No.  553                                        APRIL 2017             Edited by Peter Pickering

HADAS DIARY - Forthcoming Lectures and Events.

Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8pm, with coffee/tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members: £1. Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central station (Northern Line), is a 5-10 minute walk away.   Tuesday 11th April 2017: Where Moses Stood  A Talk by Robert Feather

‘Where Moses Stood’ is the subject of a power point presentation, relating the culmination of intense research and four years exploration in the Sinai Desert. It describes what is claimed to be the real story of the progression of the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land; the exact location of Mount Sinai - the place of the giving of the Ten Commandments; the remains of part of The Tabernacle; the Copper Snake Moses used to ward off poisonous serpents; the 2,600-year-old bones of the scapegoat used to carry off the sins of the people into the desert; and ………a sacred item once carried in the Ark of the Covenant.   

Robert Feather trained as a metallurgist and has written a number of books on history, archaeology, and Middle Eastern subjects.    

Tuesday 9th May 2017 The Cheapside Hoard – Hazel Forsyth

Tuesday 13th June 2017 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Monday September 25th to Friday September 29th. 2017 HADAS trip to Frodsham Tuesday 10th October 2017 The Curtain Playhouse Excavations, – Heather Knight, MOLA Tuesday 14th November 2017 - The Battle of Barnet Project – Sam Wilson.

February Lecture Report-   London Ceramics at the Time of the Great Fire By Jacqui Pearce FSA                                                             Report by Deirdre Barrie

Our speaker was Jacqui Pearce, Pottery Specialist for Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA)). She set the scene with the turbulent events of the 17th century: civil war, the execution of the king, the Great Plague and the Great Fire.

Ceramics experts have a virtual snapshot of what ceramics were in the homes and inns of London on 1st September 1666. This is because all the cesspits (great sources of archaeological finds) were sealed by the debris of the Great Fire on the 2nd. (Pepys wrote a near journalistic account of the Fire in his Diary.)

Pottery imports found in London are often shown in 17th century still life paintings by artists in the Low Countries; Jacqui made good use of such art in her slides, (e.g. ‘Still Life with Fish’ by Wallerant Vaillant).

For food preparation, there were cauldrons with two hollow handles (so the cook’s hands did not get burnt); pipkins with one handle and maybe a lid for slow cookery, and small dishes, say for something with eggs. Chafing dishes kept food warm, with coals in the base and a lid, or you could put a pewter plate on top. Skillets were like frying pans; porringers were bowls with one handle to spoon things out of. Items for the table included salts (open dishes for salt), mustard pots and flower vases – these last were for middle class society.

Posset pots had a hollow handle through which you sucked the fluid. Posset does not sound very appetising – it was milk curdled with wine or ale, and sometimes spiced. Flasks for wine could be set in wicker containers (rather like the old-style Chianti bottles we remember).

For serving up there were platters - shallow plates. In the late 16th century ceramic and pewter was used instead of the old wooden trenchers. Chargers were huge plates for display, to sit on a side table or cover an empty hearth. In 2012 one such was found in a Southwark ditch.

Items for heating and lighting included ceramic candlesticks, and fuming pots for banishing nasty smells, then thought to be a cause of disease.

Among the miscellaneous items found were round moneyboxes, associated with theatres (hence the term ‘box office’); watering pots for flowers, and bird pots, which you put on the side of the house for sparrows – then you ate the young. Large ceramic dishes with concentric rings were for putting on the ground and feeding chickens. Novelty items included a puzzle jug with lots of holes, and a cat-shaped jug.

What did it all look like? Where did it come from? London ware (jugs etc.) was red. Surrey/Hampshire ware often had yellow or green glazes, and the main centre for its manufacture was Farnborough. A German potter moved to the area, and brought new ideas and techniques.

Slipware had a pattern poured on to the unbaked pottery, or ‘iced’ on. Metropolitan Ware came from Harlow in Essex, and Staffordshire slipware is white with red decoration. When wet, the clay with its two colours was combed with a feather to give an attractive ferny pattern. Some plates had a ‘piecrust’ ridged edging. Such plates are occasionally dated and one of the Museum of London’s early such finds says ‘1630’ in big letters.

Imports included North German Weser ware and white wares from North Italy, which may have been desirable for their fluted patterns and clean purity. But Ligurian majolica could have colourful, even garish, decoration of leaves, fruit or animals. Polychrome vessels were coloured and decorated with geometric patterns of, say, pomegranates or tulips.

