Newsletter-175-September-1985

Newsletter No. 175: September 1985

HADAS  DIARY

West Heath. Digging restarts on August 30 and will continue all through September, 6 days a week (not Tuesdays) from 9am-6pm. If you haven't dug at the site before, please ring Margaret Maher (907 0333) or Sheila'Woodward (952 3897) to say you intend to dig and to learn about equipment, etc.

Sat Sent 21. The last .outing .of the year will take us into Suffolk We shall go first to Sutton Hoo., site of the famous Anglo-Saxon ship burial. Current excavation has been producing further evidence, not only of the Anglo-Saxons but also of Bronze Age and Neolithic occupation. The afternoon will be spent in Woodbridge with a visit to the restored Tide Mill and a chance to explore this attractive little market town. An application .form is enclosed.

The new season.of lectures begins next month at Hendon Library, Me Burroughs, Coffee from 8 pm; lectures begin 8.30.

Tues Oct 1. England's Heritage: an Aerial View by Christopher Stanley

Christopher Stanley, field officer of the Middle-Thames Archaeological Society, is known to several members for his wide range of aerial photographs. This will make an interesting start to our winter programme..

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS OUR. ADVERTISED APRIL, 1985, LECTURE, which had'to be changed over. The lecture .will NOT be 'Zinc-making in Ancient India, as printed on the programme          -

 

Sat Oct 5. A crucial date in the HADAS calendar: our main fund-raising effort, the MINIMART at St Mary's Church House, Hendon, NW4 (top of Grey­hound Hill, opposite Church Farm House Museum). You will find a separate sheet about it enclosed with this Newsletter. Please read it - there are some points at which members' help will be vital, so do .volunteer if you feel able to do any of the necessary jobs.

Tues Nov 5,. Reappraisal of Star Carr  by Tony Legge

Lecture Information (mainly for new members): buses 183 and 143 pass the Library door, which is 10 minutes’ walk from Hendon Central Underground station_ and only a few minutes’ walk from the 113 (Edgware) bus and the 240 & 125 . (Quadrant, Hendon) buses. There are 2 free car.parks opposite the Library.

Members may bring a guest to one lecture, but guests who wish to attend further lectures should be invited to join the Society.

Will old-members please welcome new ones, and make them feel at home? New members please make yourselves known. It is -hoped that officers and committee members will went name-badges at lectures this year. Many old members, as well as new ones, don't know who's who, Please approach any of us with suggestions, offers of help, etc. We particularly need contacts with members prepared to .give lifts to those without transport - either on an occasional or a more regular basis, as is mutually convenient.

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

For some HADAS members this is a nail-biting time: they have been awaiting the results of Diploma and Certificate exams in archaeology which they took in June.

We haven't managed to catch up with everyone's results yet, but we have heard that congratulations are in order for DAN LAMPERT, who has passed the fourth year of his Diploma, after specialising in Roman Britain. He joins our steadily increasing band of degree and diploma holders.

Three members have chalked up successes in the first year of the Certi­ficate in Field Archaeology. MICHAELA O'FLYNN passed with Merit, and DR JOAN. EDWARDS with Credit; we don't know what form DIANA MANSELL'S pass took as we learnt of it only by.hearsay - but we congratulate all three of them most warmly.

 

Now a different achievement - by former HADAS member ERINA CROSSLEY, who many members will remember with affection. Last month she had her.100th birthday, and celebrated it with a special Mass, conducted by Bishop. Philip Harvey and held in her own home in North End Road, Golders Green. Mrs Crossley - who has lived in, Golders Green for 75 years - was a long-time member of HADAS and a great supporter of our outings and lectures. She resigned in 1982 only because 'I'm getting on and can't get out to lectures as I used to.' She is a highly talented artist and has painted many local scenes.

