newsletter-379-october-2002

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Lectures start at 8pm in the Drawing Room (ground floor) of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley , N3, and are followed by question time and coffee. We close promptly at 10pm.

Tuesday 8th October: Lecture by Dr Ann Saunders M.B.E. on 'St. Paul's Cathedral - our marble heritage'. HADAS will give a warm welcome to Dr Saunders, our previous President. Besides editing the journals of the Topographical Society and the Costume Society, Dr Saunders is well known as writer and lecturer on the history and architecture of London and her latest book is 'St Paul's: the Story of the Cathedral'.

Tuesday 12th November Lecture by Simon Parfitt on 'The Ups and Downs of Life in the British Palaeolithic'. Simon Parfitt, who last visited HADAS in March 1996 to bring the Boxgrove Paleolithic site to life, will offer a broader view in this lecture.

Thursday 5th DecemberChristmas Dinner at the Meritage Club (now Age Concern), Hendon, combined with a visit to St. Mary's Norman church next door, where the Vicar, the Rev. Paul Taylor, will give us a talk and tour. St. Mary's is believed to have been built on the site of an earlier Saxon church. Earlier members will remember our Arabian Nights dinner which was held in the Meritage Club in the 1980s. Details and application form enclosed.

An invitation to meet Kim Stabler of English Heritage at the Salon Room, Avenue House on Thursday 31 October at 7.30pm.

Kim has recently taken over from Rob Whytehead as the Archaeology Advisor for North and West London. She advises on planning matters, development and the Sites & Monuments Record in our area and deals with local societies, archaeological contractors, developers and local authorities. This will be an opportunity for Kim to meet HADAS, discuss her role at English Heritage and for us to exchange views on the future of planning, development and the SMR in Barnet. Bill Bass.

STILL LOOKING....

We are continuing in our efforts to find the Romans at Burnt Oak. However, as of Sunday 8th September, the digging team at Hanshaw Drive had still not reached pre-1920s levels. They are now at a depth of some 1.3 metres at the western end of the five- metre long trench and are still in redeposited clay and building rubble from the 1920s Wesleyan Hall. This is very firmly compacted and difficult to dig through. We have until the end of September to reach the bottom, and at the time of writing Sunday work is continuing. Andy Simpson

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY

Mary Rawitzer has accepted the job of Membership Secretary. We wish her success and many new members. We would like to thank Judy Kaye, retiring membership secretary, for all her hard work.



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FUTURE OF THE U.S. BASE AT UPPER HEYFORD, ENGLAND by ELLEN HALE from USA TODAY

Just a decade ago, U.S. bombers thundered down the runway here in their mission to protect the free world. Eight F-1 1 1 sarmed with nuclear weapons, their pilots always nearby, stood ready round the clock. Today, the airstrip serves as a parking lot for 20,000 cars. Cattle graze on the fuel dumps, and the barracks house high-tech start-up companies. The yard-thick concrete hangars provide impregnable protection for medical records. Bomb stores hold a different sort of explosive: fireworks. The British government and historic preservationists want to turn this former U.S. air base -- one of the largest and most critical frontline defenses against the Soviet Union -- into the United Kingdom's first monument to the Cold War. Preserving Upper Heyford as a symbol of 40 years of nuclear tension, officials say, is as essential as protecting battlegrounds and cathedrals. Opponents, who consider the base an unsightly gash on the otherwise bucolic Oxfordshire landscape, would like to see most of it razed and turned into a park. "Heritage doesn't just involve medieval castles and standing stones," argues David Went, inspector of ancient monuments for English Heritage, the government group responsible for selecting cultural sites for statutory protection. "These structures mark a point in time that shaped all of our lives, and it is rapidly passing out of memory." English Heritage has just completed an inventory of the country's Cold War sites, from bunkers and bomb shelters to bases. It has made Upper Heyford its top priority because of pending proposals to build houses on the site and allow other parts to revert to the original pastoral state. Hearings are being held. Officials could rule on the future of the base by year's end. But by all accounts, it appears certain that at least a important, and possibly the first, nationally sanctioned Cold War memorial in the world. Bills pending in Congress would authorize the Interior Department to inventory Cold War sites in the USA, but there has been no organized effort to preserve monuments from that era, says Gary Powers Jr., son of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1962. In the USA, remnants from the Cold War have been preserved, but nothing on the scale of an entire base. Gary Powers runs an online Cold War museum and lobbies for preservation of Cold War sites. Created during World War I and then used by the Royal Air Force during World War 11, Upper Heyford was taken over by Americans in 1950 to serve as a frontline base for the U.S. Strategic Air Command. In an effort to recreate a slice of America in the heart of rural England, existing housing, deemed too small by American standards, was enlarged. A shopping mail, bowling alley, baseball diamonds, pizza parlors and donut shops were added to Americanize the base. Even today, U.S.-style fire hydrants and street signs pepper the 1,250-acre site, set among the rolling hills and farmland of rural England. At its peak in the 1970s and '80s, 13,000 U.S. servicemembers were stationed at Upper Heyford. Three U-2 spy planes flew out of the base, patrolling the perimeter of the communist Warsaw Pact countries. About 75 F-111 tighter-bombers were housed here in 56 monolithic, concrete hardened shelters that give the rolling landscape an eerie sense of the secret world of the Cold War. "This was not a public war like other wars," Went says. 'There are no battlefields or burial grounds. You don't even have grandpa's memories. It was all locked away, and all you saw were the gates." Since the U.S. Air Force left Upper Heyford in 1993, planners, developers and preservationists have debated what to do with the base. Local officials wanted to return it to its original "green" state. A consortium of builders, which runs the site, had hoped to build as many as 5,000 new homes. One local preservation group says it should be completely protected, including the 1.9-mile airstrip -- the longest in Europe. 'It's prominent, it's austere, and it's an intrusion into what was once open countryside," says Patrick Burke, planning policy manager for Cherwell District Council. The council, which wanted to see the site returned to parkland. has now grudgingly accepted that because of their historical significance, some parts of the base should be preserved. Ardent preservationists envision Upper Heyford as the prime Cold War monument in Europe complete with a museum, bomber planes in the hangars and tours for visitors and schoolchildren. The entire sweep of the base must be protected, they argue. to convey the nature of a war that never required a battlefield and was unlike any other in history. "It is the best existing example of Cold War landscape and architecture," says Frank Dixon of the Oxford Trust for Contemporary History. The reason we all don't speak Russian is that that base was there. It helps us understand that the peace we have today is a result of the Cold War." Contributed by Stewart J Wild

