Newsletter-325-April-1998

Going home

Mrs Banham, a founder member of the Society, is leav­ing Hendon after 50 years in the same house. I asked her if she wasn't sad at leaving her home and all its memo­ries. "Not at all," she replied. "I am going home."

In fact she is returning to the village where she was born, lived and worked as the school teacher, before coming to London. She still has relatives and friends there and will live in a sheltered flat near to them. I have her new address and phone number and she would be happy to hear from old friends.

In earlier years she participated in everything. Mem­bers who came on the Orkney week will remember particularly the fun we had. She always brought a bottle of sherry with her on weekends away — and she would call us into her room for a tipple before our evening meal. And on day trips she always brought a large tin of mixed sweeties to pass round the coach.

In the very early years of the Society Mr Banham (now deceased) addressed the newsletter envelopes by hand and delivered them all.

We have a lot to thank them for, and we all wish Mrs Banham a happy retirement.

Mr Philip Canter

Another member of long standing, Mr Philip Canter, has died. Mrs Eileen Canter is now living in a nursing home in Elstree. Both of them lived in Golders Green for many years and came on most of our outings and weekends. I have Mrs Canter's address and will give it to any mem­ber who would like to write to her. by Dorothy Newbury 

Welcome to HADAS

HADAS is delighted to welcome the following new members to its ranks: Stephen Aleck, Galina Gos­podinova, Caroline Lomas and Ann Seurback.

We very much look forward to seeing you joining in all the society's activities, from lectures and outings to research and excavations. There are lots of projects in the pipeline, so members new and old keen to get involved should contact me.     by Vikki O'Connor 

Modern and ancient

All of a sudden, there's a rush of new sources of informa­tion on archaeology.

The traditional approach — on paper — comes from Cherry Lavell, who HADAS members may well remem­ber from her 25 years compiling the CBA Abstracts, or from her involvement with our neighbours, Camden History Society. Since she retired five years ago, she has devoted an ever-increasing amount of her time to compiling the Handbook of British and Irish Archaeology, just published by Edinburgh University Press (£29.95).

It's an exhaustive, yet thoroughly orderly, treasure trove of references, from which universities offer which archaeology courses to how to find an expert on garden history, from the seminal books on archaeology to where to apply for excavation grants. She ranged round the country in her hunt for information, being the opposite of those archaeologists who don't know — or don't bother to find out — where to find what they need.

The handbook is, says Cherry, for every archaeolo­gist, from beginner to student to specialist. "I just hope it will be useful," she adds. There's little doubt about that.

For those with the Web at their fingertips, the ad­dress to type in is christine.ivory@onyxnet.co.uk, and back will come details of the brand new Archaiologia Jobs and People Finder, a service intended for everyone in­volved in archaeology, history and related disciplines. Use it to find jobs and contracts (volunteer places on digs, teaching posts, etc) or specialist services such as geophysical surveying or archaeological illustration. It also aims to help those seeking staff for archaeological projects. Individuals can register their personal details, or those of specialist services they can provide, for a small admin charge.

Watch this site

I think this is the fourth time that 142-150 Cricklewood Broadway has come up for development.

English Heritage has advised the borough planning department that it lies beside Roman Watling Street and within the extent of the medieval roadside village of Cricklewood. It is therefore of archaeological impor­tance and a field evaluation by an archaeological con­tractor is required.

Some site watching would be worthwhile when work starts. Are there any members in the vicinity?                             by Bill Firth (0181-455 7164)

The borough at their feet

GOAL! Football in Barnet Borough is the current exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum, running until April 26. It traces the history of the three main clubs in the area, through kit, photographs, videos, programmes,trophies and personalia relating to important international players of the past such as Lester Finch (Barnet), George Robb (Finchley) and Laurie Topp (Hendon). While football has yet to be traced in the archaeological record, it has a venerable history, stretching back locally to a 1788 engraving (left) showing a game being played at the Market Place, Barnet. Hardly the strip today's clubs sell to fans at controversially high prices!


We're doing the Lambeth Walk...

George Sweetland maps the route taken by members as they ventured South of the River

The cosy reception room of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society offered a relief from the cold wind blowing from the river by Lambeth Bridge, as HADAS members as­sembled on March 5 for their tour of the Society's head­quarters conducted by the indefatigable  Mary 0' Co n n e

Founded in 1841 to protect the interests of dispens­ing chemists and druggists, the Society moved from its original home in Bloomsbury Square to the present building in the late 1970s. Its museum, which is spread over several floors, includes a wonderful collection of dispensing jars, the oldest, from Italy, dated to the 15th century. They are quite beautiful and we were told they were intended to look attractive, so customers felt they were getting value for money. Most contained ingredi­ents of medicinal value; others, however, would have been at home in the witches' scene from Macbeth.

