Newsletter-173-July-1985

 

Newsletter 173                                                                                    July 1985

HADAS PROGRAMME

Sat July 20 Mill Hill Walk - meet 2 pm at Rising Sun, junction of Highwood Hill and Marsh Lane. The walk will be compered by John Collier, Hon Sec of Mill Hill Historical Society. An application form is attached - please complete and return to Dorothy Newbury, as we need to know numbers.

Sat AUG 17 Outing to Porton Down & Salisbury. Application form for this is also enclosed. Please return it as soon as possible - for security reasons names for this visit must be submitted 6 weeks ahead.

Sat Sept. 21 Sutton Hoo/Woodbridge

Mon/Wed July 1-3. HGS Institute Open Days. HADAS will be playing its part, by invitation, in this event. We shall have a bookstall at the Teahouse in Northway, NW11, on the evenings of July 1-3 inc. and on July 3 We shall also mount a small display.in the Institute hall. Several members are kindly helping to man the stands.

WEST HEATH. Throughout July the site will be open 6 days a week - not Tuesdays. - from 9 am'-6 pm. Please come and dig - you will be very welcome. It would be most helpful if intending diggers who have not yet worked on the site this year could let either Margaret Maher (907 0333) or Sheila Woodward (952 3897) know their intentions in advance.

 

LOTS OF ROMAN POTS

Three HADAS members - Tessa Smith, Ann Trewick and Brigid Grafton Green_- spent the best part of a June Saturday changing over the Roman displays in one of the ground floor rooms at Church Farm House Museum Hendon. Last August we had mounted exhibits in two cases there. Now the Museum has acquired a third showcase, and all three are at present devoted to finds from or facts about the Roman potteries at Brockley Hill, Edgware.

One case tells the history of the site and shows some photos from early in the 1950s. It's surprising how much archaeological tech­niques have changed in 30 years - no JCBs, no area stripping, just 3ft wide trenches being dug by spade - not a trowel in sight. The 'site hut' of 1954 was a tent with a positively prehistoric dip in its roof, and the prevailing fashion among male diggers was wide Oxford 'bags' - nothing like today's limb-hugging jeans. Female diggers were clearly a rarity.

Another showcase is devoted to small finds from Brockley Hill - almost all non-pottery, though there is a small thumb-pot which was part of a votive offering and an antefix for masking the join of imbrex and tegula' on a roof. Otherwise, glass is the predominant material used in beards, handles, bowls, etc. - though bronze coins and a clear paste intaglio also feature.


The third case is a mixed exhibit: a cremation burial from Pipers Green Lane (an eastward turning half-way up Brockley Hill) is displayed at one end; there is a shell of Samian ware; and a group of vessel types' in which Brockley Hill potters specialised: lids, mortaria, jars etc

The exhibit will probably be at the Museum for some months, but we hope as many HADAS members as possible will seize an early chance of looking in to inspect the Society's latest offering.

BLACK HISTORY

Recently HADAS had a letter from Paul McGilchrist, a GLC researcher working from the Greater London Record Office, about an interesting and unexpected research project, He is studying Black people in the history of London, and he writes:

"As you may be aware, the history of Black people in Britain is of relatively recent interest to academic historians; and whilst their work has shown something of the involvement of Black people in British life, there is still a great deal to be learned about the lives of those who numbered some 14-20,000 in London by the beginning of the 19c.

There are a number of sources which may yield new information about Black people, and it occurs to me that local historians may have come across occasional references to Black people.- by chance if not intention. I am thus writing to all London local .history- societies in order to assess the amount of information that may have been gathered in this way,

I would be most grateful if you could let it be known amongst your members that I would like very much to get in touch with anyone who may already be working on this particular subject; or anyone who has found references to Black people - however inci­dentally - during their searches of local records."

What we wonder, is the first documental reference to a Black in the London area?  Were there any Blacks in the ranks of the Roman auxil­iaries stationed in Britain in the first four centuries AD? Does anyone know of a Roman inscription which indicates African origin either for its subject or for the person who put it up?

