Newsletter 124: June, 1981
FORWARD TO HADAS’S MAJORITY
The 20th Annual General Meeting of HADAS took place, in its normal friendly and relaxed atmosphere; on May 19 at Hendon Library. Vice President Eric Wookey took the chair, and gave his usual masterly performance of getting through the business of the meeting with speed, charm, dexterity and humour.
Reports from our Chairman, Brian Jarman, and our Hon. Treasurer, Jeremy Clynes, showed that the Society is active, financially solvent and in good heart. One important point made by the Treasurer, looking ahead, was that for the Society to maintain its present level of activity and to remain “in the black” it will be essential to supplement subscription income each year with the proceeds of a fund-raising event.
From the Chairman’s report we choose a sad excerpt – the fact that last year we very nearly obtained with the help of the Controller of Education Services of the Borough, a permanent home for the Society, and one in which we could have spread ourselves; but, alas, we missed it by a whisker and through no fault of our own. However, that is one struggle which we shall continue.
Membership figures showed a very slight increase for the year: 443 at March 21, 1981 as against 440 at the same time in 1980.
The officers for the coming year, who were declared elected, are:
Chairman: Councellor B A Jarman
Vice Chairman: Mr T Sammes
Hon Secretary: Mrs. Brigid Grafton Green
Hon Treasurer: Mr. J Clynes
The Committee Members for 1981-82 are:
Mr Fauvel Clinch
ON THE RESEARCH FRONT
The activities of the first year of the reorganised Research Committee were described at the AGM by Sheila Woodward, its Chairman. Highlights included the walks in search of Roman roads organised by the popular Roman group and contact with residents around Brockley Hill in the hope that they had made interesting finds in their gardens – which they had not; a start on a reference collection of medieval pottery sherds; the instigation of a major investigation of aeronautical remains in the Borough by the Industrial Archaeology group; continuing efforts on the West Heath finds by the prehistorians; and a whole series of projects, from outdoor sculpture to brickworks, by members of the documentary group.
The Research Committee’s task, said Sheila, was defined as “to coordinate and, where appropriate, instigate research into the history and archaeology of the Borough of Barnet. This was being carried out through the five working groups, whose respective leaders are:
Prehistoric: Daphne Lorimer
Roman: Helen Gorden
Medieval: Ted Sammes
Industrial Archaeology: Bill Firth
Documentary: Brigid Grafton Green
All would be delighted to hear from any members wishing to join their groups. Liz Sagues
FUTURE PLANS FOR WEST HEATH by Daphne Lorimer
Processing of the finds from West Heath has continued during the winter and the basic work of recording and marking has been completed. Analysis of the finds, the preparation of distribution charts and the various research projects are well under way: Excavation this year will be aimed specifically at answering queries posed by our analysis. It will take place in the late summer and early’autumn. A provisional timetable allows for digging to start on Saturday, Aug 29 and to continue through the whole of September and October. In addition to the usual Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, it is hoped to arrange to dig on two other days in the week – probably on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The time will be, as usual, 10 pm. All members will be welcome for as long as they can manage. New diggers need have no fears – they will be given all the help and training they need.
Desmond Collins and his family are migrating to Devonshire soon and his regular visits to the site will be much missed this year. He has, however, kindly agreed to give advice and consultation over the telephone and will certainly see the results of our labours. We hope he may also manage an inspection. We are fully conscious that there are not many amateur societies which have been privileged not only to draw on the advice and skill of an expert, but also to have such kind and friendly guidance as Desmond has given us. Most of all we appreciate his encouragement to undertake original research for the report which he is master-minding. We are duly and truly grateful.
SUMMER DAYS AHEAD was what the May Newsletter said. Alas, as this June Newsletter goes to press they still don’t seem to have materialised, but let’s hope they will by
Sat. June 13, for the HADAS outing to Blackheath, Swanscombe and Rochester (not Penshurst, as we visited there in 1979). This trip will cover a wide span: Palaeolithic, Roman, Saxon and Medieval.
