NEWSLETTER 195 May 1987 Edited by Isobel McPherson
Wednesday May 13th Annual General Meeting 8.00pm for 8.30pm at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4. Followed by member’s slides and talks on the year’s activities with Hadas: (offers of slides, please, to Dorothy Newbury on 203 0950).
Saturday May 16th Outing to Burnham Abbey, Hartley Court Moat, Taplow Saxon Burial Mound, Dorney Court and Church. Application form enclosed.
Saturday June 20th Outing to Dover Roman Painted House.
Saturday July 11th Outing to Danebury and Andover
Saturday August 15th Outing to Royston
September 11th, 12th, 13th Long weekend in Abergavenny. Applications by May 12th please.
Saturday September 26th MINIMART. If you are sorting out winter clothes ready for the summer, please remember the Minimart. We have some storage space. Ring Dorothy – or
Christine Arnott on 455 2751 – if you have any to spare.
For the benefit of new members we should explain that application forms are enclosed with the newsletter at the beginning of the relevant month and you are advised to send them in as early as possible as it is first come, first served. Applications are not acknowledged, but if you want to confirm, please ring Dorothy Newbury on 203 0950.
CELLS AND WELLS – ANOTHER CLERKENWELL WALK Stewart J Wild
On Saturday 4th April, forsaking the Grand National and the Calcutta Cup, a group of nearly 40 HADAS stalwarts assembled with their brollies at Farringdon Station. Despite the damp, Mary O’Connell’s enthusiasm and professionalism as guide once again ensured an enjoyable afternoon, this time taking in some of Clerkenwell’s less obvious attractions.
We headed north up Turnmill Street, once a bawdy dock area on the bank of the River Fleet, and admired the last few remaining Georgian houses in Britton Street. Crossing Clerkenwell Green, a focal point in Tudor village days, we realised how much there is of historical interest in this up-and-coming area. At Kingsway, Princeton College in Sans Walk, built An 1893 as the Hugh Myddleton School, Mary brought to life the site’s earlier role as the Clerkenwell House of Correction, a cruel prison more than once the target of penal reformers and scene of social unrest.
All that remains of it nowadays is an underground warren of cells and storehouses; we were fortunate to be conducted through part of this damp and crumbling labyrinth, not normally open to visitors and last used over 40 years ago as shelters during the Blitz.
Continuing north, through streets bearing the names of Clerkenwell’s prominent citizens, we skirted the Metropolitan Water Board’s HQ in Rosebery Avenue. This would probably make a fine visit in itself for it is the site of the New River Head, the massive undertaking dating 1613 in which Hugh Myddleton, a rich goldsmith and entrepreneur, constructed a 27-mile channel, the New River, to supply fresh water from rural Hertfordshire to the growing City.
And finally to Sadler’s Wells, the theatre with 1499 seats and no boxes. Theresa Beattie, Chief Administrator of the theatre’s Community and Education Project, gave us a detailed and entertaining account of the Theatre’s fascinating and at times precarious past, beginning in the 12th century when there were apparently quite a number of medicinal wells in the area.
In 1683, one Richard Sadler, highway Surveyor and evidently entrepreneur supreme, opened. a small “musick salon,” in his own house to cater for the crowds who came to take the water from the well he had discovered in his garden. Business continued for some years with musicians, jugglers, tumblers, performing animals, and all manner of popular entertainment while the audience ate, drank, and were merry. The next 200 years saw many owners, much rebuilding, variety shows, “Aquatic Theatre” involving restaged naval battles in a huge tank on stage, three decades of mainly Shakespearian drama, periods as a skating rink and boxing arena, and finally closure in disrepair in 1878.
After rebuilding in 1879, a Mrs Bateman mixed Shakespeare with burlesque and increasingly popular music-hall, and Marie Lloyd and Harry Champion were among stars at the turn of the century. Then after a period as an early cinema, it closed once again in 1915. The present theatre dates from 1931, a monument to the energy and dedication of Lilian Baylis who raised funds with the support of Dame Ninette de Valois. The Theatre is the birthplace of the Royal Ballet and the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company, and nowadays offers a wide range of theatre, opera and ballet from all over the world.
