Treasurer for the relevant form.
Milk, Money and Milestones
When paying your subscription, you may like also to invest in a copy of the latest HADAS publication, just hot from the press. It is called Money, Milk and Milestones, our Occasional Paper No. 3 (price £0.35).
The booklet is a local history miscellany, containing a dozen or so articles which have appeared over the years in the Newsletter. The “Money” of the title is a reference to George Ingram’s articles on Philip Rundell (probably Britain’s first self-made millionaire), who lived, died and is buried in Hendon; “Milk” concerns three articles on the Victorian/Edwardian dairy trade by three different members; while “Milestones” is the title of a paper by Ted Sammes on that subject. This is a good mixed bag with lots of local interest. Though you may have read some of the articles before, we think you’ll like to have them in this compact and collected form.
The Next Outing – on Sunday, May 9
This will be a joint archaeological/architectural trip with the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute Society. Letchworth, our destination, was the first Garden City, started in 1903. It was planned by Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, who planned the original Hampstead Garden Suburb, and many of the same architects worked on both projects. Those who visited the Architectural Heritage Year Exhibition in the Garden Suburb last October, or who have seen the current exhibition at Church Farm House Museum,* will enjoy meeting at Letchworth an expert who will give us a talk and a conducted tour. Letchworth Museum is being specially opened for us after lunch.
On the way we shall visit the Roman Baths, situated immediately under the motorway at Welwyn, and experience the incongruity of standing in a first century Bath House while 20th century motorway madness roars overhead.
Our return journey will take us through quiet Hertfordshire lanes, stopping at Benington, an enchanting village, where the green is surrounded by a 16th century cottages, a 13th century church and the remains of the keep of Benington Castle. The Kings of Mercia lived here, and Berthulf is said to have held council on the hill in AD 850.
A form for this outing is enclosed. Please complete and send as soon as possible to Dorothy Newbury.
Footnote: this exhibition, entitled “Henrietta Barnett and the Hampstead Garden Suburb,” will be at Church Farm House Museum until 25 April (Museum closed Good Friday and Tuesday 20 April. It contains much material about the founder of the Suburb and her family, and about the colleagues who helped and the architects who planned and built the famous estate. Maps, photographs, documents of many kinds, architectural plans and models are included. Members of HADAS had played a large part in both the planning and the mounting of the exhibition.
Exhibition at Barnet
Hampstead Garden Suburb features in another exhibition currently showing in the Borough. At Barnet Borough Arts Council centre, 68 High Street, Chipping Barnet, three projects originally produced for Open University courses are on show, each with historical slant.
Architect Eric Hermann’s project deals with the Garden Suburb; Pam Edwards has an exhibit on the history of the East Barnet; and the third display deals with the history of the Leys at Elstree. Open from Tuesday 30 March to Saturday 3 April; and again from Tuesday 6 April to Saturday 10 April, from 11.00a.m.-6.00p.m. each day.
After the Letchworth trip, the rest of the summer. programme is:
Sun June 13 – Butser and Portchester.
Sat July 10 – Kings Lynn
Sat Aug 7 – Chedworth Roman villa and Crickley Hill.
Sept 17-19 – inclusive – weekend in York.
A Hendon Bottle
By Raymond Lowe.
Towards the end of the Church Terrace dig when the contractors had started work behind the Chequers Public House, a number of bottles were exposed in one of the bulldozed trenches. The bottles, none of which is complete, are of stoneware with a light cream-coloured salt-glaze, something like Doulton ware. The capacity must have been one pint, as the lower body diameter is just on 3 in. and the mouth 1 1/4 in. outside and just over 1/2 in. inside. This gives an assessed height of 10 in. — “assessed” because no base precisely fits any top.
The neck and has a groove between two rings and must have been sealed with a cork or bung. Round the bottom is the legend —
J. B. Matthews
Church End Hendon
Each line was separately stamped on, the first line is just over 1/4 inch high, the other two are half this size. Perhaps one day a whole bottle will turn up.
Digs and Field Work
The White Swan
We have now obtained permission to dig on the site next to the White Swan Public House in Golders Green Road. This could yield more evidence for the medieval road surface found further north along the road at the Woodlands site. As there has been a public house next to this site at least since the eighteenth century we should obtain a good collection of clay tobacco pipes, drinking vessels and bottles.
Digging will start, weather permitting, on Sunday 11 April, and will continue every Sunday (except Easter, 18 April) 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. As many volunteers as possible are needed, even if they can spare only a couple of hours. For further details contact Jeremy Clynes.
Advance information about this dig, on a possible Mesolithic site, appeared in newsletters 54, 57 and 61. The dig starts on 1 May and will run full time every day until 16 May. Members who want further information should ring Daphne Lorimer.
Parish Boundary Survey
We are happy to say that another school, Finchley Manor Hill, is joining in the Society’s survey this spring. Some of their students offer local history as a subject; they are starting to survey and record the boundaries of the parish of St. James the Great, Friern Barnet, as a practical project.
Recording St. Andrew’s Churchyard, Totteridge
Following the survey of the Dissenters’ Graveyard in Totteridge Lane, a comparative study is to be undertaken in April in Totteridge Parish Churchyard. It is hoped to throw light, during this larger survey, on some of the problems raised by the smaller sample. Any members interested in helping should contact Daphne Lorimer.
