Tuesday, 11th October 2011, Silchester: the revelation of an Iron Age and Roman city. Lecture by Dr John Creighton (University of Reading). 7.45 for 8pm, Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. Non-members £1.
100 years ago, a campaign of excavations at the Roman city of Silchester came to an end creating one of the earliest images of an entire Roman city, an iconic image that has been reproduced in countless books on Roman Britain. But the process of revelation neither started nor ended there; its beginnings lay in Stukeley (1722) and John Ward (1740s) and have continued thereon to include the long running Insula IX excavations by Fulford and Clarke.
This lecture will be a guided story through 260 years of endeavour culminating in a recent project which has seen a large scale geophysical survey take place in and around the town, combining it with a digitisation of the 260 years of excavation records, cartographic data, geological and field-walking information. This rich combination has led to the discovery of new cemeteries, large burial enclosures, new defences, re-routing Roman roads. It has also been possible to tease away the Roman layers to try to interpret and re-create a plan of the settlement in the Late Iron Age.
Tuesday 8th November 2011
The Thames Discovery Programme. Lecture by Nathalie Cohen.
Sunday 4th December 2011
Christmas Party at Avenue House. This will be a lunch/afternoon affair. Please see page 2 for further details. Tuesday 10th January 2012
The Merchant Taylors Great Feast, 1607. Lecture by Ann Saunders.
Tuesday 14th February 2012
The Medieval Cellars of Winchelsea. Lecture by Richard Comotto.
Tuesday 13th March 2012
It's all in the bones. Lecture by Jelena Bekvalac (Curator of Human Osteology - MOL).
Tuesday 10th April 2012
Conservation Techniques in Stone Masonry. Lecture by Stephen Critchley.
Tuesday 8th May 2012
Bumps, Bombs and Birds: the history and archaeology of RSPB reserves.
Lecture by Robin Standring (RSPB Reserves Archaeologist).
Tuesday 12th June 2012. Annual General Meeting. Tuesday 9th October 2012
The Life and Legacy of George Peabody. Lecture by Christine Wagg.
Tuesday 13th November 2012 Lecture TBC.
HADAS Party - Don Cooper
As mentioned in last month’s newsletter HADAS are having a buffet lunch for members and their partners at Avenue House on the 4th December 2011. We will have a 50th anniversary cake, raffle and other goodies. It will be a great occasion to catch up with friends/members and celebrate the final event in HADAS’s 50th anniversary year. The cost will be £20 per person. An application form will be available with next month’s newsletter.
A very warm welcome to the HADAS members who have joined since the last update in the December 2010 newsletter. They are: Jessica Aberbach, Audrey Alimo, Robert Bard, Roger Chapman, Judy Goodwin, Hannah Page, Victoria Rosoux and Mollie Shomali. I hope to meet some of you at a forthcoming event.
We have sad news that Bobbie Proffer died on August 14th. She had been diagnosed with leukaemia in about 2000. At HADAS we knew she had been quite ill, but she brushed it aside and didn't talk about it when she came to meetings and outings again. She was put on steroids which kept the illness at bay for 10 years, but in early 2010 immunity to the medication had built up and she died after a year’s illness.
Myrtle Proffer was born on 13th August 1921. As a child she hated the name "Myrtle" and decided she wanted to be called "Bobbie" - the name we all knew her by. While her three children, Keiran, Stephen and Judy, were growing up she got a job as a part-time teacher at Kingsgate primary school in Kilburn for 3 days a week. She remained at that school until she was 80! She kept retiring and they kept calling her back to help.
Bobbie became interested in archaeology at about the age of 50, took the Institute of Archaeology Diploma Course and was awarded her Diploma in 1980. With a gift for friendship, a group of her fellow Diploma students has continued to meet each year ever since. Her Diploma practical took her up a mountain near Malaga, into a scarcely accessible cave which, after 6ft depth of earth and heavy rocks had been heaved out, yielded Beaker pottery. All those rocks had to be energetically flung back in afterwards. It was at this time that Bobbie joined HADAS and was involved with the West Heath dig. She was interested in everything, a fount of knowledge, and always seemed so young. It is hard to believe she has gone. Our thoughts are with her family.
