Newsletter-304-August-1996

 

No. 304                                                               AUGUST 1996                                 Edited by Peter Pickering

DIARY

Saturday 17 August                               Outing: Farnham/Waverley Abbey - Bill Bass & Vikki O'Connor


Thurs/Fri/S at/Sun                                  Four-day visit to Cornwall. We have had a good response to this and

29/30/31 Aug                                        the group is full and booked in at hotels. Names for the waiting list are

and 1 Sept                                            welcome: 'phone Dorothy Newbury: 203 0950. (Last year there were

several late cancellations)

Saturday 28 September                       Outing Whitechapel Bell Foundry Mary O'Connell

Tuesday 8 October                               Lecture: The Temple of Mithras & Cripplegate Fort - John Shepherd

Saturday 12 October                             MINIMART

NEW MEMBERS

The committee would like to welcome the following new members who have joined HADAS this year:- lain Macmillan, Ron and Louise Glover, Linda Barrow, James Lonsdale, Ernest Kirk, Joyce Fisher, Ray Gibbs, Dr David Grant, Jack Richardson, Michael Hooper, Miss C Troddyn (rejoined), Angela Gill and Tim Gillott. Some of these new members came along to our recent dig. Perhaps other new members would like to introduce themselves to members of the committee at meetings or outings or our famous Minimart.

MILL HILL WORKHOUSE

There is a lot of interest in the Bulletin of the Mill Hill Historical Society, and we are indebted to Richard Nicholls of that Society for sending it to us. Here is a section entitled "Did you know that Mill Hill once had a workhouse?"

The Middlesex Records show that in 1712 there was a workhouse in Mill Hill situated near Ridgeway House - probably at the top of what is now Wills Grove. It would have been a cottage owned or rented in the name of the Hendon Overseers of the Poor to house paupers. There was also one such cottage on Highwood Hill (location unknown), and two at the Hale, of which the last was sold in 1837. This was in addition to the almshouses at the top of Milespit Hill.

The Mill Hill workhouse was not in use for very long. A much larger one was opened in the Burroughs in 1735. It was mostly for orphan children who helped to maintain themselves by spinning flax and weaving threads into sheets. As the name suggests these were workhouses. Exactly one hundred years later in terms of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 Hendon joined with Harrow, Pinner, Edgware, Kingsbury, Willesden, and Great and Little Stanmore to form a "Union", as such shared workhouses were known in Victorian times. A substantial redbrick building in Tudor style was erected at Redhill, roughly where the Edgware Hospital car park is now. It could accommodate no fewer than 350 paupers.

In 1859 a school was built for 150 pauper children, and then in 1865 an infirmary. The Medical Officer from 1877 was Dr W Blasson who lived in Partingdale Lane and was also Medical Officer to Mill Hill School. In 1889 it became necessary to enlarge the workhouse. But after the war the need declined, and with all such institutions it was closed in 1930. As the Redhill Institution the building was not demolished until 1971 when it was replaced by a block of flats. Meanwhile in 1937 Redhill Hospital had been built and in terms of the National Health Service in 1948 it became Edgware General Hospital.

It might also be recalled that for twenty-five years the house which is now known as Highwood Ash was used to accommodate pauper children. In 1819 Thomas Nicholl, who lived at Copt Hall but also owned the house, let it to the Overseers of the Poor of the parish of St Martin's in the Fields for the housing of poor homeless infants under the care of matrons. It is recorded that at one time as many as forty-seven children and sixteen adults were accommodated there.

SOLDIERS SLAIN AT THE BATTLE OF BARNET

Jeannie Cobban wrote an interesting piece in the April Newsletter about the burial of soldiers slain in the Battle of Barnet, and the chantry chapel that Edward IV is said to have erected near the burials. Cyril Pentecost has now drawn attention to a fascinating passage in "One Hundred Years of Playing the Game", a history of Finchley Football Club edited by Harold Whiddon and published in 1974. According to that book, in the days of Totteridge Park School (who were original founder members of the Football Association), a "house on Totteridge Common called 'Montebello' and previously called Lincoln Lodge" was the home of the Headmaster. "The school was opposite the long ponds, and the house still remains (1971). On each side of the entrance gates are pillars on which are mounted stone eagles whilst the famous playing fields are at the rear. Incidentally deep in the grounds is a mound reputed to be the burial place of many soldiers killed in the Wars of the Roses, Battle of Barnet, April 14th, 1471"

THAMES FORESHORE SURVEY

At our April meeting Mike Webber told us about the Thames Foreshore survey. According to the Guardian of 5th July this survey has discovered the remains of a Tudor jetty used by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and the diarist Samuel Pepys. Perhaps when the survey has been completed we shall have another talk reporting on all the discoveries.