If you would like to join the outing, please complete the enclosed application form and send, with cheque to Dorothy Newbury at once.
Sat. July 18. Outing to Lacock village and Abbey; and to the new Barry Cunliffe excavation at Bath.
Sat. Aug 15. Piddington Roman villa (dig in progress); Iron Age Hunsbury Hilly Abington Park Museum, Museum of Leathercraft in Northampton.
Sept 11-13. Weekend in the Brecon Beacons, This was well over-subscribed when details were announced in December We have now completed final arrangements and will be in touch within the next two months with members who have signed on for the weekend.
Although we have a waiting list, sometimes a few last minute cancellations occur. If you would like your name put on the waiting list, please ring Jeremy Clynes (455 4271) for further information.
OTHER DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Sat/Sun June 20/21. Flower Festival and open day at St Paul’s church, Mill Hill. The crypt will be open (Sat 10.30-3.30, Sun 12-6.30), there will be an exhibition of restoration work and a churchyard trail.
July 12/Aug 31. HADAS member Dr Ann Saunders is now in the throes of producing what sounds like a fascinating exhibition. It is on the Regents Park Villas and the people who lived in them (a subject on which she is an expert she is the author of a book on Regents Park). .
The exhibition will be at the Holme (near the main Bedford College building) on the Inner Circle of Regents Park, every day from 12 noon-5 pm. Adults 50p, OAPs, students, children 25p.
PINNING DOWN THE PAST
This HADAS exhibition ended at Church Farm House Museum on May 5. The Borough Librarian, David Ruddom, has now written to tell us how it went. He says: “During its 66 day run the exhibition had 3133 visitors, giving a very pleasing average daily attendance of 47 people. ‘Pinning Down the Past’ was universally well received by the general public and was favourably mentioned in the local press.
I should like to thank HADAS for its considerable efforts in the preparation and mounting of this extremely successful exhibition. Thanks are also due to those members who gave up their weekends to act as stewards each weekend during the last months, and to those who organised the delightful Opening Day ceremony.
HADAS exhibitions at Church Farm House Museum have always proved highly popular: ‘Pinning Down the Past’ has continued this tradition. I look forward to a similarly successful display in the mid-1980s.”
The stewards, highly commended by Mr Ruddom, were organised most efficiently by Nell Penny, who says:
“HADAS often asks its members to dig, to buy, to sell and to come and go. This time I want to thank over 30 members who acted as weekend stewards at Pinning Down the Past. By the time the exhibition closed they had answered many questions, enrolled a few new members and sold a pleasing number of our publications. And they did it all with grace and goodwill.”
Finally, a word of thanks to those who planned and executed the various displays; who took part in the exciting but sometimes traumatic job of “setting up;” and those who managed the less exciting, but equally important, chore of careful dismantling. We should like also to record our
appreciation of the help provided by Gerrard Roots, the curator of the Museum (who is also a HADAS member) and Mr Lewis, his assistant: they were there whenever needed, and solved every knotty problem we put before them.
FOR STARTERS COFFEE IN THE CEMETERY MICKY WATKINS
reports on the first of the summer outings
On Sunday May 10 a small party of HADAS members set out for Bishops Stortford and Ludley End. Skies were grey and unpromising and umbrellas much in evidence at Hendon and Golders Green, but the weather improved during the day.
At Bishops Stortford the Local History Society welcomed us in their new museum, housed in a small building in the old cemetery. Though cramped for space, the museum has many interesting local finds, including a collection of clay tobacco pipes and bottles found in a Victorian dump; farm implements and some fine harness. While at the museum, we were given a welcome cup of coffee: the first time any of us had had a coffee party in a cemetery.