From the 16c occasional references to 'blackamores' occur; it is in the 18c, however, .with the development of British colonial policy, that such references become more frequent. A recent Camden History Review, No. 12, had a long article on Dido Elizabeth Belle, born 1763. a Black protégée of the 1st  Lord Mansfield of Kentwood; and the article, mentions several liberated slaves who made names for themselves in 18c London.'

HADAS members, who have any information for Mr Gilchrist can write to him at the GLC Anti-Racist Programme;-Director-General's Dept. County London SE1 7FB, The Newsletter would also be interested to hear about our members discoveries,

SITE-WATCHING

Recent Borough planning lists have carried details of the following applications for planning permission which might, if granted, be of some archaeological interest:

Site of former Hand & Flower public house,                                 

1250 High Rd, N20                                                                        


Land rear of Arkley Rise, Barnet                                

Land adj. East Finchley station, fronting High Rd, rear East 'End Rd

Members who notice activity on any of the above sites are asked to let either John Enderby (203 2630) or Christine Arnott (455 2751) know.

REPORTS FROM GROUPS

The following two reports complete the five given originally at the AGM. The other three reports appeared in the last Newsletter.

INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY

Major event of the year was a visit to the historic buildings at Hendon Aerodrome last July. An important result of this visit is a con­siderable addition to our photographic records, both black and white (thanks to Lawrence Bentley) and colour slides (thanks to-Paul Wernick). It is hoped that the latter can be shown to-members on a suitable occasion.

Hendon Aerodrome was also the subject of the HADAS display at the 1984-LAMAS Local History Conference, the theme of which was the history of transport and communications in London.

The Borough of Barnet is not an industrial area and much local in­dustrial archaeology is on a fairly small scale and often associated with the demolition of industrial monuments. During the past year we have been concerned {sometimes together with other groups or people who would not regard themselves particularly as industrial archaeologists) in ensuring that HADAS has a good record of a number of sites, including the decorative frieze on the Gaumont Cinema at Tally Ho, Cricklewood Station and Carlton Forge, which is what remains of the locomotive depot at Cricklewood Yard. One monument was lost during the year when one of the two Handley Page aircraft factories went up in flames during the summer bank holiday weekend.

The Society's lectures are for all members but it was the Groups recommendation that Dr Robert Carr should be invited to lecture on the Industrial Archaeology of London's Docklands which was the subject of the November lecture.

BILL FIRTH

 

DOCUMENTARY GROUP

Documentary work of varying kinds has continued through 1984-5. Here are some of the projects handled, in which 8 members have taken part.

First, on-going research: one such project is the Farm Survey, which started 6 .or 7 years ago and which, it often seems, will never end: In­formation for it certainly still trickles in regularly from different sources. The survey has so far produced -a useful card index of some 250 'farms (most of which no longer exist) with details of the earliest documentary evidence for each farm - it may be a mention in a census list, a rate book; an early news cutting, a map; also included are details, when available, of the owner or tenant; of where - if it no longer exists ­the farmhouse once stood, with an OS grid ref if possible; and of when it was demolished.

The Survey has also produced some back-up material which is valuable for exhibitions, in the form of old photos and photocopies of documents. The topic for next November's annual Local History Conference at the Museum of London is to be the rural and agricultural history of Middlesex; so the HADAS Farm Survey will provide useful material for that.

 

The Farm Survey also ties in neatly with a project launched last summer nationwide by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, in which HADAS is taking part. This was described as 'a Domesday survey of every barn in England and Wales, built of traditional materials, whether still in agricultural use or converted.' SPAB has issued forms to be filled in for each barn. HADAS hopes to record the remains of any tradit­ional Barns left in the Borough of Barnet; Alec Gouldsmith has already done some work on this in the Barnet area, and Sheila Woodward is doing the same for Edgware.

