newsletter-086-april-1978

Newsletter

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Digging Plans, 1978

As well as the continuing West Heath excavation, HADAS hopes to mount two other digs this summer - one at Finchley, the other behind the Town Hall at Hendon. The Hendon excavation is planned for August, when trial trenches will be put down on the perimeter of the car park which lies between the Town Hall and the public gardens of The Grove. The object will be to test the area so that we shall have a better idea of whether or not a larger dig should take place before the proposed extension of the Town Hall gets under way in a year or two's time. The other excavation, also trial trenches, will we hope be in an area close to the parish church of St. Mary's-at-Finchley. This dig is dependent upon our being able to obtain permission from the owners of the site, and further details cannot be given unless and until this permission has been granted. If we are able to go ahead, it will be before the Town Hall dig starts. Paddy Musgrove will be in charge of both these digs.

The West Heath summer programme was announced in the February Newsletter, but here is a summary to jog your memory: Sat. May 6-Sun. May 21. Full fortnight's digging, 10 am-5 pm daily. June 5-l7 inclusive. Training dig for students doing London University Diploma or Certificate. Now fully booked. NO DIGGING July 8-16, nor on any Saturday on which there is an outing. Apart from the above, there will be digging every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer from May 6-0ct. 1. HADAS members will be welcome at the dig at all times, including during the training fortnight, when some trenches will be reserved for their use. Please come whenever you can, we anticipate an interesting and fruitful summer and we need all the help we can get.

THE SEASONS FIRST OUTING

Details of our visit to Dover on April 15 are enclosed with this Newsletter. We have planned quite a full day, visiting the Painted House for the second time to see the final results of Brian Philp's dig and the" conservation of the area uncovered. Don't forget to send off your application as soon as possible, as HADAS outings get booked up quickly and Dorothy Newbury operates on a first-come-first-served basis.

OTHER PROGRAMME NEWS

Excavations in S.W. London Scott McCracken Final lecture of the winter season; coffee at 8 pm, lecture 8.30.

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Mon. May 15. Annual General Meeting. Coffee, 8 pm; business meeting, 8.30. After business is completed, there will be a slide show, with commentary, on last year's Bristol weekend, and on the West Heath dig. Both these meetings are at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4. Talking of slide shows, we know that many members take camera~ with them on summer outings and other HADAS occasions. Our Programme Secretary, Dorothy Newbury, would greatly appreciate it if members would tell her when slides and/or prints they have taken have turned out well.

Please give her a ring when the photos are developed -don't wait till the end of the season. Then whenever the question of a slide show or exhibition of activities arises, Dorothy will know just what is available And if anyone has good slides of the Bristol weekend -particularly HADAS at the SS Great Britain- Would they ring Dorothy at once.

MORE ABOUT DEVELOPMENT WATCHING: A SITE REPORT

In last month's Newsletter Myfanwy Stewart described the HADAS site-watching scheme. From now on we propose to publish occasional individual site watching reports. We feel these should be published even when they provide only negative evidence -i.e. that nothing of importance was observable in the foundation or drainage trenches of a particular site. Only in this way can a written record be made available. Below PADDY MUSGROVE gives his observations on the Tesco site at Ballards Lane. Builders' excavations on the site of the new Tesco development (21-49 Bal1ards Lane and 2-8 The Grove, N3) were observed daily during a period of about 8 weeks during the summer of 1977. No signs of occupation earlier than the 19th c. were observed; most of the site had previously been occupied by industrial workshops, including large garage premises, and there had been much disturbance of the upper layers, in places to a depth of about 5 m. As the natural land surface slopes down to the valley of the Dollis Brook on the west, a large volume of rubble had been deposited - more than 3m. deep in places - to provide level surfaces. Three items of minor interest may perhaps be worth noting.

1. Over large areas in the middle of the site a layer of broken flower pots or mixed crocks and ashes, about 10 cm. thick, lay on top of the natural boulder clay and below more than 60 cm. of black topsoil. This strange stratigraphy can presumably be accounted for by the presence on the site more than 100 years ago of a nursery with many greenhouses, as shown on the OS 25 in. plan of 1864. .

2. In addition to the above labour-intensive drainage scheme, D-shaped field drains (consisting of a base-plate with a curved tile above) and arched brick-built culverts were found, but the excavations were not sufficiently extended to permit their general pattern to be determined.

