NEWSLETTER 209: AUGUST 1988 Edited by Liz Sagues
Saturday August 20 Outing to Thornborough Barrows, Buckingham and Winslow Hall. Details and application form enclosed.
Saturday September 10 Afternoon outing with Mary O’Connell: a short guided walk round Little Britain followed by a tour of Charterhouse. Details and application form enclosed for this also, as it falls early in the month. Numbers are restricted, so first come, first served.
If applying for both trips, please make out separate cheques – to HADAS, as usual.
Tuesday October 4 Recent Excavations at Waltham Abbey, lecture by Peter Huggins, at Hendon Library, 8 for 8.30pm.
Saturday October 8 Stepney walk with Muriel Large
Saturday October 15 Minimart. Ring 203 0950 or 455 2751 if you have saleable items available now. (see also sales and wants list enclosed)
Tuesday December 6 Tentative date for Christmas Party (to be confirmed).
For late applications for outings, please ring Dorothy Newbury on 203 0950. Cancellations and empty places do occur sometimes.
NEWS OF MEMBERS
Alec Jeakins There’s great news of one of our members of long standing Alec Jeakins has just announced to the enormous pleasure of his family that he’s taken unto himself a wife. They were married on June 24 and his bride, Ursula, is from Adelaide, Australia. All our older members will remember his for the discovery of our Mesolithic site on West Heath, Hampstead, and for directing our dig at Woodlands, Golders Green
Marion Newbury Another member of long standing who was a digger and pot-washer in her early days and later helped with outings – she led the Mary Rose trip – is still away in New Zealand. She has been gone 11 months now and is thoroughly enjoying her work there and the scenery. But she misses the antiquity and tradition of old England and has decided that New Zealand is not for her (her Mum gives a sigh of relief). She is planning to return in early 1989, via India, Tibet and Southern Europe.
Brian Wrigley and his team are back working on the ice house in the grounds of St Joseph’s Convent, Hendon. Work over the weekend of July 23-24 started the massive earth-moving project and the clearing of the rubbish inside. In one small area, the clearance reached what is thought to be the floor, but there was no sign at that point of the passage said to lead in. Work is likely to continue for a few more weekends and extra barrow-pushing hands would be welcome. Ring Brian Wrigley on 959 5982 for details.
NEW FOR OLD Isobel Stokes describes the HADAS outing to London Dockland on July 16.
“Canary Wharf is for the birds” screamed a huge anti-Dockland development poster from a council estate, as the HADAS coach sped through the Isle of Dogs. But, however strong the misgivings voiced by many members of the 50-strong party concerning the social tensions being created by the conversion of derelict warehouses into luxurious, security-conscious “yuppie” apartments right opposite the 1930s’ and 1950s’ council dwellings, our minds were mainly focussed upon the past history of this vast and fascinating area.
Our extremely knowledgeable and eloquent guide, Alex Werner of the Museum of London’s Department of Greater London Archaeology, took us first to the centre of London Bridge and vividly reconstructed for us the sights of the medieval port of London. We were reminded of the important excavations of the 1970s in Trig Lane and Custom House Quay and that Cannon Street Station was built on the site once occupied by the Hanseatic Merchants’ Quay. Indeed, this whole area was extremely busy from medieval times right up to the 1950s, with shipping, lighters and tugs, and the area to the north of the Customs House (next to the former Billingsgate Fish Market) would have been full of underwriters’ and merchants’ offices.
Our guide recalled that the Tower of’ London marked the limit of the Port of London in the 18th and 19th centuries and it was here that dutiable cargo was unloaded in the “Legal” Quay. However, with the tremendous growth in “suffrance” cargo in the 17th and 18th centuries and consequent gross insufficiency of warehouses behind the Legal Quay, a Government committee was set up in the last decade of the 18th century to deal with the chaotic state of river affairs and this recommended the building of the London Docks and, further down, the West India Docks in the Isle of Dogs.
On the south side of the river we admired the original Art Deco facade of part of the Hay’s Wharf development, which features a large public arcade, shops and restaurants centred on a restored Victorian warehouse, busy on weekday lunch-times but almost deserted at weekends.