White tinglazed vessels were used for sack (white wine) and also for medical drugs. Imported Dutch blue and white ware often showed Chinese influence, for in the mid-17th century Chinese porcelain was coming in via Portugal and the Netherlands. Such items were found in pothouses in Southwark.

Drink came in jugs of local red ware. There were copies of Bellarmine or Bartmann jugs, with their big round bodies and bearded faces on the stem. (These were sometimes used in apotropaic magic as ‘witch bottles.’)

Beer was served in brown Essex ware, but black vessels were popular during the Commonwealth. (A pub during the Commonwealth must all in all have been a sombre place.)

With the return of Charles II, vessels took on a religious and patriotic tone, with portraits of the king, and the words ‘KING’ and ‘GOD’ featured in large letters. The first coffee house, ‘The Jampot’, where coffee was drunk from bowls, opened in 1652. The remains of the big imported storage jars for coffee are occasionally confused with Roman amphorae.

More personal ceramic objects included ceramic bedpans and vessels for a close-stool. Chamberpots are often found in cesspits – dropped there by accident. In Spitalfields 96 were retrieved from only one site!

Early Ceramic Clay Pipes.                                                                                       Don Cooper

On a recent trip we visited the Archaeological Museum in Mazatlán in Mexico. Mazatlán is on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Sinaloa. The Archaeological Museum is small but has about 500 ceramic artefacts from pre-Spanish cultures, mostly Aztec.

One of the surprises for me was clay pipes. As you can see the dates on the first exhibit represent a wide range (1200 to 1531AD).



These pipes showed no obvious signs of having been smoked and there was no indication of the specific site they came from. The curator said that they had come the southern part of the state.  The three in the photo above are ornate and suggest that there was a considerable typology involved. What was being smoked I couldn’t establish but I suspect it was tobacco.

It seems that before the Spanish conquistadors came there was an industry making a variety of pipes which perhaps indicates that a considerable number of the population smoked.

And then pipe smoking and manufacture came to Europe…….

Jane Austen and Canals – continued                                                             Liz Tucker

In my summary of our boat trip from Bath, I made the flippant remark that I could find no reference to canals in Jane Austen’s novels.

Subsequently, I read David Nokes’ biography, where he states that she went for walks along the canal with her uncle, when her family first moved to Bath in 1801. The canal did not open until 1810, by which time she had left the city, but construction began in 1789, so maybe she walked along the partcompleted route, admiring the brawny navvies digging it out.

When I checked a few websites, I found that she had written in a letter ‘my long-planned walk to the Cassoon’ – the caisson lock at Coombe Hay, on the Somerset Coal Canal, which led into the Kennet and Avon.

The websites I looked at were ‘Jane Austen in the Age of Steam’, and ‘Down the Kennet and Avon Canal with Jane Austen’. I should be interested to have more information!

Rail Sightings                                                                                       by Andy Simpson

The good thing about our HADAS weeks away is the sheer variety of interests covered, and sometimes the chance to nip off to follow personal interests – as regular trip participants are only too aware in my case, whether it be railways or bus museums!

A case in point was our visit to Bristol for Brunel’s magnificent steamship, SS Great Britain. Bristol Harbour is a familiar haunt for me, and when we all spilled off the coach by the Great Britain, I looked down the harbour side and sure enough a distant wisp of steam a half-mile or so away indicated something was afoot on the short Bristol Harbour Railway at Princes Wharf/Wapping Wharf, even on a weekday, so I ‘made my excuses and left’. Only in Bristol can you actually take regular rides on a dockside steam railway at the heart of a modern city, just one mile west of Bristol Temple Meads station!