Another on-going project has been Nell Penny's study of the papers of the Hendon overseers of the Poor, held in the Local history Collection in Egerton Gardens. The results of her research, have been lodged with LBB Libraries, who hope to publish them as an illustrated booklet. Nell has published two short pieces in the Newsletter in the last year as a result of her work on the rather unexpected topic of vermin (hedgehogs, polecats foxes and sparrows) December 1984 another on a 1799 Hendon Vestry dinner in March, 1985,

While we're on the Newsletter, research into Thomas Ashmole's links with East Barnet, and the history of the house he lived in - first called Mount Pleasant, then Belmont finally Heddon Court - was published in the September 1984 Newsletter.

Indexing the Statutory List

Since 1974 the Borough of Barnet has been waiting for its Statutory. List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest to be up-dated by the Dept of the Environment. Some 18 months ago the DoE vroduced a new draft List to be studied and amended before the final up-dated List was produced. Using.thet draft list as a basis, Christine Arnott began to make a now' and up-to-date index of Listed buildings in the Borough. This, again, is a long-term project.

 

As well as on-going projects, the Group is called on from time to time to deal with one-off enquiries or recording. One such was when we heard from a HADAS member on the staff of the Public Health Laboratory at Colindale, Mair Livingstone that the old buildings there were likely to be demolished. This had been the centre at which lymph for Public vaccination was prepared and distributed since the start of compulsory vaccination permission was obtained for Albert Dean to photograph the laboratories, calf-houses, etc. He has taken a set of colour slides and proposes also to get some black and whites. The photos and information will probably be for record only since Albert says the buildings, though functional and unto date for their period, are deadly dull architecturally.

Another one-off project .arose .when we heard that three new, nature trails were to be made at Scratchwood Open Space, involving the digging of ditches,. Christine. Arnett investigated the history of the area - the most singular thing about it was its almost total lack of history - and a visit was made to watch the work in progress. It turned out to be very shallow –more scratches than ditches.

 

 

One London wide issue which has much exercised the Documentary Group has-been what was going to happen to the historic collection of material housed in the Greater London Record Office - documents, Photos, maps, drawings - when the GLC was abolished. We have tried to keep this impor­tant matter, particularly the fact that the collection should not on any account be broken up between boroughs, in front of the four MPs who represent our borough in Parliament. It was a relief to learn a couple of months ago that arrangements are being made for the Corporation of the City of London to take over the collection intact.

I must regretfully report one failure. Some 18 months ago we asked a new young member, who was studying history, to undertake research into the Barnet end of the Welsh droving trade in the 18c/19c. This he agreed to do, but he has now written to say that he must give the work up because of approaching university exams; and he doubts if he will be in the area once the exams are over. We are very sorry, because the subject is an interesting one and a good deal of work has been done at the Welsh end. We would have liked to have tied our end up.

This leads me on to a final point: we would be happy to find some' more 'documentary researchers. In addition to the droving trade project, which we'd like to resurrect, We are particularly anxious to find one or two members 'prepared to research the history of the Stapylton Road area of Chipping Barnet, starting with a chronological comparison of any maps available. We hope to mount a dig there soon, in advance of redevelopment.
There are other projects too. We could use more helpers on both the Barn and the Farm Surveys; and we had an interesting enquiry recently about the age of a footpath from Burtonhole Lane to Totteridge, beside which a silver penny of Henry III has been found.
If there are takers for any of those subjects, please let me know.

BRIGID GRAFTON GREEN

 

We are glad to say that since the above report was made, one of our new members, James Beard, has kindly agreed to undertake the Stapylton Rd research. But we'd still like volunteers for other jobs ....

 

EXPERIMENTAL  ARCHAEOLOGY

 

The Bulletin of Experimental Archaeology, published annually by Southampton University, always contains something new and interesting. The 1985 issue describes an experiment in absorption of foodstuffs by ceramics.

A pilot study of the porosity of unglazed ceramics of Roman type with regard to foodstuffs was carried out by J M Oetgen and reported in Bulletin 2 (1983-4) of the Experimental Firing Group. The aim was to test whether or not there is any advantage in burnishing or slip-coating a pot.