Paragraphs in the last Newsletter about the high-flying agility of Islay sheep provoked this comment from Cherry Lavell of the Council for British Archaeology: 'I'm intrigued about the Islay sheep, though I'd have thought there was.no real problem about letting them keep the enclosure nicely mown! Something that is actively advocated for neglected churchyards in the south, for instance! At Butser Ancient Farm the Soays can clear 6ft in a standing jump, according to Peter Reynolds

 

When we passed these thoughts on to MAIR LIVINGSTONE (who, you may recall, first reported the break-in by Scottish sheep to an historic Islay churchyard) she had'an immediate answer. 'Oh, you couldn't let them into a Scottish churchyard,' she said. 'Our early churchyards have marvellous., beautifully carved figures of bishops and kings lying full-length on their tombs. Given a few months of sheep trespass and there wouldn't .be a nose left among them.' Shades of Robert Louis Stevenson and hip:

"Grey recumbent tombs of the dead in desert places,

Standing stones on the vacant wine-red moor,

Hills of sheep, and the howes of the silent vanished races ..."

MISSING NEWSLETTERS

Last month a howl went up from two members who didn't get their News­letters - indeed, both of them missed out for two months running.

If this should ever happen to you, please let the Editor know at once, on 455 9040 - and don't wait for two months to elapse. We always hope to to get the Newsletter out in the first week of' each month - and quite often we succeed. If you haven't had a copy by, say, the 10th of the month, let us know and we'll send a replacement.

VIEWING THE MARY ROSE. The galleries from which the Mary Rose - now on an even keel- - can be viewed in her Portsmouth dry dock have recently been enlarged. Early in August Richard Harrison, director of the Mary Rose museum,' announced that he hoped queues to view the ship were now a thing of the past, and that 'visitor capacity' had been doubled.

 

SITE-WATCHING

Recent applications for planning permission have included the following developments which, if permission were granted, might be of some archaeological interest:

Land adj. Pymlicoe House Hadley Green.     Garage & housekeeper's flat.

(an alteration to an earlier application which we noted previously)

30 Brockley Avenue, Edgware           front, side & rear extensions

St Mary's Croft, Fortune Lane, Elstree           covered swimming pool land bounded by Dollis Rd, Christs Coll. playing fields & properties in Dollis   primary school
Park, N3

Croft Homeless Families Unit, North Rd       8 homeless units in 2 blocks,

Estate, Edgware (beside Edgware Gen. Hosp)          car parking, access

40 Galley Lane, Arkley           single storey front extension

Would members who notice any building or pre-building activity on those sites please let John Enderby know, on 203-2630?

 

ART IN THE BEND OF THE BOYNE

New discoveries of megalithic art have recently been reported from Knowth, one of the three great prehistoric tombs in the bend of the River Boyne, in Ireland (the others are Newgrange and Dowth). 'Professor Eogan has found slabs carved with geometric designs; double spirals, concentric circles and chevrons. The carving is shallow grooving, made with stone tools, and the dating is 2500 BC. The decorated stones cannot be seen from ground level. The Boyne tombs have corbelled roofs; at Knowth the roof of the eastern tomb is composed of nine superimposed rings of stone, and the decorated stones are set in the sixth to the ninth rings from the bottom.

(information from Excavations  at Knowth I by George Logan, . Royal Irish Academy, 1984)

 

CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL. AFFAIRS

Current Archaeology is already favourite reading for many HADAS members - but in case you ate a recent convert to archaeology and haven't yet found this; excellent journal, we would like to bring it to your notice.

The current issue. -July 1985, No 97 - in addition to regular features such as the Diary, book reviews and readers' letters; carries articles on the latest archaeological discoveries from sites as far apart as Dorchester (Dorset) and the new town of Glenrothes in Scotland.

The chronological range is equally wide: Neolithic ritual centres, a Bronze Age barrow, Roman mosaics, an enigmatic Anglo-Saxon site and medieval monastic buildings. For full measure an 'Opinion' piece discusses the Manpower Services Commission vis-a-vis archaeology and John Musty contributes some interesting facts about the place of the natural sciences in archaeology, in course of reviewing the :Regional Review of. Environmental Archaeology, just published under, the editorship of Dr Helen. Keeley by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission.

 

Current Archaeology is published six times a year, subscription £6, from 9 Nassington Road, London NW3 2TX.

