newsletter-343-November-1999

A NEW MEMBER'S IMPRESSION OF HER FIRST MINIMART                     by Elinor Furman

The whistle blows and the race is on  not to the finish line; to bargains in the latest fashions, in used bric-a-brac, books, jewellery, toys, even clothes. Is this the East End?    No -

It’s THE ANNUAL HADAS MINIMART  The last time so many professional people put on 'pinnies', Delia Smith won her first baking contest. Why is it that other people's cast-offs look so much better the longer we stare at them? Did I succumb? Of course; I'm delighted with my purchases - can't wait until next year...

It seemed that more people had heard about our goodies and bargains than in previous years. There was a very good attendance.

The ground floor was devoted to food: bread, cakes, and scones - all went quickly. On the opposite table were the meringues, being bus­ily filled with cream; we had sold out by about 2 p.m. Chutney, jellies, jam, marmalade disappeared into shopping bags equally quickly; all this home-made and very good indeed. Last but not least the lunches were doing a brisk trade at the end of the room.

The lunch makers and stall holders were kept busy and, of course, happy, watching the money coming in! I'm afraid Dorothy has not finished doing her sums yet, but she will let us all know in due course.

VOTE of THANKS from MINIMART'S CHEF de CUISINE - TESSA, who writes : .. Thanks to all of you who brought quiches and other lovely goodies. The food selection this year was wonderful, and such good value, I'm sure you all agree. Special thanks to my excellent team of kitchen helpers. Many hands made light work, and it was fun and friendly.

 

HADAS DIARY

Tuesday, 9th November John Creighton :''Britain in' the Shadow of Rome' Changing lifestyles and perceptions between Caesar's and Claudius's invasions of Britain.

John Creighton's first experience of excavation was when he was only 13, on the Mesolithic site at West Heath, the Society's longest runn­ing excavation. Since then, he went on to conduct fieldwork in Britain, Germany and Spain. He now lectures at the University of Reading in Iron Age and Roman archaeology. About his lecture topic he writes: 'The way history is often taught, it seems as if Caesar only briefly visited these shores in 55 and 54 BC, and almost a century later Claudius launched a proper invasion of these islands. However, this version is not the only way that the story can be told, and by using archaeological evidence I'd like to paint a rather different picture of the century between Caesar and Claudius.'

 

OCTOBER LECTURE          JOAN EDWARDS

Dr Eric Robinson - The Archaeology of Local Building Materials

We welcomed Dr Eris Robinson to give his previously postponed talk on the use of local building materials. He explained the difficulties of finding suitable materials in North London and Middlesex, as these areas are really in the wider Thames valley, which is composed mainly of 'London Clay', with some sand and gravel layers. The Middlesex 'Alps', Highgate and Harrow-on-the Hill are not really composed of rock, but 'Bagshot sands'.

The main local building materials were           (1) 'dagger stones' ‑rocks found in clay; (2) flint from a lower chalk layer;(3) 'Reigate Stone'; (4)'Kentish flagstone' ; (5) 'Puddingstone' from Hertfordshire; (6) 'Ironstone'.

As samples, he described the local churches built with these materials between 1050 - 1250, when stone was first used for building churches. After this, stones were transported over much greater distances, and the need for building purely with stone locally available ceased to be so pressing. William the Conquer­or had made it clear that his cathedrals could only, be built with stone from Caen itself, so thereafter the idea of transporting stone long distances gradually spread. It is not known how the stone from Kent was brought to London, but water transport probab­ly played a part.

Dr Robinson showed slides of churches such as Harrow-on-the-Hill, Monken Hadley, Canons, Hendon, Wexham Park. He showed how the walls were put together with a mixture of the local stones, using combinations of shapes and colours, e.g. flints (bath the white surface and broken to give the black surface) and red-brown iron­stone. Sometimes there is a deliberate pattern such as checker­board, and sometimes the stones are fitted together simply accord­ing to their shapes. Occasional appearances of the Hertfordshire 'Puddingstone' in the northern areas, and broken red Roman tiles added variety. Flint walls had to be built slowly to allow each layer to 'dry off' before the rest. Quoin stones made from strong­er stones from the West Country were added in later times to stab­ilise the walls.

