newsletter-107-january-1980

Newsletter

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BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR

1980 LECTURE PROGRAMME

Our first lecture in 1980 will be held on TUESDAY, 8th JANUARY at Hendon Library. Coffee will be available at 8.00 p.m. and the lecture begins at 8.30 p.m.

Members will remember the, interesting lecture on Neolithic Crete given by Professor Evans last year. The January lecture entitled "THE ART OF BRONZE AGE (MINOAN) CRETE" covers the following amazingly rich period of Minoan civilisation of the island. Our speaker will be Mr. M. S. F. Wood, M.A., F.S.A., who is a specialist, on the subject.

The programme for the rest of the season is as follows:

FEBRUARY 5th. "The Later Roman Empire and the Codex Spirensis" by Mark Hassall, M.A., F.S.A.

MARCH 4th. "Medieval Kings Lynn: an archaeological, architectural and documentary survey" by Dr.Helen Clarke, B.A., Ph.D., F.S.A.

APRIL 1st. "Iron Bridge Gorge Museum" by Stuart B. Smith, M.Sc., A.M.A.

MAY 13th. Annual General Meeting,

OTHER MEETINGS OF INTEREST

The Finchley Antiques Appreciation Group will be holding two meetings in January which may be of interest to HADAS members. On Wednesday, 9th January, Wellesley Clinton will be speaking about "Bronzes and Sculptures," and on Wednesday, 23rd January "18th Century English Glass" will be described by John Hutton. The meetings will be held at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley and non-members may attend on payment of £1.20. Further details from Mrs. Phyllis Adams.

Barnet Library Lectures.

Members may like to make a note of two lectures in the post-Christmas Wednesday Lecture season arranged by Barnet Libraries. On 20th February at North Finchley Library, Ravensdale Avenue, N12, Douglas Priestley the well-known art critic of the Barnet Press will be speaking about The Art and Craft of Stained Glass and on 27th February Myrtle Ellis will be "Looking at English Silver" at Hendon Library. Both lectures begin at 8.15 pm and will be illustrated with colour slides.

THE SCENE SURVEYED

On Saturday mornings 19th and 26th January (weather permitting), it is hoped to have surveying practise in FRIARY PARK under the direction of Barry Martin. Meet at the main gate at 10.00 a.m. Please telephone Daphne Lorimer if you are coming.

WEST HEATH EXCAVATIONS 1979

During the season of 1979 over 70 members worked a total of about 4000 man hours at the West Heath Site which proved to be its usual fascinating, exasperating arid tantalising self. The now customary bad spring delayed theoretical start of the digging season until mid-May, while bad weather during the whole of the early summer held digging up considerably (and members acquired an unappreciated skill at wet sieving!). A pleasant autumn, however, brought the HADAS troops out and the flints up in large quantities. In all, 16 trenches were under excavation during the season, of which nine (36 sq. m.) were finished and seven have still to be completed.

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The Carbon 14 dating is posing problems and it is hoped that cross-checks can be done using the residue of charcoal obtained from the original hearth and, possibly, from the small area of burning found at a similar level in XIII M (which had been detected as an anomaly in the Magnetometric Survey done in l977).

Two features containing quantities of burnt stone have been excavated - one in Trench XIV M, to the east of the new fire area and the other in the southern portion of the site in Trench XII H. This is a well defined tailed pit (i.e. a flued hearth) and the stones came up in layers, those at the bottom being the most calcined. These features have necessitated a great deal of patient, meticulous excavation and have been drawn in plan and section and photographed at every stage.

The area under excavation this year is still, undoubtedly, the richest part of the site and, while it is not yet possible to ascertain the density of artefacts per square meter, the count of tool types at the end of October was 76. This included 19 obliquely blunted points, 17 microburins, 10 backed blades, 4 point tips, 5 serrates, l 'Dufour', 1 notched piece, 1 axe sharpening flake, 1 geometric microlith, 3 scrapers and one tool of exceptional interest - a miniature core axe. There were a large number of cores and 12 pieces with miscellaneous retouch. The proportions of one tool type to another remain relatively constant.

Post holes have not been a major feature bf this year's excavation but some small ones, with charcoal in the fill, have been cast. Dr. Joyce Roberts is hot foot in pursuit of the identification of the small carbonised globules which continue to appear in large numbers in parts of the site.

Excavation has not ceased for the year, - it is too fascinating and rewarding at this stage. If the Wednesdays are fine, hardy souls will be welcome for mornings only. Check with Daphne Lorimer first.