The experiment measured the uptake by mass, of chosen foodstuffs, at a surface of known area, over given time. 75 fired clay slabs, variously slip-coated, burnished and untreated, were immersed in honey, milk, starch solution, olive oil and red wine, and dried. The results indicated that there is no consistent difference between the permeability of treated and untreated surfaces, except in the case of olive oil. The surfaces could be easily cleaned, without detergent; residual flavour was not tested. Two weeks later there was no noticeable decomposition of residues, or smell. It was accepted that cooking pots can be sterilised by strong heating.

THOSE SUBS AGAIN                                                

a reminder from Phyllis Fletcher I  am sorry to report that over 150 members have not yet renewed their subscriptions, due on April 1 this year. Please send them to me as
Soon as possible so that I do not have to send reminder letters to you all quite a mammoth task in itself. The subscriptions are as follows:

Full members                                                                                                  £5.00

Under 18                                                                                                          3.00

Over 6o                                                                                                             3.00

Subsequent members of same family                                                               1.00

Family membership: first-member.                                                                 £5.00

Additional members.                                                                        each         1.00

Corporate member (Schools, societies, etc)                                                    £6.00

My address is: 27 Decoy Avenue, NW11 OES


THE EAST ENDERS

Newest museum in the Borough of Barnet is the Museum of The Jewish East End, housed in part of one of the Borough's finest Listed buildings ­the early 13c Manor House of Finchley, in East End Road, N3.

The Manor House stands on an historic site. According to Finchley historian the late C 0 Banks, its written records date to the 13c. There is a scheduled ancient monument - part of a moat - in its grounds. It was, until 1981, the convent of the Sisters of Marie Auxiliatrice, a Roman Catholic order.' They sold it - reputedly for £850,000 - to the Jewish Reform Movement, and it is now the many-facetted Sternberg Centre for Judaism. One of those facets is the Museum. The fact that the Manor House is in East End road is purely coincidental: the East End of the Museum's title is London's East End: Whitechapel and thereabouts.

On July 2 the first public exhibition opens at the new Museum, entitled 'A Century of Migration - Jewish Settlement in the East End.' It will probably be a forerunner of many. Scenes of East End life will be re-created in photographs, pictures, documents and objects - for instance, a typical immigrant home, a tailoring workshop, and an East London bakery. The exhibition will run till July 28, Sundays to Thursdays inclusive (not Fri/Sats) from 10am-5pm. Admission free.

COMMITTEE CORNER

First meeting of the new Committee took place on June 7. Two new members, Margaret Maher and David Trinchero, were welcomed. Among matters discussed were:

Four possible sites for trial trenches have been noted in the Stapylton Rd development area of Chipping Barnet. Before we seek permission to dig, documentary research into the history of the area is being undertaken.

Plans are in train for watching the path of the water pipeline described in the May newsletter. The Water Board considers it unlikely that work will start before autumn, and it may be later.

College Farm, Finchley, faces possible closure because it has run into debt. Because of our long involvement - since 1970 - with the farm, HADAS has been asked to help in various ways. Thanks to the kindness of tenant farmer Chris Ower, we have since 1977 had a room of our own there, which 'provides valuable storage/working space. In the past few weeks we have therefore

1.      Provided photos of the vandalised condition of the farm buildings in 1976 before Mr Ower took over (no one else had kept a record of those days). Two of these were used in a BBC1 'That's Live' TV programme on June 16. (We hope many members may perhaps have seen the programme: it featured, among other things, Finchley's troop of cub-scouts, 3 ducks, a lamb and a Highland calf - led onto the set by Spike Milligan!)

2.      Helped Jean Scott Chairman of the Friends of College Farm, to try for a second time to get the farm buildings Listed. Last time the application was turned down because the buildings were not of a sufficiently high architectural standard; this time we have tried on historical grounds.

3.      We are helping to collect names and addresses for a Petition to the MP for Finchley (Who happens to be the PM) 'to ensure the preser­vation of College Farm as a rural farm in an urban setting as an educational amenity.' HADAS members are all asked to sign the Petition before July 3. Forms have been published in the local papers; all HADAS Committee members have forms for signing; and they will be on our stand at HGS Open Days, July 1-3.