3. Two bottle-shaped underground structures, at first taken to be wells, were discovered. The one which it has been possible to examine was built with unmortared bricks of probable mid-Victorian date. When the rubble filling was dug out mechanically, the final scoop, from a depth of 8 or 9 m. below the original land surface, contained sandy material, presumably from the underlying glacial gravel. During subsequent weeks no water collected at the foot of the brickwork. This construction, therefore, is likely to have been a soakaway to conduct surface water through the impervious clay to the gravel. The second construction, next to the rear wall of No.53 Ballards Lane, is not yet dug out. Although it holds water to within about a metre of its top, it is unlikely to be a well, as two earthenware pipes enter (or leave?) it just above the present water surface.

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SUBSCRIPTIONS

Our new financial year starts on April 1 when members subscriptions ~ become due. The rates for the coming year are:

Full membership - £2.00
Under-18 - £1.00
Over-60 - £1.00
Family Membership: - first member - £2
- additional members £1 each


Payment should be made to the Hon. Treasurer - Jeremy Clynes - using the enclosed form. Subscriptions can also be paid by Bank Standing Order, and forms for this purpose can be obtained from the Treasurer.

AIDS TO RESEARCH

Here JOANNA CORDEN, Archivist to the London Borough of Barnet, continues her series on the various groups of archives available to local historians. Below is part 1 of her article on the main Local History Collection at Egerton Gardens. Other parts will follow in succeeding Newsletters. III Local History Library, Egerton Gardens: Pt. 1. This library contains the major part of the local history and archival material for the Borough of Barnet: it consists of books, maps, illustrations, ephemera and the archives. The material has as its nucleus the local history collections created by the two Boroughs of Finchley and Hendon, and the emphasis therefore is inevitably on these two areas. BOOKS: The books are arranged under the Dewey form of classification. There is a section on Middlesex and one on Hertfordshire. Hendon, Finchley, Friern Barnet, Monken Hadley and Edgware were formerly in Middlesex, while Chipping Barnet, East Barnet and Totteridge were formerly in Hertfordshire. Any general works on either county are therefore likely to include sections relevant to the present borough. Apart from general county histories, there are copies of all the main works on each area within the borough, although naturally both the quality and the quantity of the books on each area varies. All the books on Chipping and East Barnet and Totteridge which can be found at Chipping Barnet Library are also in the Local History Library; but here there is also History of New Barnet and District by J K Addesbrooke, How Barnet got its Railways by M Rose and A Framework of _Local History for Secondary Schools by R I Walker. Monken Hadley by F C Cass, Hadley Wood by Nancy Clark and Georgian Had1ey by W H Gelder are also kept. Edgware is badly represented; A Brief Sketch of Edgware in_18l1 by Tottell 'is here, together with The Extent of Edgware 1277 by Denoon and Roberts, Edgware and Little Stanmore in the 12th and 13th centuries by Bayliss and the 5-volume manuscript work Notes on the Church and Parish of Edgware by H S Geikie. There is also the Sociological Study of Jewish Suburban Life in Edgware by K Krausz. On Hendon the most recent work is A History of Hendon by the then Reference Librarian, John Hopkins; published 1964. It is a small concise history for the man in the street, but is heavily dependent on earlier publications; for serious studies it is necessary to delve deeper. Village into Borough by G R P Lawrence is a similar study for Finchley. The Victoria County History for Middlesex is being revised; the section for Hendon has already been published, sections on Finchley and Friern Barnet are in progress.

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There are some works on Hampstead Garden Suburb; these consist mainly of pamphlets published by, among others, the Residents Association. The only substantial books are The Story of the Growth of Hampstead Garden Suburb, 1907-28, by Dame Henrietta Barnett; and Hampstead Garden Suburb – 1907-1977 by Brigid Grafton Green. The area has been fortunate in the number of historians who have worked on its history. Among them are H S Geikie, who produced the excellent work on Edgware mentioned above; Major Brett James, whose work on the early extents and surveys of Hendon is very valuable; D G Denoon who produced a booklet on Hendon Highways; Fred Hitchin-Kemp who worked particularly on the 1754 Survey of Hendon Manor; the Marcham brothers whose interests were in Finchley; and C O Banks whose deposited notes form a large section in the Finchley local history material. A number of others have also contributed both in publications and notes. There are too a number of books on early aviation, of interest to those studying Hendon Aerodrome; and some biographies of people connected with Hendon. Among these are David Garrick, Sir Stamford Raffles, William Wilberforce, Sir James Murray, Pavlova and the Puget family. There are also deposited theses: T Giles on the Poor Law, S Dunford on A Suburb at War - Hendon 1939-45, J Barrett An Analysis of Hendon's Growth 1900-36, J Smith Aspects of Unemployment in Hendon 1905-1914 and P Rodger Aspects of Transport Development in Edgware – A Suburban Case Study.

