Newsletter-252-March-1992

 

NEWSLETTER 252               Edited by Liz Sagues                          MARCH 1992

Diary

Tuesday, March 3     Ancient Monuments — Their Care and Preservation

by Helen Paterson, AIFA (HADAS lecture)

Miss Paterson has been Field Monuments Warden for English Heritage since December 1978. She will show slides of ancient monuments in the Greater London area, Hertfordshire and possibly Essex and will talk about the whole legal position and the problems to be overcome with ploughing and redevelopment.

 

Saturday, March 21  29th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists,

at the Museum of London, 11am - 5.30pm The theme is Recent Archaeological Work in the London Area and the talks cover excavations at Upminster, Tolworth and Old Malden, Cheapside, Long Acre and Bull Wharf. The afternoon session is entitled Cess Flies and What They Are ... There will be the usual displays of recent work undertaken by local societies, HADAS included. For tickets (£3 for LAMAS members, £4 for non-members, including afternoon tea) apply to LAMAS, c/o Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN.

 

Tuesday, April 7        Archaeology and History of Sutton House, Hackney

by Mike Gray. (HADAS lecture)

Tuesday, May 5         HADAS Annual General Meeting

Saturday May 16       Our first outing of 1992 is a follow-up to the April 7 lecture ­a visit to Sutton House and then on to Waltham Abbey with Peter Huggins, Waltham Abbey Archaeological Society

Saturday, June 20     Outing to Loughborough, Rushton and Geddington

Saturday July 11       Outing to Witney to the recent excavation by Oxford Archaeological Unit (see article on page 6)

August 28,29,30         Weekend in Dorset — to be confirmed. Please see separate enclosure with this Newsletter

Tuesday, October 6   The Roman Pottery Manufacturing Site in Highgate Woods

by Harvey Sheldon (HADAS lecture)

Saturday, October 3 or 10 Minimart

Tuesday November, 3                       Excavating in Northern Iraq — from the Greeks to the Mongols by Dr John Curtis (HADAS lecture)

Tuesday, December 1 or 8    Christmas Dinner

 

HADAS lectures are held at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, at 8pm for 8.30pm.

 

Dorothy Newbury writes: As you will see the above dates are not all confirmed yet. It is hoped a complete programme card will accompany this Newsletter. It has been suggested that we have a small Mini-Minimart one Saturday in the spring, morning only, with coffee, to dispose of the vast amount of summer wear which we can never sell in October and also the accumulation of other goods we already have to hand.

The items "wanted and for sale" on the slip issued monthly are most welcome. Please continue to send in your sales and wants. Although we don't sell everything, it is very lucrative and goes a long way towards boosting our takings at the annual Minimart.

 

Pamela Taylor provides some answers to:

The question of Temple Fortune


I hope the following note will answer Ann Kahn's query concerning Temple Fortune, although the early history of the area still has to be disentangled and no attempt has yet succeeded.

The Place-Names of Middlesex (1942), p.59, gives the earliest reference as Rocque's map of 1754 and derives "Temple" from the Templars, who held land within Hendon in 1243. This is almost certainly the correct derivation, but a linking reference which it makes to The Temples in the 1574 Hendon Manor survey is largely irrelevant. The survey makes it plain that The Temples lay on the southern bound­ary, west of Hodford Wood corner, and it must therefore be the adjacent former Templar estate within Hampstead.

The Victoria County History of Middlesex (vol.5, 1976, p.21) almost certainly confuses the history of the Temple Fortune estate with that of a later Templar acquisition in west Hendon, which became part of their Kingsbury manor of Freren (for which see the same volume, p.60). It was the estate including Temple Fortune which was given to the Templars in 1243. Like most of the Templar property, it seems to have passed at their suppression to the Hospitallers. The history after the Dissolution is obscure: part (the Wyldes estate) passed to Eton College in the 16th century, but the Finchley part (known as Temple Croft, and including the site of Avenue House) re­mained in private hands. There is a detailed account of the Finchley descent in VCH vol.6, 1980, p.60.