The newly formed Photographic Group, now 6-strong, will have its first meeting on June 20.

Material for the next Minimart, on October 5, is already coming in members are asked to keep an eye out for possible saleable objects e.g. if someone is moving house. Please don't turn down an offer because you can't store it yourself: Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) or Christine Arnott (455 2751) may be able to help.

It was reported that 14 trenches had been opened at West Heath and that 3 were already finished.

The Congress of Independent Archaeologists at Wolfson College, Cambridge, on Sept 21-22was discussed. The Congress aims to -lay plans for doubling the contribution of independent archaeologists -like HADAS - to archaeology in Britain in the next 10 years.

One of the two convener’s, Andrew Selkirk, is a HADAS member he had written to invite the participation of a HADAS speaker, for whom he had kindly reserved time. 'I am very much hoping that you will be able to tell us about archaeology in the big city and why you think HADAS has been so successful,' he wrote. The Committee agreed to invite Daphne Lorimer to attend as HADAS representative and sneaker.

A number of Committee members indicated that they also intended to be there, it is hoped that the Society will have a strong representation so any member who would like to go is urged to do so. The residential fee is £36.00 (non-residential £8). Apply to Andrew Selkirk, 9 Nassington Rd, London NW3 2TX as soon as possible.        (Note: we are happy to report that Mrs Lorimer has accepted the invitation and will represent us).

It was reported that Popular Archaeology had published an article, with 5 pictures, in its May issue on Phase 1 (1976-81) of the West Heath dig. This was a summarised version, prepared by HADAS, of Daphne Lorimer's lecture to the Society last March. The Committee agreed to investigate the possibility of obtaining off-prints. (Note: they have proved obtain­able, and members who would like one - or more - can get them at 30p each (add 15p for post/packing) from Joyce Slatter, 5. Sentinel House, Sentinel Square, NW4 2EN

IN THE NEWS AGAIN

May was a good month, publicity wise, for HADAS. In addition to the piece on West Heath in Popular Archaeology, we also had a pat on the back in the May Local Historian, quarterly published by the British Association for Local History. They said of HADAS 'as usual this Society's monthly Newsletter is well worth reading' and went on to summarise the discussion on microfiche in our January/February issues. We return the compliment by pointing out that Local Historian itself is well worth its £7.50 postal subscription (£5 to members of BALH). The current issue includes articles on traditional building styles; 16c-17c hand-writing; using a computer for Census data; the Gentleman's Magazine as a quarry for facts; as well as book reviews, news paragraphs and a list of the latest local history publications. Write to BALH, the Mill Manager's House, Cromford Mill, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3RO if you are interested in subscribing.

MINTON'S RUSTIC TILES. In the April, 1984, Newsletter there was an account of

work then being done by Su Russell in the old dairy at College Farm. The interior was being stripped of many layers of paint to reveal the original blue and white tiles which adorned the walls from 1883, when the farm was built by George Barham of the Express Dairy Company, There were several different kinds of tiles: a series showing rural scenes; another with stylized flower heads and leaves; and a frieze of bursting pomegranates.

Now, as part of the campaign (mentioned in Committee Corner) to get the farm buildings listed, the dairy has been inspected by Kathryn Huggins, representative of the Tiles and. Architectural Ceramics Society (HQ at Ironbridgc Gorge Museum). After her visit Ms Huggins wrote:

"The interior of the dairy is quite splendid and the tiling is much more extensive and impressive than I had assumed. Clearly all the tiles in the dairy date from the original completion of the buildings in 1833 and have survived in a very complete state. The most strik­ing are perhaps the fine collection of rustic scenes which were made by Mintons of Stoke-on-Trent and may well be designs by William Wise, one of their best-known designers. The other frieze and border tiles are typical of Mintons 1880s production, one having a rather Japanese design.”