The Rhodes Museum was our next port of call. Cecil Rhodes was born in the vicarage in Bishops Stortford in 1853, one of nine children. The vicarage has been turned into a museum commemorating his life and work. The curator told us that Rhodes first went to South Africa at the age of 17 because it was hoped the climate would improve his health. His short life was packed with activity, for he had amazing energy and ambition and was convinced that English speaking people had duty to spread their culture to other nations. He combined studying for an Oxford degree with diamond mining at Kimberly – quite a lucrative form of vacation work. After making a fortune and founding Rhodesia, he endowed the Rhodes scholarships.
Now the rain stopped, and our guides showed us the church, town houses and the maltings. In the past Bishops Stortford had many maltings by the Stort. Barley was brought in from farms to be processed in the maltings. It was laid out on the floors and left to sprout, then roasted, pervading the town with its heady smell; finally it was shipped down-river to London for beer making.
Our visit to Bishops Stortford was most interesting, and we are most grateful to Mr and Mrs Wright and the Local History Society whose hard work and kindness made it such a success.
After lunch.we drove through pleasant country filled with spring colour to Audley End. In the 17c Audley End was built by the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer of England, at the phenomenal cost of £200,000. (He was later charged with embezzlement from public funds). This was an enormous mansion, and after the Restoration it was used as a royal palace by both Charles II and James II. In the early 18c this first great Audley End was mostly demolished, because it was too expensive to maintain.
The present house was designed by Vanbrugh and Robert Adam. The State Rooms, designed by Adam, are brilliantly coloured with silk-lined walls and painted ceilings, freshly restored according to the original plans, which can be seen in the Library. Another particularly notable room is the Chapel, in late 18c “Strawberry Hill” Gothic style. After exploring this vast house we had little time to spend in the grounds, landscaped to take advantage of a fast-flowing River Cam, swollen by spring rains.
As we climbed back into the coach the sun, despite gloomy forecasts, was shining over the whole countryside. It had been a highly enjoyable expedition, most competently led by Dorothy Newbury and George Ingram.
Earlier this year the Borough of Barnet produced Topic Study No 3 in the series which it is preparing, as a basis for its final Borough Development Plan, on various aspects of life in the Borough. These Studies are intended as consultation documents and are circulated widely, riot only to interested organisations and individuals inside our Borough; but also outside it. No 3 (108.pages and 7 maps) is on the Environment. HADAS was sent a copy and invited to comment – which we did – and so was the county society, LAMAS.
In many ways the Topic Study on Environment is an admirable document; and if only the principles which it enshrines can be followed faithfully, Barnet will become a better place to live in; but alas, often a gaping gap yawns between the enunciation of an admirable principle and its execution. On this, all we can do is wait, see … and then judge.
Meantime, you might be interested in a small part of the Study which deals with the history of the various Conservation Areas which have been set up under the provisions of the Civic Amenities Act, 1967 (now largely incorporated into the Town and Country Planning Act 1971).
There are at present ten Conservation Areas in the London Borough of Barnet:
Hampstead Garden Suburb A April 1977
Hampstead Garden Suburb B Dec. 1968
Mill Hill Dec. 1968
Totteridge Dec 1968
Monken Hadley Dec. 1968
Extended Feb 1979
Wood Street April 1969
Extended Feb 1979
Moss Hall Crescent N12 Aug. 1974
Elstree Village Aug. 1976
Finchley Garden Village N3 Nov. 1978
Church end, Finchley N3 July 1979
The procedure for designating a Conservation Area includes publishing a notice of designation in the London Gazette and at least one local newspaper. Before designating, a local authority in Greater London must consult the GLC. In practice local societies and other interested organisations in the Borough are consulted on the principle and extent of a Conservation Area and their views are taken into account before a decision is made.