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HADAS OUTING TO SUTTON HOO AND ORFORD JULY 2002

Many thanks to Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodard who arranged this very successful day.

SUTTON HOO by KAREN LEVY

Our destination,Sutton Hoo, located in East Suffolk, on the River Diben. It is noted for its Royal Anglo- Saxon burial ground, where in 1939 archaeologists uncovered one of the richest graves ever excavated in Europe. We disembarked our coach into some much welcomed sunshine and headed for a courtyard, surrounded by modern buildings housing the exhibition, cafe and shop. In the courtyard stood a half size replica of the warrior boat used in the burial. Our guide commenced our tour by taking us to a field, across which an Edwardian House stands.Here, in 1926, Edith Pretty and her family came to reside. After her husband's demise she delved into spiritualism and this combined with encouragement from friends and family gave her the impetus to investigate the site located within the 400 acre estate. The area consists of 17 mounds believed to be of the Royal Dynasty of the Wuffings. During the 7th Century it appears that the area was also used to bury execution victims - those who would not convert to Christianity - as it was considered Pagan soil. A gallows was found close to their burial site. Most of the mounds have been pilfered by grave robbers. However, in 1939, when Basil Brown started to excavate the boat, although a robber's hole had been dug (and a Tudor beer jar found - digging is thirsty work) the burial chamber had been left intact. The boat itself (measuring 90 foot long) only remained as an imprint due to the soil's acidity levels. Although there was no trace of a body, they discovered an array of magnificent treasures - 263 in all: jewellery embellished with over 2,000 Indian garnets (which took several days to cut and polish), feasting dishes and a grand selection of armour befitting a Royal send off. They were taken to the British Museum for safe keeping due to the commencement of World War 11. Carbon dating suggests that the grave dates back to around 600AD and could belong to Raedwald. King of the East Angles who died around 625 AD.

ORFORD by KEN CARTER

Orford has human scale. It's enchanting. Even the coach park appeals. Well-established greenery transforms the tarmac expanse into life-size parking bays. Time stands still. A board in Quai Street announces : Pair of Georgian style 4 bedroom cottages to be built by autumn 2002' It's mid-July. When will work start ? Orford used to thrive. It was a port on the river Or. It had quays... a market place... several dwelling streets... three churches... and a castle overlooking them all. King Stephen sanctioned the market in 1135. Henry II's castle took 9 years to build ( 1165-1173 ). It countervailed Hugh Bigod's stronghold at nearby Framlingham... and cost £ I ,400. The flint keep is circular, with three towers only - an innovative structure - intended to eliminate blind spots. We enter the castle by a wooden stepway to the first floor. Inside, two locals greet us with sounds that instruments of the time might have made. We explore the premises : a large open circular space on each floor... dark passages... dim side-rooms... a kitchen... three privies. At the top of one castle tower I spotted an early gothic fireplace - and imagined men huddling there... sheltering from winds off the North Sea. St Bartholemew's has flint walls, early gothic windows, a square tower and a truncated chancel. Outside, I walked around the remaining mid C 17 ruins. Inside, Opera East was directing a lighting rehearsal for Janacek's 'Cunning Little Vixen' . Each year, the sea thrusts sand towards the Ness - leaving Orford a little farther from the sea, as the ship sails. River-silt aggravates the port's decline. Quai Street was once a creek... and Ford Cottage is land-locked. The Old Warehouse serves delicious home-made scones and jam, though. Time stands still here, too.