We then enjoyed a fascinating guided tour ‘behind the scenes’, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, wardrobe and the stage itself all coming under our scrutiny .We learnt about the ‘bastard prompt’ and heard of plans to enlarge the relatively small stage area. Finally the highlight for some was a glimpse into what looked like a drain that had been uncovered at the rear of the stalls. Thomas Richard Sadler may have died long ago, but his well is still there and so, after many ups-and downs, is the theatre that bears his name.
THE NANKING CARGO AND THE CHINA TRADE Ted Sammes
April 1st, a likely date, but the evening found members all eager to hear what David Lewis, Secretary of the City of London Archaeological Society and a member of the Morley College Ceramic circle had to tell us about the cargo of the Geldermalsen, a Dutch East-India Company ship. This ship was built in 1747 and traded with Canton and Japan. In 1752 it loaded with cargo and was heading for Batavia on its way to Amsterdam when it went off course and disaster struck. Some of its cargo arrived in Amsterdam 233 years late! The wreck was located by chance and the cargo which remained 20-20 carat gold and a large quantity of pottery was salvaged, but not in an archaeological manner.
David Lewis took us through the intricacies of the 18th century trade explaining that a ship could be away for two years and even then, on its return the company might not receive exactly what had been ordered. Because shipping lists were made out in duplicate copies of the cargo list of this ship still exist, specifying 203 cases of porcelain. This would have been made inland in China at Jing Dezhen and shipped by river to Canton (now Kwangchow). The salvaged cargo had been auctioned in Amsterdam. Amongst the slides shown of the various types of pottery were milk bowls, a flat cup with a spout, spittoons to vomit pots.
Regrettably there were few slides of the cargo in the wreck. Indeed if one refers to the editorial of the C.B A. Newsletter of June 1986 one reads that they feel that this recovery was yet another example of international wreck looting, since no heed was given to anything except the gold and the china. This was further emphasised in the March and April 1987 issues of the news. The latter carries a photo of some of the china, cups saucers and plates. I am sure that David Lewis would endorse this comment.
A DRAUGHTSMAN’S DELIGHT Ted Sammes
This exhibition of drawings by Herbert Norman contained a host of drawings mostly of local interest within the Borough. It was held at Church Farm House Museum from March 28th – April 26th.
Each drawing was an individual delight of fine detail. Herbert Norman has presented over 70 local drawings to augment the Local History Collection of the Borough, so perhaps there will be another opportunity to see these drawings of houses and landscapes. Pen and Ink drawing is his hobby, he comes from a firm of organ builders, Hill, Norman and Beard, and was elected an honorary member of the Royal College of Organists in 1980.
HATS OFF TO SOME BACKROOM GIRLS Brigid Grafton-Green
Last October we mentioned that some further indexes for the Newsletter were nearing completion – two, in fact, each covering two years, for Jan 1981-Dec 1982 and Jan 1983-Dec 1984.
Both are now, ready for use, having been drawn up, typed, checked, cross-checked, corrected and photo-copied (until you do it yourself you can’t imagine how many odd jobs arise with this sort of project). Copies have been dispatched to those members who ordered in advance (the two parts; plus postage, cost £1.04); they have also gone to the Record Offices which file our Newsletters. A couple of spares are still available, so if you wanted these indexes but forgot to say so, ring me on 455 9040 fast.
Now all that remains is for me to put on permanent record HADAS’s heartfelt thanks to the members who made the project possible: first and foremost, to Jean Neal, and expert indexer, without whose work the thing would never have got off the ground at all; then to Deirdre Barrie, who typed the indexes and managed to find a word processor on which to do it; then to Nell Penny, for checking the typing with me through two afternoons; and once again to Deirdre, who put them back on the processor, correcting any errors that had crept in.
Last, but certainly not least, thanks to Dorothy Newbury, who rolled off 527 sheets of photocopying, paged them all up and delivered them in beautiful neat groups ready for dispatch. What on earth would we do without our back room girls?
