Newsletter 199: September, 1987 Sept. Editor: Deirdre .Barrie
MINIMART -FUND RAISING – MINIMART – FUND RAISING SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26 – PLEASE NOTE THIS DATE IN YOUR DIARY NOW:
Fri-Sat-Sun Sep 11, 12 & 13 Weekend in Abergavenny with John Enderby. We have had, a couple of cancellations, so would very much like to fill these places if any members are interested. All-in price £76, which includes transport, food; accommodation guides, entrance fees and lecturer. Please phone Dorothy Newbury 01-203 0950.
Sat Sept 26 MINIMART 11.30 – 2.30 at St. Mary’s Church House, top of Greyhound Hill, Hendon NW4. Please see the enclosed leaflet giving details of goods required and help needed, and names of stallholders. TO ALL MEMBERS: please help in some way. This is our one annual fund-raising project which is open to the public, and which over the years has become a social event as well.
Sat Oct 17 An extra outing has been added to our programme, organised by Mary O’Connell. This will be to Southside House, Wimbledon, for an afternoon visit. We will try to arrange a stop at an excavation on the way if possible. More details and application form will be included in the October Newsletter.
OUR. LECTURE SEASON STARTS ON WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 7
Wed Oct 7 ‘Medieval Parish Churches in Middlesex’ Bridget Cherry
Wed Nov 4 ‘Late Celtic Art in Britain and Ireland’ Dr Graham Campbell
AN APPEAL FROM OUR MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY
I am sorry to report that on going through my records recently there are at least 80 members who have not renewed their subscription and are still receiving the interesting Newsletters each month.
Please send your subscription to my new address: Miss PJ, Fletcher, 31 Addison Way, London. NW11 6AL
Full member £5.00
Additional members same family £1.00 each
Senior Citizen £3.00
Additional members same family £1.00 each
Junior Members £3.00
Schools, Corporate members etc. £6.00
Cheques: Hendon & District Archaeological Society
OUTING TO ROYSTON – THERFIELD – STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET by JOYCE CORLET
On 15th August 38 members of HADAS made the visit to ‘Royston, Therfield Barrows and Stansted Mountfitchet organised by Peter Griffiths..
Our first stop ws at Royston, a small town at the crossing of Ermine Street and Old Icknield Way. Here the party was split into three to visit Royston Cave while the rest of the party explored Royston itself.
We were met at the entrance to the cave (cave being in the singular) by Mr. F. John Smith, a member of the Royston Historical Society.
We walked down a narrow, steep path cut out of the chalk which led down to a large bell-shaped structure about 28.ft deep and 17 ft across. Carved on every available space round the walls were religious figures and scenes very impressive. The carvings were all stick-like figures and scenes almost, as if they might have been carved by a talented child. The majority of the figures are saints marked by a cross as they are not easily identified. Three figures which have been identified are St Lawrence, who was roasted alive on a red-hot grid, St Katherine who was martyred upon a spiked wheel, and St Christopher with the child Jesus upon his shoulder.
The cave was discovered in 1742. No one knows exactly its significance but it has been suggested it was dug for the Order of the Knights Templar.
We were lucky we had a path to follow as, until fairly recently, the only means of access was being lowered by a rope from the roof or descending vertical ladders.
It is the only Grade One Listed ‘hole’ in Britain.
Royston also has an excellent little museum mostly composed of fairly recent history like the rules printed for railway passengers in 1851. Among them are such gems as ‘Never sit in an unusual place or posture’ and special trains and excursions should be avoided. More unsafe than ordinary or usual trains’. The last notice reads ‘Without danger, danger cannot be surmounted!
Our next stop was at Stansted tower brick windmill which is celebrating its two hundredth anniversary. It was built in 1787, continually used until 1910 (though for the last fifty years it was only used for grinding animal foods) and was restored in 1966. The more energetic of the party climbed to the top, conducted by Mrs. Honour of the Windmill Committee.
Our next stop was at ‘Mountfitchet Castle’, the only reconstructed Norman wooden motte and bailey castle built on its original site The original motte and bailey castle was built by a cousin of the Conqueror, on what is believed to have been the site of an early Iron Age Fort and then a Saxon and Viking settlement.