To assist the Council in the enhancement and control of development in Conservation Areas, Advisory Committees have been established for Hampstead Garden Suburb, Mill Hill, Totteridge, Wood Street and Monken Hadley Conservation Areas. These Committees are composed of representatives of local societies, amenity groups and professional bodies who have knowledge of local conditions, planning and design,
Four of the ten Conservation Areas, Mill Hill, Totteridge, Monken Hadley and Elstree, are centred on historic village settlements, and include a significant element of Green Belt land to which policies additional to normal conservation policies apply. The Wood Street Conservation Area forms part of the Chipping Barnet Town Centre and includes the mixture of urban uses typical of a small market town of the 13c. It is remarkable for its concentration of listed buildings; its future will be closely linked with changes which may occur in the pattern of development and circulation in and around Chipping Barnet.
The Hampstead Garden Suburb was originally designated a single Conservation Area, but later re-designated in two parts to allow the earlier part of the Suburb to be declared by the Secretary of State for the Environment as an “outstanding Conservation Area,” thereby becoming eligible for conservation grants from central government funds. The Hampstead Garden Suburb, founded by Henrietta Barnett in 1907 and planned by Sir Raymond Unwin, is an example of a community established in accordance with Garden Suburb principles which has been recognised as being of national importance.
Moss Hall Crescent consists of a group of large Victorian houses in North Finchley typical of the area and of the period, not individually outstanding architecturally but pleasantly grouped and related to a small open space fronting Ballards Lane. Here the Conservation Area was designated to protect the group from piecemeal demolition and redevelopment.
Finchley Garden Village consists of a development of detached and semidetached houses grouped round a central green, built between 1908 and 1914; whilst Church End, Finchley, encompasses mainly late Victorian and Edwardian development centred on Regents Park Road and Hendon Lane, including the Avenue House grounds,
Following designation, it becomes the duty of the local planning authority to pay special attention to the character and appearance of the area when dealing with planning proposals under the Town and Country’ Planning Act 1971, the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act, 1953, and the Local Authorities (Historic Buildings) Act, 1962. As an additional measure of protection, the Town and Country Planning Act, 1974; allowed the control of demolition of all buildings in a Conservation Area, and provided for the protection of trees in Conservation Areas.
FIELD NAMES IN THE BOROUGH OF BARNET, 1321-1981 by NELL PENNY
My desultory interest in field names was re-activated when I read an article, “Field-name Studies,” by John Field, in The Local Historian. The author wished to encourage local historians to record parish and borough field names and offered the help of the English Place Name Society towards publication. EPNS has already published “Field Names of the London Borough of Ealing,” by C H Keene.
As a modest beginning I have been recording those field names in the Hendon. area which can be traced from 1321 to 1840 and in some cases to modern street names. My sources have been copies of the manor surveys made in 1321, 1574, 1635 and 1685. There are maps of small areas – one made in 1570 for St Bartholomew’s Hospital and one in 1597 detailing some fields belonging to All Souls College, Oxford. Comprehensive surveys with maps were made in 1754 by James Crow and in 1840 for the Tithe Award.
Here are a few “long-life” names:
BOWSTRINGFELD. In 1321 John of Middleton held a croft called “Bowstreng-feld at Crikelwood.”- His service to the Abbot of Westminster for this land was a bowstring. The name appears on the map made in 1570, and in the 17c surveys. In the 18c map no Bowstring fields, but two Bolster fields are in the same place, and the new name is repeated in 1840. Is it reasonable to decide that poor oral transmission is responsible for the change of name? Superimposed on a modern map the Bolster fields are in Cricklewood between the Vale and Clitterhouse Recreation Ground.
FURTHER BRAINT AND NEARER BRAINT. These fields are mapped in 1754 and 1840 on the east side of Hendon Wood Lane. They lie on the old borough boundary with Barnet, which here follows the line of the river Brent (shown on today’s maps as the Dollis Brook). In the survey of 1574 “Braintfield Corner” is part of the “outbounds” of Hendon manor. In 1321 the “terra de Breinte” was in the lord’s hands.