ACROSS THE WINE DARK SEA Sheila Woodward
The Bronze Age in the Mediterranean was the theme of this year’s Spring of Conference the Prehistoric Society. It’ embraced such well-known civilisations as Minoan Crete and Mycenean Greece and great Iberian Copper Age settlement of Los Millares as well as the less flamboyant Bronze Age cultures of Italy and Cyprus and the Balearics. As several speakers commented, “explanation” seemed to be the keyword of the conference. Little new material was presented, although recent excavation had been undertaken in various parts of the area under discussion. The main concern was with re-interpretation of old material. Why did complex and hierarchical societies emerge in certain areas while others provide evidence of contrivance of simple unstratified societies? Successive speakers put forward their own models for possible explanations.
Professor Branigan suggested that Minoan palaces were first build as depositories for agricultural surpluses, from which redistribution could be made in lean years and/or to poor areas: an early form of social security. Such a system requires a highly organised society, from which an elite would emerge, and the palaces would then be used to secure their social status.
Dr Halstead looked at the economic north-south divide in prehistoric Greece (is there nothing new under the sun?) at environmental versus cultural and economic versus social factors. He suggested that the introduction of polyculture (the diversification of crops to spread the economic risk) and in particular the cultivation of the vine and olive, may have created the capacity for the emergence of an elite. Climatic factors such as drought could favour over-production in good years and large-scale storage, giving scope for the accumulation of wealth by elite groups.
Professor Cadogan considered the New Palace period in Crete following destruction of the old palaces (“probably by humans” – I note that the volcanic theory is “out”). A single administrative area centred on Knossos seems to have replaced the old multi-centres and large country houses began to appear. Professor Cadogan saw a link between urbanisation and the need to control copper, supplies, but he could offer no explanation for the slower development and absence of palaces in copper-rich Cyprus. For progress in study of the remarkable phenomena of palaces, tight definitions and a sceptical mind are essential”, he proclaimed.
Dr Dickinson looked at the development of Mycenaean civilisation in mainland Greece, mostly at Early Bronze Age sites which were in themselves surprisingly unattractive. Up, to the Middle Bronze Age the sites were unfortified, with no ceremonial centres and unspecialised mixed economies. He warned against overestimating the early culture, dazzled by the- shaft graves and the influence of Homer! Dr Sestiere considered the Mycenaean influence in Italy. Although contact between Greece and Italy in the Late Bronze Age can be readily explained by the attraction of the ores of Central Italy which were then being exploited, it is less easy to explain earlier Mycenaean contacts with South Italy.
Concentrating on the Central Mediterranean, Dr Whitehouse emphasised the absence of complexity in the earlier Bronze Age cultures of Italy. She saw significance in the slower development of metallurgy, while exploitation of land resources by the practice of transhumance and the use of woodland for pig-rearing was perhaps less conducive than polyculture to control by an elite. Dr Barker quoted Carlo Levi’s “Christ stopped at Eboli and asked whether Levi’s view of south Italy with its “traditional peasant culture rooted in the timeless struggle to survive in an unforgiving landscape’ has relevance for the prehistoric societies there: He found a range of simple subsistence systems in Bronze Age Italy offering an economic stability but little stimulus for trade. Moving to North Italy, Dr Barfield found an organised but simple social structure in the Bronze Age with little evidence of social stratification. It showed closer links with Central Europe than with the Mediterranean.
Consideration, of the West Mediterranean began with a paper by Dr Chapman on the Gates Project in Southeast pain which he is currently undertaking with several Spanish colleagues, this seeks to re-examine the emergence of the Loss Millarian and El Agaric cultures of southeast Spain. Explanations for their emergence with their sophisticated organisation have included the pressure of population expansion in an arid region, external threats and the need for defence, and increased competition for metals. More data is needed, and a surface survey and environmental study will be followed by new excavation with soil sampling, flotation etc. Dr Mathers considered the links between Copper Age Los Millares and Bronze Age El Argar and concluded that the evolutionary progression from one to the other was less straightforward than has been assumed. He emphasised the different farming problems in the highland and lowland areas and concluded that development at Los Millares had rapidly reached its plateau.