The Place-Names of Middlesex says the mean­ing of "Fortune" is not clear, but cross-refers to

Ann Kahn writes: I am most grateful to John Enderby, George Ingram and Jean Snelling who have replied to my query on the origins of Temple Fortune. Other members may also be interested in the results I have had so far. I have had no definite explanation yet, but there seems to be a connection with the Knights Templar who may have had a staging post in the area. Templars and Temple are fairly common elements in street names in Finchley Church End and Temple Fortune. Fortune Gate in Willesden, which may be foran-tune that is in front of the tun of Harlesden. There is no archaeological or other actual evidence concerning early settlement of Temple Fortune, but it seems on more nebulous grounds by far the most likely loca­tion for the centre of Bleccanham, the Westminster estate separately acquired by the abbey in the 10th century (and it may even have belonged previously to the small earlier foundation) but soon amalga­mated with Hendon. We know that Bleccanham was the area south of the Brent, and it must have had an estate centre. All our early settlements are on high or rising land, and south of the Brent the only hills are at Temple For­tune and Childs Hill. The latter is almost certainly the centre of another estate, Codanhlaw, appearing separately in the early Westminster charters.

Another indicator comes from the routes of early roads. The importance of the road junction at

Temple Fortune, long before the creation of the Finchley Road, is still obvious on maps such as Cooke (1796). This was the junction of the route from Hendon via Mutton Bridge and the old route from Finchley later replaced by the Finchley Road. The route southwards already terminated abruptly, as Wild Hatch still does, but this was obviously a later development, which has been well charted by stu­dents of Wyldes and Hampstead.

It is at least possible that the "Fortune" part of Temple Fortune commemorates Bleccanham, which became the tun in front of the tun of Hendon. Ar­chaeological help would be highly welcome!

Ekwall's Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames (4th edition) ignores Temple Fortune, but gives Forton, Lancs, and Forton, Shropshire, as "For­tune" in D.B. (Domesday Book), and includes Fortun, Staffordshire, as "tun by a ford". This seems to tie up with the information received that the line of the Finchley Road was further west, nearer Bridge Lane. It may be that there was a ford there and this is the origin of the second part of the name.

 

In brief ...

Wembley History Society is celebrating is 40th anniversary with a talk 1952-1992, The Years In Be­tween, on March 20 at its usual venue, Old St Andrew's Church, Kingsbury, from 7.30pm to 9pm.

The annual excavation training school organ­ised by Keele University will be continuing in its eighth season on a Roman villa site in Gloucester­shire, in two-week sessions in June, July and August. Beginners or diggers with some experience can at­tend for any or all of the six weeks, and training in all aspects of archaeology will be provided during all the weeks. Tuition fee is £65 a week. For application forms, which should be returned as soon as possible, contact Liz Holliday, 081-204 4616.

 

 

Bill Bass sends

A despatch from the trenches

 

St Mary's School, Finchley Central: Following an evaluation dig in January 1991, the Museum of Lon­don has returned for a full-scale excavation, which started on February 3 and is intended to last six weeks. The main body of the Victorian building has been demolished and is being cleared by contractors. Staff from the MoL and the Passmore Edwards Mu­seum are cleaning the underlying layers by hand. In the original evaluation finds included hearths, slot beams, post holes, pits and a ditch, with large amounts of associated pottery. The pottery was varied: grey wares, sandy shelly wares and some splashed glazed wares. Most dates to around 1150­1250 AD, with some possibly late Saxon.

The new dig has already recovered a large rim sherd, evidence of plough soil and some very clear post holes. The MoL has invited HADAS to participate and arrangements are being made for Sunday and week-day digging. If members are interested in this or any other dig, please contact Brian Wrigley, Andy Simpson, Arthur Till or myself (081-449 0165).

