Newsletter 184: June 1986 Edited by: Liz Holliday
Saturday 14 June Outing to Faversham and Rochester Dr.Paul Craddock
Itinerary and application form enclosed. If you wish to join this outing please complete the slip and return it with your cheque as soon as possible to Dorothy Newbury.
Saturday 26 July Outing to Sutton Hoo and Orford by Sheila Woodward
Saturday 16 August Repeat visit to “Mary Rose” and Porchester
Second visit arranged to meet demands As with the trip last month, numbers have to be given and payment made six weeks beforehand. Will all members wishing to come on the re-run please complete the form enclosed and send it with their cheque to Dorothy Newbury (or send form only if cheque already sent). A few empty places on the coach are anticipated, so anyone who would like to bring a friend is welcome to do so.
Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 September Exeter weekend
The coach is now full but if anyone would like to put their name on the waiting list, please ‘phone.
Saturday 4 October Outing to Winchester and Domesday Exhibition
BRIGID GRAFTON-GREEN AND THE NEWSLETTER ENID HILL on behalf of all HADAS members
Reading the May issue of the Newsletter, Brigid’s final one as editor, it seems impossible to imagine how the Society will cope without her services after 16 years. Brigid always said that she felt affection for the Newsletter and this has resulted in her readers having a high regard for the letter too. Those members not able to attend lectures or outings value the Newsletter particularly, as it has kept them in touch with the Society. I cannot think of any society newsletter which has provided such a full coverage of events, people, and special features – something for everyone, and this is surely the mark of an outstanding editor. It is sad that Brigid feels it is time to give up the job and the Society owes her gratitude and thanks for doing such a magnificent job for so long.
FUTURE-ISSUES OF THE NEWSLETTER
Alas, it has not been possible to find any one member able to wear Brigid’s editorial hat, so in the forthcoming months a panel of associate editors will be taking it in turn to edit each Newsletter. Aided by our trusted band of typists, we hope to ensure that production continues without too many hiccups!
Each month the name of the editor for the following month will appear and all members of the Society are invited to submit articles, news, views and comments for publication. Please don’t be shy!
Brigid has set us a high standard to follow and we hope with your help to maintain the quality of the Newsletter we all value so much.
VISIT TO “THE MARY.ROSE” & PORCHESTER CASTLE Report by REVA BROWN
The first thing that struck me, when confronted by the “Mary Rose” ‘fragment’, is its huge size. Although I has watched the television programme about its raising from the seabed, I had no. real idea of how much of the ship had been salvaged.The Trust does an excellent job of getting it all to make sense. Groups are taken into the building where there are two tiers-of gallery from which to view the ship. The guide explains what one is looking at and tries to conjure up what it was like to live in and work, the ship and her guns. All the while, as a background to his reasonable voice, water sprays over the ship, encasing it in a surrealistic mist, and leaching away the minerals which have impregnated the wood and preventing disease-bearing organisms from taking a hold.
The exhibitions of artifacts found during the excavation is housed in another building, and is excellently presented. There is a little theatre where a fifteen-minute film is shown, telling the story of the finding, excavation and the raising of the Mary Rose. The artifacts range from the magnificent guns to the sewing kit of one of the sailors – all well displayed with explanatory cards. There is also a lifesize model of a portion of the ship showing how the gun decks would have been used.
The souvenir shop was filled with an assortment of goodies, ranging from T-shirts and engraved glass goblets to jigsaw puzzles and posters; something for every pocket. Portsmouth Dockyard contains other treasures for which, regretfully there was no time for: Nelson’s “Victory” and the Royal Navy Museum.
And then on to Porchester Castle, which was another surprise to me. The information on the outing sheet had said: “a large Roman fortress, dating to the late third century which has practically the whole of its walls and bastions still standing, and as the coach arrived, there the massive walls were. But from the inside layers of history were visible all around. In a corner of the great grassy square, a local team was playing cricket.. In another rose the large Norman keep. On the ‘ground floor’ is a small but clear exhibition, explaining the Roman defences of the forts of the Saxon Shore, of which Porchester Castle is one. French prisoners of War in Napoleonic times had been housed in the keep and then in tents or buildings placed in the huge grassed enclosure. In another corner diagonally opposite the keep, is the church which was originally the Norman church of an Augustinian priory. The proximity of the church and the military hadn’t worked, and the monks had moved. The priory buildings are gone, but the church remains. At the entrance to the churchyard a man was repairing the Lychgate his radio playing modern pop songs – another layer of history laid on top of the mainly Victoria gravestones around him.
