Newsletter 129: November, 1981
It can’t have escaped the notice of many members that HADAS is coming up to what used to be called its majority, next year we will be twenty-one years old.
You have already had Dorothy Newbury’s special 21st birthday programme card. Behind it lies a combination of thought, imagination, hard slog, neat dovetailing, cajolery, cheek, charm, pertinacity and patience. It took all those qualities, plus a few more, before Dorothy could build the card up into the finished programme.
The 1982 Lecture list is full of good things: it is an especially happy omen that in April our President, Professor Grimes, whom we see all too rarely, is able to make the journey from Wales to speak on one of his pet topics.
Another April highspot will be our 21st birthday party, to be held at St Jude’s Hall, Hampstead Garden Suburb, where the Roman banquet of happy memory was held two years ago. By pleasant coincidence a founder member and present Vice-President of the Society, Mrs Rosa Freedman, is Mayor of Barnet this year. She and her husband, also an old friend of HADAS, have agreed to be our guests of honour. We hope to provide more than a touch of history throughout the evening – in the decor, in the birthday buffet, which will feature historic dishes from Roman times onward, and in the entertainment.
Outings will also have a birthday look next year. It may seem paradoxical to talk first about the last outing of next season, but at the suggestion of Ted Sammes, who will organise it, this final outing of 1982 will repeat the Society’s first-ever day trip to Greensted and Waltham Abbey.
The other 1982 visits will all be to places which, in the past, have proved particularly popular. Canterbury and Colchester were both explored early in the Society’s life; King’s Lynn – to be organised again by Nell Penny – provided an outstandingly successful outing in 1976; it is the only one at which HADAS has ever been accorded a civic reception. Those who visited Hadrian’s Wall in 1975 have been saying ever since that they’d like to do it again – and that in spite of spending the whole of one day looking like newly drowned rats.
BACK TO BEGINNINGS
Perhaps a little bit about the beginnings of. HADAS won’t be out of place. The Society started life at a public meeting at Hendon Library (then usually called Central Library) in the Burroughs on Wednesday evening, April 19, 1961. The meeting was convened by a local resident who lived in Egerton Gardens, Mr T Constantinides, who hoped particularly that the new society would prove beyond all possible doubt the Saxon origins of the hamlet of Hendon.
This didn’t mean that he was interested only in the history and archaeology of Hendon; it was he who insisted at that first meeting that the words “and District” be given equal prominence in the Society’s title.
It was Mr Constantinides, too, who suggested backdating the inauguration of the Society to April 1, 1961, for two reasons. The first was that it would coincide with the start of the financial year, which would make things all right and tight for the Treasurer. Even more important was Mr Constantinides’ belief that the charter of King Edgar, in which Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, granted Hendon to the Abbot and monks of St Peter’s at Westminster, was signed on April 1, AD 959.
(There is, in fact, the gravest doubt about the authenticity of this and other so-called Saxon charters which deal with Hendon. Most historians believe the charters were not written down until well after the Norman Conquest, and then only to give the monks good evidence of title; but it is also considered probable that the writing down merely confirmed what had been the real situation from time immemorial).
That inaugural meeting fixed the HADAS annual subscription at 7s.6d – 3s.9d for under-18s. Three Vice-Presidents were elected: Mr Constantinides, Miss Nellie Hinge, owner of Church End Farm (where the Society hoped to dig) and Mr J H B Warden, proprietor of the Hendon Times. Professor Knowles, one of the country’s leading experts on the history of the monastic orders in Britain, was to be invited to be President – no doubt because of Hendon’s links with Westminster in its monastic days. This invitation he later, accepted.
Mr Eric Wookey, still active in HADAS today, was the first Chairman; Mr R C Cooper, who left the area some years ago, was vice-chairman and Hon. Treasurer; and Mr Ian Robertson was Hon. Secretary. Thirteen people, apart from these officers, were elected to the first Committee. One of them – Mr John Enderby – still sits on the Committee today. Next year he will have achieved a remarkable record of 21 years unbroken committee service for the Society. Another member of the original Committee, Miss Elizabeth Watkins, is today (after taking a breather in HADAS’s middle years) secretary of the Research subcommittee – she is now Mrs Liz Sagues.. None of the remaining 11 members of the first committee is still a member. There must, however, be several present-day members who joined at that first meeting.