Thence we travelled along Tooley Street, an area once known as “the larder of London” – for Hay’s Wharf was once one of London’s busiest wharves handling imported food, and where excavations in the 1970s found timbers from the Roman London Bridge. Here, while we waited while the bascules of Tower Bridge were raised for a tall old sailing wherry, the guide recommended a pleasant walk which we could take when we had more time on another day – to Shad Thames which is still non-tourist ridden, a maze of narrow streets with strikingly tall Victorian ware houses linked by dramatic overhead walkways leading up to St Saviour’s Dock, with its fine 19th century granaries and mills.
As we crossed Tower Bridge at last, our guide recalled the days when the traveller could catch a passenger steamer from the Pool of London to Hamburg and other European ports or to British north-eastern ports such as Newcastle or Aberdeen. Now large signs indicating new late 20th century forms of transport began to appear – “City Airport” and “Docklands Light Railway” and we passed “Tower Gateway” station which reminded us that in only 18 months’ time City businesspersons will be able to travel straight from Bank to the Isle of Dogs.
Next we sped past the former Royal Mint site, now being redeveloped as offices and housing – only the original front had been retained.
Then loomed the old imposing entrance to the former London Dock, with its high walls built to protect valuable cargoes and with two listed buildings – the General Office and Customs – still mercifully remaining in the midst of general demolition and massive earthworks arising from the excavation of the extensive wine vaults by developers.
A short break from the coach ensued with a walk to view St Katharine Docks, laid out in part by Thomas Telford and first opened in 1828-30 and where high-value cargoes – tea, curios, drugs, ceramics, carpets – were once stored in handsome warehouses but which has now been transformed into a popular tourist centre. It was gratifying to see a notice on a nearby council block entrance declaring its name as the Stephen and Matilda Tenants’ Co-operative, recalling the religious house which was established here in 1147 by Queen Matilda, consort to Stephen, and from which the name of the docks derives.
After re-boarding our coach we passed a new housing development on the filled-in western basin of the London Dock; indeed, this formed an interesting contrast to the five Grade I listed Wapping Pierhead Houses for senior dock company officials still surviving from 1811-13 – for planners are making strenuous efforts to ensure the preservation of architecturally significant buildings. Along we sped through Wapping High Street, past Wapping Police Station which stands on the site of the original station, built in 1797 to house the first river police in the world. Then we clattered over original granite sets through a surprisingly narrow road, where a few warehouses in King Henry’s Wharf still stood derelict, in stark contrast to the expensive new developments in nearby Gun Wharf and New Crane Wharf.
There were graphic signs of changing times, too, in Wapping Wall, where in the early ’70s disused warehouses had been colonised as ideal studios by artists and craftsmen but escalating rents have driven them out to be replaced by a regiment of estate agents! Then came one of the oldest public houses in Dockland – the Prospect of Whitby, dating back to 1320 – and the London Hydraulic Company’s pumping station (1890s), which closed in 1977 and will soon become the new home of the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields’ recording studio.
It was a delight to catch a glimpse of peaceful Shadwell Basin, built in 1860 as an extension to London Docks, but now surrounded by tasteful new housing and used by highly colourful sailing enthusiasts.
We turned into The Highway (once notorious as Rotherhithe Highway – scene of many robberies) and ahead lay the huge Free Trade Wharf building, where the Department of Greater London Archaeology is currently attempting, with difficulty, to gain permission to excavate on phase two of the development, involving listed East India Company warehouses. For this site is most likely to yield Roman remains, a Roman road running here from the City.
Next we entered historic Limehouse, passing near the tall distinctive tower of St Anne’s, the major church of Docklands (1712-30), and also passing Dr David Owen’s front door next to the famous public house The Grapes in Narrow Street, dating back to the 18th century.