The reconstruction brings to life what life must have been in the 11th Century. Two of the spikes on the protecting walls were topped by heads cut off invaders as a warning to other attackers. Inside the walls are all the ingredients necessary to sustain village life even under siege: the kitchen, the dove-cotes, rabbit warren, a pond in which carp swam, the homes of the villagers, the church, weaving and dyeing house, the blacksmith, the two wells, and then the darker side of life the man left hanging on the gallows, and the prison.
In those days life expectancy was only around 40 years with causes of death being given as Viking raiders, being killed by wolves, wild boar or cholera.
Maybe it was a bit ‘twee’, but I am quite sure it would awaken an interest in history in many of the children in the School parties which regularly visit it. An excellent outing as usual. Thank you, Mrs. Newbury.
Marion Newbury joined the Society in 1972 at the age of 12 with the job of finds washing at the Burroughs Gardens dig. Although she left Hendon in 1978 to train as a physiotherapist, she has remained an active member and organised several day trips for us in recent years. She is leaving England in September to spend a year in New Zealand.
Hendon Aerodrome The ‘Hendon Times’ of 6 Aug mentioned that author David Oliver has been asked by the RAF to write a book about the history of Hendon Aerodrome from 1910 up to April 1987. Anyone who worked at or near the airfield or has information or photographs should contact him on 01-449 8607 or write to him at 36 Barnet Gate Lane, Arkley, Hertfordshire.
WESTHORPE – A RUSSIAN CONNECTION-(Continued) (See May and August Newsletters)
I have had a reply from Mr. Clarkson Webb in Surrey. He states that his grandfather, R .P. Elworthy, died in April. 1925. The house was then sold and his grandmother (presumably Helen M. Elworthy) moved to Ranulf Rd Hampstead. She died in 1948.
R.P. Elworthy had business in Russia and after the Revolution both of them gave a lot of help to those who returned from Russia, without means or livelihood.
Mr. Clarkson Webb has never heard of the organisation which was at the top of the notepaper which sparked off this enquiry.
As the Brockley Hill dig gets under way, we offer a summary of points raised at the Symposium by Graham Sutton, representing the agents of the Lea Valley Water Company.
In the 1960s the company decided to combine with the Colne Valley Co and Rickmansworth and Uxbridge Co to lay the pipe which crosses our borough, in view of a projected rise in demand for domestic and industrial water. Only the first section of the pipe, from Iver to Denham, has so far been completed. It is now proposed to complete the 17 miles extra length, finishing at Arkley reservoir. The cost of laying the main will be enormous and so will the compensation to landowners and other interested parties, which will need to be carefully assessed.
Mr. Sutton provided a 6-inch to 1-mile map of the area on which areas of archaeological interest already identified were shown in pink. The 4½-mile section from Arkley Reservoir to Heriots Wood is not likely to be laid before 1990 and the exact date will depend on demand for water, which has not so far increased as predicted.
When the 24″ diameter pipe is laid, a 60-foot wide working strip will be fenced and all topsoil stripped and stacked on one side. A. trench with a minimum width of 3 feet will then be excavated mechanically. The depth will vary between 6 ft 6 ins and 10 ft approximately and it is anticipated that this section would be completed within 12 months. In sections of known archaeological interest, 100 yard sections of the trench would be left open for 24-48 hours when safety allowed. Backfilling would then take place as the main was laid and the topsoil would be relaid when the whole pipe had been laid and tested. A more detailed map of the Brockley Hill area was provided, and sections showing the exact position of the trench in the working strip.
Mr. Sutton pointed out that any delays in the process would increase the compensation element considerably so his clients would not allow progress to be seriously interrupted by archaeological research. Access to the site would be supervised and would be entirely at our own risk: a trench 10 feet deep, into which pipes weighing 9.3 metric tons are being lowered, must be approached with due caution. Nevertheless, the water company will be pleased to co-operate. All drains cut by the trench are accurately recorded end reconnected after the pipe has been laid and pipelaying operatives are skilled in the handling of any unearthed items of interest.
This extremely lucid account of the water company’s plan concluded with an offer to keep in touch and provide an update on progress during the next few years. Members who were present at the Symposium will agree that we were very fortunate in having Mr.Sutton as our channel of information.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR BERMONDSEY ABBEY DIG
Volunteers, please, for the Museum of London dig at Bermondsey Abbey, where part of the site has to be cleared for redevelopment by October 1st.- Experience welcome but not essential. Over-16s only, no upper limit: Any days you can spare would be useful. Work will probably go on during weekends as well in this urgent period. Nearest tube: London Bridge. Contact David Beard (site supervisor) and colleagues on 01-407 1989.