The Society plunged into digging straight away, doing several weeks work at Church End Farm in the summer of 1961, under the directorship of Ian Robertson. Another general meeting, held three months later, in July 1961, reported that there were already 73 members, of whom 14 were juniors, and that cash in hand amounted to £31.10s.5d. Suggestions were made for a future programme and – an exact quotation – “it was hoped to entice along sufficient experts on Archaeology to fill six monthly lecture evenings.”
We’ve come quite a way since then.
To mark HADAS’s 21st anniversary we have commissioned a limited number of anniversary mugs, which are being produced for us in Scotland, in beige stoneware.
These should be on sale at the November lecture and other occasions, such as the West Heath party. They will also be available by post from the Hon. Treasurer:- Jeremy Clynes, 66 Hampstead Way, NW11 7XX. Price £l, plus 45p per mug postage.
Order early to avoid disappointment.
WINTER WEEKENDS AWAY
The Snowdonia National Park Study Centre is running a series of three archaeological weekends this winter which may be of interest to members. The Tutor for each is Peter Crew, who is well known to HADAS.
Further details obtainable from the Centre at Maentwrog, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd LL41 3YU. Tel: 076 685 324
Members of HADAS will learn with deep regret of the sudden and tragic death on October 14 of Mr Adrian Jeakins, husband of Betty Jeakins and father of Alec. Although he was not himself a member, his wife and son have long been HADAS stalwarts, and Mr Jeakins often joined them on our outings and at other events.
His quiet helpfulness will be remembered with particular gratitude too, because he undertook the long and rather tedious task of making one of the Society’s most useful administrative tools – its index and description of all the Listed buildings in the Borough of Barnet; Indeed, only a few months ago, knowing that a new List was in the offing, he volunteered to re-make and up-date the old index as soon as the new List was published. We shall miss his help very much.
The Society offers its deep sympathy to Mrs Jeakins and Alec.
ADVENTURES IN HAYONUM
HADAS members seem to travel the world on their holidays. Not long since Daphne Lorimer wrote of her trip to Thailand; another member has promised the story of a recent visit to China; and here LINDA BARROW describes holidaying with the Natufians in Israel.
After first hearing about the Natufians in Year II of the Dip. Arch, my interest got the better of me and for the month of August I was fortunate enough to dig on the Natufian. cave and terrace site of Hayonu in Northern Israel.
The dig, which started at the end of July and finished at the end of September; is a small stratigraphic sounding in the Natufian layers (10,000-8,000 BC). The actual trench in which we were digging was no more than 4 x 3 metres, and this created problems when six of us were digging.
The deposits were extremely rich in flint tools, animal bones (the majority being gazelle) and snail and cockle shells.’ When it came to Processing the finds fish vertebrae, dentalium shell, jaws, teeth crustacea and other important minute fragments were in evidence.
During the course of my stay about five bone tools were .recovered; these were usually distinguishable by the fact that the end 0f the implement was pointed and also the bone had a polish on it.
Although the trench was small it was rich in features. These included two partial skeletons. One Was of an infant, and half of this was actually under the section. The other-skeleton was of an adult (without a skull). This skeleton obviously had no thought for future archaeologists and positioned it3elf bang in the middle of the trench so that we all had to be extremely careful – its phalanges were placed in an upright position and very easy to break off! The infant had received a decent burial. It was laid on slabs of bedrock with smaller well-set upright stones surrounding it in a semi-circular fashion. The infant bones were considerably easier to remove than the adult bones, which suffered from concretion.
Although the site was extremely interesting, digging conditions were pretty tough. The only shade provided was of course in Hayonum cave (we were digging on the terrace). It was rather interesting having the Natufian circular houses to gaze at whilst eating our lunch. The highlight of the day was the delicious water melon to nibble at – most refreshing during the midday heat.
We were stationed at AKKO Youth Hostel, and left every morning at 7 o’clock, arriving on site at about 7.30 am. The last ten minutes of the journey were an extremely bumpy ride by land rover along the wadi.