News from previous digs: In February 1982 HADAS organised a rescue dig at the Old Bull Arts

Centre, this site being close to the medieval heart of Barnet. Most evidence was Victorian, but some sherds of medieval pottery were recovered.

The Old Bull now has permission for an exten­sion which will house a visual arts gallery and pro-

vide access for people with disabilities, including a lift and staircase at the back. Limited observation of the trench for the lift foundation did not reveal any further finds or features. Site watching will continue as building progresses.

In 1990 the society conducted an excavation at 19-25 High Street, Barnet (Newsletter 237). This yielded a large quantity of medieval pottery sherds associ­ated with a pebble yard feature, also post-medieval wall footing, pits and pottery. The site is now being developed into a three-storey office/shop building, which involves the demolition of Guyscliffe House (former Barnet College extension) and 1, 3 and 5 Fitzjohn Avenue, which is now taking place. Hope­fully some form of site-watching will continue.

New sites: Other sites on which HADAS Exca­vation Committee members have their eyes include the former Victoria Maternity Hospital, Barnet (be­ing developed into "posh" offices), and Old Fold Manor Golf Club and Two Brewers pub, Hadley, both on the site of the Battle of Barnet. The Two Brewers is apparently to be demolished following a fire. In Edgware, at Edgwarebu ry Park (near Brockley Hill) HADAS has been asked to conduct some field walking and excavation. This is now being organ­ised.

Weight training for diggers: For the last 20 years or so eight (heavy) boxes of Brockley Hill Roman pottery have lain in the depths of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute. Recently we were asked to remove them, to free the space. So on February 5 a team from HADAS Removals Ltd, with the whip cracked by John Enderby, shifted the boxes to our storage room at College Farm, Finchley. Thanks to the Institute for looking after the material over the years.

A section dug as footings by the builders was examined and photographed and a trench two metres by one was dug on lower ground to check whether the soil profile was similar. It was not — unfortunately this section showed a truncated subsoil on to which topsoil had been placed. There was very little evidence of soil weathering and no iron pan development.

Conclusion: between one and two feet of topsoil had been placed on a truncated subsoil (Claygate Beds). This, as walking and earlier examination had shown, was very disturbed by various gardening and construc­tion activities. Thus the many miscellaneous finds were all assumed to be derived.

The southern boundary area from which most of the flint flakes had come was re-examined, but appeared as disturbed as the rest of the area (or even more dis­turbed) and not worthy of further attention.

Finds, inventory and photos are to be stored at Avenue House.

 

Margaret Maher writes:

Seven members met at short notice at 9am on February 6 to inspect the site of 61 West Heath Drive, Hampstead, which is to be redeveloped. We had permission to investigate the rear part of the two-acre sloping site, in an area of the garden which appeared to have been unaffected by previous building activity.

The next four-and-a-half hours were spent walk­ing over the ground and loosening the smeared (ma­chine cleared) topsoil in a search for finds. A few modern and Victorian potsherds were recovered, a clay pipe stem and two rusted metal objects so corroded as to be unidentifiable. The most interesting fragments came from a white glazed earthenware milk jar. Unfortu­nately, the name of the company was missing.

From the bottom (literally) of the garden at the far end of the site just by the boundary fence a number of small flint flakes were recovered. Probably Mesolithic, they were of considerable interest because of the prox­imity of the West Heath site, some 600 metres to the NE. Peter Pickering reports on the first lecture of 1992

 

An underground feast

The first event of 1992 had a similar structure to the last event of 1991. It had three courses. The first, or appetiser course, took the form of a few absolutely superb pictures of cave paintings from Lascaux. The third, or dessert course, was to some tastes macabre — the catacombs of Paris, ossuaries with the bones arranged in decorative patterns on the walls.

But it was the entrée on which Sylvia Beaumon had lavished all her culinary skills, and it was a feast indeed, which few of us could have anticipated when we arrived that mild winter evening in Hendon Library.