In the light of recent concerns and some misunderstandings about the former Church Farmhouse Museum, I thought it would be helpful to set out what I believe to be the legal position on listed buildings.
Buildings are listed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of English Heritage. He usually follows their advice, but is not bound to, and occasionally refuses to list a building they have recommended him to list. Each listing includes a description of the building; recent listings generally have a much fuller description than those from years ago. Demolition of, or alteration to, a listed building (inside or out) requires listed building consent, whether or not it also requires planning permission.
There are three grades of listed building: I - buildings of exceptional interest (approximately 2 per cent of all listed buildings); II* - particularly important and more than special interest (approximately four per cent); and II.- buildings of special interest. The requirement for listed building consent is the same for each grade.
The authority which decides whether to grant listed building consent is the local planning authority. If, however, the building is owned by the local planning authority, the decision falls to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the case of Grade I and Grade II* buildings, and for works to the exterior of Grade II buildings. An application for listed building consent has to provide a description of the significance of the listed building, so that the planning authority can understand the potential impact of the proposal.
In London, the borough council has to notify English Heritage of all applications for listed building consent involving Grade I and II* buildings, and of applications for the total or substantial partial demolition of Grade II buildings, of any applications relating to railway or underground stations, theatres, cinemas or bridges across the Thames, or where the authority is either the applicant or the owner of the building in question. English Heritage may give the authority directions how to deal with the application, or may leave that to the authority's discretion. National amenity societies (including the Council for British Archaeology) have to be notified by the local planning authority of applications for the demolition or partial demolition of a listed building, and can comment. The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society is an agent of the CBA, and should receive notifications from London boroughs (in practice some notify quite minor alterations, including ones to unlisted buildings in conservation areas, while other boroughs, such as Barnet, interpret 'demolition' more narrowly);
I serve on a LAMAS Committee dealing with Listed Buildings.
Appeals against the refusal of listed building consent (like appeals against the refusal of planning permission) are to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, though they are almost always delegated to an Inspector.
The policy under which planning authorities work is set out in the Government's Planning Policy Statement 5, and is "Substantial harm to or loss of a grade II listed building . . . should be exceptional. Substantial harm to or loss of . . . grade I and II* listed buildings should be wholly exceptional". The present Government wishes to replace PPS5, and all similar guidance, with a single National Planning Policy Framework.
A Conference entitled “Following finds - from site to store” was held at the Museum of London on 10th September in memory of Penny MacConnoran whom many of you will have met or heard of, for Penny was finds manager at the Museum of London (MoL) and the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC) for many years. She sadly died of cancer in July 2010. Her colleagues put on a wonderful conference in her memory and raised money for St Joseph’s Hospice.
The conference consisted of 14 sessions, mainly on finds from London, and dealt with every period from Pre-Historic (Jon Cotton), Roman (Gus Milne, Roberta Tomber, Angela Wardle & Michael Marshall, Sue Winterbottom), Saxon and Medieval (Marit Gaimster, Lynne Keys, Ian Riddler, Francis Pritchard, Beth Richardson and Jackie Kiely) up to Post-Medieval (Jacqui Pearce). Finds conservation as well as strategies for archiving were also presented at this well-attended conference.
Penny was a brilliant finds manager and is sorely missed. However it was good to see that MoL still has an active and experienced group of finds specialists. It is to be hoped that in the uncoupling of MOLA (formerly MOLAS) from the MoL and LAARC (MOLA is being set up as a separate charitable trust!) the finds specialists are not lost to access by local societies. It is important that any new strategy for LAARC makes provision for finds identification and processing expertise so that the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre continues to live up to the “research” aspect of its title.
White Bear Public House - Peter Pickering
A note of mine in the newsletter for November 2010 told members about the planning application to demolish this public house and replace it with a 5 storey building of flats above a shop. I emphasised the need for an archaeological condition on any planning permission. In fact, the application was turned down and the building remains, still with restaurant menus on it, unused and sad-looking; a board claims that it has been sold.