It transpired that resident 0-6-0 Saddle tank ‘Portbury’, built in 1917 by Bristol makers Avonside Engine Co Ltd  for the Inland Waterways and Docks Board as their No.34, and currently bearing their original livery, had been steamed specially to shunt fellow railway resident  0-6-0 tank ‘Henbury’, also built in Bristol by Thomas Peckett & Sons in 1937, for a boiler lift as part of her overhaul back to working order. Fortified by a sausage sandwich from my favourite harbourside café, a couple of hours were spent watching some gentle shunting before Henbury’s cab and boiler were lifted by one of the four still-operational dockside cranes outside the ‘M Shed’ industrial and social museum – always worth a visit. After sale to the Bristol Corporation Docks Committee in about 1920, Portbury (and Henbury) worked the Bristol docks lines until 1964 when they were happily set aside for preservation at the former Bristol Industrial Museum. And at the rail crossing giving access to Claverton pumping station later in the week, Jon Baldwin was also distracted by the odd passing class 66, or ‘Sheds’ as they are lovingly known to the enthusiast fraternity…


And the distractions just kept coming! Having had a good look around Wells Museum, it was off to track down the remaining traces of the railways of Wells – from three lines and stations to not a yard of track by 1969. At least Wells (Tucker Street) goods shed survives in good condition as just about the only visible relic following its closure in 1963.

Current Archaeology Conference                                                                 Peter Pickering

Once more I spent a recent weekend at the Annual Conference of Current Archaeology (this year celebrating its fiftieth anniversary). Very well attended by the magazine’s subscribers from all over the country - remarkably few from London. Here are some of the highlights.

Michael Walsh of Cotswold Archaeology talked about the wreck of HMS London in the Thames estuary off Southend. HMS London was the flagship of both the Commonwealth and the Restoration navies, and went down when on the way to fight the Dutch. Finds include cannon, timbers, small weapons, a personal sundial and lots of clay pipes. Was smoking on board near quantities of gunpowder a good idea - and was it in any way connected with the explosion that did for the ship? Digging trenches in the sea-bed 25 metres down with ships passing overhead sounded an uncomfortable form of archaeology, but the rewards have been great.

There were two papers relating to writing. Roger Tomlin described with enthusiasm several of the

Roman writing tablets found in advance of the construction of a building for Bloomberg (formerly Bucklersbury House of Mithras fame). And Matthew Champion told us about the fast-growing number of graffiti found in churches (over 6,000 in Norwich Cathedral alone) and in other buildings as well (remember those we saw in the Bradford-on-Avon barn?). There are, it appears, many drawings of demons, but only one has yet been found that may be of an angel. Animals drawn seem all connected with hunting - there are none of sheep, cows or pigs. Ships remain very frequent - even in churches far from the sea.

What was most striking about the papers was the number which described the revisiting of old excavations. HADAS must have started a trend with what we have done with Ted Sammes’ dig. Roberta Gilchrist has been going over a century of scantily published (but well archived) investigations at Glastonbury Abbey. Richard Bradley has re-excavated a Scottish stone circle (Croft Moraig), and Colin Haselgrove the Iron Age site at Stanwick (Queen Cartimandua’s capital?); Martin Millett and

Rose Ferraby have worked on Aldborough (Isurium Brigantum), and Paul Booth on Dorchester-onThames. To generalise wildly, it appears that earlier excavations were done competently and archived well, if not fully published, but that modern techniques (geophysics; vastly improved radio-carbon dating; photography by drones) enable much more information to be elicited. And of course interpretations have changed - Stanwick, for instance, was originally dug by Mortimer Wheeler who often saw things in a military way (remember how he thought he had found the Britons who died defending Maiden Castle against the Roman invaders.)

There were also accounts of dramatic new digs - Great Ryburgh with its coffin burials, an Iron Age settlement in Dorset, Little Carlton in Lincolnshire with lots of coins, styli and bells, and the remarkable Must Farm in the fens, showing how much stuff Bronze Age people owned. For those who prefer their archaeology gruesome, there was a study of bog burials and the horrible end these people came to; a higgledy-piggledy mass grave in Gloucester (victims of the late second-century plague?); and the rather more orderly burials of seventeenth century plague victims found during the Crossrail construction.

            The final talk was an enthusiastic presentation of the successes of the Portable Antiquities Scheme by Kevin Leahy; he emphasised in particular how metal detectors often got there before deep ploughing destroyed previously unknown sites for ever.

Further archaeological watching brief work at RAFM Pt. 2                 Andy Simpson

On Monday 20 February 2017, site manager Steve Johnson reported a further spread of material exposed during turf stripping of the former ‘Helicopter Landing Area’ at the western edge of the Hendon site. The turf has now mostly been removed for expansion of the car parking area during ongoing site landscaping work funded by the HLF.

The Curator of Aircraft made a visual inspection and walked the newly exposed area in an approximate grid pattern.  Conditions were fine and dry.