Last, but certainly not least, every Wednesday afternoon during the whole of the summer, a stalwart band under Christine Arnott's enthusiastic leadership 9 have processed flints at Avenue House. This is a very essential job and all volunteers will be very welcome. Ring Christine if you can come.

SITE WATCHING IN BALLARDS LANE

Building work has begun on a large site in Finchley which embraces 11~19 Ballards Lane (a terrace of shops with housing above dating from about 1870), Albert Mews, and buildings lying between Albert Mews and Albert Place. Paddy Musgrove, who has been watching the extensive preparatory excavation for an underground car park reports that there were no indications of any buildings on the site: earlier than-the Victorian terrace.

A line of cesspits marked the back yards of the terrace. That behind number 11 was in, red brick and circular; the others were rectangular and made from yellow brick. An underground air-raid shelter of reinforced concrete was uncovered in Albert Mews. To the west of the site, a well was found. This would have been beneath the warehouse building which stood at the bend of Albert Place. Like others found in the neighbourhood, it was circular and constructed from un-mortared red bricks.

The natural undisturbed boulder clay yielded the usual supply of substantial flint nodules, but the most interesting find was a large piece of tabular flint. Unfortunately this was shattered into many pieces by the mechanical digger, but three fragments recovered jointly weighed just under 13 kilos. For tool-making, this piece would be considered of very poor quality. This seems to be the first recorded case of tabular flint being found in the Finchley boulder clay.

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MUSEUMS IN THE WARS

The Museums of our Borough seem to have hit a bad patch at the moment: In the last Newsletter we mentioned that Church Farm House Museum at Hendon will have to close for seven weeks in the New Year while re-wiring takes place. The museum will re-open on Saturday, 1st March and an exhibition of Asian life and culture - EAST COMES WEST - will be staged from 8th March to 20th April 1980.

Meantime Barnet Museum, at 31 and 33 Wood Street, Chipping Barnet, (you may remember HADAS staged an industrial archaeology exhibition there about this time last year) has also closed for repairs. We learn from its Curator, Mr. Bill Taylor, that it may not re-open for quite some time. The 18th century buildings are affected by a combination of dry rot, woodworm and rising damp. Mr. Taylor believes it may take as long as two years to repair them completely.

Trial work has already started and floor boards are up in several rooms, preparatory to infiltrating material which will kill the woodworm. As well as repairs, it 1s planned to enlarge some rooms by taking down interior walls. Mr. Taylor hopes it may be possible to re-open the Museum bit by bit as each stage is completed; just now, however, plans are too preliminary to say whether this will ultimately be possible.

As many HADAS members will know, Barnet Museum is a repository for various documents, maps, photographs, etc. (see Newsletter 85, March 1978, for Joanna Corden's summary) of what is available at the Museum). At the moment, as work has not yet got fully under way on repairs, and the heating system is still working, this material remains at the Museum; but Mr. Taylor hopes that the Borough will soon find some temporary accommodation (possibly in a school) in either East, New or Chipping Barnet to which the documents can be moved for safe storage. He also hopes that some temporary study space can be found for students who wish to consult documents - either at the temporary store or at Chipping Barnet Library.

The Museum's collections - clay pipes, pottery, metalwork, etc. - will also be packed up and it is hoped, stored in the temporary accommodation. The Battle of Barnet banners which hung in the Museum (they were made by local Townswomen's Guilds and, Women's Institutes for the quin-centenary exhibition in 1971, in which HADAS played such an active, part) have been removed to hang in the Museum safe. Any HADAS members who wish to consult material during the next few months should be encouraged, Mr. Taylor says, to ring him at home and explain their problem. He will be glad to do his best to arrange for material to be consulted during this difficult period.

Further news for documentary researchers is that GLC will be re-opening the Search Room of the Greater London Record Office (serving the London and Middlesex sections) on January 2nd next. It has been closed (with great inconvenience to students) since last summer.

The letter from GLC then goes on with the following chilling paragraph:

"Some collections are now stored in an out-repository and will have to be ordered at least three working days before a visit. It is not possible to issue hand-lists detailing the contents of the different repositories and they will, anyway be subject to change. Readers are advised to check whether records they wish to consult need to be ordered in advance. Specific orders can, of course, be made by letter or telephone".

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What this means is that GLC has made no attempt to meet in any way the many complaints made by societies and individuals about its proposed future arrangements; and that local historians of the London area will unfortunately receive an archive service inferior to that provided by most county record offices.

The Search Room at County Hall is Room B21; it is open Mons-Fris, 9.30 a.m.- 4.45 p.m. with late evening opening (by appointment only) on Tuesdays, 4.45 p.m. -7.30 p.m. For enquiries and appointments. telephone 016336851 (direct line).