Marion Newbury was the perfect guide, seeing to it that things ran (seemingly) effortlessly until despite the uninspiring weather, the day had run its thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring course. On behalf of us all, many thanks to HADAS and to Marion for A Grand Day Out.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING ON MAY 20
Wearing her Vice-President’s hat, Brigid Grafton-Green took the chair and in welcoming members expressed regret that Brian Jarman, who has been our Chairman for so many years, was unable to continue in that office & was unable to attend the Meeting.
Victor Jones, the Hon. Treasurer, clearly took pleasure in reporting a healthy balance on deposit, whilst pointing out that this reserve was important as it would be needed for future publications; there were some sharp intakes of breath when he said “We owe a great debt…..” but with some relief we found he was referring to the hard work of the ladies organizing the Minimart, which had raised a substantial sum He drew attention to the fall in receipts for the sale of publications – is there, perhaps, a volunteer somewhere in the Society who would under-take the active management of this operation, which could benefit our funds ?
A vote of thanks to our Honorary Auditor, Ronald Penney, was passed with acclaim.-
The Vice-Chairman’s report had been circulated with the May Newsletter and the substance of the various reports on research and Group activities have been Newsletter items from time to time.
Two members of the Committee who are retiring after long and much appreciated service to the Society, Brian Jarman and Daphne Lorimer, were elected Vice-Presidents, joining Rosa Freedman, Brigid Grafton-Green, Daisy Hill, Sir Maurice Laing, Ted Sammes and Andrew Saunders. With much applause, Andrew Selkirk was declared elected as the new Chairman; the other Officers and Committee members are:-
Vice-Chairman: John Enderby
Hon.Secretary: Brian Wrigley
Committee:- Christine Arnott, Jim Beard, Gillian Braithwaite, Phyllis Fletcher, Liz Holliday, Margaret Maher, Isobel McPherson, Robert Michel, Dorothy Newbury, June Porges, Ted Sammes, Myfanwy Stewart.
Percy Reboul (who had an urgent engagement to show some slides as soon as the formal meeting was over), demonstrated that brevity is the soul of wit in proposing a vote of thanks to the long-serving Committee members, who were retiring – Brian Jarman, Brigid Grafton Green, Daphne Lorimer, Sheila Woodward and Nell Penny; this was carried unanimously.
The last half hour of the AGM was enlivened by a slide-show presented by several members. Percy Reboul showed slides he had made of the watercolours by Agnes Beattie Holgate of Old Hendon in the 1850s and Paddy Musgrove took us back to Dale Fort in Pembrokeshire, scene of a recent HADAS visit, for another look at the impressive dig there. Bill Firth’s excellent slides of the Grahame White buildings at RAF. Hendon made us realize how much of importance is at risk there. Metal detectors were shown as responsible tools on the battlefield of Little Big Horn – the major interest of Derek Batten, while Barbara Howe, who had helped pioneer archaeological tourism in Albania, showed some of its vast and largely neglected, Greek and Roman sites.
Altogether – a splendid reminder of the range of Society interests as well as a visual treat.
CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS AT ST.JOHN THE EVANGELIST, WEST HENDON
A small, but very interesting collection of church records, news clips and photographs is on exhibition at St. John’s from “how until the end of June (Sundays only; possibly at other times by arrangement). Anyone interested in the development of West Hendon would find it well worth a visit. A short, lively history of church and parish by Clifford Morsley is on sale.
The original ‘tin tabernacle’ was opened on 1st May 1886 and almost immediately funds were collected and work begun on a substantial permanent building. This has been modernised and impressively, though simply, decorated recently – a nave and vast south aisle with filled arches on the north side where a second aisle was planned but never built.
The large vicarage, in the style of an old Middlesex house, was dedicated in 1900, well provided with grounds and trees which today form a green oasis overlooking the sunken section of the Mc%
Originally, St. John’s was a mission outpost of St Mary’s, Hendon but with the rapid expansion of West Hendon to house workers on the railway, at Schweppes’ from 1899 and the growth of housing and shops, it ,became a thriving parish with missions of its own in the new districts of Colin-dale and Burnt Oak. These grew, eventually, into the new parish of St. Matthias and St. Alphage. The records chronicle these outposts and the baptisms of fairground children from the winter site on the Broadway and from single mothers at the Burnt Oak Workhouse, figure among those from more settled households.
