Newsletter-291-June-1995

No: 291                                                       JUNE 1995               Edited by MICKY WATKINS

DIARY

Sunday, June 4                              HADAS Car Boot Sale Stall at Spur Rd. School, Edgware.

                                                  Early morning till lunch-time. Members welcome to help or buy.(958 9159)

Saturday, June 17               Outing to Yatesbury, Avebury and Malmesbury

                                                 (Application form and details enclosed)

Saturday, July 15                      Outing to Colchester with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward

Saturday, August 19                  Outing to Silchester with Bill Bass and Vikki O'Connor

September                                  Weekend away in Durham (Application form and details enclosed)

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT FROM ANDREW SELKIRK

At our last AGM we said farewell to our previous president Ralph Merrifield and welcomed our new President Michael Robbins, who we are delighted to see with us this evening. Sadly Ralph Merrifield died earlier this year and a memorial service for him will be held on Tuesday May 16th at St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, at 3.00. This is the day on which we are also having our outing to the House of Commons and so for those of us who wish to celebrate the life of Ralph Merrifield and all that he did for the archaeology of London there is an opportunity to combine this with our visit to the House of Commons.

The last year has been a quiet year. Our lectures and visits continued unabated and the newsletter continued to appear regularly. In all these activities Dorothy Newbury played a significant role at least behind the scenes. Many of the outings have been franchised out to various other members of the society. A major part has been played by Mary O'Connell who led many of the excursions herself; the highlight was the visit to the Isle of Man. The lectures too have come under new management and we are very grateful to June Porges who has taken over the role of lecture secretary.

The major change has been the transfer of the lectures from the Hendon Library to Avenue House where we are now meeting. The main motive was to reduce costs, but it also helps that we meet in the same house where we have our library so that members can make better use of the facilities. Nevertheless it must be recorded that the cost of the facilities and that of renting rooms in Avenue House remains a burden and although we have negotiated a reduced rate with Barnet Borough Council it is only possible to meet this high rental through the activities of the Minimart and we are no longer able to put money aside for our research activities. If the society is to continue to flourish we need a more sympathetic attitude from the Borough Council, either in the form of a reduced rent or in the form of a grant to reduce our costs.

The digging team continues to be active in a small way. No major excavations have been carried out in the past year though there were several watching briefs and the team continued the task of writing up the previous excavations. The society and indeed archaeology in North London as a whole needs to look for a major research excavation which can be carried out over a number of years and we hope that the revived Research Committee will be able to produce such a project.

May I conclude my thanks to all the other members of the committee - the Secretary Liz Holliday, Brian Wrigley, Vikki O'Connor the Membership Secretary, and above all to Dorothy Newbury. We look forward to a successful year ahead.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The AGM was held at Avenue House on Tuesday, 2nd May, 1995. President R.Michael Robbins CBE. FSA. DLitt. was in the Chair and 34 members attended. Andrew Selkirk gave his Annual Report, which is printed in this Newsletter. The Hon Treasurer, Will Parnaby presented his financial statement and Brian McCarthy was elected as Auditor.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Our Vice-Presidents were confirmed in office: John Enderby, Miss D.P.Hill, Brian Jarman, Daphne Lorimer, Mary Phillips, Edward Sammes and Andrew Saunders.

Officers were re-elected: Andrew Selkirk as Chairman, Brian Wrigley as Vice-Chairman, Liz Holliday as Hon. Secretary, Will Parnaby as Hon. Treasurer.

A Committee was also elected: Bill Bass, Micky Cohen, Victor Jones, Dorothy Newbury, Vikki O'Connor, Peter Pickering, Edward Sammes, Andy Simpson, Myfanwy Stewart, Roy Walker, Micky Watkins.

MEMBERS' NEWS

Christine Arnott had heart surgery last Autumn, and it is good to see her walking - and driving - round the Suburb again. We hope she will soon be able to come to HADAS meetings.