A number of tiled dairies were erected in the seconds half of the last century when tiles became popular, not only for their decorative qualities but also for their hygiene and easy-clean virtues. The most elaborate was the Royal Dairy at Windsor (Frogmore) which also used Minton tiles and which is now in urgent need of conservation. The example at College Farm is a rare survival and the completeness of the interior tiling makes it a worthy case for preservation, also of interest are the tiles on the walls of the roof looking over the 'milking parlour. These are later than the dairy, probably early 1920s and possibly made by Craven Dunnills of Jackfield. The Society would certainly support the case for the listing of the buildings at College Farm. I will speak to Hans van Lemmen, one of the organisers of last year's Minton exhibition at Stoke-on-Trent, to see if he can provide any other specific information about the rustic series and their designer."

George Barham and his younger son, Arthur, who ran the Dairy Supply company, a Subsidiary of the Express Dairy, must both have known well the Royal Dairy at Windsor which Ms Huggins mentions. The Dairy Supply Company received the royal warrant in 1888 for supplying the royal dairies with utensils. The Express Dairy Company provided extra milk and cream to Windsor when Queen Victoria was entertaining large parties; it also bought excess milk from the royal herds when it was not needed at Windsor.

 

OBITUARY. Another link with HADAS's past was broken at the end of May, when Phyllis Simmons died at the great age of 90. She had been a member of the Society from its early days, and although of recent years she had been living in retirement with her brother at Whitstable, she always kept in touch with us. She was a regular benefactor of the

Society, always sending a donation towards the Minimart, as well as acting guarantor for several of our early publications. We shall greatly miss her cheerful letters, and we send our warm sympathy to her brother.

 

COUNTRYSIDE CHARTER

The Countryside Commission has recently published a Countryside access Charter, covering rights of way and what you can take on them - Prams, wheel-chairs, dogs - and recreational rights. It. ends with a reiteration of the Country Code. Issued (free) with the Charter is a booklet which has the following to say about metal detectors:

"You may carry and use a metal detector, but you are not permitted to disturb the ground surface in order to remove an object the instrument detects. To do so may be trespass, criminal damage, or even theft. The prohibition applies to beaches as well as to-open countryside. It is an offence to damage a scheduled ancient monument.

Public access to common land does not extend to damaging the ground surface or removing anything from beneath the surface."

HOT LINE FROM CHINA

Aubrey Hodes - several of whose letters have been published in recent Newsletters - has been in touch again from Hua Qiao University where he is teaching. This time he writes to Dorothy Newbury:

The trip to Cumbria sounds attractive you know, Dorothy, after a year in  China your excursions seem not tame at all, but in fact more alluring  than before: I would love to see Sutton .Hoo with all of you – if the trip is after Sept 15, please reserve two places for me. I'm sure it's the first time anyone has reserved a place on one of your outings from

8000 miles away - can I claim a HADAS record?

Chinese food is very different from the fare in London's Chinese restaurants, which has been skillfully adjusted to suit Western taste buds. Fujian cuisine is based on seafood - so we have lots of squid, oysters (cooked, never raw), mussels, sea cucumber, octopus pork -duck for ban­quets, lamb never, beef rarely. Plenty of vegetables: green peppers, cabbage, turnips, greens. Fruit is excellent oranges and satsumas, apples, pears, bananas. Fujian is sub-tropical, like southern Spain or Sicily. Starting to come in now are watermelon, lychees, mangoes, papaya and honeydew melon -.yum: But no cheese, yoghurt or butter - Chinese dislike dairy products and say they turn sour in the body. We are given fresh milk for breakfast as a special concession to Westerners.

The Cantonese eat almost anything. I saw the main market in Guangzhou .and couldn't believe my eyes: wild owls, monkeys, snakes, armadillos, anteaters, dogs, cats, lynxes, rats and badger. There is a Chinese saying 'the Cantonese eat anything with legs except a table.'

People here are very friendly and hospitable.' In the villages around the campus people have never seen a 'pointed nose' or 'round eyes' before. When I strolled around there, children ran screaming for their mothers: The parents invariable told the children I was friendly, and made them shake my hand or touch me. In some remote towns on my recent 3000-mile journey around South China, 10-15 people stood by my table to watch me eat. I picked up a single peanut with my chopsticks - considered a test of dexterity- and some of them clapped:  I am ending my year with a great affection for China and Chinese people ..."