Maastricht is well known now to all who follow current affairs with any interest. But very few will have known that nearby are miles and miles of underground passages, disused mines, wherein for 400 years people have been drawing, painting and sculpting on the walls.

They have used different mediums, with differ­ing degrees of professionalism, and of course have depicted a wide range of subjects. Many relate to wars — a picture of Napoleon, a list of families who suffered in the Second World War; many were religious in inspiration, for the passages had been used by trainee Jesuits for their periods of recreation; there were advertisements for margarine; and fan­tasy landscapes of the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It was, literally, amazing.

We cannot have been alone in finding the talk provoked more conversation and reminiscence than many of the more academic lectures we have heard. What we had seen underground, when and where. What was the fascination that surrounded the sub­terranean? Whether this was the true "pop art".

Thank you, HADAS, for the capacity always to surprise.

 

Roy Walker links books to talk

Art on the library shelves

Though books relating specifically to the February lec­ture on subterranean art are few, the HADAS collection does contain a number of works on prehistoric art. These are:

Cave Drawings: An Exhibition of Drawings by the Abbe Breuil of Palaeolithic Paintings and Engravings (Arts Council, 1954),

Larousse Encyclopaedia of Prehistoric and Ancient Art (Gen. Ed R. Huyghe, 1957),

Lascaux: Paintings and Engravings (A. Laming, 1959),

Secrets of the Ice Age: The World of the Cave Artists (E. Hadingham, 1979).

And the rest of the list:

Nearly 200 new accessions have been catalogued since the Avenue House fire, including several books from the Barnet Library reserve collection kindly do­nated by the borough. Of local and society interest are the following:

Finchley's Countryside: A Glimpse into its Past and Threats to its Future (O. Natelson),

Industrial Monuments in Hertfordshire (W. Branch Johnson),

Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (London Borough of Barnet),

Archaeological Collections in London (London Museums Service),

The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic (Ralph Merrifield),

Paleolithic Europe: A Theoretical and Systematic Study (Desmond Collins).

If you are interested in borro wing any of the above or would like access to the room at Avenue House to browse through the library, then please telephone 081­361 1350 or make contact at the next HADAS meeting.

 

Nothing new in nefarious habits

 

So there's nothing new in thieves' habits, according to a report last month in the Daily Telegraph.

The report describes how archaeologists in York were puzzled by the number of empty 13th century purses they found on a site in the city. But medieval purses were not the only finds. Each Monday, when they returned to the site, they discovered more empty purses and wallets — 20th century ones.

 

Just as the modern thieves tossed their un­wanted booty away in a quiet alleyway, so did their counterparts 700 years earlier, the archaeologists concluded.

"It seems quite a nice example of behavior which hasn't changed," Nick Pearson, senior field officer with the York Archaeological Trust, is re­ported as saying.

 

Not a magical experience

Liz Sagues follows the argument against a long-held theory

The long-contentious "cave art was hunting magic" theory surfaced briefly during the February lecture. For members who'd like to know the latest state of argument, Paul Bahn summarises it cogently — and comes down firmly against a major hunting symbolism in the art of the palaeo­lithic hunters — in Rock Art and Pre­history.

This monograph, edited by Balm and Andrée Rosenfeld, comprises pa­pers presented to the first congress of the Australian Rock Art Research Association, held in Darwin in au­tumn 1988.



De-mythifying the Montespan bear: Cartoon by Laurent, one of the illustrations in Paul Bahn's paper in Rock Art and prehistory, where it is reproduced by kind permission of Pierre Fanlac.


Bahn uses the example of the bear at Montespan ("the bear facts" is one of his sub-headings) to per­suade readers that hunting magic is in the mind of the interpreters, not the originators, of the art. Hunting, he argues, may well have played a role in the production of some palaeolithic art, in some functional or more mystical way, "but it is clearly not a dominant feature". His words are entertaining, his thesis convincing.