THE BURROUGHS DEVELOPMENT BRIAN WRIGLEY
In connection with this development, referred to in the last Newsletter, the Excavation Working Party recommended that we should seek to make at least a resistivity survey of the land adjoining Greyhound Hill, in the grounds of Sunnyfields School. Under the proposals part of this land, at present open grass, would become a car park. The Borough readily granted permission, and the survey is proceeding.
A team of Marjorie St Clair, Alan Simpson, Alan Lawson, George Sweetland, Victor Jones and Brian Wrigley have been taking turns in this exercise. Our initial wide-spaced grid (not yet quite complete) is beginning to show some patterns, in particular a wide curving band of higher resistances which seems to be beginning to show up as an elliptical shape. The shape, so far revealed, does not seem to accord with it being a buried track – it doesn’t look as if it’s going anywhere except back on itself! – And we are extending our grid to see what happens to it. We shall no doubt need to do more detailed grids over interesting parts, when we have finished the overall, widely spaced one.
A TUDOR BRICK WALL IN HENDON
HADAS member Mr. Kelly Haughton has been investigating the possibility of preserving an ancient wall in Brent Street, Hendon. He has written to the Borough Librarian, who has sent him the following information:
‘It seems that the stretch of wall to which you refer could well be part of the wall enclosing the former St Peter’s Ouvroir and before that Brent Lodge.
There appears to have been a house on this site since the mid-18th century; there are four surveys of the Manor and Parish of Hendon, in which the following are described on the site:
1754 Mr Michael Howard, a house and land at Braint Street. Mr. Philimore, tenant
1796 Mrs Hannah Coomes, a dwelling house with yard, barns, gardens,etc. at the corner of Butchers Lane (This is now Queens Road)
1800 The same.
1828 – Heriot Esq.,
At Brent Street Corner of Butchers Lane.
A brick dwelling house with outbuildings yards and gardens
Hitchen-Kemps “Notes on a Survey of Hendon in 1754” made in 1929 mentions “a house at the corner of Brent Street, now a church home called St Peters Ouvroir. The widening of Queens Road about 1925 necessitated cutting part of the garden off and additions and alterations have been made to the house:”
The house was sold in 1903 and was occupied by the St Peter’s Home and Sisterhood until its final sale and demolition in 1957. Heriot Road was named after Dr Heriot and his family who were the former occupiers of the property in the 19th century.
The wall facing Brent Street certainly seems to be the same as that shown on our maps round the property since 1754 indeed, at the time planning application was made in building St Peters Court, the minutes of the Building and Town Planning Committee of. 21 October 1957, page 545, item no 32, state:
“The Borough Engineer and Surveyor … informed the Committee that, in accordance with their previous decision, the Mill Hill and Hendon Historical Society had been consulted but did not consider that the Council could justifiably be asked to secure the preservation of the existing building on the grounds of architectural interest or known historical associations. They add, however, that the wall which bounds the property in Brent Street contains Tudor bricks and is of great interest to those who recognise its antiquity. The Borough Engineer and Surveyor advised the Committee that the present prospective developers intended to retain the wall although part of it would be set back and result to a reduced height of 3 ft and 6 inches.’
Should you wish to see any of the original maps on which the property is shown, they are available for consultation at the Local History Library, by appointment only with the Archivists. Telephone 01-202 5625 extension 55.
Mr. Haughton adds, ‘Alas, the beautiful dark red Tudor bricks are crumbling but very, very slowly, thank goodness.’
HADAS OCCASIONAL PAPERS
Victorian Jubilee 1987 marks the hundredth anniversary of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. –
Our booklet Victorian Jubilees published in 1977 has at once a relevance. It deals with events in the Borough of Barnet in the years 1887 and 1897. Its 48 pages are today a great bargain at a. selling price of 50p plus 25p postage: There is something on most parts of the present Borough by various members, the whole edited by Edward Sammes.
