newsletter-072-february-1977

Newsletter

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We hope this Newsletter of will reach most members in time to remind them of the February lecture there but it is always rather a hustle when the lecture comes on the first day of the month, as it does in both February and March. Please making mental notes now that you have a date with HADAS on 1 March, also.

The February lecture, on Tuesday 1 February, will be given by Andrew Selkirk. He is, incidentally, a HADAS member, but one of his main claims to archaeological fame is as founder and editor of Current Archaeology, a monthly journal to which many HADAS members subscribe. His talk will be on "Continuity or Change -- a fresh look at Prehistoric Britain."

Meetings for the remainder of this season are as follows:


March 1 - Coinage of Pre-Roman Britain - Dr. John Kent
April 5 - Denmark - Ted Sammes
May 24 Annual General Meeting (details later)


These meetings will be at Central Library, The Burroughs at 8.15p.m.

Tuesday 8 February is a date for 100 HADAS members who have booked to attend the Pompeii Exhibition. Details were in the January newsletter.

And don't forget that, starting on 19 February and continuing until 27 March, HADAS will be staging an exhibition at Church Farm House Museum, Greyhound Hill, on Archaeology in Action. The museum is open on weekdays (not Tuesday afternoon), 10.00a.m.-12.30p.m. and 1.30p.m.-5.30p.m.; and on Sundays from 2.30 p.m. to 6.00p.m. We hope that you will all be able to drop in some time to see this demonstration of the Society's activities.

Follow-up to Pompeii

The Institute of Archaeology is a ranging a series of five lectures on Pompeii -- Life and Art in the early Roman Empire.

These will be on Mondays, from 14 February - 14 March at 6.45p.m. Each lecture will be given by a specialist in a particular field. First lecture is by a Dr Malcolm Colledge, who gave the Society an excellent talk on Pompeii last November. Subsequent speakers will be Martin Fredericken, Dr John North, Brian Caven and and Amanda Claridge. The full course, at the Institute in Golden Square, costs £2 or £0.50 pay-at-the-door for individual lectures.

Conference of London Archaeologists

The Conference will be held for the first time at the Museum of London, on Saturday 19 March. Another new feature will be its early start -- at 11.00a.m.

The first lecture on the programme, at 11.10a.m. will be of outstanding interest to HADAS, as it will be by Desmond Collins, on our own dig at West Heath. Many members may wish to attend, to hear this, the first official exposition of the site, and to see the fine slides of the dig taken by Peter Clinch. Tickets are obtainable from Miss Jenny Hall, LAMAS secretary (LAMAS members 60p, non-- members £0.80). Tickets include tea; lunch can be obtained from the Barbican Tavern, near the Museum, or there is a small "rest space" in the Museum for those who wish to bring a packed lunch.

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Other talks on the programme will be on Documents and Archaeology (Tony Dyson); Origins of Coinage in London (Dr Kent); Tower of London Excavations (Philip Walker); Work in SW London (Scott McCracken); and Excavations at Keston (Brian Philp). Local societies will show displays of their work, and HADAS will have an exhibit on West Heath.

No Mean Museum

London now has in Barbican one of the most modern museums in the world; and, more to the point, one of the most exhilarating and stimulating. A visit to the new Museum of London is a must for anyone with the slightest interest in the history of the City or of Greater London.

One visit, indeed, will not suffice: it may even take a week of visits to see it properly. The first time I went I never got beyond the displays on Roman London, beguiling as they are. A mock-up of a Roman kitchen, looking so authentic that you can imagine that cook has just nipped out to pick a handful of radishes, horse-parsley or endives (all of which figure in Roman recipes) repays the closest study. So does the display of inscribed stones, many of them historic landmarks in the Archaeology of Roman Britain, like the reconstructed tombstone of Julius Classicianus, the first century procurator, which was found in two bits, one in 1852 and the other over 80 years later, in 1935. Both had been re-used in different parts of the same fourth century bastion.