The Dictionary of Field Names, by John Field, makes the obvious comment that the name DEERFIELD means a field where deer were seen. In Hendon it is a reminder that a large part of the forest of Middlesex existed in a medieval times and many fields were assarted from the forest. In 1321 there is Derefeld; in 1574, 1635 and 1685 the names are Deerefields. The All Souls map shows “parts of Dearefields” next to woodland and south of Colin Deep Lane. In Crow’s map Deerfields or Great Hundred Acres is shown to the east of the Silk Stream in The Hyde, Hendon. The next field is Little Hundred Acres! Today Deerfield Cottages keep the name alive in the Hyde.
GREAT, LAMB PITS AND LITTLE LAMB PITS are mapped in 1754 on the south side of Finchley Lane at the Quadrant, Hendon: Lamput (1321) Lampitts (1635) are earlier forms. The Dictionary says “loampits” is the origin of the name Loam is a farming term for soil in which sand has been added to clay, combining the good qualities of both. It is tempting to guess that because the Quadrant Garage lies in a hollow, it covers the site of the loam diggings.
LONGELAND was on the boundary of Hendon manor with Edgware. In 1321 it was described as 24 acres of arable. In the 1754 map Longlands borders. Deans Brook. It is not an unusually long field, but one of its neighbours, Blakelands, is and may have originated as furlong strips in a common field. I was made aware of the pitfalls awaiting those who try to correlate surveys without maps with those with maps. The sharp but friendly eyes of my colleagues of the documentary research group led me to identify two DOWNEDGES. In 1321 Dounhegg was a wood providing pannage and faggots for the manor. In the 17c Downedge is part of the “outbounds” of the manor in the south west, near “Cowie” Oak. The maps of 1754 and 1840 show two Downages: one on the south western boundary of the manor near Cool Oak Lane; the other as woods and two fields, Thistley Downage and Lower Downage. These fields are east of Hendon parish church. The modern road Downage runs from Parson Street to Great North Way, so where was Dounhegg, and what does the name mean?
SHEAVESHILL Avenue links the A5 at Watling with Colindale Park. In the 1574 survey there are 15 references to holdings in Sheveshill. The name varies to Shelshill and in 1754 Shesehill Common Field is shown with nearly 30 strips. There is no record of common fields in 1321.
HODESFORD. The manor of Hodesford was held by Sir Henry Scrope. In later surveys the name is part of the southern boundary of the Manor “Weilswood over the Heath to Hodford Wood Corner.” By the 18c “Seven Acre Field alias Lower Hodford Wood,” and two other fields with the Hodford element are mapped. These fields would have covered Golders Hill Park and its environs. Now Hodford Rd runs from Finchley Rd to Golders Green Rd.
Fields in North Finchley, West Hendon, Edgware, Barnet and Friern Barnet await name recording. Is any member of the Society interested in helping with any of this research? If so, please let me know (Nell Penny,)
REPORT ON IONA
Back in October 1977 Dr Richard Reece talked to HADAS about his 10-year excavation of the Medieval monastic site at Iona. Members who recall that lecture may like to know that the Institute of Archaeology is about to publish the report on Dr Reece’s work – IONA 1964-1974. There will be specialist reports on finds and environmental material, including a report by the late Calvin Wells on human remains from Martyr’s Bay, Price £6, plus .90p post, from the Registrar, Institute of Archaeology, 31 Gordon.Sq, London WC1.
The phrase “a listed. building” is part of the vocabulary of modern life. It means that a building has been placed on the statutory list of buildings of either special architectural or special historic (or some-times-both) interest.
The List divides into two categories: Grade I and Grade II with Grade II sub-divided into starred buildings (II*) and un-starred (II). There used to be a Grade III, but listing in that never gave much protection and nowadays is not used.
Most protected buildings in the Borough of Barnet are Grade II. The only Grade I building is the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, designed by Edwin Lutyens.
Periodically the statutory list is up-dated. The Barnet list has been undergoing this process for at least 5 years. We understand the new list is almost finished, and ought to emerge from its wraps later this year. Back in 1975 HADAS – along with many other organisations in the Borough – made suggestions for changes in and additions to the list; so we await the new list expectantly, hoping to see some of our ideas incorporated.