 

 

Need a late holiday? How about a

STUDY TOUR OF BRITTANY AND WESTERN LOIRE

Which is being organised by Verulamium Museum Educational Department? This will be a chance to see the famous Carnac -alignments and also to visit some of the Chateaux of the Loire valley. Basic cost £254. Dates Fri Oct 18 to Sun Oct 27. A'few vacancies still available, but apply as soon as possible to Brian Adams,. Verulamium Museum, St Albans AL3 4SW (phone 0727 59919).

MORE ABOUT EVENING CLASSES

The Museum of London doesn't run many evening classes, but the subjects it chooses to cover are usually interesting; and the lecturers, from the Museum staff, have the Museum's resources behind them, and can usually provide more practical material then is available to most lecturers.

This autumn two courses begin: both of two terms, both on Tuesday evenings starting Oct 1, fees for each £30. (or £15 for pensioners and. Students). From 6.30-8.30 Dr Alan Vince will take.a course on the archaeology of Saxon and Medieval London, a subject on which much new evidence (and fresh interpretation of earlier evidence) has come to light recently, some of it provided by Dr Vince himself - notably, his theory that Dark Age London centred on Aldwych.

The same evening, but from 6-8 pm, Peter Marsden offers a course with the unexpected title 'The Archaeology of Family History.' This is intended for students who have already done some documentary research on their own families, and they will be encouraged to continue that work. as part of the course. The idea is to use evidence from archaeological excavations of houses and occupation sites to fill gaps.in the documentary evidence, by showing the kinds of homes and. backgrounds that people of different occupations and classes would have lived in at different periods. A conservation element - of objects and • documents - is also built into the course.

You can register for the courses from Sept 11th, either in person or by post to the Education Officer, Museum of London, London Wall EC2Y 5HN. Cheques should be made out to the Museum of London.

 

Local Courses. The last Newsletter carried details of some local courses starting in the autumn. Here are some more:

At Owens Centre, 60 Chandos Avenue, N20, on Thurs from Sept 26, at 10 am Tony Rook onThe Egyptians.- Arranged.by Barnet WEA.,

'At Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4, Weds-from Oct 9;7.30 pm, Margaret Roxan on The Romans in Spain and North Africa. Hendon WEA. .

At 43 Flower Lane, Mill 'Hill, NW7, Weds from Oct 2 at 7.30.pm, S Cox on Aviation: An Historical Survey of its Military Application.

Post-Diploma Courses. These- all Central courses, held at either the Extra-: mural Dept, Russell Square or the Institute of Archaeology - follow much the same pattern as previous years. There are two on animal bones; one with Tony Legge, one with Mrs Sergeartson;' one on Human Skeletal Remains, with Dr T • Molleson; one on Plant Remains, with Richard Hubbard; and one on Archaeo- Archaeogical Draughtsmanship, with Mrs H E Martingell.

The fee for these courses is £35; and most of them incorporate research work on finds from actual excavation. Brigid Grafton Green can provide more details if required.

 

UNDER ARMY ORDERS   DANIEL LAMPERT describes the

HADAS outing of August 17

Porton Down, 5 miles NE of Salisbury, is a 6 x 2½ mile restricted area in the care of the Ministry of Defence, previously part of a large estate and consequently barred to the general public for generations. It presents an unusual and undisturbed collection of archaeological and botanical interest: there are about a hundred Bronze Age barrows and habitation sites, flint mines, ancient ditches and old trackways.

We were greeted on arrival by David James, representing the MoD Conserva­tion Office; he deals with SST (Special Scientific Interest) items. We formed up-so that he could read out site standing orders, tell us not to stray from signposted paths and then detail us into seven land-rovers (HADAS for the use of) interconnected by radio (efficiently verified in military style before departure). We drove off in closely-spaced convoy to examine the area. The drivers were MoD civilians who had volunteered - without pay - for this duty.

The barrows are late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age: 82 are bowl-shaped, 6 bell, 4 disc, 3 saucer and 1 .pond. Many were covered in scrub; some were less recognisable, having been used for target practice in the past. The largest is near Winterslow Firs, 104ft in diameter, bell shaped, 18ft high and the biggest man-made mound in Wiltshire other than Silbury Hill.