A further small selection of post-medieval material was made. The greatest spread of material was at the southern end of the exposed area closer to a pathway to the former pedestrian entrance.

These included a further single small piece of clay pipe stem; body fragments of ribbed stoneware jar; a fragment of blue glass poison/medicine bottle; wire-reinforced window glass; blue transfer-printed  earthenware and china, including plate rim, and tile; a one pound coin dated 1990 (probably lost in the former picnic tables area) ; fragments of white glass jar; one complete white glass jar with moulded ‘Pond’s England’  on the base, presumed to be for Pond’s Face Cream; and a complete glass jar, possibly for writing ink.

Items noted but not retained included quantities of red brick fragments and domestic ‘bathroom’ tile, along with the ash/clinker filled cuts of more modern field drains cut into the natural clay, which lies close to the surface below the turf line and some clay subsoil.

This material is comparable to that found near Hangar One during the initial site watching carried out on 6th February, previously reported. It certainly supports the notion that considerable areas of dumping of modern, twentieth century material has occurred on parts of the site as the result of demolition, and there could be redeposited Blitz rubble. The few fragments of clay pipe stem – now four in all – are the only potentially pre-c.1850 items, suggesting little historic activity in the immediate area, which would be logical bearing in mind it was largely pasture land until the creation of the airfield.

Further material, mostly mid-twentieth century glassware, was recovered by the contractors on 22nd February and kindly passed on for assessment. This included two horseshoes, identified by horseowning archives Curator Belinda Day as one for a shire horse or similar heavy breed, and a smaller ‘standard breed’ example – which is slightly bent, indicating it may have come off in an accident.

Further to the mention in the previous report of the November 1992 watching brief by MOLAS on the adjacent site of the then-new Divisional Police Station/Area Headquarters (GPW92, TQ2193 9011, c. 50m above OD), the evaluation took place over two weeks, and five trenches were excavated in shallow spits through 30cm of topsoil and black cinders- possibly a make-up layer -  (again comparable to the RAFM site) down to the surface of the natural London Clay; land drains in cinder and gravel fills similar to those found at the museum site in 2017 and a few sherds of 19th-20th century pottery, mainly blue and white china – as found at the museum site -  a single sherd of tin-glazed ware (TGW, possibly 18th century in date) and a single clay pipe stem were recovered; landscaping and truncation during and after the life and closure of the aerodrome may have led to destruction of any earlier features, and this may be the case at the Museum site also.

It would appear that this area, and much of the Manor of Hendon (held by Westminster Abbey), was heavily wooded in medieval times, with settlement on these low-lying claylands limited to isolated farms and the occasional small hamlet. By the mid eighteenth century with the removal of the woodlands the area was open fields, in use for both some arable and (mainly) meadow/pasture, the latter for sheep and cattle, with haymaking an important industry to feed the horses of London via Cumberland Market in London, the fields being manured by material coming in the opposite direction from London!

By 1780 the fields beneath the future aerodrome were held by the Broadhead family of Church Farm at Hendon Church End (latterly the former and much lamented Church Farm Museum, housed in the original seventeenth-century farmhouse, which still stands), who still held them in 1843.

In 1869, the then-480-acre Church Farm was acquired under lease by Andrew Dunlop; background can be found at

Andrew Renwick points out that the freehold was owned by Lt Col Theodore Francis Brinckman, from whom local aviation pioneers Everett and Edgcumbe & Co Ltd negotiated a lease, along with two other local landowners. They were then given permission to clear the land and erect a shed to house their new (and unsuccessful) monoplane; this work may have started late 1909 but had certainly started by February 1910. The new The London Aerodrome Company Limited leased and cleared more land later in 1910, the uncompleted flying ground opening on 1st October 1910. The perhaps better-known Claude Grahame-White doesn’t enter the local scene as an aircraft builder and operator until 1911.

Colindale had begun to build up in the early 1890s, and, after felling trees and clearing ground/hedges in what was then pasture land, preparation of the airfield commenced as mentioned above, some 700 metres west of the settlement at Hendon Church End with its Roman and Saxon/medieval history lying on an area of free-draining gravels.

Church Farm was a dairy and haymaking farm until the first half of the twentieth century, and also bred Clydesdale Horses - heavy plough horses. Perhaps the shire horse horseshoe found is an echo of this?