Miss Ningo. We are very sorry to report that Miss Ningo died on 9th April, 1995. A refugee from Hitler's Germany, she had lost all her relatives. She lectured at the Belsize Park Synagogue and worked for a publishing firm. She had an alert and critical mind and enjoyed a good discussion. She was active in local societies and was a member of HADAS for many years.

THE HOME FRONT IN BARNET IN WORLD WAR 11                                                                                                                            GERRARD ROOTS

An Exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum (3rd  May – 3rd  September, 1995 )

Between 1939 and 1945 Britain was introduced to the concept of 'total war' in which the population at home was as directly threatened by hostilities as troops in battle. Of the total British war dead, over one-fifth were civilians.

Old men and young boys in the Home Guard; women in the Land Army and in factories; children from the cities evacuated to the countryside - for these and many more the war front was not delineated any more by a line on the map of some faraway country, but marked by the pile of sandbags at your front door, the barrage balloon above your school, the ranks of sleeping families sheltered from the bombs in a tube station..

Daily life became extraordinary, but then the extraordinary - inevitably - became itself ordinary: if it had not, no-one could have carried on. There was the black-out, but people still went to pubs, dances and the cinema; there was rationing, but people ate (indeed, thanks to rationing many were better fed during the war than before it ); there was the constant presence of death, but the essential services, though sometimes stretched virtually to breaking point, continued to work, and, indeed, the necessary central planning of hospital care in World War II laid the foundations of the NHS that came in the Peace.

Times were hard - the crime rate rose, as did the number of illegitimate births - and the effects of the War on separated families lasted long after the celebrations of VE and VJ Day were over. But life - poorer and less comfortable for everyone; more liberated for some (especially young single women ) - continued.

( Do go to this Exhibition. As an oldie, I find it very evocative, but young people and grand-children also are intrigued by war-time rations, the air-raid shelter, and the paraphernalia of Dad's Army. - Ed.) 

Windmills - Talk by Ted Sammes following the business of the AGM

Ted once more dipped into his Aladdin's cave of slides and illustrated his talk with both picturesque and technical shots. In fact, it was so interesting it sent me scurrying to the architecture section at the library (windmills 725.4) to fill the gaps in my notes!

The earliest milling was done by hand on saddle querns, and statuettes depicting this activity have been found in Egyptian tombs. Rotary hand querns developed from this, and, from the Roman period larger commercial versions, which turned on a conical stone base and were operated by asses or slaves, have been found at many sites including Pompeii. Water mills were the next development and Ted mentioned a water supply gully for such a mill which was found at Chesters, Hadrian's Wall. Horizontal water wheels developed from the earlier vertical type and probably led to the development of the primitive wind mills known to have existed in Persia in the 10th century. The early Persian and Chinese windmills were used for drainage.

However, windmills as we know and love them are recorded in England from the 12th century - an 1185 reference refers to one at Weedley, Yorkshire with an annual rent of 8s. Ted did mention that millers were wealthy folk. Originally, milling was governed by milling sake where every mill was the property of the lord of the manor, regardless of who had built it. This worked for the mutual benefit of lord and population - he got their business but also had an obligation to provide and maintain mills. This monolopy was eventually broken when some estates became very large and their mills were tenanted, also, technology improved, and the population chose to use mills other than on their home estates.

The earliest type of windmill was the timber post mill comprising a body (buck), canvas sails, and central post (supported by cross timbers) on which the buck revolved. Although the bottom was subject to rotting many remained operational for several centuries. Access was gained by hinged ladder to the buck, which could be raised, and the structure was turned by walking round, pushing the timber tail pole. The earliest post mills had pitched roofs which evolved into a rounded shape to better accommodate the brake wheel - the large cog wheel which drives the millstone machinery. The brake wheel in fact has an iron band or wooden shoe to slow it down, also to hold the sails steady when they are being worked on. The speed of the sails is crucial - if it is too fast this stresses the machinery and could start a fire. Although the 'norm' is four sails, the addition of a cast-iron cross poll attached to the windshaft and sail backs enabled between five and eight sails to be fixed; this became popular in the east Midlands. William Cubitt's patent sail (1807) has shutters which are controlled by an automatic striking gear and can be adjusted without stopping the mill. We saw the aptly-named spider which lives on the cross of the sails "the cruciform linkage at the centre of the patent sail assembly, connecting the striking rod to the shutter bars Some mills, however, found it useful to employ two common sails and two patent sails as at Chillenden, Kent.