In 1814 excavation on a bell barrow by the Rev A Hutchins revealed an intrusive Saxon inhumation with contemporary grave goods, now lost, but recorded on an oil painting now in Salisbury museum. Other finds: an inhumation (head to the north) with a beaker, bronze dagger, two tanged flint arrow heads and a slate wristguard. A disc barrow over a cremation contained jewellery, ornaments, sewing implements and domestic pottery - suggestive of the Wessex culture.

We were then escorted to Easton Down. The area is divided by a complex of linear ditches: within a square mile and separated by the ditches lie a Middle Bronze Age urnfield, flint mines and two beaker settlement sites. The flint mines were discovered by Marcus Stone in 1929 and believed to be Neolithic. Over 100 U-shaped shafts may still be traced. Excavations produced antler picks and tools, axes and chisels, now on display in Salisbury Museum.

Marcus Stone excavated some beaker settlement sites in 1930: he found 10ftx5ft rectangular shaped sunken habitations probably with thatched roofs, the eaves of which would have been only slightly above ground level. The absence of stratified habitation areas suggest that these were temporary houses. Beakers with everted and in-turned rims were unearthed.

A flint cairn (cairns: believed to be monuments for those not entitled to barrow burials) excavated in 1983 produced charcoal which was sent to Harwell for radio-carbon dating: a date c 1700 BC has been recorded.

The linear ditches seem to suggest use as territorial boundaries. One extends for 3 miles. One excavation in the ditch produced beaker pottery and, at a depth of 4ft, a 3oz piece of ox bone which has been sent to Harwell for dating. Current investigation to determine how the land was parcelled up and the relevance of the linear ditches.

For botanists there were unusual wild flowers, including wild orchids Rabbits were in abundance, doing damage to archaeological remains (our guide said); and there are over a million anthills on the site.

 

The tour round the site was rewarding and our thanks go to David James and his volunteers who gave up their Saturday morning to provide this instructive visit.

After a picnic lunch by the Cathedral we visited Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum in the newly restored Kings House (c 1475). This has a Wessex archaeological section with detailed phases of construction of Stone­henge, artefacts from Durrington Walls henge and a display of the Pitt Rivers collection.

A very good day: Dorothy Newbury and June Porges arranged excellent weather (almost the best of this disastrous summer) and a wellorganised outing.

 

Tailpiece: one of the most interesting publications of the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum is a 12-page A4-size booklet on General Augustus Henry Pitt Rivers, the 'father of scientific archaeology,' by Mark Bowden. It was published last year and has some fine illustrations, including the famous photograph of the Neolithic excavation at Wor Barrow in 1893 and a marvellously evocative Victorian family group in which a top-hatted Pitt Rivers is shown in patriarchal mood, overlooking his wife, 6 of his 9 children and the family terrier.

The General's early ethnographic and anthropological collections, numbering some 14000 objects and including the famous Benin bronzes, were deposited with Oxford University, where they are still to be seen today in the Pitt Rivers Museum, still arranged according to their collector's theories of 'the evolution of culture.' His later collections, made after he had inherited his estate at Cranborne Chase, and containing the material from, and documentation of his archaeological excavations, were first shown at Farnham Museum in Dorset, which was created for the purpose in the General's lifetime. Today they form an important part of the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum's collection.

The booklet costs 60p (plus 17p post/packing) from the Museum, The King's House, 65 The Close, Salisbury, Wilts SP1 2EN.

And, to end with, a quote from the great man, which suggests that he possessed a pawky sense of humour: 'it not infrequently happens that well-intentioned' persons show an irrational anxiety to have skeletons immediately re-interred, even sometimes with religious rites. I have known this claim set up by well-meaning Christians on behalf of the remains of people who would certainly have eaten them if the suggestion had been made in life.'' (General Pitt Rivers, addressing the Royal Archaeological Institute at Lewes, 1883)

WELSH HARP EXHIBITION

In last month's Newsletter we mentioned the exhibition currently showing at the Grange Museum, Neasden, on the 150th anniversary of the Welsh Harp Reservoir.