The riches of two museums -- the London (until recently at Kensington Palace) and Guildhall -- have gone to make these many displays, plus much completely fresh material. So, too, has a great deal of imagination and thought. The result is a distillation of the best of both collections, excellently laid out. Parts of the Museum are open-plan, so that even as you move to study early pottery you catch, from the corner of your eye, a glimpse of the sparkling golden roof of the Lord Mayor's coach; or as you make your way towards a reconstruction of the Great Fire (complete not only with flames that flicker, rise and fall, but also roar and crackle) you can pull aside a small curtain and find yourself looking through a narrow slit into a Jacobean nursery with its carved wooden cradle.

Don't be put off by the fortress-like exterior of the Museum. It is possible to scale those apparently impregnable walls. The entrance is on the first floor, so it takes a bit of walking round at ground level to find the narrow stairway which leads up from London Wall. (BGG)

From Muscle to Steam

A report on the last HADAS lecture by Nigel Harvey.

Denis Smith, chairman of the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society, who is an engineer as well as an historian of technology, spoke on 4 January on the development of the energy conversion systems which have played so important and pervading a part in our history and have left us a unique heritage of buildings and equipment.

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The original energy sources were man -- or more probably, woman -- and animals. These sources survived in industrial use to the nineteenth century, the former turning capstans in the docks, the latter driving gins in the mills. Waterpower, operating through waterwheels, was harnessed in Roman times; windpower, operating through the windmill, in the middle ages; and the more revolutionary thermal energy, operating through the steam engine, in the eighteenth century.

Development was highly practical, much of it by rural craftsmen who were responsible for an astonishing series of technical achievements, such as the servo-mechanisms which enabled windmills to respond to changes in the strength and direction of the wind and the varied transmission systems whose scope and importance are not always fully appreciated. The famous nineteenth century Laxey water wheel in the Isle of Man, for example, drove a mine pump half a mile away, while some seventeenth century German mines depended on transmission systems 17 miles long.

London contains numerous relics of industrial history, such as the Liberty water wheel on the Wandle, the Walthamstow mill, the mid-Victorian steam engines at Thamesmead which powered the first major sewerage systems in the world and the primitive coke-fire ventilation systems of the Houses of Parliament, as well as the steam engine, still working, for pumping sewage there.

A particularly interesting group of survivals stands at New River Head -- the remains of a windmill and of the building which houses an atmospheric steam engine and also the tall narrow building which housed a beam engine. The atmospheric engine there was built by Smeaton, so the site preserves the memory of one of the pioneers of engineering research and development and the first man to describe himself as an "engineer." The lecture made clear the reason why the words engineer and ingenuity derive from the same route.

Members may be interested to know that the steam pumps which once helped to win this country is leadership in the development of pure water supplies, and are now maintained by the Kew Bridge Engines Trust, can be seen in steam at the pumping station near the bridge from 10.00a.m.-1.00p.m. and 2.00-5.00p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Bank on the Ball

Some bright spark in the Publicity Department of Lloyd's Bank has come up with a fetching idea. He (or she) has designed a poster which sells, at a stroke, both banking and Archaeology. A copy has been sent to every archaeological Society in Britain, including HADAS.

It shows a splendid giant reproduction, about 1 ft in diameter, of a bronze Centenionalis of the Emperor Constantius II (AD 337-361) -- the coin unearthed during the redevelopment of a branch of Lloyd's at Alcester, Warwickshire. When Roman finds began coming up on this site, known to lie within the area of the original Roman Town, building work was halted for two months while Warwick Museum carried out a rescue dig -- with Lloyd's heaping coals of fire on the diggers' heads by helping to finance the project.

The poster makes the point that many Lloyd's branches are situated on historic sites -- notably, at Lincoln and York where, as Peter Addyman told us last year, one of the most significant Viking sites found in Britain was discovered under the bank vaults.

Is the inference that all good archaeologists should bank at Lloyd's? One can certainly infer that the Lloyd's advertising boys don't Miss many tricks.