The White Bear is in The Burroughs conservation area, which gives it a higher degree of protection than usual. There is a portacabin on the car park belonging to the pub, and cars for sale are standing all around. This use must be without planning permission, since in March there was a planning application to regularise it which elicited 14 objections. Officers recommended the council committee to allow the application, but they turned it down, and it has now gone to appeal. The change of use would not itself require any archaeological condition, but there may well be another application in the fairly near future involving demolition, and we shall have to keep our eyes open.
The highlight of a recent holiday in the Orkneys at the end of July 2011 was the couple of days spent at the excavations at the Ness of Brodgar.
The Ness of Brodgar is an archaeological site covering 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) that has been excavated from 2003 to the present between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site near Loch of Harray, Orkney, in Scotland.
It has provided evidence of decorated stone slabs, Neolithic pottery, drains, Neolithic anthropomorphic figurines, painted walls, a massive stone wall and the foundations of up to a dozen buildings including one huge edifice of as yet unknown purpose. One building, at least, would appear to have had a stone roof. The site may have been occupied from as early as 3500 BC to the end of the Neolithic and have had a great many phases of occupation.
The excavations are run by the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, based within the Archaeology Department at Orkney College, University of the Highlands and Islands, and are manned by volunteers from all over the world. The excavation has already won Current Archaeology’s Research Project for the year 2011.
We took one of the two daily tours; we were shown the outlines of the many buildings gradually being exposed by the forty or so volunteers on site, as well as some of the finds of Neolithic pottery etc. that were coming up on a daily basis. Decorated stones were being recorded and catalogued in situ on the many walls still standing.
This excavation has the potential to change our understanding of the Neolithic in Britain. While there are a good many more years of painstaking excavation before the full results of what has been discovered can be published, what has so far emerged is the story of a flourishing society up in the far north of Great Britain who could build great stone buildings, understood drainage, painted and decorated their walls, made large and small pots. This
year’s excavation has now finished – although the daily journal is still on the web site http://www.orkneyjar.com/archaeology/nessofbrodgar/ . Do go and have a look and watch a major site emerge from the mists of the past. The dig is expected to start again in July 2012 and if planning a visit to the Orkneys don’t forget to include a visit to the Ness of Brodgar. By the way a “Ness” is a headland or promontory or cape.
A Brief Sojourn in the Faroe Islands - Emma and David Robinson
In August we visited the Faroe Islands – partly out of curiosity; but also with a view to doing some fieldwork for a possible new research project exploring the tangible (visible) and the intangible (invisible) cultural inheritances of islands of the Nordic Fringes. In this the archaeological remains of Viking settlements and the Norse sagas and traditional ballads would be significant strands. This project would build on research in Iceland we have been involved with in the recent past.
The Faroes are best known to many through the BBC Radio Shipping forecast as in: “Attention all shipping ... gale warning to shipping Fair Isle, Faroes and Southeast Iceland westerly gale force 8 expected soon, increasing storm force 10 later”. The islands lie some 190 miles NE from the north of the Shetlands. For early travellers by sea it was often a challenge to locate them due to mist and gale-force winds ... and often impossible to land due to heavy seas and few sheltered harbours.
Our interest in visiting the Faroe Islands increased further when we read that the National Geographic conducted a survey of sustainable tourism in 2007 and rated them top of a list of the most unspoilt islands. Their summary is given below. It was also clear that we would need to prepare for our trip carefully.
"Superb glaciated landscape with incredibly steep slopes. Only a small amount of flat land. A unified local community, resolutely Faroese not Danish, with its own language. It has a unique architectural heritage, right down to the grass roofs, quite rightly preserved and cherished. Tourists are adventurous and well informed."
Geologically the Faroes are of volcanic origin and substantially of basalt. They are much older than Iceland and there is virtually no seismic activity. They lie in the Gulf Stream with a typical temperature range of between 3 C. in winter and 11 C. in summer. There are few days of frost and few when it does not rain at least to some degree. The dominant characteristics are the steep cliffs with abundant birdlife. Cultivation for agriculture of the little flat land there is has always been a challenge. But the reality is that these 18 windswept volcanic islands are quite extraordinary. It is a world of wild and austere beauty where clear streams cascade down the slopes – softened by the bright colours of the houses which often still have turf roofs..