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ROMAN HENDON -THE EVIDENCE — CONTINUED by ANDY SIMPSON

It should be noted also that the 1969 trial trenches by HADAS in the rear of Peacock's Yard and Mount Pleasant, Church End found pottery indicating occupation no earlier than the late 19th century. Similarly. a HADAS excavation at 50 The Burroughs (TQ227 891) in 1986 found only post-medieval material, as did a dig by Percy Reboul in the garden of 14 Cedars Close in 1980 (TQ238 897). A watching brief on the site of the Hendon Bus Garage at the Burroughs in 1993 by MOLAS (TQ2290 8930) showed only natural clay overlain by 18th century makeup. HADAS site watching at the PDSA building at Church Terrace (TQ2298 8950) on the 5th November 1993 showed only modem concrete, soil and drain disturbance above natural clay in a 45cm wide trench at the rear of the building, with no finds. A more recent HADAS excavation south west of here in 1991/2 in land formerly part of St. Joseph's Convent at the junction of The Burroughs and Watford Way (TQ2245 8915) found a single residual sherd of medieval Hertfordshire Grey ware, and much post-medieval material, in disturbed top layers, plus an undated ditch, but no Roman evidence. (See HADAS Newsletter 256, 1992) The Paddock/Church End sites lie one mile east of the A5/Watling Street, a known major Roman route from London to Verulamium (St. Albans) and the north which forms the western boundary of the present day Borough of Barnet, and south of the Roman road projected by the Viatores study group in 1964 as their route No.167, running south from Verulami um to London through Barnet Gate (where Roman coins, now lost, were found some years ago) and possibly Mill Hill and Hendon. Other nearby Roman finds including a third century coin at Moat Mount This route or, more likely, that of another road was recorded in section by HADAS a mile or so east at Copthall playing fields in 1967/8, (TQ2325 9140) when some 130 native and Roman sherds of mid - late first century pottery were found associated with the 21 foot wide cambered pebble road surface. Stephen Aleck suggests an early route of some sort from Church End Hendon to Red Hill, Burnt Oak roughly along the line now represented by Greyhound Hill, Aerodrome Road, Booth Road and Gervase Road, as shown by early maps and the alignment of a former footpath, linking two known sites with Roman occupation, though to prove any Roman connection would be difficult. Other Roman occupation in the vicinity includes the (now scheduled) first/second century pottery import and production site at Brockley Hill on Watling Street excavated at various times since 1937(succeeded by some late third-early fourth century, possibly agricultural, activity), pottery and tile scatters from nearby Edgwarebury, and the late third/early fourth century pit or ditch with barbarous radiate coin, pottery, building material and bone found in Thirlby Road, Burnt Oak by HADAS in 1971 (TQ2059 9080); one of these is probably the site of Sulloniacae as recorded in the Antonine Itinery. The seven Roman Lamps and defaced coins reported near Mill Hill in 1769, alleged Roman finds at a possible earthwork at Mote Mount, Mill Hill, a Roman gold coin at The Hyde, Colindale. odd pottery sherds at Hendon Isolation Hospital, Welsh Harp, The Hyde, both close to the Watling Street, and also more recently, to also add to those recorded by Helen Gordon in 1979, the two sherds and tile fragments found by HADAS at The Mitre Inn, at High Barnet in 1990 and a single sherd at 1263-1275 High Road, Whetstone on the line of the old Great North Road in 2001 hint at scattered outlying Roman occupation of some description. SUMMARY What is clear is that from half a dozen quite closely grouped sites in the centre of Hendon there are indications of first — fourth century occupation, possibly centred on the area now occupied by the church of St Mary, that seems to have included tile bonded and roofed masonry building(s), possibly with brick columns, (but no trace of wall plaster as yet, and only one, vague, mention of possible mosaic tesserae) and possible outlying early cremation cemetery(s) south and east of it — but, as yet, no recognised Roman inhumations or in —situ building remains. With the paucity of villas in the area and the dominating high ground position of the site! find myself thinking of a then remote 'Romano-Celtic' (cella and ambulatory) type temple, possibly on a site sacred in earlier times, perhaps with associated scatter of buildings that might have hosted occasional festivals or fairs — hence the pottery - or even a mausoleum, though I suppose an isolated tile kiln lying between the Brockley Hill and Highgate Kiln sites is another possibility. Ted Sarnmes also thought the site might have ritual/ religious connections, based on the pottery evidence — see above. The lack, so far, of ovens, iron tools, quemstones, animal bone, glassware, spindle-whorls and loom-weights might argue against it being a domestic or agricultural site. The phasing/dating of the finds needs more study — the cremation burials are likely to be of early date, but the pottery found includes both contemporary VRW and other wares and third/fourth century material, indicating either continuous occupation throughout the Roman period or perhaps Brockley-Hill style early and late bursts of activity with a possible lull in between during the unsettled third century. Masonry buildings did not become common in Roman Britain until the second century though timber framed buildings from the first century did feature tiled roofs. Only more finds can fill in the gaps! To quote the late Ted Sammes 'This would seem to suggest that there must have been a building of some pretension in the area, and since the finds were concentrated in the area next to Church End, one wonders whether the Roman site may be under the modern road or under the church'. This is an interpretation still valid today, for an area that will repay careful study. Andy provides a very good bibliography to go with this article, but there is no space to print it here.