Meantime, buildings are occasionally “spot-listed.” This happened to two LBB buildings last March: Golders Green Crematorium and the Chapel of Belmont School, Mill Hill. Both were built this century.
Belmont School chapel was designed in 1924/5 by John Carrick Stuart Soutar, FRIBA (1881.1951). It has echoes of the churches on Central Sq, Hampstead Garden Suburb – perhaps not surprisingly, for Soutar was for over 30 years Architect to the HGS Trust, working from Wyldes Farm. He succeeded Raymond Unwin, who left the Trust in 1914, and he designed a number of Suburb buildings of post-World War I date, including the Teahouse in Northway (where HADAS often holds processing sessions) and Bigwood House (formerly Henrietta Barnett Junior School) in which our West Heath Symposium was held some years ago.
Soutar was a Scot, educated at Dundee University and first articled to a Dundee architect, T M Cappon. He gained early experience planning municipal estates for the LCC, under W E Riley. Then he and his brother, Archibald, went into private practice. He planned Woodlands Garden Village, Doncaster; garden suburbs at Warrington; Ruislip Northwood estate for Kings College, Cambridge; and Knebworth estate in Hertfordshire.
The other “spot-listed” building needs no introduction. The “Crem” in Hoop Lane, NW11, is a landmark for all who live in or near Goiders Green. Standing in 12 acres of beautiful grounds, originally laid out by the famous garden designer Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) the Crematorium, built in 1902, was designed by Sir Ernest George, a well-known architect of the turn of the century, in whose office the young Ned Lutyens began his career as an architect in 1887. It was the first crematorium in London and is the first in the country to be listed.
AND – UNHAPPILY – AN UNLISTED BUILDING … This is a story of a building with a sad ending.- The two cottages in Cricklewood Lane, Nos. 77-79 which together formed one house known as Vine Cottage, a local landmark for the best part of a century and a half, were knocked down by their new owner during the Easter weekend. Vine Cottage was not statutorily protected, although many efforts, by LBB, by HADAS and by others, had been made to persuade the Department of Environment to list it. HADAS’s last appeal on the subject was dated only a week before-demolition.
Vine Cottage was not an important mansion, built by or lived in by the famous, but for that very reason because so few historic small houses of humble origin exist any longer HADAS wanted to try to preserve it. In 1972 Sir Roger Walters, Architect to the GLC, described Vine Cottage as “one of a very small number of humble single-storey vernacular cottages of pre-Byelaw date in Greater London.” He could then find only three other similar examples, two of the late 18c and one of early 19c date.
The cottage had been in the Clark family certainly since 1870, when it was a dame-school; The last owner, Miss Primrose Clark, who had lived there her whole life, died last year in her nineties. From that moment the threat of demolition loomed; at Easter it became reality and the cottage became just a heap of rather ropey rubble. Unfortunately, because it was not listed, it had not been surveyed or drawn; nor does HADAS know of any photographs of the interior.
THE WORKERS HOME
A footnote to the sad tale of Vine Cottage is supplied by a recent illustrated publication of the Oxfordshire Museums Service called “The Workers Home – small, houses in Oxfordshire through three centuries.” (75p from Dept. of Museum Services, Woodstock, Oxon).
“We know a good deal about the houses and domestic arrangements of the wealthy and the middle classes,” says the introduction, but about the houses of ordinary people, even a generation or two ago, we know very little. How big were the houses of the working class? How were the rooms used and furnished? Where did the children sleep? Where was the washing done? Where were visitors put when they called?”
“The Workers Home” tries to answer some of these questions, but as it says itself “this booklet asks more questions than it answers.” There is a general text about how housing developed in Oxfordshire from a labourer’s cottage of 1699 up to council houses of the 1930s; illuminated by case studies (both town and country) of specific buildings, with photos and house plans.
