newsletter-071-january-1977

Newsletter

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Looking Forward

-- a seasonal occupation at New Year –-so let's envisage some of the prospects of lying ahead of HADAS in 1977.

Lectures for the rest of the season will be:

January 4 - From muscle to Steam – the Archaeology of Energy. - Denis Smith
February 1 - Continuity or change: a fresh look at Prehistoric Britain - Andrew Selkirk
March 1 - Coinage of Pre-Roman Britain - Dr. John Kent
April 5 - Denmark - Ted Sammes


To top of the programme, the Annual General Meeting will be held as usual in May -- exact date to be announced later.

All these events will take place at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4; and this brings us to a bad sign of the times. Since HADAS was founded, back in 1961, we have enjoyed free use of the Library for monthly meetings, at first through the kindness of Hendon Borough Council and later thanks to the London Borough of Barnet. From this month on, however, that arrangement ceases; in future we should pay a rental of £4.20 per lecture, with an additional small fee for the use of the Library projector.

We would like to take this opportunity of thanking the Library authorities for their generous treatment in the past; and of saying that we are sure both councillors and officials regret as much as we do that, owing to present financial problems, this much appreciated helping hand can no longer be extended to small amenity societies.

To further social events will take place in the near future:

THURSDAY 6 JANUARY. A second HADAS dinner at the Tower of London will enable members to celebrate Twelfth Night. Arrangements will be as for the December dinner; in case you mislaid your last Newsletter, here they are again:

The coach will leave the Quadrant, Hendon, and 6.15p.m. and The Refrectory, Golders Green at 6.25 and cannot be held after those times. If you are unlucky enough to miss the coach, please make your own way to the Tower -- dinner is at 7.30p.m. Members are asked to let Dorothy Newbury know in advance whether they intend to use the coach or go straight to the Tower.

Dress is informal -- but please bring suitable clothing for watching the Ceremony of the Keys in the open. During the ceremony no smoking, photography or recording are allowed.

Wine is not included in the price of dinner, but you can buy it by the glass or bottle. Hot punch at the end of the evening is included in the ticket.

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TUESDAY 8 FEBRUARY. Visit to Pompeii Exhibition, Royal Academy, 7.30p.m. No more places are available; would any member who has reserved and not yet paid £1.75 please send the money to Dorothy Newbury as soon as possible? Tickets will be sent to you. Note: no transport has been arranged for this event.

Money for the Future

Fund-raising is also on the future agenda. The next Minimart world, as announced last month, take place on Saturday 12 March at the Henry Burden Hall, Egerton Gardens, NW4 from 10.00a.m. to 12.00p.m.

The Minimart stalls will be: in Good as new (including clothes, men's women's and children's ); Good Shoes and Boots; Bric-a Brac; books; plants and garden; toys and cosmetics; home produce.

Our fund-raisers will be grateful for their help you can give. Please collect anything you can for any of the stalls; items for Home Produce (which will include jams, marmalade, jellies, chutney, pickles and wines) and for Plants and Garden will be particularly welcome. Don't forget that not only are costs escalating, but so too are HADAS's needs. We do more each year; and the more we do, the more funds we need to raise. In 1976 we bought our Gestetner duplicator and a new addressing machine. In 1977 digging equipment, surveying equipment and publication costs are three out of many calls which will be made on our reserves.

HADAS Exhibition at Church Farm House Museum

This will be another early 1977 event. From 19 February - 27 March the Society will mount one of its periodic displays at Church Farm House Museum, under the title Archaeology in Action. It is hoped to illustrate a number of different aspects of local archaeology during the last two or three years.

Many of the finds from West Heath will be shown, together with some of the excellent photographs taken at each stage of the dig by our "resident" photographer, Peter Clinch. Material from three earlier digs will also be on display -- from Alec Jeakins' site at Woodlands, Golders Green Road; from Ann Trewick's dig at St. James the Great, Friern Barnet; and from the closing stages of Ted Sammes' Church Terrace dig. None of these finds have been on show at the Museum before.

A photographic record of the parish boundary survey to date will be included; and also some of the material assembled for another project -- the Buildings Survey, carried out by a group of 30 or so members who helped to make recommendations to the Borough Planning Department about the updating of the Statutory List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest.

Industrial Archaeology, chance finds, field-walking, the survey of a burial ground at Totteridge and a "HADAS at play "section, showing social events, will also be included.

The exhibition will not only be open on weekdays but also for some six weekends. In the past we have always tried, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, to have one or two members present at the Museum to act as stewards and to answer questions about the Society and its work. We hope to do similarly with this exhibition. Committee member June Porges has kindly agreed to organise a weekend stewards rota -- so if you feel that you can spare an hour or two on any Saturday or Sunday afternoon between 19 February and 27 March inclusive, please give Mrs. Porges a ring and let her know.

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Digging Ahead Too

We can't provide precise dates at this stage for the next HADAS excavation, but you don't need a Crystal Ball to foretell that, come the summer, we shall certainly be digging again.