There are also directories for Hendon, Edgware, Finchley and Chipping Barnet. Unfortunately the series is incomplete, which lessens its value, and there is nothing before 1923 for Barnet or 1926 for Hendon, Edgware or Finchley - except two almanacs for 1883 and 1884 which are more entertaining than informative. Local magazines are also kept, among which are church and school magazines, including the Mill Hill magazine which contains some very helpful articles. There are also other publications such as the Watling Newsletter, produced monthly for the Watling Community Association, which might well be used in a social study.

Successful Minimart

Last month's Minimart raised £281.91 for HADAS funds -a sum which will be a great help in the planning of our enlarged excavation programme this summer. Many helpers worked in many ways, but a particular burden fell on the principal stallholders: Daphne Lorimer, Nell Penny, George Ingram, Dorothy Newbury and Christine Arnott. Thanks too to Jeremy Clynes at the HADAS publications stall, Paddy Musgrove and Mr. Mason on guard at the entrance, and Irene Frauchiger who kept up a steady stream of coffee for thirsty stallholders and visitors. The following charities received our surplus: Hendon St. Mary's Guides, St. Margarets United Reform Church, the Family Holidays Association and Glebe Court Old Peoples Home.

The writer of the above report was too modest to say where the Society's deepest debt of gratitude lies: that is, to Christine Arnott, our chief of fund-raisers, and to Dorothy Newbury, her most able lieutenant. Together they seem capable of facing any crisis - and with unruffled good humour, too. All we can say is: -thanks - and thanks again.

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The Meaning and Purpose of English Wall Paintings

A report by PETER GRIFFITHS on the HADAS March lecture.

Attendance at the March lecture surprised our lecturer, Clive Rouse, who considered the subject rather abstruse. However, the talk that he delivered was most informative and entertaining, and the audience most attentive.

Little has been written about these paintings, which at one time completely. covered the walls of most medieval English parish churches. There are three main reasons for their disappearance.

Firstly, the paintings were not meant to last. When alterations or additions were made to the church, old paintings were often destroyed or overpainted. Secondly, the Reformation - not Cromwell, as is often thought - was responsible for much destruction. An edict of Edward VI in 1547 ordered "the destruction and obliteration of popish images." The paintings were often covered with lime-wash and replaced with "the sentences" - the Lord's prayer or the ten commandments. Finally, during Victorian restoration work many paintings were not considered artistically worth keeping - as, indeed, they may not have been. As Mr. Rouse carefully explained, artistic merit was not their purpose.

That purpose was, in fact, devotional and educational. Bible stories and other lessons could only be explained pictorially, as 9O% of the congregation were illiterate. Mr. Rouse compared the paintings with strip cartoons in modern "popular" newspapers. The same conventional representation and mannerisms are employed in both. For ease of identification villains in wall paintings were portrayed as evil-looking and grotesque. St. Peter carried a bunch of keys, St. Paul a sword.

The subject matter of the paintings is limited, with five basic groups. The first was purely decorative: all bare walls were considered "unworthy" and every effort was made to cover them. By far the largest group contained portrayals of Bible stories. The third and fourth categories were single figures of saints or a series on the lives of the saints, which were very popular. The saints were treated as archetypes, providing standards for the people, and as channels of communication - one prayed not a saint but through him. Lastly, there were morality stories - horrible warnings to sinners, deliberately intended to shock.

The individual artists responsible for these works are largely unknown. Various schools of art did exist, the largest being the Court school at Westminster. Another was at Winchester and a third based in East Anglia. From accounts it is known that squirrels' hair was used for painters' brushes. The colours most often seen are yellow and red ochre, black from lamp-black, white from lime and green from copper. Only three surviving paintings are frescoes, the rest having been produced by a secco technique. The wall was plastered with lime putty, which was dampened and the pigment then applied with skimmed milk as a size.