'Ironstone' was a term popularised by Pevsner for a certain mater­ial used in these buildings, but rarely after 1250. This 'stone' is made up of sand or gravel, bonded together by iron salts washed in by water seeping or flowing through the sand or gravel. It is now referred to as 'ferricretel, not to be confused with 'Ferri­crete', a modern commercial material.

Another 'stone' used in the Branch Hill church in Highgate was 'failed brick'. This was brick from the vast brick-making area in the west side of Hampstead Heath, which was discarded either as mis-shapen or incorrectly fired.

The local building materials described by Dr Robinson went on being used for farm buildings after their use for building churches ceased.

We can meet Dr Robinson again at a morning lecture and walk round Kenwood Estate on Wednesday,10th Nov. Charge : £2. Details from Visitor Information Centre, Mansion Cottage, Kenwood.Tel . 0171-973-3893

 

STOP PRESS !! CHRISTMAS DINNER on TUESDAY, 7th DECEMBER IS NOW FULLY BOOKED!! There is a WAITING LIST with Dorothy.

 

HADAS WEEKEND - SEPTEMBER 3rd to 5th

 

DAY ONE to PORTSMOUTH         RUTH WHITEHILL

September 3rd dawned fine, and after everybody had been picked up we were on our way to Winchester. A quick cup of coffee at the Moat House Hotel revived us and we were met by our efficient guide, GRAHAM SCOBIE. He told us that at one time, there were BO many churches in Winchester that it was reputed you could not walk be­tween them without rubbing your shoulders against the walls. He handed out guide sheets explaining the area and told us about life in the monastery, pointing out where King Alfred, his wife and son were thought to have been buried.

We walked down to the site of the Abbey, which was being excavated by volunteers for the fifth year. It was easy to see where the High Altar had been and to see how far the Abbey extended eastward

Our next stop was the well-preserved PORTCHESTER CASTLE, which has defended Portsmouth Harbour for nearly 2,000 years. Some of us walked round the walls which were built by the Romans, and are the most complete in Europe. Some of us climbed up to the battlements from which we had a good view of the Solent.

After eating our picnic lunch here in the sunshine, we followed a circuitous route to FORT CUMBERLAND. We were met by English Heritage staff, who have taken over the whole fort. From there we went to the Langstone Campus, a high-rise block of twelve floors with eight single rooms on each floor - very modern - not quite HADAS style! However, an excellent dinner was served and we went tired to bed.

 

DAY TWO     ISLE of WIGHT        SHEILA WOODWARD

Most islands possess a magical quality: a feeling of separateness that makes them special. The Isle of Wight is no exception and it casts its spell as soon as one approaches it across the narrow water of the Solent (calm as a millpond on the day of our visit). It demands to be explored.

Scenically the Island is delightful with its rolling downs, sandy bays and rugged cliffs. Its attraction has long been appreciated. Dinosaurs roamed there 120 million years ago; their bones are still being found. Stone-Age man left his hand-axes, Bronze Age man his burial mounds and Iron Age man his farming sites. The Romans built villas, the Saxons established burhs and the Normans fortified castles. Medieval monasteries thrived and land and sea trade enabled villages and towns to expand. Charles I was imprisoned on the Island. Queen Victoria built a holiday home there, so setting a trend which has continued to the present day.