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Buttons but not Bows

By Christine Arnott.

We hope to have a new stall at the HADAS Minimart next month -- for remnants of material, odd balls of wool and BUTTONS. Mrs. Holliday (Elizabeth's mother) intends to put sets of buttons on cards, if possible. Please look through your stores and let her know if you can provide anything or tell the general organisers Christine Arnott or Dorothy Newbury.

The Minimart on Saturday 12 March, will be open from 10.00a.m.-12.00p.m., at its usual venue, the Henry Burden Hall, Egerton Gardens, NW4. We hope as many members as possible will come along to support it.

We also intend to widen the scope of the Home Produce stall this year, as home-made food is so popular. If we can stock the stall with home-made bread, rolls and small dishes such as lasagne or good old shepherd's pie, I am sure we shall do a roaring trade. All contributions of this kind will therefore be most welcome.

Other stalls will include books, garden, good-as-new, bric-a-brac, miscellanea (cosmetics, stationery, jewellery, unwanted gifts). Contributions to these can be brought to the February or March lectures, or can be collected if desired (ring the organisers about collection). Please let us have your offerings as soon as possible, as everything has to be sorted and priced in advance. Will members who have in the past indicated their willingness to do fund-raising, please "come to the aid of the party now" and help get together a bumper collection for this, HADAS's main fund-raising effort of the year?

Urban and Suburban History

Harrow College of Further Education, Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, is organising a one-day Local History Conference, as it has done for the past 3 years. This year the subject is "Urban and Suburban Growth." The Conference will be on Saturday 5 March, from 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. Fee, including morning coffee, lunch and tea, £3.

The morning session on Medieval towns will be led by Tom Hassall of the Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit; in the afternoon Victorian urban growth will be the subject, under the chairmanship of Dr Reeder of Leicester University. HADAS members who are interested should write to R.W. Edwards, at Harrow College.

Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale

By Bill Firth.

This is the complex of buildings, built by the Government Lymph Establishment in 1906 (probably by the Office of Works), where all vaccine for public vaccination in England and Wales was made.

The main buildings are: 1. A main office/laboratory block brackets still used as such) facing south fronting on the north side of Colindale Avenue.

2. Four animal houses sited at what are believed to be the four corners of the field in which hay was grown. These are behind (i.e. north of) the main building. They are still used as animal houses but no longer for calves. Though considerably altered inside, enough remains to enable the original layout to be discerned.

3. A large lymph preparation building sited between the southerly pair of animal houses, now used as a library.

4. Down the western boundary is an engineering block, housing a boiler with an original boiler chimney and two smaller buildings apparently used as a carpenters' shop.

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5. The northwest corner is occupied by a house, originally used by the Manager.

6. along the North Boundary, a one-storey building -- original use are known.

Over the front entrance of the main block 1906 is carved; there is an Edwardian clock face inside the main door (with modern mechanism). Built to the latest standards for hygiene and cleaning the floors are wood blocks, the walls are tiled from floor to ceiling and there is a curved coving at floor level. There are large sash windows to give maximum daylight and the interior doors are all glazed -- some with the original glazing. The corridors of wide (about 6 ft 9 in.). There's an old hoist to serve the first floor, made by Evans Lifts Ltd, London and Leicester.

The animal houses have many interesting features. Ventilation is through a duct from the ground floor through the first floor to a central roof turret. The roofs are lined (warmth for animals) and have an interesting arrangement of iron supports and wooden trusses. The windows have no mouldings -- no dust trap, easy to clean. The outside steps to the first floor have slanted rainways in them for drainage and to keep the water away from the iron railings. The floors slope to gulleys for drainage an easy washing down. It appears that there were ten calf pens in two rows of five in each house, but this needs confirmation. Two of the animal houses (on the west side) have large doors in the first storey wall equipped with hoists, presumably for raising hay for storage. There are particularly good remains of the hoist in the north-west house.