As might be expected, the main emphasis of the volume is on Australian prehistoric art. But there is plenty, too, to interest anyone with a general enthu­siasm for the subject. Ireland and Indonesia, for example, are among other locations of prehistoric art which are considered, while female artists, "the un­recognised factor in sacred rock art production", are the subject of another paper. The bibliographies, also, are invaluable for anyone who wants to take the subject further. One warning, though: you'll find that not all the contributions share the lightness of touch of Bahn's.

Rock Art and Prehistory is the tenth in a series of archaeological mongraphs published by Oxbow Books, whose Oxford headquarters are a treasure-house of archaeological publications. Other subjects in the series range from The Early Roman Empire in the West to the The Trireme Trials 1988, from Amber in Prehistoric Britain to Anatolian Iron Ages. Prices vary; Rock Art and Prehistory is £15.

Any member visiting Oxford could happily spend hours browsing through Oxbow's shelves, which contain a huge variety of in-print archaeologi­cal titles, remaindered ones hard to find elsewhere (Bahn and Vertut's Images of the Ice Age, £15, is among them), obscure monographs including a good number published overseas, bargain books and sec­ond-hand volumes.

And if you can't get to Oxford, or can't face the lengthy climb up to the bookshop, everything is available by post: write to Oxbow Books, Park End Place, Oxford OX1 1HN (0865 241249) for a list. Postal charges are 10 per cent of order value, up to a maximum of £2.50, and you can pay by cheque or credit card.

If you are going in person, Oxbow is very close to Oxford station and is open all day Monday to Friday and on Saturday morning. A recommended stopping-point for HADAS members.

 

Contributions wanted!

The schedule for Newsletter editors for the remainder of 1992 has been published

This list includes one new editor and one returned after a lapse of four years. We have no reserve editor — there must be someone out there who could stand in in an emergency, so please volunteer.

Will ALL members please send in any news or reports, local or otherwise, to the editor of the relevant month's Newsletter by the due date. Life would be made much easier for the editors if they didn't have to ring around.

The society's thanks must go to all 12 editors for keeping the Newsletter going. It is much appreciated by all our members and is an important factor in keeping up our membership numbers to around 360. Thanks are due also to Alan Lawson, who delivers some 30 Newsletters in Hampstead Garden Suburb every month, thus saving the society about £60 a year.

 

Ted Sammes reports on

A sad event, a happy occasion

In an upstairs room of the City Pride pub in Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, on the evening of February 12 there gathered a cross-section of every­one engaged in the archaeology of Greater London in one form or another.

The room was packed almost to capacity, though not quite to the extent of drinking out of your neigh­bour's glass! There must have been more than 100 people assembled there to wish Harvey Sheldon all the best for the future.

As mentioned in last month's Newsletter, Harvey led the first team of full-time professional archaeologists in London from 1970, becoming the Museum of London's Archaeology Officer and later, in 1983, head of its Department of Greater London Archaeology.

Appropriately, the farewell party was held close to Ray Street, where the processing of archaeological material has taken place for many years under his guidance.

This was not an "organised do" but a spontane­ous happening. Among the people present I spotted our own President, Ralph Merrifield. I don't know if it ran to speeches, but the overall atmosphere was buoyant and I'm sure very heartening to Harvey.

A hard-hitting commentary on what led up to this event is provided by Gromaticus in The London Archaeologist, Winter 1991, Vol 6, No 13, page 341. A more general article on Harvey appeared in Current Archaeology, 1991, No 124, page 165.

 

Under canvas ...

The site of the HADAS July outing is something special in archaeological terms — but in its modern construc­tion, rather than its ancient.

English Heritage has built a £300,000 computer-designed, Teflon-coated canopy over the remains of the 12th century fortified manor built by the Bishops of Winchester at Witney, Oxfordshire, recently uncovered by Oxford Archaeological Unit in a 10-week rescue dig.