In a single day's visit we could only sample this wealth of delights. Our excellent local guide and archaeologist Kevin Trott ensured that we missed nothing of interest on our drives across the Island out we concentrated our attention on three main sites. The first was the magnificent Roman Villa at Brading, a spacious courtyard house which had its heyday in the 4th century AD. Its occupants lived in sophisticated comfort in rooms bright with painted plaster walls and fine mosaic floors, with under floor heating and even misty green glass in some of the windows. Alas, only fragments of tae wall plaster survive, giving tantalising glimpses of delicately painted floral and woodland scenes. The floors have fared better despite the depredation of wind, flood, agriculture and wild animals. The mosaics are the chief glory of this villa and many of the tesserae are in their original bedding material. Some feature standard Roman myths: Orpheus with his lyre and animals, Perseus and Andromeda with Medusa, Ceres and Triptolemus clutching the plough he is credited with inventing. There are sea-nymphs and tritons and personifications of the four seasons. But there are some less usual depictions such as the famous cock headed man (is he an amphitheatre hunter or a mythical creature?) and the seated male figure with globe, bowl and sundial who is variously identified as astrologer, astronomer or philosopher. The mystery of interpretation only adds to the pleasure of these extraordinary mosaics.

The villa was discovered and first excavated in 1880 by Captain Thorp, a retired army officer, and Mr Munns the local farmer who was "making holes" for an overnight sheep-pen. The site guide book has a wonderful illustration of that excavation, sheep and all The rather rough digging techniques of the period meant the loss of valuable evidence and it is astonishing that so

much remains. The finds from the site include domestic farming and seafaring equipment, building material and structural fitments, all well displayed.

A scrapbook kept by Captain Thorp including drawings made during excavation

is of special interest. A disastrous flood as recently as 1994 highlights the need for the conservation and protective measures now being taken by the local Oglander Roman Trust and English Heritage.

Our second visit was to Carisbrooke Castle, one of the Island's best-known buildings. Its site is a natural stronghold and was possibly fortified by the Romans and certainly by the Saxons. When the Normans came they built the castle which, though added to and altered over the years, is still recognisably Norman. With its huge motte and keep, its great curtain walls and its massive 14th century gatehouse, it remains formidable though it has not been used militarily since the 18th century. From 1647 it served as a prison for Charles I who, after 3 failed attempts at rescue/escape, was moved to London in November 1648 and executed 2 months later. Two of his children were later prisoners in the castle and one (Princess Elizabeth) died there. Subsequently the castle gently decayed until a mid-19th century restoration after which Princess Beatrice, youngest child of Queen Victoria, became Governor of the castle and made it her summer home. In parenthesis: I slept in the castle in 1948 when for a short time it housed a Youth Hostel. my most vivid memory is of suffering from a nightmare, waking the whole dormitory with my screams and then failing to convince everyone that I had not seen the ghost of the little Princess Elizabeth!

The castle today offers manifold attractions and after eating our picnic lunches in the sunshine HADAS members scattered to do their own thing. The walls could be walked, the motte climbed (71 steps) and the keep explored, the domestic building* and the chapel could be visited, and the Great Hall which now houses the castle museum. The well-house is always popular with its tread-wheel worked by one of a team of donkeys. I am told that at our visit Jennifer  "did her stuff" so sparing the English Heritage attendants the ignominy of having to tread the wheel themselves - a not unknown occurrence!

The third site we visited was the Bronze Age Barrow Cemetery at the highest point of Brook Down - "steep climb, NOT for the faint-hearted" said Dorothy's programme note. I can confirm that it was well worth the effort. The cemetery is known as Five Barrows but there are in fact eight: a linear group of six bowl barrows with a bell barrow (usually associated with male burials) at one end and a disc barrow (usually associated with female burials) at the other. The latter is the only known disc barrow on the Island. The barrows were "excavated" by treasure hunters in the 15th century and further investigated by a local vicar last century. Only broken pottery was found except in the disc barrow which contained a small piece of bronze. There were no secondary (Saxon) burials in the mounds. Seen from below the barrows stand up clearly on the skyline. Looking down from the barrows the view is spectacular with Tennyson Down and Freshwater Bay to the northwest and Brightstone and the coast beyond it stretching to Blackgang Chine to the southeast.