Politically the Faroes has been a self-governing dependency within the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. Interestingly, whilst Denmark is in the EU – the Faroes are not. Some areas of government remain the responsibility of Denmark, including military defence, police, justice and foreign affairs. Whilst not wishing to dwell on political history, this is very important in terms of their cultural inheritances and identity today.
Like Iceland the Faroes were first settled by Irish monks in the 5th / 6th centuries. However, they were settled by the Vikings or Norsemen in the 8th / 9th centuries, some time before Iceland, and even now the names of their old settlements often carry the suffix of Vik. The Norsemen brought their Nordic language which has evolved into the Faroese language spoken today – but this was only written down in the 19th C.
The only Norse saga directly relevant to the Faroes is The Faereyinga Saga. This recounts the stories of the emigrants who settled on the islands around the end of the 9th century. But the Faroes also retains its unique Nordic Faroese dance tradition – a chain dance which is performed to ballads retelling the stories of the islands.
In this short piece it is difficult to give more than a few words about our explorations. We visited most of the major islands with the exception of the most southerly, Suduroy. Torshavn might be the smallest and most northerly capital city in the world, but it is a veritable metropolis compared to other larger regional settlements. Until recently many settlements were only accessible by sea, or by often precarious tracks hanging onto the sides of steep slopes – but most islands and larger settlements are now linked by tunnels through the rocks or by bridges which have done much to facilitate communication. The economy relies heavily on fish and fish farming – but a majority of families also still own sheep and geese and rely on their potato and vegetable plots.
Highlights of our visit included: Tinganes in Torshavn Harbour where the main assembly or Ting met every summer; Kirkjubour with its St Magnus Cathedral and arguably the oldest wooden house in Europe; excavated Viking settlements such as that at Kvivik; the impressive recently opened national museum which tells the story of the islands with great insight and sympathy; and, perhaps we should also add by way of contrast, our visit to the remote northern isles. We were lucky to be able to take a trip round a small island called Nolsoy in a traditional wooden sailing sloop – a fascinating experience. We returned to Nolsoy to a cultural festival with a strong local flavour. The religious revival meeting conducted by the Salvation Army to traditional tunes in the beer tent was notable!
In our explorations we must express our gratitude to the Faroese travel agency, Greengates Incoming, who made all our travel arrangements with great flair and ensured that we got to most of the places we wished to see. We are also very grateful to Samal Blahamar - the owner of Tora Travel – who seemed to know almost everyone and went out of his way to explain cultural nuances which would have otherwise passed us by.
Finally, we are grateful to Jorleif Kurberg - a retired lecturer in English from the Technical College - for hosting a dinner in his home and taking us to see some places of particular interest in the locality of Torshavn.
Getting to the Faroes from north London is now very easy from May to October. We took advantage of the new direct Atlantic Airways flights from Stansted (c. two hours). The Stansted Express Coaches also conveniently stop at Golders Green. We would commend a visit to you all – with careful planning this should not be beyond the scope of most intrepid HADAS members.
We found the following two easily available books very helpful:
Proctor, J., (2008). Faroe Islands. Chalfont St Peter: Bradt Travel Guides.
Kjorsvik Schei, L & Morberg, G. (2003). The Faroe Islands. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd.
Here are a couple of photographs taken at last month's memorable event
Chatham Dockyard Visit - June Porges
Stewart and I were very pleased to read in last month’s Newsletter that people had enjoyed the outing to Chatham. However I must confess that I, having already visited the air raid shelters and having experienced being put to bed in one regularly during the Manchester blitz, took Don’s alternative option and went on the river cruise instead. I must therefore apologise that the write-up was not by me, but by our indefatigable Jo and Jim Nelhams who do so much to make all our expeditions enjoyable. Thanks to both!
Wednesday 5th October 5pm. British Archaeological Association. Society of Antiquities, Burlington House, Piccadilly W 1. Birkbeck training excavations in Syon Park: The Bridgettine Abbey and the formal gardens of Syon House. Talk by Harvey Sheldon (HADAS President). Tea 4.30pm.