WORLD WAR II STRUCTURES

Mr. A. Christie of Barnet, has sent the Newsletter some information about World War II structures which are still to be seen in our area.

"If you look over the railway bridge (Northern Line) at Squires Lane, Finchley, on the south side) you will see three blocks of concrete on the railway embankment, two on one side of the bridge and one on the other. Tank blocks, don't you think?

Up to a few years ago around the Borough of Barnet there were several of these concrete blocks, but most of these have disappeared. There were some opposite Totteridge Tube Station, and also some behind a hedge where the office block is now, north of Whetstone High Road.. And there were still, until quite recently, air raid shelters in Ballards Lane just below Perry's. With regard to pill boxes, there was one in Barnet Lane, in front of a house; but this is very overgrown now, and there was one - which may still be there - at New Southgate, on the surrounding wall of Friern Hospital. Some air raid sirens still exist too, like the one at Tally Ho!"

Mr. Christie says that he photographed some of the installations he mentions) and offers to let us see the photographs.

NOTES AND QUERIES

The December Newsletter sought help from readers on two matters - and we seem to have struck oil on both of them.

In his article called "The Milkman's Tale" Percy Reboul asked if someone could throw light on the phrase "A barn of milk". Dr. Edward Hoblyn, whose wife is HADAS member, has tracked this one down. A barn of milk, he says, was a measure used when small dairymen were buying direct from the farmer. It was 16 pints plus one for spillage - that is, 2 gallons and a pint. Dr. Hoblyn's authority for this is the director of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

In some paragraphs headed Hendon Cedars in Sussex we asked for further information about the Great Cedar of Hendon Place. HADAS member Andrew Moss tells us that he found, at Guildhall Library, in Topographical and Statistical Description of the County of Middlesex, by G. Cooke (pub. 1810) the following passage:

"There was formerly a very remarkable cedar tree in the garden of Hendon House. It was blown down by a high wind on the first day of January, 1779. Sir John Collum gives its dimensions thus:

Height: 70ft

Diameter of horizontal extent of branches: 100 ft

Circumference of trunk 7ft above ground level: l6ft Diam. and at l2ft. from the ground 20 feet in circumference.

The limbs are from 6ft. to l2ft. in girth."

The gardener two years before the tree was blown down made £50 from cones."

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The only problem that this quotation raises is whether the writer really meant Hendon House - that is the big house which stood where Hendon School now stands, off Brent Street, and which was once the home of Elizabethan cartographer John Norden and later belonged to Sir Jeremy Whichcot, whose splendid memorial is in St. Mary's parish church. If so, then it suggests that there may have been two extraordinary cedars in Hendon, one at Hendon House and the other at Hendon Place - the manor house of Hendon, later Tenterden Hall, and situated further north than Hendon House, in the area that is today Tenterden Gardens, Drive and Grove. Or was it just a confusion of names in the mind of the author?

PAINT YOUR WAGON

Liz Holliday is currently investigating the history of agriculture in Hendon and would be grateful if any member can shed light on the Middlesex Wagon. Similar to the Hertfordshire wagon in design (but often shorter in the body), references consulted to date are rather vague on detail. Farm wagons were usually painted brown with a buff underbody but road wagons were rather smarter as they travelled further afield. Red was a popular colour for wheels and underbody and one source describes "a Middlesex wagon painted blue" - presumably referring to the bodywork.

If any member has any further information, please telephone Liz Holliday.

ROME-ANTICS

The 1979 HADAS Christmas Party

Uxor mea Ann and I journeyed to Hendon using the modern equivalent of a Roman road, along the Al from Roman Baldock. As we travelled, there was time to reflect that a centurion's amour may have been useful forwarding off the slings arid arrows of outrageous barbarians but it was certainly not designed with driving a car in mind!

When I first heard of the Roman banquet theme for the 1979 HADAS Christmas Party, I was immediately determined to dress as a centurion. However, the local theatrical costumier was (a) difficult to find and (b) very reluctant indeed to admit that he had a suitable outfit at all. He mellowed considerably when it was explained to him that the event in question was an archaeological gathering and not an event of the wilder sort. In fact his resulting peace of mind was such that he even offered me the alternative metal ('real') sword instead of the more usual wooden one. Very steady, reliable people, we archaeologists!

Steady and reliable we may be, but when we let down our hair, we do it in style. Much learned discussion has taken place on the reasons for the upsurge of popular interest in archaeology. Is it the unique combination of academic and physical skills, is it the thrill of investigation, or is it an attempt to escape into a more glorious past? After the party, one would have no hesitation in choosing the last reason. The ease with which HADAS members donned Roman dress and custom, and entered into the Roman way of life was remarkable.