ANOTHER BOUQUET FOR ‘PINNING DOWN THE PAST -FINDS FROM A HENDON DIG PRICE £1.50 + 25p Postage
The summer number of the ‘London Archaeologist carries in its book reviews one by Patricia Clarke of ‘Pinning Down the Past’
‘This handy little booklet has a title which rather disguises the interest of its contents. A quick riffle through its pages reveals a. number of short articles, illustrated by drawings, dealing with some of the more noteworthy finds from a dig at the site of the former parish clerk’s cottage near the Church of St Mary, Hendon. It was carried out in 1973-74 by Hendon & District archaeological Society.
… What could so easily have been fitted deadeningly into an account of one or two pages has here been extended over many pages in a pleasing and enlightening way. In describing the finds, Mr. Sammes tells us not only what each is, but how or where it originated, how it was used, and whether it was commonplace or unusual – in effect, putting each into its full setting much as do the better museum displays. If you are not an expert; you will learn great deal from these articles. They surely represent considerable research by the author…. I like this book. It is interestingly conceived, and its style is so light and digestible that one can take the whole book at virtually one gulp. The non-expert like myself will come away with knowledge and understanding considerably enlarged.’
Both the above are available by post from J. Slatter, 5 Sentinel Square, Hendon, NW4 2EN
Sites of possible archaeological interest that I would ask members living in the locality to watch, taken from recent Planning Applications:
164 East End Road, N2 Tesco’s site,, junction of Circular Road and Colney Hatch. Lane, N12
Plot 60, Priory Gardens, Hale Lane, Edgware
Brockley Cottage, Pipers Green Lane, Edgware
26 Barnet Gate Lane, Arkley
48 Strafford Road; Barnet
1412-1420 High Road, N20
Old Brewery Site, Gt. North Road, Barnet
Rear of 36-38 Kings Rd. Barnet
Hadley Memorial Club, Hadley Highstone
Land at rear of St Stephen’s Church, Bells Hill, Barnet
42 Union Street, Barnet
Please contact me on 203..26349 anything of interest is noticed.
GRAHAME-WHITE HANGER – Bill Firth
The Borough planners have issued a draft planning brief for acceptance as a basis for consultation with the Property Services Agency (PSA), the Ministry of Defence and other interested bodies. This envisages retention and preservation of the listed buildings including the officer’s mess, which is at present only recommended for listing.
The East Camp site where these buildings are situated is considered suitable for commercial, educational/institutional or leisure/recreational use.
Acceptance of the brief by the Town Planning and Research Committee as well as the other committees which have an interest in the development of the site would be a big step forward in the preservation of the historical buildings.
We also understand that the PSA has put the site in the hands of agents for sale, subject to whatever planning constraints are put it.- If this is so, it is also good news since it means that any
Buyer is aware of the restrictions before buying. In the meantime, no maintenance is being done on the hangar, which in this summer’s weather must be deteriorating further.
Overall there is hope for the future of these buildings, but no room for complacency yet.
EXHIBITIONS AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM AND THE MUSEUM OF LONDON
I never cease to be pleased and amazed at the wealth of exhibitions in London.
Ceramic Art of the Italian Renaissance This free exhibition at the British Museum shows the fine painted pottery of the 15/16th century from Italy. There are 276 exhibits – one would be hard-pressed to find such a show elsewhere. While much of the exhibition comes from its own collection’s, there is material from ten other sources. I was interested to find six pieces from Reitlinger Collection in Maidenhead on show.
The exhibition is well spaced, and the cases allow both the front and rear of plates etc to be seen. These carry not only designs but dating information. There is also one case devoted to the details of producing a tin glaze plate. This is well worth a study, especially if one realises that mistakes in painting cannot be corrected.
This exhibition is open until September 20 and is free. For the deeply interested, there is an illustrated book at £10.
Palaeolithic – Also at the British Museum is a small exhibition from the Boxgrove, Nr. Chichester dig of the Institute of Archaeology. It displays fossilised bones and flints. Also there is a modern hand-axe which took 10 minutes to make. Perhaps we are not the only throw-away age. The exhibition also contains a tribute to Sir Mortimer and Tessa Verney Wheeler who devoted 10 years to getting the Institute set up. This little exhibition is part of the 50 years celebration of the Institute.
Museum of London I was lucky to see the exhibition ‘Londoners the Way We Were’ before it closed on August 2. Mostly devoted to pictures, both drawn and painted, it gave a very wide cross-section of London life.