The heat was unbelievable (I have never drunk seven pints of water per day until then) although there was a breeze blowing which did help a little. On our arrival back at Akko between 4.30-5.00 pm there was a general rush for the showers to rid ourselves of a mixture of perspiration, dust and suntan lotion.
I nearly forgot to mention the most prevalent hazard: the wildlife that Hayonum boasted. I shall not forget trying to wet-sieve material in the company of giant hornets (the competition for water being great); or the small yellow scorpions which enjoyed lying under the newspaper on which the wet-sieve-material was placed. Fortunately none of us were stung. Other interesting forms of life included bats (which serenaded us at lunchtime), colourful lizards and minute snakes.
There ended my Hayonum adventure: it shows the variety of archaeology that my next digging experience began a week later in Hampstead – at West Heath.
Tues Nov 3, Excavations on Guernsey. Lecture by Dr Ian Kinnes at Hendon Library. Coffee 8 pm, lecture 8.30.
Our speaker, Dr Kinnes, is Assistant Keeper of the Dept. of Prehistoric and Romano-British Antiquities at the British Museum. He will be known to many members as a lecturer at their Extramural Diploma classes. His subject will be the Neolithic excavation on Guernsey which he began in 1979 and completed this year.
Fri Nov 6 Visit to Physic Well, Well Approach, Barnet. The Town Clerk’s department of the Borough of Barnet is kindly arranging to show a small group of interested HADAS members the interior of the Physic Well (see p 7/8 of last month’s Newsletter). This will be a morning visit; members who would like to take part are asked to ring Brigid Grafton Green (455 9040) for further details.
Sun Nov 8 Roman Group Walk. Meet 10 am Southgate tube station, to walk the short stretch suggested by the Viatores as the possible line of their route 220. This runs near the eastern perimeter of the Borough of Barnet, skirting the grounds of Friern Hospital and crossing the valley of Pymmes Brook. (Helen Gordon 203 1004).
Wed Nov 11 Roman Group processing of field-walk material at Avenue House, Finchley. As space is limited, please ring Ann Trewick
(449 4327) if you would like to take part.
Sat Nov 21 West Heath farewell party, the Teahouse, Northway, Hampstead Garden Suburb, 3-6 pm. Further details later in Newsletter.
Tues Dec 1 Roman Group meeting, 56 Northway, NW11, 8 pm (Enid Hill
Thur Dec 3 Documentary Group meeting, 88 Temple Fortune Lane, NW11, 8 pm (Brigid Grafton Green 455 9040).
Tues Dec 3 Dinner at RAF Museum, Hendon. Apolcgies for confusing everyone by having the wrong date on last month’s application form. It is as the programme card says – Tues Dec 8.
The Roundel Restaurant is large, :and more applications can be accepted. Please come and join the party. The Battle of Britain Museum is being specially opened for us. Phone Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) or write to 55 Sunning fields Road, Hendon NW4.
Note: new members will be most welcome at all HADAS Group meetings, so please don’t hesitate to join in if you would like to. It will be helpful if you can let the member organising the event (whose name and phone number follow each entry) know beforehand that you intend tc come along.
OTHER DIARY DATES
Nov 14 Opening of London’s Flying Start – an exhibition at the Museum of London on the pioneers of Britain’s aircraft industry in the Capital. Much of interest for HADAS members, including a section on Hendon Aerodrome.
There will be a series of lectures in connection with the exhibition on Wednesdays at 1.10 pm, starting Nov 4. The lecture on Dec 9 will be on the Early Years of Hendon Aerodrome, by Jack Bruce, Keeper of the RAF Museum.
Thursdays at 1.10 pm. The “Workshop” series, run’by members of the staff, continues at the Museum of. London, covering such subjects as London maps, Tudor chart making, Victorian attitudes to death, prehistoric pottery, and glass-making in London.*
Nov 21 All-day conference for local historians at Birmingham University on Local Population Studies in,Industrial Societies*
Nov 28 LAMAS Local History Conference, 2 pm (exhibits open 1 pm). Details in last Newsletter.
*further information available from Brigid Grafton Green
MINI INTO MAXI
The mini-Minimart on October 17 turned out to be a Maxi-Minimart. Our thanks must go to all those members who gave goods to sell, made cakes, jams etc, and struggled through the rain to attend.
