newsletter-059-january-1976

Newsletter

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In this season of good resolutions one of the best that HADAS can make is to keep our Society's financial head above water in 1976. So we don't apologise for opening this New Year Newsletter with details of our next fund-raising effort -- the Spring Minimart, in which we hope all members will co-operate as actively as possible.

The Minimart will take place on Saturday 6 March from 10.00a.m.-12.00p.m. at the same venue as last year -- Henry Burden Hall, Egerton Gardens, NW4. There will be six main stalls:

1. BOOKS -- in charge, George Ingram. Hardbacks, paperbacks and magazines in good condition.

2. GARDEN -- Elizabeth Holliday. Any things for the garden, including established cuttings, seeds, seedlings, indoor plants, bulbs.

3. MISCELLANY -- Neil Penny. "Unwanted" gifts, cosmetics, stationery, trinkets, jewellery.

4. PRODUCE -- Daphne Lorimer. Home-made cakes, jams, marmalade, pickles, pastries.

5. GOOD-AS-NEW -- Dorothy Newbury. Ladies', gentlemen's and children's garments; to always and oddments such as balls of wool, remnants of material, etc.

6. BRIC-A-BRAC and VICTORIANA -- Christine Arnott.

Contributions to any or all of these stalls will be most gratefully received. They can be brought to the January or February meetings, and there handed over to Mrs. Lorimer, Mrs. Newbury or Mrs. Arnott. Alternatively, if you care to telephone any of these three members, collection can be arranged. The earlier contributions are received, the more time there will be to sort and price them.

Another kind of help will also be welcome: if you can spare time to help with setting up, selling and clearing away, please let Mrs. Arnott have your name.

The Minimart is a social occasion, too -- as last year, coffee and biscuits will be dispensed by Joan Bird; and there will be a small exhibit of photos of various HADAS occasions to look at and discuss.

The January Lecture -- Napoleonic Defences and Martello Towers

The next HADAS lecture, on Tuesday January 6th, 1976, will be by one of our Vice-Presidents, Andrew Saunders, on a subject of which he has made a special study. Mr Saunders is an historian, who joined the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings in 1954. He was appointed Chief Inspector in 1972.

At various times in the past England has suffered the threat or reality of invasion. As a result the English Coast, particularly in the Southeast, is strewn with the remains of defensive systems thrown up to meet the exigences of their time.

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Nervous inhabitants of Britannia raised a string of forts along the Saxon Shore in an effort to retain their Roman way of life, while in 1588 defences were built against the danger of the Spanish Armada. Over two centuries later the threat came from Napoleon; and the Corsican "Torre del Martella" became the prototype for a defensive line of circular, brick-built Martello Towers from Aldeburgh in Suffolk to Seaford in Sussex. Between 1810-12 103 were built and 45 still survive. A backup system of signal stations, from Portsmouth and Deal to London, were also created. These Napoleonic defences will be the subject of Andrew Saunders lecture.

Looking Ahead

These are the HADAS lectures for the rest of the winter:

Feb. 3 - Medieval York - P. V. Addyman MA
Mar. 2 - Vernacular Architecture - Joan Harding FSA
Apr. 6 - There was no road to Petra - Betty Hellings-Jackson

Meetings are held at the Central library,, The Burroughs, NW4, starting at 8.00p.m. with coffee. The lecture follows about 8.30p.m.

The Parish Boundary Survey -- A Progress Report

By Paddy Musgrove.

The London Borough of Barnet covers an area of 35 square miles, so the length of its perimeter is considerable. If we add to this the lengths of all the internal boundaries of the ancient parishes, it is obvious that the HADAS boundary survey project must be a long-term activity. For that reason it was decided last spring to launch a pilot scheme designed to establish (a) the most appropriate forms of investigation and recording, and (b) the suitability of the activity for our junior members and for school groups within the area.

Results have been encouraging. As the volume of reports, drawings and photographs of located boundary markers increases, we shall clearly have to refine some of our methods for handling the paperwork. Basic procedures, however, seem to be correct. As for the participation of school groups, Elizabeth Eveleigh's report in the November Newsletter indicated the enthusiasm with which four students from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School entered into the field work. Their final reports formed part of a HADAS exhibit to the recent Local History Conference of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, exciting considerable interest among other societies. The exhibit will be on show to HADAS members that are January meeting.

The boundaries so far surveyed are in the south end of the Borough, extending from the Finchley Road to the Kenwood area (Hendon/Hampstead, Finchley/Hampstead and Finchley/Hornsey boundaries). It is hoped to start work soon on other sections to the east and north of the modern Borough.

We have learnt that careful map research is needed before the outdoor workers set off to locate, clean, draw, photograph (and sometimes excavate!) the stones and other markers. Comparisons of the recent and the 1862-68 OS 25 inch plans indicate boundary changes and point at which markers have been inserted or resited. Maps of intermediate date have also yielded extra information, and we foresee instances where it will probably be necessary to consult the tythe maps.

Ultimately, we shall have information leading to the establishment of a typology of boundary stones, posts and other markers over a period of about 200 years. A study of the Vestry and Local Board Minutes can yield information concerning the placement of individual markers, the Rogationtide beating of the bounds, the historical reasons for minor boundary changes and similar matters of interest to the local historian.

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Research of this type, though of interest, can however wait. The urgent problem is to locate and record the existing boundary markers and, where necessary, preserve them. Since the old boroughs were incorporated into the London Borough of Barnet, practical reasons for their retention have disappeared. Some have been removed to facilitate recent road improvements or in the interests of private gardening. Some iron boundary posts have already rusted into illegibility and all the others need de-rusting and protection by paint or other means.