 

The glorious weather continued for our return drive via Brook (dramatic stories of lifeboat rescues), Brightstone (famed for its dinosaur fossils), Chale and St Caterine's (old and new lighthouse sites), Ventnor and the Undercliff with its almost tropical climate; thanks to the Gulf Stream) and its traces of a prehistoric shellfish economy. We rounded off our satisfyingly full day with a delicious dinner at the Fishbourne Inn, a modern successor to an ancient fishermen's hostelry, and then sailed peacefully back to Portsmouth as the stars came out,

 

DAY THREE BACK to PORTSMOUTH    ROSEMARY BENTLEY

 

When a bomb fell on PORTSMOUTH CITY MUSEUM in 1943, the only ex­hibit which could be salvaged was a set of police truncheons. So for many years thereafter visitors only saw the area as a naval base. The new City Museum, housed in an astonishing Edwardian chateau, formerly a barracks, concentrates on `reconstructions' - Stone Age to a 1950's living room, with little of real interest on show. Jenny Stevens, recently appointed curator, has discov­ered a huge collection of artefacts, many uncatalogued, and she intends to produce a 'hands-on' exhibition.

Locally born, she began her talk with an historical resume. Port­smouth and Southsea stand on Portsea Island, formerly marshy ground, below a chalk ridge, Portsdown Hill. A Saxon settlement grew into a town, given a charter by Richard I; the dockyard and defence lines were established by Henry VIII. The Solent and Spit-head provide deep, sheltered waters, and the harbour entrance is

so narrow that U.S. aircraft carriers are unable to enter. Still an island, Portsea is now the most densely populated area in Brit­ain, yet a corner of Langstone Harbour (between Portsea and Hayling Island) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest

Sea salt was collected in this area which, much later, became a hiding place for 'Mulberry' harbours. One broke its back and still stands there like a colossal shark. fin.

The City Museum's remit extends 15 miles north, east and west, but there is no local amateur group. Site-watching is contracted out by developers and little has been retrieved. Jenny would like to appoint an officer to watch the whole area. Finally, she invited us to handle some of the pieces she has discovered in the Museum storehouse, e.g. a Bronze Age incense burner, found on Portsdown Hill when the Palmerston Forts were built; a near perfect black flint axe-head; briquetage from the salt pans; and a 32 lbs. cannon ball.

Then, on to the Dockyard, where we all went nimbly up and down the companionways on the /Victory!. When a ship was cleared for action the furniture was sometimes towed astern. French and English capt­ains had an agreement not to fire on those boats !

The Mary Rose is now standing vertical in a shower of chemicals which may last twenty years. The Hall is to be extended by a third walkway so that the outside of the hulk can be seen. The Mary Rose Museum is beautifully displayed and explained but I am sure that many of the small personal finds have been removed. I missed the hurly-burly excitement of 1984. Some went to the Royal Naval Museum, some took a trip round the harbour. I visited the newest exhibit, HMS 'Warrior' - built 1860, the world's first iron-hulled battleship, Imagine a cross between HMS 'Victory' and SS'Great Britain', with mess tables, hammocks, telescopic funnels and washing machines for the stokers' clothes !!

 

IODINE AND AN AGE-OLD MYSTERY STEWART J. WILD

Précis of a recent report in Geographical magazine

A geographer in the US has concluded that iodine deficiency may have caused many of the distinctive features exhibited by Neanderthals, as well as helping to explain what became of these early hominids. According to Dr Jerome Dobson, of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, a single genetic difference -one that prevented Neanderthals from processing iodine - may be all that stands between them and us.

Iodine deficiency in modern humans causes goitre, a disfiguring enlargement of the thyroid gland, or cretinism, a worse condition of deformity and mental retardation that can also be caused by the malfunction or absence of the thyroid gland.

The World Health Organisation estimates that about 30 per cent of the world's population is at risk from iodine deficiency disorders, especially those far from the sea who are unable to take advantage of principal sources of dietary iodine like saltwater fish, shellfish and seaweed.

Neanderthals lived mostly in inland Europe, which is notoriously iodine deficient today, and probably was when the Neanderthals flourished between 230,000 and 30,000 years ago. Dobson claims that excavated Neanderthal bones are very similar to those of modern humans suffering from IDD.