These buildings are at some risk, since there are tentative plans for redevelopment, but the present public expenditure cuts have probably postponed these. Further investigation is in hand -- both of the documentation which exists, and of how much recording is necessary.

Hon. Treasurer's Department

Several enclosures accompany this Newsletter. One is the notice of an Extraordinary General Meeting, to be held before March lecture. At this a formal resolution will be put, to raise the Society subscription to £1.50 from the start of the next financial year on 1 April. We regret very much the necessity for this; but, as members know, we have managed to hold the subscription at £1 since 1 April, 1972 -- and that has taken some doing, with rising prices! Now an increase has become essential.

Another enclosure concerns our latest publishing venture -- a booklet to coincide with the Silver Jubilee -- and how we propose to fund it. Whether or not we finally decide to publish will depend in large measure on the response we get from members. We hope therefore that you will read the enclosure sympathetically and help if you possibly can.

All Change

With this issue of the Newsletter two changes take place in its preparation and distribution. First, the Society's duplicator has been given a new home by Irene Frauchiger, who will in future run our duplicating. We thank her warmly for accepting this responsibility.

Second, our membership has risen so sharply that we decided to buy an addressing machine. Angela Fine undertook the formidable task of typing the stencils for the machine and a Raymond Lowe is housing and operating it. We would like to thank both very much for their help.

We'd also like to seize the chance of thanking one of the Newsletters "old hands" -- Harry Lawrence, who has for almost exactly four years handwritten each month a complete set of envelopes. Recently this has been a mammoth task. Harry will continue to collate and distribute the Newsletter, but we hope in the future he'll be free of a writer's cramp!

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As this is the month of the change-over, will you please check the address on your envelope in case, among over 300 addresses, one or two may contain an error? If you find a mistake, please let our Hon, Secretary know.

Field Walking Report

By Ann Trewick and Daphne Lorimer.

During December two further mornings were spent field walking -- healthy exercise, especially on Boxing Day, after all that turkey. Both walks were muddy, and one felt one was carting an extra ton around on one's Wellingtons.

However, so far as Roman Pottery is concerned, the walks had been most rewarding. Sherds, including handles and necks of Brockley Hill ware, and fragments of tegulae, or roofing tiles, were found. The latter suggest a building -- and this, of course, has interesting and exciting implications. Over 100 Roman pieces have now been discovered, most of them concentrated in one area of the same field. Fragments of many other kinds of pottery have also been collected, right through from mediaeval to modern; not to mention bones, worked stone, bits of tobacco pipe and metal objects.

The results of our field walks so far will be on show at the HADAS exhibition at Church Farm House Museum. You will perhaps be surprised to see that what variety can be found on a walk -- everything from part of a Roman flagon to a twentieth-century teaspoon from the Royal Free Hospital!

Presentation to the Book Box

On Librarian, George Ingram, has received from Irene Frauchiger two handsome new volumes. They are inscribed "Presented to HADAS in memory of Leslie Frauchiger." They are:

Recent Archaeological Excavations in Europe, edit. Rupert Bruce-Mitford, pub. Routledge Kegan Paul 1975.

Heritage of Britain, pub. by the Readers Digest, 1975.

We thank Irene very much for this generous gift, and for finding such an appropriate way to keep Leslie's memory green. George Ingram proposes to make special arrangements for lending these books which are weighty and cannot easily be brought to meetings. Any member who wishes to borrow one should contact George.

The Records on Non-Conformity

Many Nonconformist churches, chapels and meeting houses exist in our Borough and most of them must have an interesting history. The Research Committee has decided that it would be a worthwhile project to get in touch with as many as possible and collect details of their history -- how early the first records are, when the church was built, the names of important past members of the congregation and so on. We may sometimes find there is already a written history, in pamphlet form.

George Ingram has kindly volunteered to take charge of this project. If any member has material which might help him, or can provide him with details of the church from which he might obtain information, would they please let him know?

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