I was amazed to see a potter making sugar moulds at Childs Hill, Hendon in a picture painted by John Thomas Smith (1766-1833). Would someone like to follow this up as a research project to find where this pottery was? Under the title ‘Londoners’ there is a very fully illustrated book by D.V. Celina Fox, Keeper of Paintings, Prints and Drawings at the Museum.
Marking-Time–This exhibition is open until October 4 (remember the Museum of London does NOT OPEN ON MONDAYS) weekdays 10 am – 6pm, – Sundays 2
This exhibition aims to explore the photograph as an historical document, (a feature of which HADAS has been well aware over the years). It presents both amateur and professional work and suggests that such photography is accessible today to any camera user. A section that specially caught my eye was that devoted to the evolution of the simple camera. This starts with the original Kodak’ ‘Brownie’ in 1901 and ends up with today’s disc camera. So nice to see ordinary cameras instead of the expensive ones on show. I particularly noted the Kodak ‘Hawkette’ in brown mottled bakelite, made about 1930.
PRESS CUTTINGS L.SAGUES
HADAS members who followed the Roman road to Chichester some years ago with Raymond Lowe and visited the villa at Fishbourne on the way must have been delighted with the story of Mrs Lorna Chatfield, now aged 61, who made the first discovery on the site and kept it secret for 49 years. As a child Mrs Chatfield lived in one of the houses which hem in the famous, palatial house and gardens, none of which were visible in 1938. She was learning at school about the Romans, and told her sister and a friend that they were going to dig for Roman remains. They dug by the garden wall with a plasterer’s trowel, and at a depth of one foot found three shallow stone steps and an area of black and white mosaic. Their delight and excitement was tempered by the disapproval of the farmer next door, under whose paddock the mosaic obviously extended. He told them to keep quiet; he wasn’t going to have any archaeologists nosing about on his land.
Now the land has been sold and Mrs Chatfield has already shown the exact place where she made her discovery. A large area of mosaic has been exposed. As David Rudkin, directing the excavation, says: ‘it is an incredible story … The chances must have been about a million to one:’
The Independent of July 20 carried a long, persuasive article on the plight of medieval wall-paintings in the country churches. David Keys explains, ‘The wall-paintings and the churches that house them are not the specific responsibility of English Heritage … nor are they viewed as a great priority by the Church Commissioners or the General Synod. For most hard-pressed Parish
Churches, the priority for fund-raising is to ensure that the fabric of the church – the stonework and the roof – is repaired’. Meanwhile paintings are flaking off and plaster disintegrating. £37,000 a year is all that can be spared for restoration work for the entire country and the only course for training conservators, at the Courtauld Institute, is likely to close for lack of funds by the end of next year.
David Keys has drawn our attention to a worthy cause. His article, and the superb photographs of Otley and of Hardham Churches (by Suresh Karadia) make one want to rush forth and organise a pressure group. Save England’s Heritage is spending money and time on restoring the fabric, of nineteenth century follies. Surely they or some equally public-spirited body, could spare a thought for these ghostly fragile splendours.
COURSE FOR TOURIST GUIDES
HADAS Members who recall Mary O’Connell’s fascinating Clerkenwell walks will be interested to learn that she is one of the tutors on a Clerkenwell/Islington Guiding for Tourists Course (Anthony Weaver is the other Tutor). The course begins on October 7 and is on Wednesdays 6:30-830, plus 4 Saturday mornings TBA, 10 am – 1 pm, £35.20 per term. There will be written and practical exams which could qualify for a Clerkenwell/Islington Guides Badge – however the 2-term course is open to non-guides and the examination is not compulsory.
Dept of Extra-Mural Studies, City University, Northampton Sq. EC1
01-253 4399 ex 3268
DAY AND EVENING CLASSES 1987-88.
The Living mast – A Practical Guide to Archaeology G. Williams,
The Institute, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb (01-455 9951) A one-term course on Mondays 7.15-9.15 £20.50 (Senior Citizens, students, half price), enrolment Mon-Fri 9-4.45 from 7.9.87, evenings Mon-Thurs 6-8.30 from 16.9.87
WEA, The Library Golders Green Starting 29.9.87, Tuesdays 8-10 pm Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. David Seaton BA. Two terms, £40 (retired/unwaged £30),
The City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V ORB runs numerous courses on archaeology and local history.- the prospectus contains two-pages of archaeological courses alone (in small print!). Tel 01-253 4599. Most of these courses begin in October or 1988.