He says that distinctive Neanderthal traits - body size, heavy brows, large muscles, poor dental development and bone disease -are identical to those of modern humans suffering from cretinism. The most striking physical feature of cretins and Neanderthals

is bone thickness; in cretins, arm and leg bones stop growing in length but continue to grow concentrically. Skulls are also similar. In modern humans, Dobson explains, hormones in the thyroid gland enable the body to absorb iodine from food sources. Maybe, he hypothesises, Neanderthal thyroid glands were not well equipped to process iodine, whereas those of Cro-Magnon man, who appeared 40,000 years ago, were.

Non-cretinous populations may have become dominant in Europe from 40,000 to 30,000 years ago because some innovation, most likely trade with coastal settlements, introduced iodine to iodine-deficient regions.

ALFRED THE GREAT: LONDON'S FORGOTTEN KING

Museum of London until 9th January 2000

Educationalists plan to omit information from the future history curriculum on what they think of as the boring old Saxon kings. This small but fascinating exhibition is your chance to see how wrong they are. The publicity leaflet tells us that this is "a major exhibition painting a vivid picture of the only English king to earn the title 'Great'.

Among the exhibits are finds from the city of Lundenwic in the Strand area, and the recent excavations at Covent Garden; timbers and coins from Alfred's "trading shore" near present-day Queenhithe; manuscripts; jewellery (including the famous Alfred Jewel); and a selection of Anglo-Saxon weapons (including the "seax", a short sword (or long knife?)) .

Compared to the awe-inspiring bearded statue of Alfred which stands in Winchester, a contemporary silver penny shows a clean-shaven man with a simple diadem or fillet on his short-cropped hair (*ugh we are told there is no evidence for Alfred's actual appearance). There is also an amusing photograph of a statue of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert portrayed wearing Saxon costume.

During my visit, a "Saxon" in costume was chipping away at a copy of a tomb slab and demonstrating
his stonemason's skills to a small, fascinated audience. Entry charge to Museum: adults £5, concessions
£3. All tickets valid for a year. (Web site:
www.museumoflondon.org.uk)   Deirdre Barrie

Events at the Museum of London which tie in with this Exhibition: "Keeping Alfred Great,- a 30 minute discussion (Rose Johnson and Jill Barnard, Museum of London) on conservation work for the exhibition. Thursday 7 October at 2.30 pm.

Study Day on the latest thinking on Alfred the Great on Saturday 16th October at 10 am.,           

Fee: £16, £10 concessions. Tel.Bookings Officer, Museum of London 020 7814 5777

 

BOOK NEWS

Searching for a Local History booklet ? Don't know whom to contact

when on a piece of research? Need information on a specific local- ity ? JUST PUBLISHED - 'Greater London History and Heritage liana-

book' by Peter Marcan Publications. PO.Box 3158,London.S13 1RA. Tel: 02 7b57 0668. The Millennium Guide to Historical Heritage and Environmental Networks and Publications.

Percy Reboul and John Heattfield have written another book in their series of publications on a 'Hundred Years of History in Barnet' in photographs depicting the Borough in the last hundred years.

 


FURTHER COMMENTS ON THE LEY FIELD    PHILIP BAILEY

I would like to respond to the criticisms of my article aired in the last Newsletter. May I start by saying that just because 'no‑

one has ever been able to reconstruct a detailed medieval field lay­out from documentary records' doesn't mean that nobody ever will

In answer to the comment that animals were rarely let into the open fields,I quote: 'The Oxford Companion to Local & Family History'. Ed. David Hey (1996).

Leys:   'Individual arable strips were often converted to grass,on

a temporary basis, in order to provide sufficient feed for livestock. These leys could last for varying periods, from two to seven or eight Years; if longer still, they seemed permanent.'

My argument about the Ley Field being in an area which later became known as Barnet Common was really that it was incorporated into Bar­net Common (which was formed from Southaw Wood) and not that it form­ed the basis of Barnet Common. I admit this is not clear from the article. The 19th century maps of Barnet Common needed very little 'development', and this is why I didn't detail it.