Dr Stos-Gale described a new technique, lead isotype analysis, for relating metal to its ore-source. This is producing most interesting information on the trade in and production of lead, silver and copper based alloys in the Bronze Age Mediterranean. For example it has proved that Cypriot copper, mainly in the form of ox hide ingots, was indeed being traded widely in the Mediterranean. Surprisingly, copper ox hide ingots found in Sardinia, itself a main producer of copper ore at that time, have proved to be of Cypriot origin.
The final two speakers, Dr Lethwaite and Mr Stoddart, presented discussion papers on the general theme of the conference. Provocative questions were asked. Why must the development of complex societies be “explained”?
Should we not rather query the continuance of simple societies which suppress all natural tendencies to change and expand? How can archaeologists differentiate between a chief’s residence and a community centre for storage etc? Cycles of change can be identified archaeologically but the inferences drawn may be totally wrong, taking no account of, for example, extraordinary individuals or “historic events”. A lively discussion ensued, leaving the impression that the Bronze Age Mediterranean can provide enough material for many another such conference.
SITE WATCHING John Enderby
The following sites, the subject of recent Planning Applications, could be of archaeological interest. Members are asked to keep an eye on any development and report anything ‘unusual’ to John Enderby on 203 2630.
Woodlands Farm, Arkley Lane, Arkley.
Elm Farm, Galley Lane Arkley
19 Old Fold Lane, Hadley Highstone
175-185 Cricklewood Lane NW2
Tesco’s Site, J/0 North Circular Rd and Colney Hatch Lane, N12
The Coach House & Stable Block
Highwood Lodye, Highwood Hill NW7
Elstree Lawns, Barnet Lane, Elstree
Penniwells Farm, Edgwarebury Lane, Elstree
Milespit Lodge, Milespit Hill, NW7
Dr Ann Saunders, a valued member of – and lecturer to – HADAS sends news of the forthcoming Regent’s Park Festival, May 7-10, mentioning its varied attractions: chamber music, literary readings, admission to buildings not normally open to the public, fashions, from 1811 to 1900, American Football, a Chinese Festival, lectures by Ann herself, President of St Marylebone Society, – the list of delights seems very tempting and the Festival deserves our support. The Society is reprinting its best-seller, the Diary of William Tayler, Footman, ed D Wise and A Saunders to coincide with the Festival. £2 till May 31st from Dr Saunders, 3 Meadway Gate NW11 7LA; thereafter £2.50.Our Friends, the Barnet and District Local History Society are recording in the churchyard of St Margaret’s Edgware on June 6th from 10am – 5pm. Ring Doreen Willcocks, 449 6153 if you want to join in.
Watching the BBC2 repeat of the 1984 season at Sutton Hoo, the editor made up her mind to try a little Kite-flying in this month’s Newsletter. It’s been tried before, of course: periodically we invite your views on certain issues and print, or quote from, the response. We never receive the expected deluge of bright ideas, arguments for and against. Yet there must be plenty of unexpressed opinions and we should be delighted to hear them. For one thing, it would lend variety to the Newsletter and, of course, it would help your Committee in making decisions.
About Kites, then, and other ingenious devices in- the service of archaeology. At Sutton Hoo, you will remember, they take aerial photographs of the site by sending the camera up on a kite. In the Valley of the Kings, balloons carry more sophisticated apparatus which plots the cavities of undiscovered tombs. In both areas, new techniques are being welcomed and tested. Perhaps, given a really hot summer….? But, coming closer to our own needs, should we review our present uncompromising attitude to metal detectors? Recently, in North Lincolnshire and South Humberside, a truce called between professional archaeologists and ‘treasure hunters’ was largely instrumental in revealing the settlements and artefacts of an extensive Early Saxon Kingdom. Have you any experience of these devices – or their owners? Could we profit by a degree of co-operation? Or do you feel that the old ways are best, that hurrying, the pace of archaeological discovery is, in a sense, robbing the future of its past? We should be glad to know.
Another matter: Lloyds Bank PLC has very generously awarded us £125 towards the purchase of a computer. Quite a large extra sum will be needed if we are to acquire one suitable for our needs and we must have clear ideas about putting it into use before we take any further steps. Have you any advice to give? Is there anyone out there who could train a small group of operators? Have you encountered pitfalls, we can avoid thanks to your warning?