From the 18th century the post and trestles were enclosed by a round house for protection from the weather and additional room for storage or machinery. This could also raise the height of the mill, to catch the wind. A variant of the post mill is the Dutch wip mill which has a hollow pole to accommodate the drive shaft, giving additional room within the buck.

Smock mills and tower mills differ from post mills - the sails are fixed to a revolving cap which is turned by a fantail. Although operating on the same principle, the smock mill is built of timber and boarded, either vertically or horizontally, painted or tarred, and the tower mill is built of brick or stone. Tower mills first appeared in Europe in the 15th century. Earlier tower mills had a basic design fault -the windows were aligned vertically and the stresses the structures were subjected to sometimes led to their collapse. These did not replace post mills which continued to be built.

Mill stones had to be of a high quality as changing them and re-dressing the stones was an awkward and time-consuming job. Millers would have had more than one pair of stones. The best quality stone came from Germany and France, the French burr stone was only available in small lumps and a patchwork stone was made by cleverly shaping these, cementing and binding them with iron hoops. The millstone grooves were pecked with a tool called a mill bill and the quality of this important tool depended on the skill of the blacksmith. The clearance between the mill stones was adjusted by a regulator (governor) to suit the speed of the wind.

Although steam engines gradually took trade away from windmills, according to Suzanne Beedell in her book "Windmills" (David & Charles, 1975), windmills were finally put out of business by the Milling Standards set in World War I.

For a reason Ted could not explain, Milton Keynes has a modern, totally decorative modern windmill. Perhaps one of our members knows the answer to this one?

Hilaire Belloc apparently had a love for mills, apart from writing a poem "Hannaker Mill" about Halnaker Mill, Sussex, he bought Shipley (smock) Mill in Sussex in 1906.

Ted - if I've got any facts wrong, could you write to the next newsletter editor? Thanks for  stimulating talk!          Vicki O'Connor                                                                                                                                                            

Visit to the Houses of Parliament  by Micky Watkins

Mr John Marshall MP kindly invited HADAS to a visit and reception on Tuesday, 16th May 1995.

Seventy two members and friends passed through the security guards at the St Stephen's entrance and in true HADAS style started wandering off to the Lobby admiring the paintings and statues. However we were soon assembled in the Jubilee Room where we had a most sumptuous supper. The Jubilee Room, cosy under its panelled and embossed ceiling, was just the right size for our party and there was a buzz of conversation - meanwhile the TV monitor showed us that the Gas Bill was being debated in the Commons.

Mr Marshall was in sparkling form. He told us that the Commons now is in many ways more orderly than in the nineteenth century. Then proceedings were often suspended in the summer because of the stench of the River, while now the Thames is the cleanest metropolitan river in western Europe. Proceedings were frequently interrupted and delayed by the Irish Nationalists - at one time twenty of them were suspended in one day. I particularly enjoyed Mr Marshall's story of Lady Astor and Churchill: when Lady Astor got especially cross with Churchill she was heard to say, "If I were married to you , I would be tempted to put poison in your tea", to which Churchill replied "If were married to you, I would be tempted to drink it."

After supper we walked the great length of Westminster Hall to the Crypt Chapel. This Chapel is used as the Members' church for services, christenings and weddings It was built about 1300, but little of the original decoration remains. During the Interregnum Cromwell had the walls whitewashed and stalled the horses there, and it was thoroughly redecorated in the 19th century. Almost every nook and cranny of our Houses of Parliament can tell us something of our history. Mr Marshall told us that in 1911 a suffragette spent a night in the Chapel broom cupboard in order to get returned in the Census as residing in Parliament!