We now learn that when it finishes at Neasden the exhibition goes on tour It will be at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon, from November 16 to February 97 1986. Curator Gerard Roots hopes to include additional material as well as the exhibits shown at the Grange.

 

PREHISTORIC COOKERY?

Prehistoric break-throughs from Africa are nothing new in archaeology: the Leakey family and others have seen to that. Now from Kasteelburg midden site in the southwest Cape comes news of possible prehistoric cookery. The site has provided evidence of sheep and antelope in the diet. but the largest proportion of protein seems to have come from marine animals and birds. 'Excavated pottery fragments carried an interior flakey brown coating which looked like burnt food; scientists at the University of Cape Town have been trying, by .a process known as gas liquid chromatography, to identify the substance through its fatty acids.

The values obtained for palmitic and stearic acids and their ratio to each other were compared to those for various modern species. The results suggested seal meat. As a control test, frozen seal tissue was baked in a pot for a. prolonged period the residue gave an oleic to vaccenic acid ratio close to that for the archaeological sample. It is thought that the experiments demonstrate convincingly a marine animal origin for the substance; but do not provide the name of a precise species. The seal family seems highly likely - and seal bones were found during the excavation. While the obvious conclusion is that meat was being cooked as food, it should not be forgotten that fat was also used ritually - by southern Africa tribes, arid rendering-down blubber could have been the objective.

Condensed from Archaeometry vol 27, 231-6

DANCER'S MUSEUM         by CHRISTINE.ARNOTT

Ivy' House, North End Road, Golders Green - which stands near Golders Hill. Park and close by the Borough of Barnet's boundary with Camden carries a blue plaque on its wall which reads:    ANNA PAVLOVA

lived here 1912-1931

What the exterior of the house does not tell you is that this is the home of  the only museum - albeit a part-time one - dedicated to the history of the great dancer.

For some years the house has been used by the. Middlesex Polytechnic for speech and drama courses. Once a week, however - on Saturday afternoons, from 2.30-5.30 pm - the Pavlova Museum is allowed the use of one of the fine rooms on the first floor.

Members of HADAS who have helped to mount exhibitions will sympathise with the curator who has to pack everything away each Saturday evening, carefully and securely, and unpack and set.it out again the next week. There is a wealth of material stored away only a small proportion of which can be displayed at a time. Fortunately there is some storage space available at Ivy House - displays don't have to'be transported there and back every week. Some of the Museum's collection is, however, stored elsewhere and has never yet been on show at Ivy House.

The Poly intends .eventually to move out - indeed, this move has been expected annually for some years. When that happens, there are plans to use the .whole house as a Museum to ballet„

Although the museum is modest in size and content, I would urge HADAS members to find their way there: the visit is worthwhile if only to see the view from the upstairs windows over the lawn to the lake where once Pavlova's famous swans sailed, and to where-a statue of the dancer - A memorial sculpture by Paulin - watches over past memories; beyond, the garden .are distant views across the valley to Harrow.

Within the room there is much to see ballet programmes, photos of costumes, of once famous people, mementos of special occasions and memorabilia of the ballerina.' Furniture that was in her room and the atmosphere of the arranged exhibits, plus the many photographs, contrive to make one conscious of the richness of the pre-revolutionary Russian scene and the glamourous characters that fled westwards at the end of the First World War.

 

DETECTIVE WORK AT BATH

The Times of Aug 1 carried a report of an inspired bit of detective work by Professor Barry Cunliffe at Bath. Working not on freshly excavated finds from his dig at the temple of Sulis Minerva, but almost entirely on material long forgotten in the museum cellars at Bath, he has produced a splendid and convincing theory that there was a-hitherto unsuspected circular tholos-plan-temple in the centre of Roman Bath, probably built to celebrate the visit of the Emperor Hadrian in AD 122.

The starting point for piecing together this jig-saw consisted of four blocks of stone, each slightly curved and each highly decorated. They had been dug up between 1378 and 1882, and have been in store ever since. Three of them are from a frieze, one from an architrave. Their curvature suggests a building about 9m in diameter.

Professor Cunliffe also found three fragments of a monumental carved cornice, originally discovered in 1869, which he feels might belong to the tholos building; 'also possibly two fragments of Corinthian capitals and part of a plain column, none of which seem to fit into the temple of Minerva that he has been excavating.