Finally, we should welcome letters from our Junior Members now quite a large group. Because of the wide age-range, transport problems, looming examinations and other factors, it is difficult to organise activities for them. Perhap you – our Juniors, who are really the future of our society would welcome a meeting to discuss these matters, or perhaps, you would prefer not to be treated as Juniors and therefore special in some way. Why not write to the editor and make clear your point of view?
WESTHORPE – A RUSSIAN CONNECTION Ted Sammes
When, during August to November 1969, Ralph Hansen directed a dig in the grounds of Westhorpe, a large house in Tenterden Grove, Hendon, we gave no thought to the immediate past history of the-site (Grid Ref: TQ235 896). We hoped to locate the site of Hendon’s Manor House, but found very little; tobacco pipe stems, one bowl marked R.B. and some earlier Bellarmime sherds (see HADAS Newsletter No. 4, June 1970). This site is now Westhorpe Gardens. Imagine my surprise when a friend of mine, Mr. F. H Harris of Andover, rang up and asked what I knew about Westhorpe, Hendon. In going through the papers of a deceased cousin he had discovered that the cousin’s mother, Elizabeth Ann Harris, had been in service in the Russian Royal Household up to the Revolution. On her return to England, she had been in touch with the General Council for the Assistance of the British Repatriated from Russia. This Council operated from Westhorpe in 1924, the Secretary being Helen M Elworthy.
Elizabeth Harris was stated to have been present when the Czar Nicholas was arrested. She had been imprisoned for two and a half years. By 1924, she was claiming compensation via the Russian Claims Department, Cornwall House, Stamford Street SE1. There is no trace of the organisation in the Local History Collection at Hendon. I am wondering if anyone knows anything about it. TED SAMMES
Popular Archaeology, which was launched in July 1979, has been re-vamped and is now being issued under the title ARCHAEOLOGY TODAY. From the three issues so far available, the journal seems to be retaining its world-wide approach.
BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGICAL MONTHLY
This a new venture which seeks to promote the work of local societies and groups, saying it can offer free publication facilities. Members should in due course receive a free copy. If you are interested, the address is: British Archaeological Monthly, Bell House, 3A New Street, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 2DX. The subscription is £18.00 per annum.
A LIFETIME’S DEDICATION TO THE HISTORY OF DANCE
Members who were listening to Woman’s Hour on Tuesday March 31st will have heard our member Licille Armstrong talking about the Origin and Meaning of Figures and Steps in Folk -Dancing, a subject which she has studied with dedication for almost fifty five years. In 1933 when she and her husband owned a school in Barcelona – the first English, the first Comprehensive and the first Co-educational school in Spain – she was asked to interpret for Violet Alford who was attending the Dance Festival there. The interest then aroused has strengthened with the years. I went, pad in hand, to learn more from her. Incidentally, she has recently moved: her new address is 36. Stanford Road, Friern Barnet, telephone 368 1815. Lucille is 86 years old and, in spite of two recent hip operations, still teaches Spanish Dance three times a week at Swiss Cottage and at Barnet. (HADAS really should produce its own Dictionary of Biography)
Information, concise and beautifully marshalled, flowed from her and your poor editor, who has no shorthand, was soon out of her depth. She traced the dance and its social function from the days of the hunter-gatherers to the modern flamenco in such detail that it will need more space than this Newsletter can offer to present it all. If you cannot wait for the next instalment to learn more, let me recommend her book: The Window on Folk Dance, published by Springfield Books of Huddersfield. Our Society is blessed with a singularly rich store of knowledge among its members.
STONE ACE CANNIBALISM THEORY
Evidence of Stone Age burial rituals – possibly including cannibalism have been unearthed by archaeologists in a cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset.
Human bones with cut marks, discovered recently inside Gough’s Cave are being examined microscopically by scientists at the British Museum. These cut marks, inflicted with stone tools, are the first to be found on human bones in Britain. Other human bones were unearthed at Cheddar in 1927, but no cut marks were found on these remains. The cave was used seasonally, probably by a small group of family units who lived by hunting animals and gathering roots and berries. Scientists at the Natural History Museum are analysing the animal bones found alongside the human remains.