We were helped, of course, by the excellent and atmospheric hall layout, complete with shrine, mosaics and murals, all authentically illuminated by oil lamps (thanks to Brett Sampson). Authenticity, in fact, was the keynote of the evening. Nothing that happened had not been thoroughly researched for accuracy and then vouched for by our Guest of Honour, Mrs. Maureen Locket who lectured for the Extra Mural Department of Southampton University, and had travelled from Portsmouth for her third (and best, of course) Roman banquet of the week!

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As we sipped our aperitif of delicious honeyed wine (mulsum), John Enderby told us of the wine which we were to drink, purchased from the Roman wine trader, Augustus Barnetti, and thankfully undiluted. He also had the pleasant task of telling us that we could take away with us our drinking bowls. These delightful pseudo-samian souvenirs had been produced by Susan Bennett, and were used enthusiastically throughout the evening.

A glance at the menu provided anticipation of what was to come (twenty dishes) - all in Latin, of course, and we started off, after due propitiation of the household gods, with sala cattabia, a mixture, it was announced, of chicken, cucumber and cheese. It was delicious, as were the remaining nineteen dishes, all a tribute to the servae who had slaved away preparing them. We had fried anchovies, grilled fish in Alexandrian sauce, asparagus, pease mould 'containing many things' a 'dish of little fish', small stewed marrows, meat pieces cooked in wine, fricassee of pork with apricot sauce, etc., all served by cheerful slaves. Male heads were wreathed in laurel and at intervals we were entertained splendidly with a reading (Homer - very dramatic) from a guest, Dr. Malcolm Colledge of Westfield College, by music performed by young ladies from the Henrietta Barnett School (directed by their teacher Joy Richardson), and by a free lottery which produced a prize for nearly everyone. Later, the same young ladies displayed further talents by acting for us the tragic story of 'Pyramus and Thisbe', during which we watered the wine in our cups with many and large tears.

Still the slaves continued to tempt us with further dishes, despite our feeble protests, and the rustle of stomach-swathing togas being eased filled the air. (Wearing a breastplate was something of a disadvantage at this point). Replete as we were, it was easy to understand why Cassius had a lean and hungry look - it was probably directed at another helping of perna cum Armeniacis elixatis.

We toasted everybody with the remainder of the wine and then, quite suddenly, it was all over. Councillor Jarman thanked on our behalf the cooks, slaves, musicians, actresses and guests and the HADAS army marched on tender stomach out into the twentieth century night. There were just two questions to be answered:-

- How did the Romans finish off their banquets? (Plenty of opportunity for theorising here). Coffee was not known, until a thousand years later and those who, like me, have something akin to an addiction for the ground bean might well be tempted to put this lack of knowledge forward as a major factor contributing towards the decline and fall of the Empire!

-It was marvellous. Congratulations and thanks to all concerned. When can we do it again?

BANQUET TAILPIECE

As a footnote to Colin Evans' report of the Roman banquet we thought you might like to have the recipe for one of the 19 dishes which were served. We have chosen one (patina asparagi frigidi - dish of cold asparagus) which would do either as a starter for eight at a dinner party, or might be served as a supper dish for a lesser number.

PATINA ASPARAGI FRIGIDI.

1 large tin of asparagus; 1/3 oz freshly ground black pepper; 1 tbsp. liquamen (or its salt equivalent, see note below); l fl. oz. dry white wine; 1 fl. oz. passum (use sweet Spanish white wine); 3 fl. oz. olive oil; 6 eggs; and, to make 1 1/2 tbspns. oenogarum, 1 tbsp. dry white wine mixed with 1 dsstsp. liquamen (or its salt equivalent).

METHOD: drain the asparagus and puree it. Mix together pepper, dry and sweet wines, oil and liquamen. Bring this liquid to boil. and reserve. Place asparagus in bottom of an 8" diam. fireproof dish. Mix 6 eggs with the oenogarum and pour over the asparagus. Sprlnkle the oil and wine mixture over the eggs and bake in an oven at 375 C (Reg. Mk. 6) until firm {about 3/4 hr).

Note on liquamen:: the Romans used liquamen, or garum as it was also called, where we would today season a dish with salt: it was, in fact, liquid salt with a slightly fishy taste. For our banquet cookery we made up 2 gallons of liquamen some months ago, bottled it and issued it as needed to all our helper-cooks. Any HADAS member who wants to go the whole hog and use liquamen in her recipes can get the method for making it from Brigid Grafton Green.

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