The tent is designed to be maintenance-free and to last for 25 years, and its anchor points avoid damaging any buried structures. It covers the massive stone foun­dations of the solar, which retains its original 12th century exterior rendering and also has the largest Nor­man lavatories known in England.

The manor survived to the 18th century as a pictur­esque ruin and final above-ground traces were obliter­ated at the beginning of this century. The present excavation was in advance of planned redevelopment of the site as retirement homes, but the outline planning permission for this has been successfully overturned in favour of preservation of the Norman remains. It willed open to the public in early summer, with a full-scale interpretative display, including audio facilities.

papers from the past reveal

 

The crimes and the sentences

It didn't do, in the 17th century, to disturb the neigh­bours. Witness the example of Agnes Miller, wife of a Finchley yeoman, who in January 1616 was sen­tenced "to be duckt in some pond of water" for being "a notorious and common scoulde and disturber of the neighbours and honest inhabitants of Finchley and Fryarn Barnett".

Worse was the fate of Elizabeth Rutter, also a resident of Finchley, who a year earlier had been convicted of bewitching two sisters and their brother and murdering them by sorcery. A fourth child had also fallen beneath her spell, and she must hang, the justices decided.

For these and many more accounts of past jus­tice, Dorothy Newbury is indebted to a friend, John Harley, whose son has carefully researched, tran­scribed and annotated entries contained in the Calen­dar of the Sessions Books 1689-1709, published by W.J. Hardy in 1905, and volumes of Middlesex Sessions Rolls from the reigns of Tudor and Stuart monarchs, edited by J.C. Jeaffreson and published in the late 19th century.

The entries cover, in the main, happenings in Hendon, Finchley, Edgware and Hampstead. Ten sheets of Mr Harley junior's work have been pre­sented to the society.

Tantalisingly, given the interest in witchcraft shown in recent HADAS Newsletters, information on such cases is limited. The details of the case of Helen Beriman, of Laleham, who was found not guilty of killing four calves by "witchcraft, inchantements, charmes and sorceries", are not de­scribed. And those of Alice Bradley, of Hampstead, acquitted of committing witchcraft against two heif­ers, four hogs, a six-year-old boy and a woman, are omitted because of their length.

But there is information on Joan and William Hunt, of Hampstead, who featured in several witch­craft cases. In January and March 1614 they were cleared of allegations that "at the instigation of the devil (they) practised and exercised certain impious and diabolic arts, called witchcraftes, inchantments, charmes and sorceries" on a neighbour. But two years later Mrs Hunt was convicted of the same offence — this time against a three-year-old child ­and was sentenced to death.

Mr Harley notes that she was one of only three people to be hanged for witchcraft in Middlesex during the reign of James I. Six were acquitted, one dropped dead after pleading not guilty, and one was imprisoned and forced four times to make public confession in the pillory.

He adds: "Although no English county was ever seized with a real witch-craze, many parts of the country reached fairly high levels of persecution during the first half of the 17th century." Essex, it seems, was particularly enthusiastic in its pursuit of alleged witches, though "nowhere near" as severe as many continental countries. Middlesex was "nota­ble for its high acquittal rate".

His researches are full of other intriguing infor­mation on Tudor and Stuart justice and other legal affairs. There are, for example, the inn-keepers who protested at the suppression (or cancellation) of their licences. Edward Clarke, of Hendon, contended that the order closing his "ill-governed and disorderly house" was obtained by "surprize", convinced the justices that his was "the most fitting house in the neighbourhood for the accommodation of travel­lers", and got his licence back.

Six years after that, in 1697, the head constable and petty constables obtained an order preventing "the concourse of disorderly persons at Burrows Green, Hendon, in Whitsun week, assembling there under pretence of holding a fair".