Visitors are only allowed to enter the Crypt Chapel if guided by a Member, so this part of our visit was a special privilege. Mr Marshall had to dash off to attend the very last meeting of the Hendon South Conservative Party Executive. ( In the next election Hendon South will have been divided between Hendon and Finchley & Golders Green).

Rosie Daniels, Mr Marshall's Secretary, guided us for the rest of our tour. Westminster Hall has been twice saved from fire. In 1834 most of the Palace of Westminster was burnt down and in 1941 the Commons' Chamber was bombed and burnt, but on both occasions Westminster Hall was saved. The Hall was built by William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, and at that time was the largest hall in Europe. Three hundred years later in Richard II's time the very fine hammer beam roof was added. The timber came from southern England and it was shaped - 'prefabricated' - to reduce the weight to be transported and then floated down the Thames to Westminster. Until the reign of Henry VIII the Palace of Westminster was a royal residence and the Hall was used for the King's Council, and for great feasts. The Hall was then used for law courts until the late 19th century. King Charles was tried here, as was Guy Fawkes. It is now used for ceremonial occasions such as Churchill's lying-in-state and the VE celebrations.

St Stephen's Hall was a chapel and was the home of the House of Commons from 1550 to 1834. After the fire, the present Hall was built and Barry retained the shape of the previous Chapel, while around the walls were placed statues of great politicians. Meanwhile Barry chose a similar rectangular design for the new Commons Chamber, so the structure of the Chamber with two rows of seats facing each other is derived from the medieval Chapel, and perhaps has tended to encourage our two party system.

As proceedings in the Commons had finished early, we wound our way up to the House of Lords visitors gallery. The red seats and newly renovated golden throne provided a colourful background to the rather sparsely attended debate on the Jobseekers Bill. It was at the Report stage when detailed amendments can be made, and Earl Russell (son of Bertrand Russell), together with Baroness Dean of Fulton le Fylde (better known as Brenda Dean of the Printworkers) were trying to lessen the severity of benefit reductions on the job-shy and improve the job-search facilities for disabled people. It was by no means a scintillating debate, but it did show the House of Lords doing useful work in scrutinising the details of legislation and making small changes.

Andrew Selkirk, our Chairman, thanked John Marshall for hosting this excellent visit, and also thanked Rosie Daniels for all the preparatory work she has done for us. HADAS members heartily endorse this vote of thanks.

By the time we left the Houses of Parliament the rain was pouring down, but, as the Lords would say, we were "content", indeed very content.


EXCAVATION REPORT: ST. MARTHA'S CONVENT SCHOOL, MONKEN HADLEY FROM ROY WALKER

Work has now commenced at St. Martha's Convent School, Monken Hadley, with a HADAS attendance of 11 enthusiastic diggers on the first working day.

In the pre-excavation period, however, we were given access to a 1.5 metre wide trench running n/s specially dug for us within the footprint of the new classroom, that is, on the site of the demolished classroom. Unfortunately, this trench had to be backfilled the same day but we were able to sketch a side section which showed three features, probably post medieval. One feature, a rubbish pit, had a back fill with oyster shells, bone fragments and fragments of crockery - two plates marked "Doric Star".

We are still waiting for the contractors to dig foundation trenches in readiness for the new classrooms, but as preliminary piling work has been delayed we have had to concentrate on the area of the former mound in front of Mount House. A resistivity survey of the lawn which covers the area of the mound was inconclusive - higher readings may have reflected the root systems of two elderly trees in the centre and south of the site. However, the probes revealed the presence in places of a harder layer and this is now being investigated by further probing with a view to the excavation of a trial trench to ascertain the nature of this layer.

At the same time, a 3 metre by 3 metre area which covered the junction of the lawn and surrounding gravel path was pegged out for excavation. Only the path area within this square has so far been dug (in order to minimise damage to the grass area!). Our first discovery was a rectangular board lying e/w across the trench leading onto the grass. The eastern half of the excavated area was covered by a compacted pebble layer which has been interpreted as an earlier pathway. This pebble layer was remove to reveal the base of a 'wall' about 40cm wide comprising tumbled bricks and stone, including some moulded stone. Its depth has yet to be ascertained. The pebbles to the west of the wall overlay a clay base; to the east (where they were shallower) was a more humic mixture, probably a cultivated layer. The area to the east of the wall is now being removed down to natural.