Token from Totteridge
By Daphne Lorimer.
Yet again the Morleys of Laurel Farm have added a fascinating relic of a bygone age to the “chance finds” of the Borough. This is 18th century trade token, one of a pair of medallions struck to commemorate a prize-fight between Isaac Perrins of Birmingham and Tom Johnson, the Champion of England, at Banbury on 22 October 1789.
The medallion is of copper, 3.9 cm in diameter and 2.5 mm thick. It bears, on the obverse, a bust facing right with “Isaac Perrins” engraved round the edge. On the reverse, the words “Bella Horrida Bella” are surrounded by a circle of leaves, outside which are the words “Strength and Magnanimity” together with the date 1789.
The medallion is illustrated in “The Provisional Token Coinage of The Eighteenth Century” by R. Dalton and F.H. Hamer (1910). It was struck in Birmingham but the diesinker and manufacturer are, as yet, undiscovered. Peter Mathias, however, mentions in “English Trade Tokens” that Thomas Skidmore of Holborn and Peter Kempson of Birmingham had just started to produce some medallions to commemorate special events. These had no monetary value and may have been a response to the token collecting mania which had just started — a craze which was to reach its zenith at a time of acute copper shortage in 1792 when, as now, metal had an investment value.
A delightful blow-by-blow account of the prize-fight is given in the Appendix to the Annual Register and Chronicle for 1789. Isaac Perrin’s opponent, Tom Johnson (his real name was Jackling) was a Derbyshire man who became Champion of England after a victory over Jack Jarvis in 1783. Prize-fighting had fallen into considerable disrepute: attempts to make rules to govern fights had met with little success and contests were often “fixed.” Tom Johnson did much to bring back fair play and honestly to the game and, in this particular fight, his gallantry appears to have been matched by that of his opponent. Perrins came in so fiercely at the beginning of the bout that Johnson fell to his knees to escape the blows. Such timid and chicken-hearted behaviour brought immediate cries of “foul” but Perrins refused to be awarded the match or to take advantage of a slip which, he said, could easily have been accidental. The fight was fought with determination on both sides; Johnson won. He retained his title till 1791 when, sad to relate, he took to the bottle.
Enormous sums of money appear to have been wagered on these contests. Tom Johnson’s backer is said to have won £20,000 over the Banbury fight, of which he gave Johnson £1,000.
How the medallion reached Totteridge is a mystery. Laurel Farm was then the Home Farm for Poynter’s Hall — the home of the Puget family, who were sober, God-fearing Nonconformist bankers. One can speculate idly on the possible peccadilloes of a younger son, the sporting proclivities of a tenant or, more likely, the anguish of a bereft token collector.
Welcome to these new members, who have join HADAS in the last six months:
Kenneth Argent, Colindale; Harry Au, Gillian Baker, both Temple Fortune; Dr. Amelia Banks, Fortis Green; Christina Barnett, Golders Green; Ronald Bevan, Totteridge; Vanessa Bodimeade, Borehamwood; W.R. Braham, Mill Hill; Alastair Brown, Finchley; Joanie Cina, Hendon; Dr, J.S. Coats, East Barnet; Miss L.A. Cooper, N. Finchley; Mary Cooper, Totteridge; Peter Cowles, Edgware; Mrs. Cropper, New Barnet; Barbara Cuffe, NW5; Jennifer and Susan Cummin, Mill Hill; Peter Day, Southgate; Tim Emmott, Finchley; Marjorie Errington, N. Finchley; G.W. Farmer, East Barnet; W. Firth, Golders Green; Miss P.J. Fletcher, the same; Yvonne Greene, Hampstead; Marjorie Hinchliffe, Garden Suburb; Muriel Joyce, N. Finchley; Christopher Joyce, Mill Hill; David King, Hendon; Martin Lee, N11; Dorothy Leng, Temple Fortune; Heather McClean, Hendon; Elizabeth Mason, Richmond; Mrs. P. Mitchell, New Southgate; Jean Neal, Garden Suburb; Beverley Nenk, Golders Green; Debra Norton, Finchley; Mrs. M. O’Connell, Colindale; Wendy Page, NW10; Mr. & Mrs. Pettit, Finchley; Dr. D.M. Potts, N6; Joan Ramsay, N. Finchley; Joan Rogers, Colindale; Julian Sampson, Totteridge; Elizabeth Sanderson, Hendon; Kathryn Shaw, Totteridge; Mrs. M. Sheena, Hampstead; Alison Sheridan, Mill Hill; M.P. Shoolman, Hendon; Julius Smit, Hampstead; Teresa Smith, Mr. & Mrs. Snell, all Edgware; Stanley Sovin, Garden Suburb; E.J. Squires, Elstree; Carol Ventura, Colindale; Rosalind Walters, N. Finchley; Kathleen Ward, Edgware; Arthur Willmore, Colindale; Mr. & Mrs. Woollon, Cricklewood; Lindsay Wright, Edgware; Joyce Young, Temple Fortune; Aviva Zickermann, Golders Green.