Then appeared the as-yet-undeveloped Regent’s Canal Dock and the Limehouse Cut, formed in the 1770s to link the Thames to the River Lea; then came Dunbar Wharf – named after a mid-Victorian ship-owner who inaugurated passenger services to Australia; next some unusually low-rise listed warehouse buildings, numbers 140-146 Narrow Street. Then came the charmingly named Three Colt Street which is the site of the limekilns from which Limehouse derives its name – a famous Whistler engraving depicts the entrance to these kilns. Although in the 19th century Limekiln Dock contained a large shipbuilding yard, sadly in the late 20th century the whole area is to be flattened in order to build a road tunnel under the Regent’s Canal Dock to link up with The Highway.
Ruefully, our guide announced that the forest of gigantic cranes ahead of us now heralded the notorious Canary Wharf development – the largest office development in Europe, which will include a horrendous tower 850 feet high.
The guide explained that the West India and East India Docks Companies were extremely wealthy and built their own toll roads in order to transport their goods into London. The old West India Dock- master’s house and impressive warehouses remain and in March Wall is the Grade I listed earliest docks building in London.
Thankfully, we clambered out of the coach by Canon Workshops, built in 1824-25 as a cooperage and now occupied by small businesses. Our guide outlined the history of the West India Docks: the Import Dock opened in 1802, the Export in 1806, forming the largest docks in the world until the mid-1850s. Here were unloaded cargoes of sugar, rum, mahogany and coffee.
The place-name of this area, the Isle of Dogs, originated in Elizabethan times, when the royal kennels were here. Another name for the district was Millwall and old maps show nine mills on the western side. Large letters on the front of an old and handsome warehouse proclaimed that it housed “The Museum of the Docklands” but our guide regretfully admitted that negotiations had fallen through and anyway it would have been too small, but the notice-board remained up as nobody had troubled to take it down!
During the Blitz the sugar warehouses were bombed, causing sugar and treacle to run and ooze everywhere. However, sugar was so valuable a commodity in wartime that it had to be collected up again! Only warehouses 1 and 2 survived the bombing and they are the last examples of multi-storey dock warehouses from the late Georgian period (1802-3), so are listed Grade I. One warehouse nearby is the studio of Spitting Image, but even this will disappear in the huge development of offices and shops, with a proposed average height of 12 stories and to include three skyscrapers. No public inquiry has been held to investigate this gigantic project, which will bring 50,000 to 60,000 people into the area to work each day.
Suitable overawed by such staggering statistics, HADAS members re-boarded the coach and drove past the reasonably pleasant Heron Quay low-level development. Then came the South Dock which began as the City Canal, designed as a short cut to save time on the long tidal haul round the southern end of the Isle of Dogs but which ended disastrously when tolls were introduced. Clipper ships were later moored here, as readers of Conrad’s novels will recall.
The guide now pointed out that the red-brick area marked the “enterprise zone”. Surprisingly, Levanton’s Timber Wharf is still working and high quality steel also continues to be unloaded here. The highly up-to-date printing works of the Daily Telegraph appeared and then Millwall Docks, opened in 1868 and closed in 1980, now forming the heart of the London Docklands Development Corporation Enterprise Zone.
Here a notable Scottish flavour was evident, with the Scots Chapel and the Robert Burns public house provided for shipbuilding workers. The first iron ship, The Great Eastern, was built here in 1853-58. We also noted with satisfaction the self-build houses being constructed by local people here and the Ferry Horse pub, one of the oldest listed buildings on the Isle of Dogs.
At 1pm we arrived at the picturesque Island Gardens to eat our picnics and to admire the wonderful views of the Greenwich Naval College opposite and to peer into the murky entrance to the foot tunnel under the Thames. We re-entered the coach to learn that in the 19th century the Isle of Dogs was the main industrial centre of London, with shipbuilding yards down the east and west sides.
Then past the listed Gun pub and Nelson House where the Admiral is reputed to have met Lady Hamilton. Ahead we glimpsed the new international headquarters of Reuter’s contrasting with the old Dockmaster’s house converted into six flats. Here too was once the Blackwall yard where East India Company ships were built and where the Department of Greater London Archaeology hopes to conduct a large excavation, with expectations of Far Eastern finds. In Poplar Business Park is located the library and archive of the Dockland Museum, archives of the Thames Conservancy and of dock companies and the Port of London Authority.