Our need, therefore, is for more hands -- and feet -- to carry out both the preliminary map work and the search and recording in the field. In addition, although ordinary "snap-shot" technique is good enough for most of recording, more experienced photographers are needed for certain problem locations.

Christine Arnott and I will be glad to hear from volunteers in any capacity.

Edgware Field Walk

On 14 December Daphne Lorimer and Ann Trewick organised a field walk in the northwest corner of the Borough, in the vicinity of Bury Farm. After obtaining permission to walk from Mr Shepherd at the Farm, they chose Field Number 5831 on the OS plan TQ 18/94 for the exercise, as this had recently been ploughed.

The walk started at the southeast corner of the field. The party went up the eastern side as far as the boundary fence with the M1 motorway. It then turned across the field to the western boundary and back again. Some interesting pieces were found, including building material, tobacco pipes, glass and pottery. As it was possible to walk over only a small area, it is hoped to do a further walk in January. Members interested in taking part in this second walk should get in touch with Mrs. Lorimer for details. After the second walk, and when the material already found has been fully studied, a further report will be made.

HADAS would like to take this opportunity of recording its thanks to Mr Shepherd for kindly permitting the walk to take place.

HADAS at Work

A report on a three processing weekends held recently acts of the Teahouse, Northway, NW11.

Any member who participated in these weekends will know that they were distinguished by an atmosphere of nose-to-the-grindstone concentration. 25 different members took part, some only for occasional sessions; but a hard core (and hard-working core, too) of ten turned up most days. Those with experience of handling Roman Pottery dealt with the Brockley Hill material; others worked on finds from Church Terrace.

The Church Terrace contingent finished washing the animal bones from the Saxon ditches, marked them and boxed them for sending to Don Brothwell at the Institute of Archaeology. Mr Brothwell, a leading expert on bones and a member of the team which uncovered the Piltdown forgery, has kindly agreed to examine and report on the Church Terrace bones.

Subsequently more work was done on the Church Terrace pottery, particularly on weighing the body-sherds in order to assess the total amount of pottery coming from each level.

On the Roman side the complete indexing, drawing and/or photography of two important of Brockley Hill types – amphorae and flagons - was finished. Amphorae divide into two main types -- long and short necked -- with one or two sub-types under each main heading.

Flagons fall into many more types, the principal ones made at Brockley Hill being disc-mouthed, pinch-mouthed and ring-necked; ring-necked flagons in turn have many sub-types, according to the number of rings, the length or shortness of the neck and the angle of its expansion. Commonest type is ring-necked, single-handled flagons with 4 neck-rings.

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A good start was made, too, on completing the index of jars – cordoned wide-mouthed jars; "honey" jars (they take their name from the fact that one of the first found at the word "Mel" scratched on the side); roll-rimmed jars; and storage jars. These latter provided many different rim shapes; probably most of them were imports to Brockley Hill, and were not made there. Two, for instance, in coarse pinkware tempered with iron pyrites, may be oil amphorae fragments from Spain.

In course of studying the jar fragments, a number of sherds were observed as being a very similar to ware found a recently at Highgate Wood. About 40 Highgate-type sherds from Brockley Hill are therefore to be studied by Harvey Sheldon, who directed the Highgate dig and is now Archaeological Field Officer to the Museum of London. It is hoped to have some of them thin-sectioned, to prove whether they were made at Brockley Hill, were imported from Highgate or came from the yet a third site. The results of such a study would provide interesting information about both the Highgate and the Brockley Hill potters.

HADAS at Play

A light-hearted report of a light-hearted occasion by Helen Gordon.

The famous HADAS Annual Examination took place as usual this year on Friday 5 December, invigilated with decorum by that well-known Educationalist and Alumnus of Oxford, Mr John Enderby. 20 questions on subjects ranging from middens to strigils gave cause for serious thought to some 80 aspiring Candidates; for remarks being claimed by only one Examinee whom it was later found necessary to disqualify for failing to comply with the rules -- a sad reflection on the state of morals of some of the Younger Generation, and aptly demonstrating the need to study the Noble Ideals of our Golden Past so rightly emphasised by our Society in its incessant search for the Minutiae revealed in our painstaking and meticulous excavations.

The Examination also included an Anthropological section based on the Evolution of our illustrious Committee from the Ape, a pictographical test on local nomenclature, a section on the Roman Apparel in Northern Climes, and a Practical Examination in the latest Chinese Method of Excavation. (But it is to be regretted that the medals awarded were too ephemeral to provide much information for the archaeologists of the future.) We were much indebted to Pam Selby and Margaret Musgrove for the soundness of the examination.

All candidates were entertained to a most splendid Yuletide Banquet generously donated by our members, skilfully planned and directed by Irene Frauchiger, the liquor flowing freely under the expert and of moustachioed Colin Evans and his pretty wife Ann; later the Company were delighted by Christmas Carols sung divinely by Andrew MacGregor with the support of all present and accompanied tunefully by George Ingram on a Clarinet.

In fact, so well combined were the elements of noble Self Improvement and Entertainment, that our forward-looking Society might well suggest to our Borough that, in these times of financial stringency, far-reaching economies might be achieved by combining all schools, colleges, restaurants and public houses in multi-purpose units…..


… in other words, the HADAS annual Christmas party went with its usual hilarious swing, and our thanks go to all who contributed to it, in cash, in kind and in smiling service.

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