Wednesday 5th October 8pm. Stanmore and Harrow Historical Society. Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High Street Wealdstone. Lancelot Andrews: main translator of the King James Bible. Talk by Jo & John Brewster. Visitors £1.
Thursday 6th October 10.30-12 noon. Mill Hill Library, Hartley Avenue NW7. The Battle of Barnet: Myths, Legends and Location, Location, Location. Free Talk.
Thursday 6th October. 8pm. Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. Smoke, Soot & Steam: The early days of London's Metropolitan Railway. Talk by David Burnell. Visitors £2. Monday 10th October 3pm. Barnet and District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite museum). Coffee Houses, coffee shops, coffee stalls, coffee bars. Talk by Marlene McAndrew. Tuesday 11th October 2-3pm. Harrow Museum, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. London Transport Posters: a century of Graphic Design. Talk by Oliver Green (LT Museum). Cost £3.
Wednesday 12th October 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society. Wilberforce Centre, St Paul's Church, The Ridgeway NW7. A Walk around Hatton Garden and Leather Lane. Talk by Pat Clarke.
Wednesday 12th October 7.45pm. Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church Hall, corner of Ferme Park Road, Weston Park N3. A History of Highgate. Talk by Stephen Denford. Visitors £2. Refreshments, sales and information 7.30.
Friday 14th October 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction of Chase Side, Enfield. Happisburgh Prehistoric Site. Talk by Dr Nick Ashton (BM). Visitors £1. Refreshments, sales and information 7.30.
Saturday 15th October 10am-1pm. LAMAS. Clore Learning Centre, MOL, London Wall EC2. Guide to 1911 Census for Local Historians. Details on page 5 of September Newsletter.
Sunday 16th October 2pm. Finchley Society. Guided walk along Church Path and other back streets of North Finchley and Whetstone. Meet at the entrance to the Lodge Lane Car Park to go as far as Swan Lane Open Space (near the High Road), and walk back along Woodside Avenue that has some interesting buildings. Less than 2 miles. Led by Derek Warren.
Monday 17th October 8.15pm. Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society. St Martin's Church Hall, Eastcote Road, Ruislip. Reservoir to Lido: 200 years of history. Talk by Eileen Bowlt. Visitors £2. Wednesday 19th October 7.30pm. Willesden Local History Society. Scout House, High Road (corner of Strode Rd) NW6. McVities Past History and Busy Present. Talk by Tom Culyer.
Wednesday 19th 8pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction of Chase Side, Enfield. WWI - aspects of the Home Front. Talk by David Green. Visitors £1. Also Saturday 29th October 10am-4.30pm. EHHS Day Conference at Jubilee Hall.
Wednesday 19th October 8pm. Islington Archaeology and History Society. Islington Town Hall, Upper Street N1. Islington's Green Plaque Scheme. Talk by Allie Dillon (Islington Local History Centre). Thursday 20th October 7.30pm. Camden History Society. Charlie Ratchford Centre, Belmont Street NW1 (off Chalk Farm Road opposite Roundhouse). The bricks that built Victorian London. Talk by Peter Hounsell.
Friday 21st October 7pm. COLAS. St Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. A Hidden Landscape Revealed: excavations at Syon. Bob Cowie. (MOLA). £2.
Friday 21st October 7.30pm. Wembley History Society. St Andrew's Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury NW9. Some forgotten short films of WW2. Talk by David Hughes. Visitors £2. Refreshments in interval. Tuesday 25th October 10.30am. Enfield Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction of Chase Side, Enfield. A touch of glass (Historical aerial photography from 1900 onwards) including pictures taken from the Tiger & Puss Moth aircrafts. Gary Lakin.
Tuesday 25th October 2-3pm. Harrow Museum, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. Harrow in the days of Guy Fawkes. Talk by Narinder Mudhar. Cost £3.
Wednesday 26th October 7.45pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. St John's Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Station), Friern Barnet Lane N20. The Geology of Friern Barnet. Talk by Stephen Kranse. Non-Members £2.
Thursday 27th October 8pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Rd N3. Finchley Society: Its first 40 years. Jean Scott Memorial Lecture by David Smith (Chairman). Non Members £2.