The superb All Saints, Poplar, Church (built 1820) has, like many other Dockland churches, recently been cleaned. St Matthias, Poplar, built 1654 as a chapel for the East India Company, is the oldest known complete building in Docklands, has a fine Cromwellian interior and memorial to the company merchants. It will shortly be converted into a baroque music centre.
Thence into East India Dock Road, built 1810-20 by the East India Company to convey locked and guarded waggons with high value cargoes of tea and china to City auction rooms. Then we passed another new printing works – that of the Financial Times, built on the north basin of the Import Dock of the East India Company. Thence over the River Lea with a spectacular view of its meanders before it enters the Thames. Here we viewed the Pura Foods Group building, on the site of the Thames Plate Glass Works where much of the Crystal Palace glass was made. Pura has sponsored the “Museum on the Move” project to schools and other community groups.
Next appeared Silvertown, a community which grew up in the 1850s at the time of the building of the Victoria Docks, the first docks of the railway age and largest in the world. Along Victoria Dock Road and we passed the massive Royal Group of Docks, dating from the 1850s on (the last, George V, opened in 1921). Here too is the listed Connaught public house with its listed urinal outside I This was one of the focal points of the docks, where workers congregated each morning for the infamous “call-off” – waiting to be hired.
The coach drew up at forbidding security gates and the guard let us through after our guide had announced us as coming from the Museum of London. We were thrilled to see the Thames Barrier some way off to the left as we entered this bleak area, also the huge Co-operative and Spillers’ Millennium Mills.
In this arid area stands the fine huge restored “W” Warehouse (1882) which is now used as a store, restoration workshop and visitors’ centre by the Museum of London. There are plans to develop a large leisure and housing complex on this site and it is hoped that the Museum of the Docklands will be a key element. Although the guide claimed that this centre was only a taster for what the museum will be like, HADAS members were enthralled by the wealth of industrial archaeological material here relating to dockland trades and crafts – displays of cargo-handling equipment, tobacco weighing, ships’ chandlers’ workshops, tea handling equipment, cooperage, wine handling area, diving equipment, small river craft, shipwrights’ tools, riggers’ and printer’s workshops. Craftsmen sometimes give demonstrations here.
The guide amused us with a dock policeman’s fog stick – extremely long to enable the holder to locate the dock edge in a “pea-souper”. This marvellous collection is a preview of the Museum of the Docklands, due to open in 1990.
The coach then took us into the City Airport, through Beckton and back to Island Gardens, where, after thanking our guide, we joined a huge queue waiting patiently at one complicated and extremely slow- working ticket machine for passes to board the exciting Docklands Light Railway. When we had at last completed the ordeal by ticket and validation machines (taking about 20 minutes), we were rewarded by an exhilarating 15-minute roof-top ride with spectacular views as we passed through West India and Millwall Docks, to find our coach waiting for us at Tower Gateway, to make the way home.
Our gratitude, firstly, goes to our very friendly and jocular driver, who had unexpectedly been called from his bed on what should have been his day off, to replace the original driver, whose vehicle had been vandalised overnight. Our heartiest thanks, too, to our efficient, tireless and eloquent guide, Alex Werner, and, above all, to Dorothy Newbury for so unflappably and thoroughly organising such a fascinating and absorbing tour of London’s historic Dockland, where we saw a new city for the 21st century being created in an area boasting a colourful history stretching back to Roman times.
Dorothy Newbury adds the following footnote: It was with great pleasure that we had with us, in the full coach, a good percentage of outing “old-timers”. It was lovely to see you back. Please keep it up.
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM Bill Firth describes the visit to 11 (Fighter) Group Wartime Operations Centre at RAF Uxbridge on July 16
A party of 35, including a good representation from HADAS and members of two other societies, visited the operations centre, which was set up by the first commander of Fighter Command after its formation in 1936, Air Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding. It was ready for use in 1939.