BROCKLEY HILL – PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE Report on Symposium 25th April 1987
Some forty members, together with friends from neighbouring Societies, were attracted indoors on a beautiful spring afternoon, for an important and interesting symposium masterminded by the HADAS Chairman, Andrew Selkirk, on the most, notable Roman site yet researched in its catchment area. The meeting heard that the. Lea Valley Water. Board had firm plans to lay .a 24″water pipe line stretching for 4½ miles east to west, to the south of the Roman Posting Station of Sulloniacae (Brockley hill) from Arkley Reservoir to Little Common. This is part of a major Scheme, 17 miles in length, to extract water from the Thames at Iber to meet the estimated requirements of North West London users. It was acknowledged that the proposals, whilst posing a threat to known archaeologically sensitive areas, at the same time presented an exciting opportunity for further discovery that should be embraced enthusiastically by the Society to whom such projects were, in the words of the Chairman, its lifeblood.
Stephen Castle of the British Museum, the Guest Speaker, then told how, at the tender age of 18 in 1968, he had been invited by Professor Grimes, now the HADAS President, to take up his trowel and attempt a. desperate emergency dig at Brockley Hill. He started only a few paces in front of a giant mechanical tipper depositing refuse on land owned by Joe Bygraves, the champion boxer, to the south of Wood Lane. The dump lay by the side of Roman Watling Street and cut across the ancient Hollow way trackway. Once the tipper had left a 15 ft. deposit of rubbish, (including Roman material from another site), all hope of investigation would have gone. Stephen Castles’ battle – David against the destructive diesel powered Goliath – was graphically recalled in the 95 slides with which he illustrated his talk. All the artefacts recovered dated from the First to Fourth Century A.D., apart from mediaeval and modern material from the upper levels. He believed that there were still some traces of Iron Age farms and Saxon villages to be discovered in an area that was likely to have a continuous history of occupation. Certainly as a primarily industrial site on which fourteen pottery and tile kilns had already been documented, there was the strong possibility that a more scientific sophisticated excavation than he had been able to mount, would yield exciting results. He suggested that HADAS should consider undertaking a long term investigation on undeveloped land where the proposed pipe line was due to cross Brockley Hill. Meanwhile any development in the vicinity should be closely watched.
The second Speaker, Graham Sutton, a Chartered Surveyor acting for the Water Company, gave a brief history of the pipe line proposals which dated from the 1960’s of which a three mile section had so far been laid from Iver to Denham. The next phase, which should have commenced in 1985, entailed a 60ft. working strip from which 6 – 9″ of top soil would be removed and retained for later reinstatement. Sections of 24″ pipe in 30ft. lengths would then be laid in a mechanically excavated 3ft. deep trench. There could well be considerable delay between the removal of the top soil and the trenching. 100 ft. sections of the trench would be left exposed for possibly forty eight hours for remedial work to disturbed land drains, etc. It was thought the pipe laying would commence at Arkley Reservoir and run west. However, it would not now begin before 1990 with little likelihood of the completion of the total project before the end of the century. It was hoped to publish a timetable about a year from now, bearing in mind that the project was still subject to possible cancellation. In regard to any archaeological action, this required the consent of private landlords rather than the Water Company at this stage. If the time came to excavate in advance of the path of the pipe line, the Company would have no objection to a shallow investigation as long as it was recognised that the pipe must be laid on a firm base. It should be possible to work ahead of the pipe layers who were highly skilled operatives. It was envisaged that the Section of concern to HADAS would take twelve months to complete as work could only be carried out between September and March to allow Boy Scouts and other activities to be continued during the summer.
Andrew Selkirk, after thanking all those who had contributed to the Symposium apologised to the third Speaker on the programme, Leslie Matthews, of the Manshead Archaeological Society (Dunstable), whom time had prevented from talking, and invited him to give a Lecture at a future meeting of HADAS. Finally the Chairman emphasised again his concern that a well-researched ‘dig’ should be mounted at Brockley Hill after along lapse of time. He felt that, in particular, the examination of top soil removed prior to the sinking of the pipe trench, or, indeed, any future development, could be rewarding in pinpointing areas of archaeological interest.