The first four stones were decorated suggesting that the building was meant to Using Vitruvius's rules for architectural columns, 7.2m high, supporting the frieze panels shows a figure with a lyre, and he consisted of representations of the gods, both on the inner and outer faces, be enjoyed from inside and outside proportion he has postulated 12 and the cornice. One of the outer suggests that the outer decoration this one being Apollo.

The theory about the temple being built to celebrate Hadrian's visit arises from the fact that there is already evidence for the expansion of the baths complex -in the second century and Professor Cunliffe argues that the expansion may have been sparked off by the Emperor's visit.

Which all goes to suggest that archaeological information can be unearthed in the bowels of a museum as in the bowels of the earth.

UP AND COMING CONFERENCES

On Oct 11 a one-day conference, with speakers of the calibre of Professor John Coles and Frances Pryor, will be held at the Society of Antiquaries on Recent Research in the Fenlands. Tickets (limited to 120) from Bob Silvester, Norfolk Archaeological Unit, Union House, Gressenhall, East Dereham, Norfolk NR20 4DR. Conference fee L2.50.

In the weekend of Oct 11-13 the recently formed Historic Farm Buildings Group  will hold its first AGM and autumn conference at West Dean College near Chichester; Details from Roy Brigden, Museum of English Rural Life, The University, Whiteknights, PO Box 229, Reading RG6 2AG

ANIMAL CRACKERS AT WEST HEATH, 1985  MARGARET MAHER spotlights some unexpected aspects of the HADAS .dig

June 10. Woke up at 5.30 am exhausted. Lay still and recovered from a recurr­ing nightmare. It always starts the same way - a telephone call to say that two Cranes, seven goats and 24 roe deer are roaming freely around Golders Hill Park, Golders Green and Hampstead! Horror hits as I realise I must have for­gotten to lock the gate of the animal enclosure when collecting water for wet-sieving. In m dream I spend the rest of the night rounding up animals.

June 12. Big Daddy has re-occupied his quarters in an overturned bucket in the hide where we keep our tools. He is a large smug brown toad, who watches our work with benevolent world-weary amazement and is completely unperturbed by the to-ing and fro-ing of people removing shovels, finds boxes, buckets, trestles, etc. One volunteer digger, convinced the toad was lost, removed and transported him to the Leg of Mutton pond on three successive mornings - only to be greeted with a smug blink from the re-occupied bucket each time the tarpaulin was removed.

Apparently toads migrate up to 4 miles back to the pond where they were born, in order to breed. Rescuing pathetic looking toads who have fallen into the trenches has been a common occurrence in this and previous years, with the ex­ception of 1984 when we managed to provide a shallow staircase of 1 metre trenches. (Toads cannot jump, but any self-respecting toad ought to be able to hop up a few centimetres to meet the lady of his choice!) Besides, sexing toads first thing every morning in order to pair them off, to make up for the wasted night, is not a skill every digger has - or wishes to acquire.

June 15. Mopping and baling out trenches before we could begin work was becom­ing a monotonous chore until today. Not any more: Having removed all but the last 2 cms of water this morning, things started hopping and jumping in all directions. I screamed/yelped and froze, and the other diggers fell about laughing before coming to the rescue. 25 froglets, about in long, were removed to places of safety and after a search of the soles of my wellies (in case any had become trapped in the ridges) baling continued. Worse was to follow.

Several mornings later, over 100 assorted frogs were removed before work could commence. On this occasion, yours truly sat at a safe distance reflecting on her shortcomings ... I'd not realised that being able to pick up frogs by the hand­ful was.a prerequisite of the good digger. I DO NOT LIKE FROGS, dear readers!

June 21. A lovely sunny morning - so unusual at this time of year. Driving through the park at 5mph gives plenty of opportunity to watch squirrels at play and admire baby rabbits which innocently and fearlessly wash their whiskers on the paths around the dig enclosure.