The room acted as the nerve centre for 11 Group, which was responsible for the air defence of South East England, and through it information was fed, evaluated and acted on. By a system of visual displays, kept up to date by the plotters, mainly WAAF, up-to-the- minute information was available to the group controller and his liaison officers. They sat in a “gallery” overlooking the chart table, on which friendly and enemy aircraft movements were plotted, with other visual displays, such as aircraft and squadron availability and the local weather at fighter airfields, on the wall behind. The room is set up to represent operations on September 15, 1940 (Battle of Britain Day) when the greatest air battle the world had ever seen took place, and was effectively won.
The most interesting aspect of the afternoon was the presence in the party of a lady who had served as a WAAF on the teleprinters in the room through the battle and until 1943. She told us how on September 15 she found she could not read the telex because someone’s sleeve was in the way and she brushed it aside only to look up and discover that the arm belonged to Churchill, who happened to be visiting.
Warrant Officer Wren, one of whose RAF duties is to guide visitors round the centre, first gave us a factual account of how the room operated but then, by taking us through the Battle of Britain and particularly the events of September 15, 1940, he made the whole centre live. Afterwards we spent a long time in the museum in the gallery where there is an interesting collection of souvenirs, press cuttings and photographs of the time and many aeroplane models.
We are grateful to the Officer Commanding RAF Uxbridge for permission to visit the centre and to W/0 Wren for his excellent and enthusiastic guidance. Incidentally, the centre remained operational until 1958, but modern weapons and detection systems then rendered it obsolete.
THE AMERICAN CONNECTION
Nell Penny delves into transatlantic history to describe a distinguished stranger in Mill Hill
As usual Brigid Grafton Green first spotted an American Ambassador in Hendon in 1801. My own interest in His Excellency Rufus King, American Minister at the Court of St James from 1796 to 1803 and again for a very short period 1824-2 5, was stimulated by a detailed study of the enumerators’ census notebooks for the first national census in 1801. Further stimulation was provided by one of my family, staying in the Queens’ district of New York, coming across a Rufus King Memorial Park with a museum – closed for refurbishing – on the northern tip of Manhattan Island.
Rufus King (1755-1827) was a New Englander, educated at Harvard and trained as a lawyer, gaining experience in the commercial and maritime fields. He represented New York in the infant Congress of the USA and as a senator helped frame the constitution which divided power between the federal government and the states. In 1796 he accepted the post of ambassador in London. His legal training and experience made him a good choice because the previous ambassador had negotiated a treaty with the United Kingdom which set up a commission to settle claims and counter-claims arising from British seizure of American ships and seamen trading with the French West Indies during the Revolutionary Wars which had started in 1789. A Harvard friend of King’s, John Trumbull, a portrait painter, was already in London as a member of this commission.
When King came to London he rented No 1 Great Cumberland Place, at the west end of Oxford Street, as his home and office. He had arrived in London with Mrs King and four sons under 10 years old.
I do not know when he first rented a house in Mill Hill as a holiday home within riding distance of London because the Hendon rate books for 1793-1800 are missing from the otherwise comprehensive Hendon archives held by Barnet Libraries. But he must have been in Mill Hill in 1799 when he wrote to his landlord Samuel Davies asking what wages he should pay the gardener. He commented that “if he works with the same alacrity that he talks, he must be an excellent servant”.
Which house in Mill Hill did Rufus King rent? Informed guesswork must furnish the answer, because the enumerator of 1801 did not name or number houses in the village. Rufus King was No 121 in Mr Buckingham’s book. He was recorded as having a male and a female servant and a gardener. Presumably Mrs King and the children were in London.
In the rate book for 1801 he paid £4 10s on a 6d rate for “a house and grounds” and 9s “for land”. A house with a rateable vale of £180 was no mean property; and a neighbour – No 123 – was Sir John William Anderson who lived at Holcombe House, now St Mary’s Abbey. So I am guessing that King rented a newish house, “Belmont” – now the preparatory department of Mill Hill School. “Belmont” had been built for Peter Hammond who bequeathed it to his daughter, the wife of Samuel Davies – “Somerset” Davies according to the Victoria County History of Middlesex. And Davies was King’s landlord.