There were cases of blocked public ways and neglected bridges, information on the amount of aid outer London parishes were ordered to pay to inner London counterparts intolerably stretched by the plague, details of inquests — including one of a nine­year-old servant boy in Hendon, who stumbled and drowned in a pond while carrying an earthern pot of water — and domestic assaults.

And crime, of course. Two yeomen, Thomas Turner and John Church, who broke into a house at Finchley in 1563 and stole pieces of cloth worth 46 shillings, were sentenced to be hung. So, too, was Richard Fage, who with his wife Elizabeth robbed a woman on the highway in Edgware in 1569 and stole clothing worth 30 pence. Mrs Fage, who pleaded pregnancy, was allowed to bear and nurse her child but faced the death penalty two years later.

Less brutal, but still severe, was the sentence meted out to Alice Arthur, spinster, late of Hendon, convicted of vagrancy in 1572. She was ordered to "be whipt severely, and burnt on the right ear".

There is much more of interest in the records, and Mr Harley's sheets can be borrowed before they are deposited in the library. Contact Dorothy Newbury on 081-203 0950.

 

Sensible, but short on discussion

Lithics, the annually-published Newsletter of the Lithic Studies Society (No 11, 1990), has reviewed the HADAS report on the first five years of excava­tion at West Heath. Here we summarise the review and note some of the comments made by Alison Roberts, of the Quaternary Department of the Brit­ish Museum.

Describing the excavations as "a model of the type of work that can be achieved by an archaeological society", Alison Roberts commends the report as "of very good value for the concise details with which the results are presented". It is also, she says, "well-balanced and sensible".

But she is less happy with the "lack of continuity in quality and style of the contributions" and with the failure to allow space for fully detailed discussion on several topics — the interpretation of "strike-a-lights", for example, or the refitting project. On that latter subject, she remarks: "West Heath is one of the largest and best recorded Mesolithic assemblages in the coun­try, and the technological and spatial information possi­ble from the analysis of conjoining artefacts would be of considerable importance."

She congratulates HADAS on the range and vari­ety of the post-excavation work and concludes: "The volume is packed full of interesting and useful informa­tion about this large Early Mesolithic site in North London... However, my major criticism ... is that there was very little discussion or interpretation of the wealth of information presented. My appetite has been whet­ted and I look forward to hearing more about this site ­and especially to the report of the more recent phase of excavations..."

Copies of Excavations at the Mesolithic Site on West Heath, Hampstead 1976-1981, edited by Desmond Col­lins and Daphne Lorimer, BAR British Series 217, are available to members at £7, plus £1 postage, from Victor Jones, 78 Temple Fortune Lane, NW11 7TT.

 

Opening a shutter on the past

The firm which turned skills acquired in assaying to good use in the development of photography is the subject of the new exhibition at Church Farm House Museum — Johnsons of Hendon, Memories of a Major Photographic and Chemical Company.

The exhibition, which continues until March 22, explains that the company's expertise with such chemicals as silver nitrate led to it becoming promi­nent in producing photographic chemicals and equip­ment. Johnsons acquired a site at Hendon during the First World War, when the expansion of aerial pho­tography for military purposes greatly accelerated the photographic chemical side of its work.

The activities of the firm in Hendon — where it was a major employer — are traced in the display, through its products and through the memorabilia of those who used to work for it.

Ted Sammes writes: Johnsons' factory stood, until demolished in the 1970s, roughly where the car park of Brent Cross Shopping Centre is located to­day. There was also a warehouse in Brent Street, Hendon. The black and orange of the Johnsons' advertisements and labels became a familiar "trade mark" to anyone involved in photography.

In an act of mindless commercial vandalism the records were burnt, and what is on display now has been assembled by Gerrard Roots over a period of at least two years, by patient contact and inquiry across the country. I am proud to have played some small part in its collection.

 

Getting better

Victor Jones, our treasurer, has had a short spell in hospital and is now home again. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope he will soon be in circula­tion again.


 


 

Comments