SITE WATCHING                                                                                                   Bill Bass

Tree Planting at Whitings Hill Open Space, Barnet

This is an area of fields and open land south-east of Chipping Barnet, probably used as farm/pasture land for many years and known also as part of Barnet Common until Barnet's Enclosure Act of 1815.

The fields are defined by NCR:

a) 22739552 b) 22909562

c) 22979512 d) 23299542                                    e) 23029546

and

a) 22709500 b) 22979512

c) 22759482 d) 23059499

(field adjacent to Mays Lane)

The trees were planted from November 1995 to April 1996 as part of the Watling Chase Forest Scheme and also by the Woodland Trust. 'Compartments' were marked out in the above areas.


Several methods were used to plant the trees including: digging/augering of pits, and insertion into 2-3m wide strips of rotavated topsoil.Beneath the grass, most observation revealed a layer of approx 20-30cm of clayey topsoil which sits on top of natural London Clay; generally there were little or no finds.

Pits (60 cm sq x 60cm deep), dug into the north and east sides of Whitings Hill itself, revealed some finds of Victorian or modern pottery (china and stoneware), window/bottle glass and clay pipe. Some of the ground here was thought to be made-up, as there was a lack of topsoil and the subsoil appeared `graded'; this may be due to a possible levelling of the surrounding area.

The large field adjacent to Mays Lane had many hundreds of trees planted. The nature of the planting (narrow augered holes) made it difficult to see the underlying subsoil, but inspection of several post-holes showed a slightly deeper topsoil at approx 40-50cm, again directly above the natural clay. The only finds to be seen were scattered modern building materials on the surface.

. . . and the digger wends his weary way home . .

THE END OF CFM 96                                                                                                           Roy Walker

The second phase of our excavation at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon, has now concluded and it is pleasing to note that all three "matters requiring further investigation" listed in the Interim report produced after Phase 1 have been further investigated. Here is a very brief summary, which will be followed by a detailed report once post-excavation work has been completed. This should be read in conjunction with the CFM93 interim report (Newsletter No 279 of June 1994).

Three trenches were opened, one continuing further west of the old land surface, another on the line of the mediaeval ditch and the third within the known area of the old land surface close to where features cutting it had been found previously. These trenches were numbered 4, 5 and 6 to avoid confusion with trenches 1, 2 and 3 of CFM93.

Trench 4: The old land surface was located beneath garden and cultivation soils. Beneath were two gullies, which it filled; one gulley terminated within the trench, and the other ran beyond it Both were orientated EM/ The sandy "drift" located further east was not present. Disappointingly there was no dating evidence recovered from within this trench.

Trench 5: A three metre stretch of the mediaeval ditch was located, the fill excavated, and the cut exposed. It ran N/S rising as it neared the farmhouse. Many shards of mediaeval pottery were recovered together with possible Roman tile.

Trench 6: Due to lack of time, it was only possible to expose a small area of the old land surface which was at a far greater depth than that in trench 4 owing to the overlying depth of drift, i.e. the sandy soil that had drifted onto the old land surface from some distance away. There were no features.

Auger survey: A gridded, auger survey was conducted to build up a picture of the stratigraphy outside the excavated areas, correlating the results with known contexts. It confirmed that the mediaeval ditch excavated in trench 5 continued north and south of that trench.

On the logistics side, we worked ten Sundays and managed an additional eight weekdays including one Saturday. A total of twenty-seven volunteers contributed to the work, some for only a day, others for longer, including five non-members - Greg Hunt, Nilam Naidu, Daniel Seedburgh, Daniel Susman and Tessa Smith's grandson (who assisted with the pot-washing). We thank Susan Bates, Jean Bayne, Graham Bromley, Tony Crawley, Ray Gibbs, Helen Gordon, David Grant, Victor Jones, Tom Real, Denis Ross, Kim Russell, Tessa Smith, and Stewart Wild


for their assistance and hope to see all of them again on future excavations. It is appreciated that it is not always possible to commit oneself to every Sunday for two months but any additional help is very welcome and it is rewarding for the regulars to know that they are not alone when it comes to this aspect of the Society's work. The basic team comprised Brian Wrigley (site director and )/C augering), supervisors Roy Walker (trench 4), Bill Bass (trench 5) and Gareth Bartlett (trench 6), Brian McCarthy, Andy Naidu (HADAS's only junior member), Vikki O'Connor, Peter Pickering and Andy Simpson.