Here are some excerpts from the description of a tiny town cottage, demolished in 1938: it was “a single cell structure of local stone with a thatched roof and a chimney stack of brick, the front door opened onto a small hallway. From this a door led into the living room it contained a dining table and chairs, a sofa and a big wooden armchair and a freestanding corner cupboard for china. The mantelpiece was covered with a plush cloth and on it were a clock, a few ornaments from fairs and a tea caddy. On the wall were pictures of Queen Victoria, the Last Supper and ‘The thin Red Line.’ There were geraniums on the window sill and a tasselled cream-coloured blind at the window. On the floor flags were rag rugs, freshly made each spring. Lighting was by wall-mounted oil lamps. “All washing and washing up was done in a bowl on a table in the passage. There was no sink or piped water, all water being carried from a communal pump, the communal lavatory served 29 households. The two bedrooms upstairs contained one bed each. Both beds were covered with handmade patchwork counterpanes. There were lace curtains bought in Banbury Market at the windows. The rent in the early 1920s was 2s a week. The household income may have been limited to one old age pension.”
The intention of the booklet is “to arouse interest in the vast subject of Workers’ housing and to encourage an interest in the history of people’s homes.” It is a virtually untapped area of research, in which history and archaeology go hand in hand, since structures, artefacts and documents all play a part. The trouble is, they must play it soon, or most of the evidence will have vanished. Is any HADAS member sufficiently interested to start an Oxfordshire-type project in Barnet?
George Salveson of the Harrow and Stanmore Society would be happy to have some help from HADAS diggers. He will be excavating most of this summer in Elstree, on the playing fields to the west of the A5 road, opposite Hill House.
This is a medieval site, so far with nothing earlier than 13c. Finds include pottery and two medieval ditches, as well as a pitlike feature which might be a kiln firebox. There are also remains of an 18c timber framed building, as well as considerable kiln waste.
Digging will be on Saturday afternoons from 2.30 and all day Sunday, from 10am; not every Saturday, however, so HADAS members should ring Mr Salveson on 423 1781 before going to the site.
TWO FACES OF FARMING IN MIDDLESEX
Pinner Local History Society (this year celebrating its 10th birthday) recently produced a booklet, “A Pinner Miscellany.” It gathers together various research done by the Society in the last few years.
The booklet opens with a paper on 19c farming in Pinner. It quotes ‘ from John Middleton’s View of the Agriculture of Middlesex, published 1797, which took a poor view of Pinner farmers. “They seldom if ever plough their fields more than once,” it says, “and for want of so doing, they rarely obtain a good sweet tilth to sow their wheat in and they do not cut water furrows sufficiently across heavy clay lands to take the water off.”
Middleton painted a very different picture of Hendon farmers (also in the View of-Agriculture, though this is not quoted in the Pinner book). Of them he says “farmers in the parish of Hendon and its environs manage their compost heaps best in the kingdom. They make it as fine as ashes, by which means they are enabled to put it on their land at most times of the year; the first shower of rain is sure to carry it down to the roots of the grass.” It goes to show that farming could differ within 6 or miles.
Pinner Miscellany is a good buy. It has closely researched histories of two Pinner houses – Pinner Hill and Pinner Park – illustrated with maps and diagrams, plus a report on site watching and. excavation behind Pinner High Street. Price £1.20p, post 35p, from Pinner Local History Society, 121 Eastcote Rd, Pinner, Middx HA5 lET.
PRE-DOMESDAY FILM…, on the Borough of Barnet’s early history is being made. by Steve Herman for Barnet Libraries and the Greater London Arts Association.’ The half-hour colour video production, primarily for-local distribution, will outline the story of the area through prehistoric, Roman and Saxon times. It will include aerial sequences.
It is hoped to start filming at the end of August. Steve Herman would actively welcome the help and participation of HADAS members, so if you are interested, contact him on 836 5391.