St.John’s is still a lively force in West Hendon society, under the present vicar, the Rev.J.R.Warner. Numbers have dropped since the days when the church barely housed its congregation but hard work and enthusiasm is’ not lacking.
One-last thought what happened to the original corrugated iron church? It was a substantial building, seating 250, but after less than twenty years it was demolished, we learn; to make space for the church hall. This is a very short life for one of these remarkably tough ‘prefabricated’ buildings, many of which were sold and resold, dismantled and re-erected and often survived to celebrate their own centenary. Does anyone know what happened to St.John’s ‘tin cathedral’?
Recently we heard from the Borough Library that builders had uncovered a well off Colney Hatch Lane, and this could not be found, recorded on any available old maps. John Enderby sprang into action, armed with trowel, rule and camara. He uncovered the domed brick capping of the well, which was well-preserved; measured and photographed it.
The site had been a yard concreted over; below the concrete and its underlying hardcore, John found a Yorkstone flagged floor. The top of the well appears to have been below this floor although one cannot be certain of this, the stone floor having already been broken through in the original discovery of the well-. The cap, 8 inches thick, was 32 inches below existing ground level, and the stone floor was 17 inches below ground level. The well shaft was approximately 62 inches diameter and the hole through the cap, 17 inches diameter. The builders’ trench alongside the shaft exposed the outside to a depth of 14 feet without reaching bottom. No exploration of the interior was possible, as it was filled to within 18 inches of the top with sticky clay.
From its depth below the buried stone floor, the well may be of considerable age; it is thought to be possibly similar to a number of 18th or 19th century wells known in Finchley. Further exploration is not now possible, as it has been filled and covered over in the continued building operations. Still, we have now got a record of its position, with photographs, and we are grateful to Michelle Lamb who reported it to the library and to Horgans, the contractors on site for their co-operation.
THE LOST HOUSES OF HARINGEY
A new book available from the Hornsey Historical Society, “The Lost Houses of Haringey” records the history of eight mansions which once stood in the green fields from Highgate to Tottenham. All were demolished at the end of the 19th century as London expanded. The book is available from Hornsey Historical Society, The Old Schoolhouse, 136 Tottenham Lane, Hornsey, N8 7E1, price £2.95 plus 32p postage.
The Newsletter would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Chairman, Andrew Selkirk, who is known to many HADAS members as the Editor of Current Archaeology. His interest in archaeology began at school.. He read Greats at Oxford, where he was President of the University Archaeological Society.
We are delighted that Mr. Selkirk has agreed to be our Chairman, particularly in view of his many other commitments.
THE STAGE MANAGER’S TALE From PERCY REBOUL’S collection of
Reminiscences by people who worked locally
I was born on 26th December 1896 at Old Street in the City in 1898 my father bought some shops and cottages in Summers Lane, Finchley and we moved to Finchley where I went to Albert Street School. I am what they call an old Albertian. I left school in 1910. Dad was the manager of Maws, the druggists, in. Aldersgate Street and my mother was the daughter of Joseph Eva of the Barbican. He was a carman and contractor and a freeman of the City of London.
I remember Finchley when it was Finchley – when it was practically all fields and when there was a racecourse at Granville Road and Kingsway where you could do your courting. They took down the rails just after they built the tram station. I also remember when the Finchley Football team played where the Cottage Hospital stands today – that was before they moved to Summers Lane. I was unemployed after the First World War and used to go to see ‘Father Feed ’em All’ (relieving officer). I was there one day with a pal of mine called Ivor Richards when they offered him a job at the Golders Green .Hippodrome. He said he wasn’t interested so I went in his place, using his name at first because they had already filled in the card: When I got to the theatre, Nobby Clark, the stage door keeper, gave me directions where to go to get to the stage. There was only a tiny beam of light on that big stage and I don’t mind admitting that I had the ‘wind-up’ and was going to leave when suddenly the lights went up and it looked better! The stage manager, Mr.Dyer, saw me and I got paid 4/- a night and 3/6d for matinees – 31/- a week.
I knew nothing about the stage. On the Saturday night of my first week, as the curtain came down on the last call, they said to me “Do you want to get the show out and the new one in?” They explained that you get 1/10 for the first hour overtime or 7/1d over that hour.
At first I was put on erecting the braces that secure the scenery to the floor. Each scene has its own pack of scenery and you had about 3 minutes to change the scenery. The first thing you do is to put down a stage cloth, rather like n carpet, so that you can mark where the scenery goes. Later I learnt to handle the back cloths suspended from the flied which were lowered down by hand with ropes.