We are grateful to the London Borough of Barnet for allowing us once again to excavate at the Farmhouse and especially to Gerrard and Derek at the Museum for their tolerance and patience during our disruptive works.

PREHISTORIC SOCIETY CONFERENCE JUNE 1996 - ST IVES                   Brian Wrigley

I think we can say that HADAS was well represented at this Conference by six members, forming about one-eighth of the party. We were made very welcome by members of the Cornwall Archaeological Unit (CAU), some of whom we shall I think be seeing again on HADAS's forthcoming trip.

From the seminar on the opening day, one gained an impressive view of the richness of Cornwall's archaeology, with visible land patterns dating from mediaeval times commonplace, and many from prehistoric times - so that detailed survey of them, and of their relationships is very rewarding, and is being eagerly pursued by CAU. The sort of research framework, one might say, which many would dearly love to be able to achieve in London! (No-one mentioned PPG16 in Cornwall!)

And so for the next four days we travelled round to see some of these landscapes and monuments. I cannot mention them all, but must make a selection.

Leskernick, on Bodmin Moor, is an area of presumed Bronze Age settlement in roundhouses (outlines still visible), with stone circles and a stone row, amid higher ground seemingly in every direction, nearly every peak of which has its stone (ritual?) monument. Survey of the settlement was going on whilst we were there, and it was really amazing to see the strings and tapes measuring this enormous surviving ancient landscape.

Then further to the south on Bodmin Moor, in the area of The Hurlers  (three stone circles in line), are The Pipers, Rillaton Barrow, Craddock Moor Stone Circle, an embanked avenue and a prehistoric round cairn, sharing a number of alignments. (it was quite a walk seeing them all.)

Our guide for Carn Brea neolithic hill-fort was Roger Mercer who excavated it in the 1960s. It was in a dense fog for our visit, which was disappointing, but he kept us entertained with frequent remarks like "I had been going to say, if you look in that direction you can see (so-and-so) .. but you can't", We heard of the vast amount of neolithic arrow-heads found around the entrance area, and of arguments as to whether this represented a battle for possession of the fort.

Bodrifty Iron Age settlement consists of eight round houses within a low enclosing bank. We took our lunch amongst them, observing the solidity of the wall remains, and of the remains of banks defining garden plots and animal enclosures attached to some of the houses, within quite a small area. Excavation has found hearths, drains, cooking and storage pits, much pottery, spindle whorls and querns; all in all, a feeling of a busy, close little community - perhaps the Iron Age equivalent of a dormitory suburb?

As for the most enjoyable social side, one must end by mentioning our hospitable reception by Truro Museum with wine and a tour of the Museum: and the Conference dinner, at which, by invitation of President Tim Champion, Past President Thurston Shaw entertained us with an account of our doings, in verse.


FINCHLEY MANOR HOUSE, EAST END ROAD (STERNBERG CENTRE) Brian Wrigley

On 3rd July, by invitation, I represented HADAS at a site meeting of the estate manager and representatives of English Heritage and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), to discuss plans for vegetation clearance, planting, path construction and a possible pond. The project was, in essence, the laying down of a nature trail with disabled access, including some replanting, whilst English Heritage's concerns were, of course, preservation, clearance, and a view of the old moat feature. The upshot was a general consensus on a path (Hoggin gravel between wood sideboards) - to include an offshoot to an area giving a good view of the moat -and clearance, but no excavation for replanting. There was also discussion of providing an interpretation board, and possible leaflets, to explain the site, on which I said HADAS would be glad to help.

I have since been give a copy of the draft new specification for the work. This, if adopted, will provide for clearance, the making of the path, including the interpretation board, and continuing maintenance.

It now appears, unlike my first impression, there will be no earth disturbance to need archaeological work such as sampling or observation, but we clearly should make our best possible contribution to the interpretation board. I have assembled a small bundle of relevant records, and if any members would like to help in getting these into suitable form, or in supplying further information, I should be delighted to hear from them.