The aforementioned John Trumbull also appears in Hendon records. The parish marriage register has an entry for October 1, 1800: the groom was John Trumbull, aged 44, of St Mary-le-Bone, who married Miss Sarah Hope Harvey, 26, by licence. Miss Harvey, “strikingly beautiful but socially unacceptable”, was rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of Lord Thurlow. In a letter to a friend King said he gave away the bride, whom he first met in the church. After the ceremony he asked Trumbull the name of his bride. “Mrs Trumbull, Sir,” replied Trumbull before he whisked her away in a coach.
A great deal of my information about Rufus King comes from “Rufus King, American Federalist” by Robert Ernst, a book published by the University of North Carolina. This was recommended to me by an archivist of the Library of Congress, Washington DC, and borrowed, through Barnet Libraries, from the British Library.
THE DEBATE CONTINUES
Some further comments on Colin Renfrew’s recent book Archaeology and Language, from Brian Wrigley
On the very day I received my Newsletter No 206, containing Jean Snelling’s admirably concise commentary on this book, I also received by postcard from the public library to say that it was now available on my reservation. So, even if belatedly, I hope I may enter the discussion on Colin Renfrew’s theory, which has interested me ever since I first heard it at the Prehistoric Society Conference in 1985 (reported in Newsletter 171).
I said then that I thought it would stand as an important landmark in archaeology; having now read the book I still think so, and would like the theory to be true. However, in some ways I am troubled – the troubles partly arising because the book itself is so well written and constructed. Very logically, Professor Renfrew starts out in his first few chapters to clear the site of previous theories, before attempting to erect his own. The trouble is, he does such an effective demolition job that Chapters 1-6 induce in the reader (this reader at any rate) such an attitude of critical disbelief that by the time I embarked on Chapter 7, setting out the new theory, I found myself extremely sceptical and unready to accept any theory whatsoever without unassailable positive evidence! And does he produce positive evidence? Well, no, really – though to be fair, how could” anyone do so, in this kind of prehistoric context? But he does, at least, (and to my relief) make a case that his theory is at least consistent with known facts, and a more cohesive explanation of them than the previous theories he criticises.
There are other troubles. A theme that runs through the book is the danger of too-ready acceptance by philologists of archaeological theories, and by archaeologists of philological ones: and yet Professor Renfrew’s own “model” (pace Peter Pickering!) relies on acceptance of archaeological theories – e.g., particularly, Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza’s “wave-of-advance”, and the spread of domesticated plant and animal species across Europe from a Near Eastern homeland. Further, to fit into the model, that homeland has to be a “Proto-Indo-European”- speaking one, which can by no means be regarded as established. What of the Semitic-speaking areas which have similar claims to be the homeland of domesticated species? Did they not also have a wave-of-advance? Where did their wave-of-advance go to? Why did it not go so far or so fast as the Indo-European one? Why isn’t Semitic, rather than Indo-European, the “Ursprache” of, say, Scotland?
Encouraged by the author’s own demolition job, one also begins to wonder how reliable are the linguistic theories of development and relationship, particularly where they depend on reconstructed proto- languages or decipherment of long-dead scripts.
Yes, there are questions. But the hypothesis is to me so attractive that I can only hope that, in time, answers to these questions will be brought within it and, in whatever modified form, a generally accepted hypothesis will result. This book directs (or redirects) attention to questions which need answers and to fields of study which should not be ignored by archaeology, if we are to aim at the fullest possible picture of prehistory. Not only a landmark – also a signpost.
The HADAS views on Archaeology and Language have been brought to its author’s attention. He replied thus to Dorothy Newbury:
“How very kind of you to send me a copy of your latest Newsletter. I am so glad that my book is exciting interest and indeed comment. With good wishes, yours sincerely, Colin Renfrew”
There are plans afoot to celebrate this year’s centenary of the birth of poet T.S. Eliot with a week-long exhibition, readings of his works and lectures which promise much interest. Ann Saunders, HADAS member and much-appreciated speaker, is gathering together photographs to illustrate London references in his poems, at St Magnus the Martyr Church, Lower Thames Street, from September 2 7 to October 2. The church will also be the setting, on September 28, for lectures by Stella Mary Newton, set and costume designer for the original productions of Eliot’s first three plays, and Anne Lamb, expert on Eliot and his faith. More details, closer to the date, from Dr Saunders on 455 2171.