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Other Societies Events from Eric Morgan

Thursday 3rd October, 7.30pm . THE LONDON CANAL MUSEUM. 12-13 New Wharf Road, King's Cross, Nl. THOMAS TELFORD. Talk by Anthony Burton ( author & T.V. presenter }. Concessions £1.25.

Thursday 3rd October, 8pm. PINNER LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. FIELD END REVISITED. The development of the old part of Eastcote. Talk by Dr. Colleen Cox & Ms. Karen Spink. £1.

Sunday 6th October, 10.30am. 7pm. NORTH LONDON TRANSPORT SOCIETY - UNCOMPLETED NORTHERN LINE EXTENSIONS. Extra walk & study tour led by Jim Blake. Meet at Finsbury Park Station. Must book in advance. Send S.A.E. to N.L.T.S., `Ravensbrook' 8, The Rowans, London, N13 SAD

Sunday 6th October, 10.30am. HEATH & HAMPSTEAD SOCIETY. Burgh House, New End Square, NW3. GEOLOGY OF THE HEATH. Walk led by Ivor Fishman. Donation £1.

Wednesday 9th October, 8pm. BARNET & DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY. Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, Barnet. A SAFARI IN THE CITY. Talk by Paul Taylor.

Wednesday 9th October, 8pm. EDMONTON HUNDRED HISTORICAL SOCIETY. Jubilee Hall, junction of Parsonage Lane/ Chase Side, Enfield. THE GUNPOWDER PLOT & THE ENFIELD CONNECTION. Talk by Robert Musgrove.

Thursday 17th October, 7.30pm. CAMDEN HISTORY SOCIETY. Hall of St Mary's Somers Town Church, Eversholt Street , NW1 ( opposite the side of Euston Station ). STREETS OF ST. PANCRAS : SOMERS TOWN & RAILWAY LANDS. Talk by Streets Research Group.

Friday 18th October, 8pm. ENFIELD ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Jubilee Hall, junction Parsonage Lane/Chase Side, Enfield. THE ROLE OF SURVEYING & G.I.S. IN PROFESSIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY. Talk by Duncan Lees.

Friday 18th October, 7pm. CITY OF LONDON ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY. St. Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane, FX3. LONDON BEFORE LONDON. Talk by Jon Cotton ( Museum of London ).

Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th October, from noon. ENGLISH HERITAGE. Kenwood, Hampstead Lane, NW3. SPORTS & PASTIMES ( MEDIEVAL ). £3.50 adults, £2.50 concession. £1.75 child.

Tuesday 22nd October, 8pm. FRIERN BARNET & DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY. Old Fire Station ( next to Town Hall ) Friern Barnet Lane, N12. LOCAL HISTORY USING OLD MAPS. Talk by Hugh Petrie ( Barnet Borough historian ),

Saturday 26th October, 10am. EDMONTON HUNDRED HISTORICAL SOCIETY. Jubilee Hall, junction Parsonage Lane I Chase Side, Enfield. ALL DAY CONFERENCE.

Thursday 31st October, 8pm. THE FINCHLEY SOCIETY. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3. HOW THE NEW CABINET STSTEM IS WORKING & HOW THE FINCHLEY SOCIETY BEST BE INVOLVED. (Jean Scott memorial lecture ) Given by Leo Boland, Chief Executive, Barnet Borough.


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