Moving to the upper floor, our guide — himself a retired pharmacist — demonstrated how until quite recently powders were crushed and wrapped, tablets made and pills rolled. The last apparently had three grades, from a varnished talcum powder coating to silver and gold, depending on the financial means of the patient.

Time meant we could give only a cursory look at these fascinating relics and, after thanking our guides, we braved the heavy traffic to the Museum of Garden History housed in the redundant parish church of St Mary. Rescued from a sad state of neglect by the

Tradescant Trust, it is now a fine monument to the Carolean gardeners, father and son, who introduced so many exotic plants to the British Isles, plants which we think have always been with us. Their collection of rarities forms the basis of the Ashmolean museum at Oxford. Elias Ashmole, the Tradescants, and William Bligh are buried in the churchyard.

The most romantic story attached to the church is of Mary of Modena, James Il's queen. In her flight from Eng-land she was forced to take shelter overnight in the porch, accompanied only by her infant son and lady-in-waiting.

The museum café provided us with a light but sustaining lunch, and after viewing the museum and churchyard, we met outside the doors of Lambeth Pal­ace. Once Mary had again counted her flock, and the last straggler had arrived, she gave a signal and someone pulled the bell handle (nothing so 20th century as a press-button here) and we filed in.

Our guide introduced himself as the chief security officer and while we were all issued with identity cards to hang round our necks, he gave us an introduction to the history of the palace. The original building here was the manorial house of one sister of Edward the Confes­sor, and it became the custom for the Archbishops of Canterbury, who also held the post of Lord Chancellor the the monarch, to stay there when at Westminster. Archbishop Walter in 1197 exchanged land in Kent for

 Roy Walker reports on the February lecture 

Until the 1980s was believed that mid-Saxon Lunden­wic (c650-850 AD) was located within the walled Roman city. However, Martin Biddle and Alan Vince independ­ently researched the excavated evidence and concluded that the "market for many peoples coming by land and sea" (Bede) was situated west of the city alongside the Strand. The Jubilee Hall, Covent Garden, excavation in 1985 provided confirmation of this conclusion. Gordon Malcolm, at our well-attended meeting, continued the story of Saxon London by detailing the work recently undertakenby MoLAS at the Royal Opera House site and explaining how further parts of the jig­saw were now in place — the important edge pieces.There have been many small excavations within the area of Lundenwic, but at the Opera House site an area equivalent to 2% of the settlement was excavated. Deeply stratified, multi-period archaeology was revealed including truncated features suchas pits and wells. From the earliest Saxon period on site was a road aligned north-south with alleys perpendicular to it. One metre thick, it hada cambered surface of compacted gravel. Its alleyways had buildings aligned to them with associated yard areas.

There was poor wood survival on site, unless carbon­ised, although various building construction techniques were recognised. One building consisted of a series of ground-fast uprights with wattle on a ground beam running between. Within was a succession of metal­working hearths and a ridge of brickearth indicating a furnace. Here was found ornate jewellery, gold wire, strap ends and crucible fragments with silver deposits. Here too was a mould carved from bone, perhaps for an ornate button, with a ring and dot pattern and the image of a bird. Among a group of stone homes was one re-used as a mould.

Another building had upright posts and evidence of an internal partition. A gravel alleyway adjoined it. Also, the same plot showed a different technique — a brickearth wall with a wooden beam on top surmount­ed with wattle and daub walling. The finds indicated this was a we room. Ye t another building contained loom weights and the remains of a wooden bench.

Various hearths were found, one with the remains of the wooden lining used for supporting pots. Re-used Opera tells much more of the Saxon story There were fewer buildings by the turn of the 9th century. Rectangular pits emerge probably for industrial use. A v-shaped ditch, aligned east-west, was dug on the northern side of the site and lined with sharpened stakes jutting out of the southern face. This feature has not been dated but it is known that the Vikings invaded around 830AD.

Mid-9th century finds include two sword guards (one with part of the hilt), spear head ferrules and an iron cauldron buried in a barrel well perhaps for safe keeping. The hoard of Northumbrian coins of c840 AD buried with in a layer of dark earth could be a sign of those troubled times. Then, in Gordon's own words, "in 886 AD the mid-Saxons moved into the City, becoming late-Saxons".