The Hippodrome had a different play every week except when you got a season of opera, grand or light-opera – the Doyle Carte, for example. Sometimes, when there was a long first act you could sit and watch the play. I also used to do a bit of prompting for which I got paid 4/- night extra which made 8/- The actors sometimes left out whole pages it depended on what they had to drink.
I worked twice on the stage with Charles Laughton. First time was a walk on part in ‘Payment Deferred’ where I played the part of Sergeant Higgins of Scotland Yard. He dislocated my thumb in a ‘brawl’. I then had a speaking part in ‘On the Spot’ in 1932 where Charles Laughton played a Chicago gangster called Tony Pirelli. Every time his gang ‘shot’ a person, Laughton used to go to the side of the stage play an organ & say “Another one dead!”. .I was supposed to be his chauffeur and I had to accuse him of having an affair with my wife. He shoots me (and I’m going to quote you now a line from the play and when lying on the carpet with blood coming from six bullet wounds, he says “Don’t spoil my carpet you bastard” and puts two more shots into me! I don’t think the audience minded the bad language because that’s how Chicago gangsters were – expected to talk! You got 4/- to 7/- extra for playing a part and when I played the part of Sgt. Higgins, where I wore a uniform, I used to go home in the trousers rather than wear my own out.
Plays that stick in my mind are ‘The Merry Widow’ with Carl Brisson and. Evelyn Laye and Harry Welchman in ‘Silver Wings’ which was about flying in the First World War. Here we had an actual plane which ‘crashes’ on the stage killing the pilot. It was suspended on fine wires.
On the special effects side, in a thrilling drama where there was a thunderstorm, a big metal sheet would come down (from the flies) and we would rattle it to produce thunder: The rain was a box with wires in it and stones rolled around inside. Horses were done with coconut shells:
We used to start work about 9am and I would get a 2d fare on the open-decked tram from Finchley to Golders Green. On a typical Monday there might be a scene rehearsal in the morning where you start with the last scene and work back to the first scene which you left up for the performance. Golders Green had the record for quick change. When the final curtain came down; we would strike the last act scenery, have a fag and finish about 11.15p.m. We would get home on a late tram, call in at Bob’s coffee stall in Finchley for a tea and a wad, and then go home.
When I got on a bit I worked longer hours but would take home on average over £10 a week, which was a lot of money. But if you want to be on the stage, you’ve got to drink and you’ve got to mix with the artists. In 1934 I got the sack, I had been drinking and blotted my copy book by being drunk and ordering the Rouse Manager off the stage. I used to go back from time to time but not at the same money.
From 1919 to the. ’30s were the happiest days of my life. There seemed to be more enjoyment. In 1926 we went through the General Strike without closing. The only time we did close was when Mr. Woolf bought the theatre and we closed for three weeks because he was producing the pantomime ‘Aladdin’ and we were busy making the scenes. Golders Green Hippodrome was famous for its pantomimes and for nearly every year after 1929, when the panto finished, we put on ‘Lilac Time’.
The audiences were very large, especially when Gracie Fields played in ‘The Tower of London’ in 1930. Other artists that pulled them in were Jessie Matthews, Evelyn Laye, Gertrude Lawrence and Jack Buchanan, who was one of the best.
I remember Madame Pavlova who used to be most generous. Every night she gave each of the boys half-a-crown for a drink. I used to love ballet and used to put up the scenery for her ‘Dying Swan’. I’ve got a little story about Gracie Fields. At one matinee she said “come here a moment and pull back the stage curtain a bit. Can you see that parson down there in the fauteuils? You know my song ”Sally” she said to me “you just see when I bring out the word Cor Blimey. I’m going to emphasise it and you’ll see that parson get up and walk out” Which he did. He walked out disgusted:
Chorus girls in those days only got £2.10.0 a week and a gent got £3.10.0 and they had to find their own make-up.
The single biggest thing that sticks in my mind was that I was a bloody fool to get the sack – I was so happy there. When the ‘Hipp!, was going to close they sent for me. Many went, but I didn’t bloody well go! And there was £10 for me! Everyone who had ever worked there was called back and given a bit of a ‘do’ on the stage.
PETRIE MUSEUM OF EGYPTIAN ARCHAEOLOGY
The Department of Egyptology at University College London possesses the great collection of Egyptian antiquities formed by Sir Flinders Petrie. Over the years the collection has been augmented by many generous gifts and is now an outstanding collection of artifacts that illustrate the culture, technology, craftsmanship and life of the ancient Egyptians. The collection is used by research scholars from all over the world, but…it is also open to the public and special parties.