See;  Grahame Park Way, Hendon London Borough of Barnet An Archaeological Evaluation Museum of London Archaeology Service January 1993

See also; Aerodrome Road, Hendon London Borough of Barnet Archaeological Desktop Report  Oxford Archaeological Unit November 1996

The Last Hendon Farm     The archaeology and history of Church End Farm      Hendon and District Archaeological Society

To The Manor Born Five Good Reasons To Visit Hendon  The Fascinating History of Hendon  Greyhound Inn, Hendon August 1996


A Near Miss for HADAS?                                                                                          Bob Michel

Had the society visited Bradford on Avon a few months earlier, they would have doubtless been in a state of shock and awe as they witnessed the skirmish on the bridge mentioned by Micky. OK not the actual skirmish but an authentic and thrilling re-enactment by Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foote, being a Royalist regiment of the English Civil War Society (new recruits warmly welcomed). Who? Well think of the Sealed Knot, only better. As you can see from the photograph, those who saw our efforts must have felt that they had been transported back in time! And giving practical effect to Micky’s reference to the former chapel on the bridge, we made good use of the lock-up to secure the rebels’ dastardly officer on his surrender to superior forces. Another victory for His Majesty, ‘Huzzah’, although things didn't turn out so well for him in the end of course. Incidentally, your correspondent is the kneeling musketeer, second from the left, in the oddly dyed jacket.

Photo credit: Helen Spence, Rawdon’s Regiment.


Long Barrows Back in Fashion after 5000 Years!                                          Stewart Wild

A friend of mine, knowing my interest in archaeology and anything underground, has sent me details of a new development just a couple of miles from where he lives in southwest Cambridgeshire.  Willow Row Barrow in Hail Weston is a hand-crafted stone burial mound built as a resting place for cremation ashes and is thought to be the first one to be built in the county for over 4,500 years.

This is the second such barrow in England; the first was built in 2014 outside the village of All

Cannings, near Devizes in Wiltshire, and was the idea of Tim Daw, a local farmer and steward at Stonehenge.  It was designed and built by Martin Fildes, stonemason Geraint Davies and others at a cost of £200,000.  After receiving considerable media coverage it was fully subscribed in eighteen months.  Details and pictures may be seen at

Encouraged by the success in Wiltshire, the team behind the construction, now a company called Sacred Stones, has built the second one in Cambridgeshire, close to St Neots.  Local folk were invited to visit on an Open Day, and my friend says he was impressed by the level of craftsmanship. 

The past inspires the future

The mound has been built by a team of master stonemasons using stones on top of natural stone just like the dry-stone walling technique.  The circular structure is covered with earth and has a natural material matting on top to protect it and as a base for wild flowers.  The stone-fronted entrance looks like a modern-day Fred Flintstone cave house.

Inside there is no natural or electric light; the interior is lit with candles alone.  The circular chamber is eleven metres wide and eight metres high with an impressive central circular stone corbelled roof.  The barrow is built of limestone that came from Buckinghamshire.  A team of six to eight craftsmen took six months to complete the structure.

The burial ashes are to be placed in ‘pigeon-holes’ which are effectively stone shelves with compartments for urns – there are also some circular holes where ashes are rolled up into felt pouches and put inside.  There is space for 345 ‘customers’ in what is definitely a niche market!

Similar barrows are planned in Herefordshire and Shropshire and other counties too.  Further information and pictures may be found at

Other Societies' Events                                                                                 Eric Morgan

Thursday 20th April. 7.30pm. Camden History Society. Burgh House, New End Square. NW3 1ET.  The search for Eleanor Palmer (d. 1558), benefactress of Kentish Town. Talk by Caroline Barron. Visitors £1.

Friday 21st April. 7pm. City of London Archaeological Society. St Olave’s Church Hall, Mark Lane EC3R 7BB  Excavations at 100 Minories. Talk by Guy Hunt. Visitors £3. Refreshments after.

Thursday 27th April. 10.30am. Mill Hill Historical Society Visit to the Worshipful Company of Drapers. Meet at Drapers Hall, Throgmorton Avenue EC2N 2DG for a guided tour and learn about their history and the work they carry out. Book by Tuesday 11th April. Cost £6. Cheque (payable to Mill Hill Historical Society) and S.A.E to Julia Haynes, 38 Marion Road Mill Hill London NW7 4AN. Contact Julia Haynes on 020-8906 0563 or email giving email address or name and telephone number and the number of places requested.