A VISIT TO THE LEBANON                                                                           Peter Pickering

Marie and I went on a British Museum Tour to the Lebanon over Easter When we set off things were peaceful - though there were numerous military road blocks - but a couple of days before our return the Israelis started bombing guerrilla strongholds, and we were relieved to get out safely_

Lebanon has one ancient monument of stupendous grandeur - the temple of Baalbek - several excavated sites of very early civilisations, and numerous other features of interest. Beirut is properly described as `war-ravaged'; and when the great Museum will re-open who can tell. But as the work of reconstruction proceeds - and it is, encouragingly - archaeology is not forgotten. The Museum of London is helping, and some sites of great interest have been found - for instance what may be remains of the law-school, of fame throughout antiquity.

We visited two extensive excavations. First, Tyre, an island in early times linked to the mainland by a mole under Alexander the Great - there were many finely carved Punic sarcophagi, a vast Roman stadium for chariot racing, colonnades, an aqueduct, ritual pools, and complex jumbles of ancient masonry. Second, Byblos, which dates as far back as 5000 BC, though the slight remains from then are suffering from the elements. It is dominated by a Crusader castle, and has a restored Roman colonnade and odeon. But it is the temples that are most absorbing - so absorbing indeed that Marie and I failed to notice the Israeli jets overhead. The earlier temple (about 2800 BC) is L-shaped; the later, Amorite, one shows strong Egyptian influence, being crammed full of small obelisks. The second temple was built over the first, but has been restored some 50 yards away, so that both of them can be seen,

Neither words nor pictures can do justice to Baalbek. The union of exotic Syrian cult and Roman determination to impress has produced a colossal complex, with an enormous ruined temple of Jupiter Heliopolitanus behind massive courtyards, a large and extremely well preserved temple perhaps of Bacchus, full of carvings, and a small circular temple, perhaps of Venus. All around there are carvings of We spent a whole day there, and then visited it at night under floodlights. We stayed within a stone's throw of the site, in the most memorable, if least comfortable, of hotels - the last word when it was built in the. nineteenth century, and full of ancient objects from the site.

We were accompanied by two experts from the British Museum - George Hart and Simon James - and were therefore thoroughly well informed.

WHERE WOULD YOU SIT IN AN ANCIENT THEATRE?                               Peter Pickering

Anyone who has visited Turkey or Provence, in particular, will have seen great open-air theatres, often well preserved, and may have wondered what it was like to go to the theatre in antiquity. I recently heard a lecture by Charlotte Roueche, which answered some of one's questions while, of course, raising more. She has worked particularly at the theatre of Aphrodisias in Western Turkey. There, carvings on the seats (disparagingly called graffiti) are particularly common, and give a fascinating picture of the audience. For seats seem to have been reserved by writing on them names - of important civic officials, of private individuals, or of groups of people who would sit together - for instance the goldsmiths or Jews. And yes - I hear the question- women did go to the theatre in Roman times, whatever may have happened earlier - since many names of upper-class ladies have been found, high up at the back, where men could not peer down at them.

We must remember that though people certainly went to the theatre to see plays, they were admirably suited, and used, for other sorts of public gathering - it was to the theatre in Ephesus that the populace rushed to meet when incensed at the preaching of St Paul. Nor was the theatre always filled by people absorbed by what they saw and heard - very many gaming boards are carved on the seats, for whiling away the time

CHANGE OF ADDRESS

The Museum of London Archaeology Service (MoLAS to most of you) has a new address -Walker House, 87 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4AB

Dark Age London                                                                                                                                                              Peter Pickering

Are you up to date on archaeological research work and excavations relating to London and its hinterland in the centuries between the end of Roman rule and the Norman Conquest? A Conference in the Museum of London on Saturday 5 October 1996 will ensure that you are

Speakers will include Martin Welch on why the Croydon cemetery should be excavated, John Hines on the early Anglo-Saxon evidence, Bob Cowie on the Middle Saxon trading and manufacturing settlement along the Strand (Lundenwic), Peter Rowsome on the exciting discoveries relating to Late Saxon London within the City walls, Lyn Blackmore on the crucial Anglo-Saxon and imported pottery sequences and James Rackham on the ever-growing contribution of environmental archaeology for the London region.

The conference is being organised by SCOLA (the Standing Conference on London Archaeology). It will cost C7.50 (C6 for individual members of SCOLA) to include tea and coffee. I am the Assistant Secretary of SCOLA, and if you will send me (P E Pickering, 3 Westbury Road London N12 7NY) a cheque payable to SCOLA I shall send you tickets. (A stamped addressed envelope would be helpful)

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