Arrived at the site to be informed we've had vandals again - Rabbits: 'A large burrow has been started in the corner of a trench and much damage done. Peter Challen, the Superintendent of Golders Hill Park, manfully controls his laughter when confronted with distraught person demanding immediate protection from the hooligans that live in his park. He helpfully supplies chicken wire and wire cutters, and Victor Jones, Myfanwy Stewart and I spend the afternoon sewing up a chicken-wire blanket. Sewing provides leisure to plan revenge and I decide to celebrate the summer solstice by remaining on site and engaging in ritual slaughter at midnight. Cannot remember how to make snares, so go hone ­thinking nasty thoughts about rabbits.

June 22. Drizzly morning. Restrain impulse to accelerate at sight of sweet little bunnies washing whiskers on paths.

July 30. The wire worked, so that just leaves the squirrels. Very cute and appealing they are; toe, and so tame that as soon as the tea box is unloaded a squirrel appears, standing on his hind legs and waiting for food. In the past 8 weeks the team have become experts on squirrel behaviour and can now announce - for those who-wish for such information - a Preferred Diet for Scavenging Squirrels. It is, in reverse order of preference:

Tomatoes: not popular; to be stolen, bitten once and discarded.

 

Bread and pastry (with or without marmite, butter, cheese, etc). No strong preference for brown or white.

Apple Cores: a great favourite. Naturally whole apples preferred, but if people are too mean, cores will do.

Chocolate Biscuits. So popular that Sheila Woodward has her pockets examined for more - they eat out of her hand. All Other goods (and people) are ignored if she is eating.

Honey Nut Crunch (Waitrose). The all-time favourite: For this they will climb on Jean Snelling's knee looking for more, even patting her folded hands in case she has some hidden away.

We often share lunch with up to seven squirrels - those of us who have any lunch left, that is.- The Squirrel Mafia can chew through leather, canvas, tupperware and wickerwork. Zips present few problems: large squirrels send in small ones if the'hole or space is too small. They started by chewing the-edges of sand­wiches, but now are so organised that they pinch whole packages.

July 31. Digging ends this week. We have survived everything so far - 40 days and 4C nights of rain, plagues of toads, frogs, rabbits and squirrels. We await the locusts and killer bees. It's been fun and digging re-starts on August 30. Watch this space and see you?

 

WHY NOT RESURRECT MIDDLESEX?

The current issue of Local History (July, 1985) publishes a letter from the former Chairman of the Middlesex Society, Donald Jarvis, on the tribulations suffered recently by one of the best-known collections of records in the country - those of the 'ancient and historic' county of Middlesex. Difficulties began 20 years ago with the decision to make Middlesex a part of Greater London; now 'they are being compounded by the decision to abolish Middlesex's successor, the Greater London Council. Mr Jarvis writes:

“The proposed abolition of Greater London as an administrative entity poses a very interesting problem. There are 32 'Greater London' boroughs, and those situated east of the River Lea have the county of Essex as their 'historic parent.' The boroughs of Bexley and Bromley are of course historically part of Kent, while Richmond, Kingston, Merton, Sutton and Croydon must claim their proud descent from ancient Surrey. If we go back before 1889, when the London County'Council was formed, we can also include Wandsworth and Lambeth with Surrey, and Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich with Kent. The point is that the ancient counties of Essex, Kent and Surrey still exist as administrative units of local government, each having their own record offices which presumably could absorb the records of their former 'lost' boroughs.

'The interesting problem is. What happens to the records of those boroughs north of the Thames formerly in Middlesex? Middlesex was abolished as a unit of local government in 1965, so where are those boroughs - some 15 in all - now going to be 'in'? If fears expressed by the County Archivist of the GLRO are justified - that the City Corporation may not be able to cope adequately with all tho records - might there not be a case for reestablishing a Middlesex Record Office, embracing all those Boroughs formerly in that county and in the old London County Council areas?"

HADAS members of long standing will perhaps recall that our Society joined other organisations and individuals to fight (unsuccessfully, alas) the closing of the old Middlesex Record Office at Dartmouth Street in June 1979 and the incorporation of its records into the Greater London. Record Office, first at County Hall and, more recently, at Northampton Road, Clerkenwell. Perhaps we were even wiser than we knew!

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