Special thanks to Brian Wibberley, Dave King, John Enderby, Peter Clinch and Brian McCarthy for transporting the mountains of goods to the
hall and up the stairs, and for returning the residue afterwards. This is always our biggest nightmare. And thanks to the shivery doorkeepers, too. Our usual teams of stalwart salespersons have, over the years, got into the swing of things and, we believe, could sell coals in Newcastle .or tea in China.
Our Ploughman’s Lunch proved to be a popular innovation and Tessa
Smith and her team made it a great success Our receipts to date are a stupendous £660 and several tireless members have spent:the week following the Minimart selling the remains from an emty shop – an
effort which has proved most rewarding. Thank you all.
D A NEWBURY, C ARNOTT
ROMAN THMESIDE MARY O’CONNELL reports on the
first of the winter lectures
A large HADAS audience turned out on a bleak, wet night to hear Gustav Milne, -from the Department of Urban Archaeology, raise the Roman wharves of Londinium before us from the brackish Thames mud. He raised our dampened spirits, too, with his deceptively casual, wry, information-packed talk.
Over the years the destruction of the Victorian port and warehouse complex has allowed archaeologists to snatch occasional information from short spells of site-watching and excavation. For example, the GPO tunnel and single-track railway beneath Thames Street could be examined and recorded only during tea-breaks and lunch hours.
Known sites: from west to east include:
· The Blackfriars coffer dam from which Peter Marsden recovered a 2nd c river barge in 1962-3.
· The medieval Baynard’s Castle site which in 1975-6 revealed an 80 m length of defensive stone river wall, probably 4th c AD.
· A public bath suite at Huggin Hill, with two apsidal rooms, hypocaust and furnace.
· Ruins of a massive structure half buried under. Cannon St Station identified in 1965 as “the Governor’s Palace” a huge official building of late 1st CAD.
· At Miles Lane there was evidence that a pottery store was destroyed in the fire of AD 120.
· At Billingsgate a 4th-5th c town house and private bath suite were examined; this is partly preserved in the basement of an office block.
· In 1974-5 the 40′ x 12′ box construction of the Roman quay: wall was discovered on the Custom House site; in the short time allowed for investigation thousands of squared logs were recovered and skilled carpentry details noted.
· Support piles found at New Fresh Wharf indicated late 2nd c wharf-side buildings; quantities of sherds from new pottery found in the silt, earned this site the nickname Samian City.
· In 1978 the eastern end of the river wall came to light at the Tower. There is 3m of upstanding Roman quay close to London Bridge.
Upper and Lower ThamesStreet show the line of the Roman waterfront. Land to the, south of this has been reclaimed. McAlpines, working on the Pudding Lane development, 160m north of Thames Street, began pulling up .hundreds of massive’ timbers from a. Roman. quay. Working against time and mud) archaeologists took samples and recorded finds before the timbers were transported to fill in the old Victorian docks. “And what,” said hr Milne, will future archeologists make of that?”Dendrochronology tests date the timberwork to AD 80. The area from the northern perimeter to half way down the Pudding Lane site belongs to this early period. The remainder, south to Thames Street, shows later features AD 120; south of Thames Street again, as far as St Magnus churchyard, is AD 200. This site comprises a waterfront development, fossilised inland.Thee early level shows a mercantile terrace – a warehouse with a “plushy” town house behind it. Unfortunately much evidence was destroyed by a large-brick feature (possibly an 1833 cesspit), but part of the hypocaust remains, complete with pilae and opus signinum floor. When this was moved a scorch-marked mosaic floor was found beneath. Moulding decorated either side of the doorway, and part of a deep bath was found, with floor and apsidal wall covered in mainly white tesserae with a red band. The pieces were irregular in shape and size, requiring a degree of skill to lay – suggesting a wealthy owner who could employ the best craftsmen. At a lower level stood two warehouses, open-fronted to the south and colonnaded to support lintel and roof. Built parallel to the river, the buildings were narrow, 18-20m long with four or five bays. Floors laid on wooden joists were ten planks wide, Between the, warehouses were found elaborate timber drains (now being utilized by the archaeologists) to channel the spring waters. One drain passed under a flat arch at the upper level, then under a triangular one and lastly under a rounded arch. All are of the same period and designed to control tide levels,’The wharf road had a compacted clay and gravel surface. Peeled back, it revealed oak timberwork to its full height of five baulks and 9m long, bisected by four 20m long tie-back braces which protruded over the Roman beach. This basis compares with that of the’ dock at Xanten, on the Rhine.