Not much archaeology there, perhaps - but Aubrey enclosed, as he always does, various archaeological cuttings and postcards. One from the China Daily described an extraordinary 400-year-old burial recently unearthed in Guangzhou.

It was of a woman who had died on Nov 6, 1579, and whose burial de­monstrated techniques, of a most sophisticated kind for preserving a body. As a result her copper-coloured skin is still slightly elastic, she has a complete set of teeth in place and her joints can still be bent.

Her body was packed around with bags of camphor and the coffin was filled with silk - many layers of silk quilts within a body-shaped silk covering. Inside all this the woman herself was dressed in 6 silk, cotton and brocade undergarments, a skirt and two pairs of trousers. The tomb was buried under 20 layers of granite slabs. The tomb chamber had been filled with lime, under which was a thick layer of resin weighing 500 kilos. The coffin housing the body was contained in a larger coffin and the space between the two coffins was filled with tung oil to keep out any air. Buried with the woman were 8 blue and white porcelain jugs, clothes and silk and cotton materials., A pair of tombstones with epitaphs are the biggest yet to be unearthed in Guangzhou: over.2000 characters engraved on one of them have provided important historical and artistic information.

 

HADAS GOES TO CUMBRIA                                             Report by Enid Hill

The weather was unkind, but the HADAS weekend of June 21/23 lived up to its usual excellence, thanks to efficient organisation by Isobel McPher­son and skillful driving by Hans Porges and Christopher Newbury - the latter having kindly stepped in to the driving seat when another member driver failed

We arrived Friday midday in two minibuses at the park of Levens Hall on the edge of the Lake District to inspect an excavated Neolithic ring cairn with its circle of stone which had contained two burials of different dates; and also a possible medieval corn-drying kiln. We then drove to S. Cumbria to see the extensive red sandstone remains of Furness Abbey ­an important early 12c foundation until its dissolution in 1537. With land in the Furness peninsula, in N. Cumbria, Yorkshire and in Ireland and the Isle of Man; its abbots were considerable feudal landlords who developed agriculture, sheep rearing and iron working, while providing charity and education.

Saturday was our big day. From our comfortable country-house hotel near Broughton we drove to Barrow Museum to meet Huberta Robinson, the Museum's deputy director who spent the day with us explaining archaeological sites as well as fauna and flora of the district to the great appreciation of the entire party.

We went over to Walney Island where surface finds of Mesolithic, Neo­lithic and Bronze Age have been made - flint microliths, cores, scrapers, blades and arrowheads. Many Langdale axes of about 2500 BC have also been found on Walney and the mainland, and it is thought that this area was a centre where rough-outs were polished. Everyone was entranced by the rich variety of flowers, including orchids, and by the sight of a swan sitting on her nest at the edge of a tarn. We moved to another site on the south of the island where we found ourselves surrounded by a herd of steers listening to our lecture. Fortunately, they retreated as we advanced.

Next we visited a probable Bronze Age double stone circle on Birkrigg Common; then on to Skelmore Head to see a hillfort with bank and ditch, possibly Bronze Age. Finally, exhausted, we looked at Urswick Church with its Anglian cross fragment of c. AD 850 and its curious 3-decker pulpit, lowest seat for the clerk, next for the reader of the lesson and top for the parson.

Back to the hotel for bath and dinner, and up on Sunday to find it raining again. However, we had a good visit to Swinside megalithic circle, set in a circle of hills and with a distant view of the sea. Personally I find Swinside, Long Meg and the Keswick circle some of the finest monuments in Britain - even allowing for the superiority of Stonehenge and Avebury, Most people went back to the hotel, but a few pressed on to Heathwaite to see the unusual cairns there., and after a quick lunch we all drove back to London.

(The Newsletter thanks Enid for providing this report within 12 hours of returning to London - a performance worthy of Fleet Street!)

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