Archaeology classes will, it seems, be sparse locally this autumn. So early inquiry for the Golders Green WEA 10-meeting course on the Aztecs, Maya and their predecessors in Mexico and Central America, given by Ursula Jones on Thursdays (8pm to 10pm), starting September 29, might be advisable. Contact branch secretary Mrs P. Michaelson, 38 Dersingham Road, NW2 1SL (452 8850). There is also to be a new WEA class, on Greek Drama (tutor Dr Anne Ward, Wednesdays 8pm to 10pm, from September 28) at Hendon Library, details from 440 9430. WEA fees are £40 for two terms, pensioners £30, unemployed £6.
Gerrard Roots previews “A Present Prom…” Seaside Souvenir Pottery, at Church Farm House Museum until September 18.
The exhibition shows about 120 pieces of this once enormously popular pictorial pottery, turned out in vast quantities for the “trippers” who came to Margate, Brighton, Worthing, Clacton and Rhyl in the heyday of the British seaside holiday from the 1880s to 1914. Mass- produced, mostly in Germany and Austria, the pottery was superseded by the picture postcard, and it finally virtually disappeared with the onset of World War One.
Cheap, sometimes crude in design and colour, but often – thanks to the then rapid advances in photographic transfer printing on ceramic – attractive and colourful, this pottery is a reminder of a major British social phenomenon – the holiday by the sea.
Church Farm House Museum. Greyhound Hill, Hendon, is open Monday to Saturday (except Tuesday) 10am to 1pm, 2pm to 5.30pm; Tuesday 10am to 1pm, Sunday 2pm to 5.30pm.
ROUND THE EXHIBITIONS
Refugee from Nazism, at the London Museum of Jewish Life in Finchley, is the moving story of one of the 60,000 who escaped from the Nazis’ clutches. The central figure is Hilda Schindler, from a prosperous and well-educated Berlin family, who had to go into domestic service to permit her flight to England. The detailed account of her experiences, with a rich archive of relevant documents and photographs, is chillingly effective in bringing too-recent history to life.
The London Museum of Jewish Life is at 80 East End Road, N3, and the exhibition is open Sunday to Thursday 10.30am to 4.30pm, Friday 10.30am to 3.30pm, until August 14.
All the King’s Men…, at the British Library galleries in the British Museum, celebrates the tercentenary of the Glorious Revolution, which saw Catholic James II replaced by Protestant William and Mary and gave a great boost to constitutional government in England. This exhibition, full of the most remarkable contemporary documents and illustrations, puts the whole affair in its European setting and focuses on some of the major non-royal participants, who were as adept at shifting allegiances to suit personal fame and fortune as in honourably aiding the Causes they publicly supported. Look out for such highlights as the “secret treaty” of Dover, bought by the British Library last year for £317,000, in which Charles II sold his soul, effectively, to Louis XIV for cash and soldiers and then thought better of it, and a letter in Louis’ own hand addressing James as his “brother”. Centrepiece is a huge map of Europe, illustrating the changing boundaries in 1688, under a canopy of the blazing Sun King.
The exhibition continues until mid-November.
Fire Over Hampstead is an Armada celebration, heavily pro-British in tone and particularly interesting for its exploration of the history of the beacon warning system. It shows that the Hampstead beacon was at the top of the Heath, beside Whitestone Pond, not on Parliament Hill where the 1988 anniversary fire was lit – and that that, with the 400-plus others round the country, should more properly have been lit on July 29 than July 19.
The display, particularly aimed at children, is at Burgh House, New End Square, Hampstead, until September 25, open Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5pm.
GENEALOGISTS, PLEASE HELP
A HADAS member is looking for someone to speak to a small local group on the subject of family history. Please ring Mr Hutchings, 205 4899, if you can help.