This excavation has yielded the largest quantity of Anglo-Saxon pottery yet recovered from a single site in this area of London. It includes fragments from three or more pottery lamps, a very rare find. The results have given a greater depth of knowledge into this period and will serve as a model for any future work undertaken within the area of Ludenwic.

• The Museum of London has updated its permanent Saxon display to include many recent finds. A feature is a diorama constructed on the basis of evidence from the Opera House site; there are also remarkable survivals of wood and leather 

called "Lollards' Tower", the chapel with its crypt, and the guardroom. To the east are the old stables and workshops.

The crypt, which served as an air raid shelter in the last war, is the oldest part of the palace. From it, we were taken to the Great Hail.Demolished during the Commonwealth, it was rebuilt in a mixture of Gothic and Classical styles by Archbishop Juxton after the Restoration. It has a fine hammer beam roof, and fragments of the old stained glass from the chapel are incorporated in the windows. On display are a pair of gloves given to the Archbishop by Charles 'before the latter's execution.  As with the Great Hall, the chapel was badly damaged in 1941 and has also suffered ry from Victorianisation. Apart from the 13th cen­tury west door, it is not particularly impressive and the modern highly-coloured frescoes seem out of place.

Next was the guardroom. Prompted by the Tyler revolt, it was built as an armoury in 1380, but was modern­ised by Edward Blore, fortunately retaining the medieval roof. The first Lambeth Conference was held here, in 1867, and it is now a gallery, with portraits of early Archbishops by Van Dyck (Archbishop Laud) through to Hogarth. More portraits continue along the walls of the adjacent corridor, including works by Lawrence and Sargent. We were now in the Gothic-style building designed by Blore in the 1830s and erected over the site of the demolished manor house. It was the end of the tour. As South Londoners we can rarely go to HADAS events, but are most appreciative of the hard work of Dorothy and Mary.


A capital place for archaeological finds

Bill Bass visits the planned new London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre

Members may be aware of the problems in dealing with London's Archaeological Archive and the fact that it was effectively closed two years ago. This was due to a number of reasons, including a lack of funding and the chaotic nature of the existing archive — it was full up.

During February members of London's archaeo­logical community, professional and voluntary alike and including HADAS, were invited by Dr Simon Thurley, Director of the Museum of London, to view how the archive has been stored in the past and the plans for the future.

The archive consists of every kind of find from environmental to monumental (a combined volume of 3,500 cubic metres) plus the documentary side — record sheets, plans, drawing, photographs and so forth (300 linear metres of shelf space) from 100 years of excavat­ing in the London region. This, of course, will be added to as archaeological work continues. To put the scale of London's archive in perspective, it is three times larger than that of York and ten times larger than any other in the country.

We were given a tour of the present site at Lever Street, near Old Street. Floor space and racking was chock-a-block with boxes of finds — boxes of 329 differ­ent shapes and sizes, in fact, as a survey discovered (a storage system to be drastically refined). Outside, pal­lets were full of soil samples, stonework, etc. The nature of the problem was obvious when even members of the museum or MoLAS had difficulty in accessing material for research. At the time of our visit stuff was being packed up ready for transfer to the "new" building.

Our party was transferred to the new site at Eagle Wharf Road, slightly north towards Islington, which is a much more modern and spacious affair. This has been owned by the Museum since 1989 and has housed its extensive social history collection for several years. It was decided to combine the whole archive here rather than find an alternative site, perhaps outside London.

The new establishment has been partially fitted out and is receiving the archive from Lever Street. This building will house the basic record, with enough space for future deposits hopefully for the next ten years or so.

However, the real plan is to expand this facility to make it a major centre for the storage, processing and research of the archive by making it accessible to every­body — archaeologists, borough museum services, local societies, historians, schools, members of the public, in fact anybody interested in London's past.

To do this Eagle Wharf Road will need extensive alterations and expansion, including new floors to ac­commodate new public study, research and activity rooms, photograph and computer sections plus other offices. A computer documentation system is being developed to allow easy access to the wealth of records in the archive, with possible future connections to the Internet. As this worthwhile project must find funding, it is hoped contributions can be attracted from the Lot­tery, research councils and private sponsors.