Thursday 27th April. 8pm. Finchley Society. Avenue House 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE.  The Regents Canal and its History. Talk by Roger Squires. Visitors £2.

Thursday 4th May. 8pm. Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park, Pinner HA5 1AB. Bells and Baldrics. Talk by Tony Adamson (A history of Morris dancing from a Morris Man). Preceded by AGM. Visitors £3.

Sunday 7th May. 2.30pm. Heath and Hampstead Society. Meet in Hampstead Lane N6 by entrance to Kenwood walled garden and stables (210 bus stop Compton Avenue/Kenwood House). Athlone House, Cohens Fields and the Upper Highgate Ponds. Walk led by Thomas Radice. Lasts approx. 2 hours. Donation £5.

Monday 8th May. 3pm.  Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite museum). The Hunting of Hepzibah. Talk by Jim Nelhams (HADAS Treasurer). Visitors £2. 

Wednesday 10th May. 7.45pm. Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church Hall, corner Ferme Park Road/Weston Park N8 9PX. Aeronautical happenings in London’s Lea Valley. Talk by Dr Jim Lewis. Visitors £2. Refreshments, sales and information from 7.30pm.

Thursday 11th May. 7pm. London Archaeologist. Institute of Archaeology 31-4 Gordon Square WC1. AGM and Annual Lecture. An important Roman period site in the City recently excavated by Pre-Construct Archaeology. Neil Hawkins.

Saturday 13th May. 2pm. Enfield Society Historic Buildings Group. Guided Heritage walk round the Clay Hill area. Meet outside St John the Baptist church (W10 bus, from outside Enfield

Town Post Office in Church Street at 1.25pm). Walk ends at Stratton Avenue (W10 bus back to Enfield Town at c.3.45pm or 191 from stop by Forty Hill roundabout). For free tickets send contact details with S.A.E to Clay Hill Heritage Walk, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane Enfield EN2 0AJ stating how many tickets (maximum 4), or for email tickets email

Monday 15th May. 8pm. Enfield Society Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction Chase Side,

Enfield EN2 0AJ. London’s Railway Termini - Part 2, South-west. Talk by Roger Elkin, covering Paddington, Victoria, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Cannon Street and London Bridge.

Wednesday 17th May. 7.30pm.  Willesden Local History Society. St Mary’s Church Hall Neasden Lane NW10 2TS (near Magistrates’ court). Retail Reminiscences. Talks given by Society members about shopping locally in Willesden high streets before supermarkets.

Wednesday 17th May. 8pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ. A Child’s War - Growing up in WW2 Talk by Mike Brown.

Thursday 18th May. 10.30am. Finchley Society. Visit to the London Canal Museum and Boat Trip on the Regent’s Canal. Meet at the Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, King’s Cross N1 9RT. Cost £10 (pay in advance) including tea/coffee and refreshments on arrival and an hour’s boat trip along the canal and an introduction to the Museum. 24 places available. Contact Rosemary Coates on 020-8368 1620 or

Friday 19th May. 7.30pm. Wembley History Society.  English Martyrs’ Hall, Chalkhill Road, Wembley HA9 9EW (top of Blackbird Hill, adjacent to church) Spitalfields - a Village of change. Talk by Colin Oakes. Visitors £3. Tea/coffee 50p in interval.

Friday 19th May. 7pm. City of London Archaeological Society. St Olave’s Church Hall, Mark Lane EC3R 7BB  Ancient Merv - a forgotten city on the silk roads of Central Asia. Talk by Tim Williams (Institute of Archaeology). Visitors £3. Refreshments after.

Tuesday 23rd May 10.35am. Mill Hill Historical Society Visit to Middle Temple including walking tour and option for lunch. Meet at Temple tube station for a short walk past 2 Temple Place and into the grounds of Middle Temple. Cost £8 for tour; plus £30 (£35 with wine) for lunch in Middle Temple Hall. Also optional visit after lunch to Temple Church (£3). Booking instructions as for 27th April visit above.

Wednesday 24th May. 7.45pm. Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane N20 0NL.   Holidays by Rail Talk by David Berguer. Preceded by AGM. Visitors £2. Refreshments and bar before and after.