In closing, I must say that I was encouraged in my research after the article appeared by Mr Derek Renn, whom I thank, and by Vicky O'Connor who said in a letter to me that 'ideally our Newsletters would serve to encourage members to undertake projects' and that

'no matter how many times we ask for contributions, we are more likely to get a response by example (such as your article)'.

I have to say that from what I have seen, I don't think Pamela Tay­lor or Jennie Lee Cobban need much prompting, but perhaps I have en­couraged people who are by nature slightly less forward to submit articles to the Newsletter !.

I quote from the manor records :

1280 John le Breton and Katelina his wife rendered LID into the hands of the Lord a certain plot of land in 'La Leye' for the use of

1263 'A precept is issued to the men of Barnet, both to those of the Leye and to the others .... And the aforesaid men of the Leye rose up with one voice saying that they themselves ought not nor ever had been accustomed to elect a reeve ...And they named three or four of the said town who each successively had been reeve in the ...

1276 John Henry surrendered all the land which he had in the field which is called 'Le Layefeld' together with a grove which is called 'Cornhegch' saving for himself two strips of ploughland which he retains to have a road for himself and ...

1280 All the tenants in 'a Leye' say that they have not had a prop- er summons and therefore refused to come to the court meeting, and it is testified by the sergeant and by the Ville that they had a summons.

 

SECRETARY'S CORNER - from Committee Meeting of 1st October,1999 Following items were included in the many matters discussed:

Society's accommodation at Avenue House and storage facilities at College Farm are inadequate. Preliminary consideration is now being given to possibility of alternative premises.

Agreed that Minutes of preceding AGM, Chairman's Report, Treasurer's Report and Accounts be sent in future to all members in advance of the AGM.

National Archaeology Weekend considered very successful; congratul­ations to Vikki O'Connor and the other organisers.

It is intended to apply for a Millennium Award for the proposed publication of a book on commemorative plaques in the Borough.

Proposal has been made for HADAS to do some resistivity in Charterhouse Square, where aerial photos have shown a possible medieval foundation.

 


MEMBERS' NEWS

Peter Pickering - now PhD., University College, London. Photo in last month's Newsletter does NOT show him in academic rig; His thesis was entitled 'Verbal Repetition in Greek Tragedy', examin­ing 'when, why and how often the ancient poets used the same words.. and when repetitions might be the fault of copyists ..'(from the Finchley Society Newsletter). Congratulations to old friend Peter.

John Enderby (HADAS founder Member and one of our Vice-Chairmen) together with some local amateur historians in his village of Fontmell Magna, Dorset, has started a national project to record all stream and bridge names,before they are lost forever from local memory. This fascinating enterprise is featured in an article in 'The Guardian' of 6th October. Fontmell Magna(once part of the es­tate of Shaftesbury Abbey) dates from the 10th century, and was on a HADAS itinerary,guided by John and Barbara, earlier this year.

Rt. Rev. William Westwood, Bishop of Edmonton (1975 - 1984) and of Peterborough (1984 - 1995) died in September, aged 73. HADAS member Eric Morgan recalls that 'Bill' (as he was affectionately known) was a HADAS Vice-President when he was at Edmonton and was widely known in religious broadcasting for his great humour and understanding,

particularly on Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day'.

P.S. from Rosemary Bentley re HADAS WEEKEND . . .. Rosemary is willing to lend her copy of the guide book to :US 'Warrior' to any interested member — highly commended.

ALSO she thanks Dorothy for arranging perfect weather for the trip and hopes she might be persuaded to organise a millennium 'weekend away'. "After that she adds ( seriously)

"Who ??? ???"

 

BARNET COUNCIL MUSEUMS SERVICE - THE FUTURE?