... and one which won't stay

One object on display at the Museum of London from April 2 won't cause a storage problem. A third section of the first known map of London (the museum has the other two), has been located in Germany and is on loan until May 10. The map, engraved on copper plate, dates from the mid-16th century and shows old St Paul's.

Long may the local society flourish!

Sheila Woodward, HADAS representative on the CBA, reports from Bristol

The Winter General Meeting of the Council for British Archaeology is now customarily held outside London. This year the venue was Bristol University where the elegance of Clifton Hill House rivalled that of the Society of Antiquaries, venue of London meetings.

The agenda ranged widely, from the Peatland Cam­paign (some progress in efforts to control what remains of our raised bogs) to the continuing problems of illicit excavation, both here and overseas, of portable antiqui­ties and their illegal export.

There was a lively debate on recent cuts in local government funding and the consequent reduction in local government archaeology officers. Loss of local knowledge and expertise was generally deplored.

The importance of the amateur contribution was emphasised by Dr Peter Addyman of the York Archaeo­ logical Trust. While acknowledging that technological developments create obstacles for amateur excavation, he argued that local societies can do invaluable field­work in observing, surveying, recording and reporting. He cited instances of such work which he has encour­aged in the environs of York.

In the field of education the Council has currently two main concerns: the exclusion of prehistory, and indeed of most matters archaeological, from the English national curriculum, and the equal absence of archaeol­ogy from the Open University's teacher training pro­gramme.

National Archaeology Days in 1998 will be July 25­26. And HADAS's treasurer will be delighted to hear that the CBA affiliation fee for societies remains un­changed for 1998-99.

What's on, close at hand...

If the postman is quick with this Newsletter, you may catch Pinner Local History Society's meeting on April 2, when Patricia Clarke talks on Shops in Pinner Long Ago. Venue is Pinner Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, time 8pm. Visitors are welcome (£1 donation).

The subject for LAMAS on April 9 is Libraries and Institutes in the City of London, by David Webb, Librar­ian of the Bishopsgate Institute. The lecture — HADAS members very welcome — is in the Interpretation Unit of the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2, at 6.30pm.

Enfield Archaeological Society holds its AGM on April 17, with the business followed by reports of field­work and research. The society meets at Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side and Parsonage Lane, Enfield, at 8pm, and visitors are welcome (50p charge).

The Finchley Society will learn of London Docklands, Then and Now, at its next meeting, on April 30. The speaker is Arthur Farrand Radley, and the meeting is at Avenue House, East End Road, at 7.45pm. Following on from the talk, a coach trip to Docklands is scheduled for May 9.

... and further afield

Pots, People and Processes is the title of a joint conference to be held by the Northern Ceramic Society and the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology in Stoke-on-Trent on April 24-26. The busy programme includes a MoLAS contribution on the production of tin-glazed ware on the North Bank of the Thames. Ring the conference organiser, David Barker, on 01782 232323 for more details.

And the Sussex Archaeological Society is organising training courses in June and July at Clay Hill ringwork, probably one of the very first fortifications built by the Normans in England. Contact Dr Richard Jones, Anne of Cleves House, 52 Southover High Street, Lewes BN71JA to find out more.

A walk in the Wood MoLAS surveyors have been using the very latest state-of-the-art computerised recording technique, digital terrain modelling, to locate and map a triple-ditch and double-bank earthwork running through Highgate Wood, close to the Roman pottery production site with which many HADAS members are familiar.

English Heritage has commissioned the survey, as the first stage of further study of the earthwork, which is just one of a series running through the wood. The data, which on the surveyors' portable computer produces a graphic display of the relief of the site, will be used with even greater sophistication at the MoLAS lab, alongside study of maps.

No excavation is planned, as the earthwork — prob­ably some kind of delineation feature, medieval or ear­lier — is not under threat.

Views of the past

Hornsey Historical Society stalwart Ken Gay is the man behind a new title in the Chalford Publishing Company's Archive Photographs series. Hornsey and Crouch End contains more than 200 fully-captioned photographs, plus a short introduction, two maps and an index. Cop­ies cost £9.99, plus £1 postage, from HHS, The Old Schoolhouse, 136 Tottenham Lane, London N8 7EL.

A happy ending

Madam,

I was deeply touched by the sympa­thetic account, published in your January Newsletter, of the recent injuries to my tail. I am delighted to report that my caudal appendage is now fully restored to its former glorious tumescence. My thanks are due to HADAS members for their concern.

I beg to remain, your obedient servant,

Henry Roots


 

Comments