The scale and expert construction of the quays reflected the. size and prosperity of a city which boasted a 500′ long forum (only 40′ shorter than the one in Rome) and these quays continued to ensure the development of bridge and road systems which lasted into the 5th c.AD.
Gus Milne wound up an excellent lecture, illustrated by first-class slides, by describing the finds of Roman period boats in and hear the Thames. He gave us an evening packed with information, which he imparted with. the lightest touch: we hope he’ll come and talk to us again.
West Heath ‘Vale: DAPHNE LORIMER reports that, although the weather has been unkind, she hopes to complete the southern section of the dig by Saturday, Oct 31. Then, after six seasons of excavation, it will be ‘farewell to’ West Heath. On Sunday Nov. 1 there will be a tidying-up operation, dealing with tools, equipment, etc..
Back-filling of the trenches will probably not take place till early December. Back-filling, however, is not going to be back-breaking so far as HADAS members are concerned, because the Society is hiring a JCB to do the job.
Digging tat Elstree. Some HADAS members have already helped at the Harrow& Stanmore Historical Society’s dig at Elstree, which we mentioned in the June Newsletter.
George Salveson, who is running the dig, will be continuing at weekends through November and, if the weather doesn’t turn too nasty, into December. He would be happy to have more HADAS volunteers, but suggests you ring him (on 423 1781) before you visit the site, to make sure you have chcsen-a digging day. The dig is on the playing fields to the west of the A5 road, opposite Hill House, Elstree.
So far the foundations of a 2-phase 18c building with a chalk floor has been uncovered. Phase I is late 17c-early 18c; Phase II is mid-18c to 1810.
There are no medieval structures, but ditches and pits contain pottery dated to c1250-1300. This is mainly Hertfordshire red and’ grey ware – -“grotty, gritty stuff, but lots of it,” Mr Salveson says. Latest find is a brick wall, which has just started to appear. It seems to contain both Roman and more modern brickwork.
HAVING DIFFICULTY WITH CHRISTMAS PRESENTS?
HADAS Occasional Papers make excellent.Christmas presents; and our notelets with an illustration of’Warwick the Kingmaker, which are sold in pickets of 10 with envelopes, can either be given as presents or used as Christmas cards. Prices are:
Chroniclers of the Battle of Barnet 45P
Money, Milk and Milestones 35p
Blue Plaques of Barnet 45p
Victorian Jubilees 50p
Those Were the Days 95p
Pack of Notelets 45p
All are available from the Hon Treasurer, Jeremy Clynes, 66 Hampstead Way, mil 7XX. Please add 20p per order for postage. We can also supply the complete range of Shire Publications. The latest Shire catalogue is available on request from the Treasurer.
MORE BOOKS FOR THE LIBRARY – a note from our Librarian, June Porges
The Society’s Library has received some most interesting gifts in the last few weeks thank you to all the donors. Several are books which would be useful to members attending evening classes. If you require any books please ring me (346 5078) or come to Avenue House -en the Friday before a lecture, when I will be there from 8-9 pm. Also, I always bring a small selection of books to each of our winter meetings. You, will find me at the front of the room, and I will be glad to show you what I have brought. A list of new additions will be given in the next Newsletter.
To say farewell to West Heath
…….. There will be a party at the Tea House, Northway, NW11 on Saturday , November 21st from 3 to 6 pm, for all those who have helped with the dig in any capacity since it began in May 1976. That means diggers, processors, surveyors, photographers, talkers “at the fence” the lot!
Please take this as your warm personal invitation to come along for tea (it will be a HADAS special), chat, displays of West Heath finds and photos and a slide show.
In the interests of a good – after all, if we cater for 20 and 200 of you come, you wont get much – please let Daphne Lorimer know if you intend to join us. Ring her on 445 2880 either before Nov 10 or between Nov 17-21.