ANDY SIMPSON

 

 

 

Following on from the recent Avenue House meeting, also reported in the newsletter, Barnet Councils' Recreation, Leisure and Arts Scrutiny Commission held another consultative meeting on the 23rd September at the Town Hall, Hendon, to invite views on the council's museums service from selected users. This is part of a 'Best Value Review' of the council's libraries, museums and information services, and the purpose of the meeting, chaired by Kitty Lyons, chair of the scrutiny commission, was to discuss both the service as it currently exists and how local residents might wish to see it develop and improve in the future. Your scribe attended as HADAS representative, along with 17 others from the public including representatives from Barnet College, The Barnet Society, Barnet Museum, Finchley Community Forum, Middlesex University, Mill Hill Historical Society anc the RAF Museum, plus a number of Barnet Council officials.

A list of suggested topics for discussion was circulated by the council before the meeting, concentrating on the council-operated Church Farmhouse Museum on Greyhound Hill, Hendon rather than the volunteer-run, but council-supported, Barnet Museum at High Barnet, and Stephens Museum at Finchley's Avenue House, starting with why do we need a museum in Barnet, and who uses it, and suggested themes for future exhibitions, this museum having a regular programme of temporary displays. Also on the list was the question of how to raise attendances at this registered museum and the effectiveness of existing publicity.

The meeting opened with an explanation of the 'Best Value Process' review - a government requirement to review over 4-5 years council operations - looking at what services are provided, for whom, and why, and what improvements might be made, in this case to the Museums service.

A general discussion of possible improvements included the request that the local history collection in the archives at Egerton Gardens, Hendon should be more accessible to the public and a request for more brown signs to indicate the museum's location, which the council agreed to look into. Further publicity issues included suggestions for a box advertisement in the local free press detailing new exhibitions, opening hours and bus routes, the latter causing particular comment. Barnet College and other local students could for example, offer volunteer help in designing publicity material through project work, and more advertising in libraries, bus stops, tube stations and parks was recommended. The question of lunchtime, Sunday morning or weekday evening opening was raised, possibly using volunteer roster, but when tried previously this had not been a success in terms of visitor numbers. Additional museum staff could theoretically be funded by the presently under subscribed Heritage Lottery Access Fund from the summer of 1999. Better transport links, for, or even between, the museums were also discussed, with the need for better information on access by public transport being stressed. Also, the council seemed quite taken with the suggestion of summer vintage/open-top bus tours between the two museums and would pass this on to their marketing division -this could perhaps include Avenue House and a picnic in Sunny Hill Park or lunch at the Greyhound, all perhaps linked with the nationally organised 'Open House' days and even perhaps tours of St. Mary's Church Hendon and St John's Church Chipping Barnet.

It was announced that Church Farmhouse Museum will shortly be floodlit at night thanks to a donation from the Friends of Church Farmhouse Museum, who found that the rooms at CFM were very small and restricted when holding functions. The problem of shortage of storage space - a familiar problem to HADAS also - was discussed. Schools play a big part in the life of the museum,

especially during the mornings, being attracted by the permanent displays of period furnished rooms rather than the temporary displays and exhibitions, hence the recent suggestion that one of the

upstairs galleries should be remodelled as a Victorian bedroom, although the feeling was that the whole of the first floor should be retained for temporary exhibitions rather than permanent displays, and not for art exhibitions which in future will hopefully be catered for by the proposed new Borough Arts Centre at Tally Ho, North Finchley and the Bothy in the Avenue House grounds. The ability to display touring exhibitions was again restricted by the size and design of the rooms.

It was commented that the two larger museums complement each other, with Barnet Museum having a wide selection of items in static displays and CFM concentrating mainly on temporary exhibitions and then discussion moved to a possible name change, e.g. should it become Hendon Museum but not Barnet Museum so as not to impinge on the identity and ethos of the existing Barnet Museum, whilst still covering the entire Borough. The majority view at the meeting was that CFM should become `Church Farmhouse Museum at Hendon' to make it clear it was for the whole Borough and not just the local Hendon Museum.

These points will now be pursued as part of the Council's 'Best Value Review.'

 

 

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