The building which orginally housed the Petrie collection was destroyed during the war and ever since it has been accommodated in a converted warehouse. Unable to re-build, University College is appealing for funds to brine the present building up to standard and increase amenities for users. The Department needs to raise £10,000 towards the cost of £82,000 and appeals for contributions to help conserve this great collection for future generations. Donations may be sent to: The Petrie Museum Appeal, Department of Egyptology, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT
THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE LONDON REGION TO 1500
A London & Middlesex Archaeological Society conference at the Museum of London on Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 October 1986.
This two-day conference is an opportunity to re-examine our understanding of Greater Londons archaeology. On Saturday 25th October: Prehistoric & Roman periods. Speakers include John Wymer, Clive Bonsall, Jon Cotton, David Field, Dr.Ian Kinnes, Jean MacDonald, Dr. Stuart Needham, Mark Hassall, Harvey Sheldon and Dr .David Bird.
On Sunday 26th October: Dark Age and Medieval Periods. Speakers include John Mills, Dr Alan Vince, Dr Derek Keene, John Schofield, Dr John Blair and Bridget Cherry.
Early booking is recommended. Tickets for full conference now available but single day tickets only on sale from 1st September. Tickets cost £10 (£8 LAMAS members); £5 single day (£4 LAMAS members). Send stamped, addressed envelope to Mr.N.Fuentes, LAMAS Regional Conference, 7 Coalecroft Road, SW15 6LW (‘Phone: 788 0015). Cheques payable to London & Middlesex Archaeological Society. Tickets supplied on a first come first served basis
ALL ABOUT DATING
We have mentioned before the handbooks on dating for archaeologists which are
being published by the European Science Foundation. The first was on Thermoluminescence, the second on Dendrochronology. Now a third, on Radiocarbon dating, has come out it is by W.G.Mook and H.T.Waterbolk of Groningen University.
The booklets are free, and are highly recommended. Considering the complexity of their subjects, they are most lucid. They are obtainable from the CBA, 112 Kennington Road, SE11 6RE. *Include 50p for post/packing on each book.
Did anyone notice a brief letter tucked near the end of a correspondence column of The Times on May 13th? It was from Mr E Rosenstiel of Putney, and this is what it said:
“The worries about the consequences of the unprecedented disaster at Chernobyl to life on the planet rightly overshadow possible effects in other fields.
Understandably, I have so far seen no reference in the media about the likely interference of the massive discharge into the atmosphere of carbon-14 on the dating of fossils and historic artefacts.”
Have any of our scientific members got views on that aspect of Chernobyl?
The journal Nature mentioned recently; (vol 320 p129-133) a new technique for assessing prehistoric climatic change, using organic molecules found in deep-sea sediments. These molecules are the only, trace left by many past organisms. Often they are transformed beyond recognition, but some – the fatty lipids remain relatively intact and can give clues to ancient environment.. Research in this goes on-at Bristol and Kiel Universities. The Bristol researchers use a domestic analogy to explain what happens fatty lipids also occur in margarine and butter. Their behavior there illustrates how ancient fatty lipids may indicate climate. Margarine, high in unsaturated fats, spreads straight from the fridge; butter, high in saturates, doesn’t. Modern organisms in cold conditions alter the composition of their lipids so that most are unsaturated; in warm conditions the proportion of saturated lipids goes up. Thus the organism can adapt and doesn’t go rigid in cold conditions. A test of molecules in a deep-sea core showed a variation in fatty lipids which correlated well, over 500.000 years, with what is known about temperature changes from another technique: the measurement of oxygen isotopes. This means that scientists may now have two methods – always useful, as a cross-check for this kind of measurement.
PUTTING A FACE ON IT
Special summer exhibition this year at the Museum of London is “Let’s Face It:” a history of facial appearance in London over the last 250 years. The exhibition runs -from June 10-September 28. It is described in the hand-out as from patches and plumpers to perms and punks’. –
The June Museum Workshops (Thursdays, 1.10pm) take up the same theme: on June 5, Behind the face: the Human Skull and the Changing Age of Man; on June 12, From Shaving to Make-up: the Tools of Facial Beauty; on June 19, Roman Faces, Roman Portraits; and on June 26, Hats. Lectures (Weds and.Fris, 1.10 Pm) are similarly face-orientated, on eight-subjects such as “The English Face, as Photographed’ and Making Faces: the history of Boots’ Cosmetics.’