Mr. Rouse ended by showing a variety of slides, many of which were of his own watercolours of paintings he had personally restored; throughout he interspersed his talk with anecdotes of these restorations. He was particularly enthusiastic about Longthorpe tower, 2 miles west of Peterborough, which he strongly recommended us to visit.

The Farm Buildings Survey

For some years HADAS has been hoping to organise a survey at farm buildings which still remain in the London Borough of Barnet - an area which was until well into this century, predominantly agricultural. The 20th century has brought great changes to our district, and we want to chronicle those changes before it is too late. This could be done by recording three types of farm material: first, the industrial (not tl1e domestic) buildings of those farms, now mainly in the north of the Borough, which are still working; secondly, all the remains of other farm buildings - barns, dairies, cowsheds - which sometimes survived and were turned to different uses when the rest of the farm was engulfed by suburban bricks and mortar; third, such vestigial traces of erstwhile farms as field or farm names which have today become street, school or tennis club names (e.g. Decoy Avenue; Farm Walk Tennis Club; Goldbeaters School; Tithe Walk; Renters Avenue).

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Two members of our Industrial Archaeology group, Nigel Harvey and Bill Firth, have done a good deal of the background paperwork which would be needed to start such a project. This includes making a preliminary list of "Past and Present" farms. Some of them (e.g. Bury Farm, Edgware) are still fully working farms. Others are farms of which almost all trace has now vanished - e.g. Church End Farm, Hendon, where only one building- the model dairy -remains; Temple Fortune Farm, demolished 1908, of which a short street of 4 houses, called Farm Walk, is the only trace; or Wyldes Farm, North End, where the early barn was so cleverly incorporated into the original farmhouse that it is now difficult to distinguish. The preliminary list also contains a section on riding stables, kennels and golf clubs which it is supposed, may have originally been farms - a Supposition that the survey may confirm or refute. Below is Nigel and Bill's list. If members know of other farms, past or present, which should be added to it, please tell us. Please let us know also of single buildings which you think were associated with a farm, or of street or place names. Finally, would any member interested in helping with this project please let us know. We want to build up a small team of members prepared to do field work and/or documentary research. Offers of help, or information about farms, should be sent to Brigid Grafton Green.

Farms -Past and Present -in LBB

Brent Lodge Farm, Arkley Temple Fortune Farm, Golders Green
Bury Farm, Edgware Three Elms Farm, Galley Lane
Burtonhole Farm, Mill Hill Totteridge Valley Farm, Totteridge
Church Farm, East Barnet Vale Farm, Barnet
Church End Farm, Hendon Valentine Farm, Barnet
Clitterhouse.Farm, Cricklewood Whiting Hill Farm, Barnet
College Farm; Finchley Woodcock Farm, Edgware
Cottage Farm, Barnet Woodlands Farm, Arkley
Decoy Farm, Hendon Wyldes Farm, Hampstead
Ellern Mede Farm, Totteridge Arkley Stables, Arkley
Fairlawn Nurseries, Totteridge Totteridge Livery Stables, Totteoridge
Fold Farm, Barnet Totteridge Park Farm, Totteridge
Folly Farm, Mill Hill Equestrian Centre, Mill Hill
Frith Manor Farm; N. Finchley Frith Manor Equitation School, N. Finchley
Goldbeaters Farm, Edgware Strawberry Vale Riding Sch. E. Finchley
Kenwood Farm, Hampstead Childs Hill Riding School, Childs Hill
Homestead Farm; Barnet Brynbank Livery Stables, Arkley
Homestead Farm, Totteridge Oak Cottage Kennels, Arkley
Laurel Farm, Totteridge Hendon Golf Club, Mill Hill
Lawrence Farm, Mill Hill Mill Hill Golf Club, Mill Hill
Moat End, Mill Hill Old Fold Golf Club, Hadley
Renters Farm, Hendon South Herts Golf Club, Totteridge
Rosehank Farm, Mill Hill Arkley Golf Club, Arkley
Rowley Bank Farm, Arkley N. Middx. Golf Club, Friern Barnet


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