In summary, we have a 'wall', path to one side, cultivation to the other side. There is little positive dating evidence, being mainly modern pottery, some fragments of glass, clay pipe stems and clay pipe bowl, tentatively dated to about 1750.

The dig continues. We welcome assistance, although at weekends we cannot guarantee there will not be some standing around due to the restricted area being worked at present. Please phone me on 0181-361 1350 if you would like to join in

NEWS OF COURSES

Birkbeck College is organising Training Excavations at Southwark, each lasting one week, and starting on 3rd, 10th, and 24th July 1995. The courses will provide appropriate field experience for students undertaking Extra-Mural Certificate and Diploma Courses. Apply to Lesley Hannigan, Birkbeck College.

The Museum of London. Archaeology Seminars at 5.00pm on 14th June -"Roman Cullet Dump from Guildhall Yard", 12th July -"Use of Geographic Information Systems". Others on 9th August, 6th September.

Butser Ancient Farm, Waterlooville, Hants. has Sunday Workshops on flint technology, woodlands and archaeology for children. Tel. 01705 598838.

MAP OF MIDDLESEX

Though Middlesex County Council was abolished in 1965 the County still exists. Now a large map of the County is available, 37"x 33", laminated. From Map Marketing, 921104 Carnwath Rd., SW6 3HW

YATESBURY

Our outing on 17th June will start with a visit to Yatesbury. This very small hamlet must be known by thousands of ex-servicemen Stella Greenall tells me that her late husband, Philip Greenall, was posted there as a Squadron Leader in World War 11. There was a huge camp of Training Command at Yatesbury with over 3000 men. We wonder whether the medieval village patterns have been overlaid by runways and lost NAAFI cutlery?

HELPING HADAS

Vikki O'Connor has worked hard for our Society this month. Besides her usual tasks as Membership Secretary, she has written the report on Ted Sammes talk on Windmills which is printed in this Newsletter. She also looked after our HADAS bookstall at the Finchley Festival in Avenue House grounds on 7th May. Thank you, Vikki.

NEWS OF OTHER SOCIETIES

Hornsey Historical Society has an Exhibition on William Heath Robinson (1872-1944), the famous illustrator and humourist who was born in Stroud Green and spent the last 15 years of his life in Highgate. The Exhibition is at the HHS headquarters - The Old Schoolhouse, 136 Tottenham Lane, London N8 7EL. It is open Thursday and Friday morning from 10 to 12 noon and on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Buses W3, 91,41.

"Highgate and Muswell Hill", by Joan Schwitzer and Ken Gay has just been published. This is an historical account of the area, illustrated with over 230 photographs and pictures from private collections as well as from major London archives. Chalford Publishing Co. Price £8.99.

Barnet and District Local History Society has an outing to Ironbridge on Sunday llth June. Price £14.50. contact Mrs G.Gear, Barnet Museum, 31 Wood St., Barnet for details.

"Barnet's History in its Street Names", by Doreen Willcocks is on sale at Barnet Museum_ Price £3_50. 

Burgh House, New End Square, Hampstead, NW3.

"The London of John Keats", lecture by Dr Ann Saunders, on Friday 23 June at 7.30pm. 

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

American archaeologists have found in Zaire what may be the oldest bone tools fashioned by man.The tools include harpoon tips and a flat dagger. Dating techniques suggest they may be 90,000 years old! This makes them about twice as old as the earliest tools from Europe. If this find is corroborated the history of human culture may need rewriting. Times 1.5.1995

In the Valley of the Kings in Egypt,a vast royal tomb has been found. It contains at least 67 chambers and it is believed that 50 of Rameses 11's sons may have been buried there 3,000 years ago. It is situated close to the tomb of Rameses 11, but hitherto the entrance to most of the chambers has been blocked by debris. Times. 16.5.1995.

 

 

 

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