First, may the Newsletter which all its readers a happy and fortunate 1973? And, as an afterthought, may it suggest a New Year resolution for members? Please resolve to help this year as actively as you can on one of the Society's projects – for instance, helpers will be most welcome for the following: -
Our Programme Secretary, Liz Holliday, reports that for the remainder of this winter, as an experiment, meetings will begin at 8.00p.m. instead of a 8.15 as hitherto. The first half-hour will give members an opportunity to meet, talk and study any small exhibits which may be on show. During this time, coffee and biscuits will be served, at a price of 5p; the Committee are most grateful to Carol Norbury for offering to organise these refreshments. The lecture will start at 8.30.
January 16th. Excavations at Aldgate, 1972, and Early History of Roman London.
From 6 January to 11 February an exhibition, "The Craft of the Potter," at Church Farm House Museum. This is organised by the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, Pottery Department, but at the last moment HADAS were asked to mount a small introductory exhibit on the history of pottery making. There was no time to collect new exhibits, so we have had that to some material from the Roman Hendon exhibition. Jeremy Clynes kindly organised this, and thanks are due also to five other helpers – Christine Arnott, Freda Wilkinson, Philippa Bernard, Raymond Lowe and Ted Sammes.
Daphne Lorimer has sent this report: on 21 November Mr James Lee fascinated a disappointingly small audience with an account of his work at the GLC. It is their mammoth task to record every historic building within their boundaries, to protect threatened a buildings and to persuade the Department of the Environment to issue protection orders where necessary. It is also the function of the GLC contract division to restore and maintain historic buildings within into your seat.
Mr Lee explained on the mechanics of scheduled buildings and showed numbers of fascinating slides from the Department’s archives. Included were pictures of East Finchley’s Hawthorndene, a unique fire-proofed building which has recently been saved from demolition, Peacock’ farm and Southwark Borough High Street, whose plan is medieval and whose architecture is Georgian.
Like our own November lecture, the annual Local History Conference, sponsored at Guildhall by the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, was also much concerned with the conservation of historic buildings. John Earl, another officer of the GLC, spoke on “The urgent need to know more”, and there followed a talk by a member of the Enfield Archaeological Society on the use of plaques to mark historic buildings. This was of special interest to HADAS, in view of our forthcoming booklet on the Blue Plaques of Barnet. Finally, the Reference Librarian of Kensington, Miss Ensing, spoke on the kind of facilities that a good public library could offer to local historians. Twenty local societies provided interesting exhibits of maps, photographs and publications.
And a short report on the Society’s Christmas Party, held on December 15th at 166 Station Road, NW4: this was far better attended than a similar party held in 1971. Over 50 members came, and perhaps the most satisfying aspect was that every age group and interest in the Society was represented, from11 year old Paul Beevor (who joined, by special dispensation, on the Burroughs Gardens excavation last summer, where he proved himself a redoubtable digger) to those members of more senior years who have supported the Society through its 12 years in existence.
A word from our Hon. Treasurer: he thanks most warmly those members whose speedy and generous response to the appeal for guarantors for “The Blue Plaques of Barnet” in the November Newsletter has left him almost able to pay the printer’s bill when it comes.
A few months ago, Mr. E. Levy, of the Nether Co-ownership Housing Society Ltd., informed the Society of an old well found in the grounds of a recently-built block of flats at Norman Court, 395 Nether Street, Finchley, and asked us along to inspect it.
It is of course difficult to date wells. A large Victorian house occupied the land before the flats were built, so the well may have been associated with that house. The style of brickwork, however, suggests that it is older, and in fact the main body of the well below the dome could be any age. The well, after recording, has now been covered over prior to landscaping the grounds. (Notes contributed by Eric Grant)
Last November Rescue – of whose work for British Archaeology all members will have heard – announced that it would sponsor a weekend course on the conservation of archaeological finds. This was to be held on Dec 9/10 in the laboratories of the Institute of Archaeology in Gordon Square, and applications for places were invited.
In Golders Green Road, near its junction with Armitage Road, stands a rather unusual pillar box. It is one of the rare boxes which bear no cipher or legend of any kind and which are accordingly known as “anonymous” pillar boxes. These “anonymous” boxes were made by Andrew Handyside of Derby and cast in his Britannia Foundry. The box in Golders Green Road is one with a high posting slot and dates from the period 1879-1883. They were not erected over a longer period because it was found that the posting slot was at too high a level, and a modified variety with a lower slot replaced them.
Here are more facts about those projects we suggested earlier that you might incorporate into your New Year resolutions:
Jan 27/8, Feb ¾ at the Teahouse, top of Northway, NW11 almost beside H.G.S Institute. Work will start each day at 10 a.m., lunch break 1.00-2.30, close shop 5.30. Elevenses and tea will be available. Helpers with transport problems should ring the Hon. Sec., who will try to arrange lifts.
Recording portraits in schools, churches, hospitals, offices, etc, in the Borough of Barnet, as part of a nationwide survey. This project can be done in your own time, and over a period. New volunteers will be welcome and should get in touch with Nell Penny. Mrs. Penny would also like to hear from any member who knows of portraits wither in public or private hands in the Borough which should be recorded.
Work on this has gone on for two years. All graves up to 1900 east of the Church have been recorded, with a few exceptions; half the lower churchyard has been completed. It has now been decided to make a total survey, including tombstones dated between 1900 and today.
This will probably be at Church End, Hendon, where the area south of St, Mary’s is scheduled for council development. Members will have noticed that demolition is already well advanced.
This newsletter contains more contributions than usual from members – which is as it should be. We’d like to see the Newsletter a forum for members’ knowledge and ides. If YOU have a report, some notes or other information that might fit into the Newsletter, please send it along to the Hon. Sec. You can get a good idea of the sort of thing from the contributions in this issue by Eric Grant and William Morris.
Finally, the Committee feels members may like a full list of the Society’s membership for 1972/3 – so one is enclosed.