Arrangements have already been made, thanks to ready co-operation from the GLC, for a further dig on two sites at West Heath. One will be a short (and undoubtedly muddy) dig on the "spring" site from which come the waters of the Leg of Mutton pond. It lies about half a mile up the hill from 1976 site. We shall probably dig there for about a fortnight sometime in May, and because of conditions the number of diggers may have to be limited.

In the following month we hope to start work again on extension of the 1976 site. One object of this will be to try to find the limits of the area used by early man. We shall probably dig well into the autumn, as we did in 1976.

Not only has the GLC be most cooperative about 1977 excavation plans; we have also had helpful conversations with a representative of the Nature Conservancy, the London Natural History Society and the Heath and Old Hampstead Society. As a result it is proposed that the area excavated at the spring site should not be completely back-filled. Part of the site will be left open to form a small pond, around which it is hoped that the rich marsh vegetation which used to exist here will re-establish itself. Of recent years the site has become overgrown and many rare plants and mosses have vanished.

First Steps in Surveying

By Paddy Musgrove.

In expectation of HADAS soon acquiring its own surveyors level and levelling staff, eleven members spend two cold December Saturday mornings learning how to use of this type of equipment.

Our short course (it is hoped that it may merely be an opening salvo, with more to come) was held in Friary Park, Friern Barnet, close to an area we may one day wish to survey in earnest in our search for lost sight of the old friary or preceptory of the Order of St. John. Our ever-patient and lucid instructor, Barrie Martin, cheerfully allowed us to put his equipment at peril.

Overcome by early successes, some students eventually claimed readings correct to the nearest millimetre. In public places, we now talk casually of "temporary benchmarks," "backsights," "reduced levels," "flying levels," and even "the height of plane of collimation!" Such esoteric back chat can, however, easily be countered by asking casually: "How did you get on with the figure-work? You know, the simple addition and subtraction?"

We may not have been too good as that side of things, but we have learnt some skills that in time to come may be of use to the Society. Moreover, our appetite for surveying has been whetted -- and Mr Martin hopes that in the spring he may be able to spare some more time to assuaging it.

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Turkey and Towers

An Impressionist view of a HADAS Christmas outing with a touch of history.

Towers, round and square and nearly 1,000 years old, against a night sky in winter. Cold moonlight, picking out the black mortar lines separating the white stone blocks of which those towers were built. Between two towers the elegant pencilling of a leafless tree, etched against a faintly luminous sky. Between others, half-seen hsalf-timbered buildings, Tudor intrusions into a scene otherwise entirely Norman; and high on the upper skyline, topping a curtain wall of fully 30 ft, reminders of a later era -- Georgian houses perched on the top most level of the wall. That was the setting: a back cloth of massed centuries.

Separating curtain wall and Tudor House, between circular tower and rectangular, ran a broad cobbled way, leading from one sombre gateway to the next. In the distance rang a word of command. Then, their heavy army boots clattering on the cobbles, four smart, small soldiers with alien faces, all the way from the foothills of the Himalayas, came stamping down the centre of the pathway. An older man, clad in scarlet cloth and flat black cap straight from the pages of a Tudor manuscript led them, and another brought up the rear.

The small party halted where the Bloody Tower looks across the cobbles to the Traitor's Gate, and the staccato questions came. "Who's there?" "The Keys." "Whose keys?" "Queen Elizabeth's keys." Two questions asked every night for over 400 years; two questions answered in the same terms in 1576 when the first Elizabeth's ruled and today, when the second does: that's the continuity of English history.

HADAS stepped back into history -- a most appropriate thing for an archaeological society to do -- to celebrate its 1976 Christmas party. To start with, in the setting of a modern dining room, we had what was probably for most of us the first taste of Christmas this year -- turkey and trimmings. Then, by contrast, out we went into Medieval England for the Ceremony of the Keys. Afterwards we watched the soldiers, their quicker rat-a-tat of questions over, wheel smartly away through the second gateway and up a small hill, where trumpeters played the dying falls of the Last Post.

Then we came back into modern life, to drink cups of punch provided by attendance dressed a la mode 1976, to sing Auld Lang Syne to the accompaniment of George Ingram's flute and finally to make a warm and well-fed way home to a more everyday world.

Answer Needed

Bill Firth -- who joined HADAS last year with the specific intention of brightening up our Industrial Archaeology scene -- keeps coming up a with abstruse questions. This month he writes "a fellow industrial archaeologist wants information about the Great North Northern London Cemetery, and particularly the rail link to it. Can a member enlighten him?

If you know anything about this, please give Bill a ring and tell him.

Kiln Seminar

The London Kiln Study Group is organising another of its kiln seminars on 23/24 April next. This will be on Kilns of the Potteries and will be held at Gladstone Pottery Museum, Stoke-on-Trent. Cost of the seminar is £7, which includes tea and coffee, but not a main meal. Further details from the London Kiln Study Group, the Cuming Museum, 155 Walworth Road, SE17.

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