newsletter-381-december-2002

Newsletter

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Season's greetings to all members and their families and good wishes for a happy New Year

HADAS DIARY

Thursday 5 December Christmas Dinner at the Meritage Club (Age Concern), Hendon All places now booked but there may be some late cancellations. Contact Dorothy to check.

Tuesday 14 January 2003The archaeology and anthropology of Australian rock art.

Professor Robert Layton. Last year we did not have a January lec¬ture as our lecture season has now been stretched into May. However June Porges, our Programme Secretary, has been trying for some time to get a speaker on Australian archaeology and was lucky to have been put in touch with Professor Layton. As be is coming from Durham University he can only manage out of term time so she snapped him up for January! Professor Layton worked in Australia from 1974 to 1981: five years as research anthropologist fo The Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra and two years with the Northern (Aboriginal) Land Council in Darwin as anthropologist responsible for land-claims. He has been Professor of Anthropology at Durham University since 1991 and his publications include: The Anthropology of Art 2nd edition, 1991 C.U.P. and Australian Rock Art: a new synthesis. 1992 C.U.P.

CAN YOU HELP CLEARING LEAVES ?

A number of local groups who use the premises at Avenue House are helping to clear the leaves from the pathways and drives in the grounds. HADAS has been asked to clear them from the Garden Room to the exit at The Avenue. Can you help? It would be much appreciated and could well prevent someone slipping and hurting themselves.

HADAS LIBRARY

Some members may not know that HADAS has a library of over 2000 books which are housed in the Garden Room at Avenue House. We would like to make these more accessible to members to borrow. If you would like to see them phone June Porges 020 8346 5078. Visits could be arranged before the lecture or on Wednesday afternoons or Sunday morn¬ings when we often have people at Avenue House working on finds and archives. We also hope to display a small selection of books at lectures for members to bor¬row.

LEGISLATION HELPS ARCHAEOLOGY

The new Treasure Act, which became law in 1996, has made reporting finds much easier for both the public and museum. So much so. that reports have increased from an average of 24 a year before the Act to 221 in the year 2000. A fine collection of Bronze Age gold torcs and bracelets found in Milton Keynes has been bought by the British Museum as has a collection of Iron Age broaches, necklaces and bracelets, described as "one of the most significant Iron Age finds in the last 50 years". They were discovered by metal detector enthusiasts in Winchester.

POST BOXES

Sharp-eyed members will have seen the brief announcement in the press of the joint conservation policy of Royal Mail and English Heritage to protect all post boxes in situ. Boxes will only be moved if they are in a dangerous situation or replaced if they are damaged.Locally, The Press took up the case of the two boxes with the rare EviiiR cipher, both of which have been recorded for the post box survey. One is at the junction of Elliot Road and Hendon Way, Hendon, NW4 (TQ 230 882) and the other is in Great North Road, East Finchley, near Woodside Avenue (TQ 275 889). While the latter can be described as 'local' since it is in East Finchley, it is in the Barnet/Haringey and N2/N6 borders and is actually in Haringey. There are reports of three other EviiiR boxes that may be in Barnet but I have not yet checked them. One is inHeddon Court Parade, Cockfosters (which I think is just within Barnet) but the two others reported only as in N14 are more likely to be in Enfield. Is there anyone out there who can check any of this? The boxes with the EviiiR cypher which had already been installed when Edward VIII abdicated were not replaced but those which were about to be put into position had their doors melted down and replaced new doors bearing the GviR cypher. I have not received any reports of post boxes for some time - the survey seems to have come to a standstill. I hope to analyse the results and report soon but we are still short of sites in High Barnet.

FINCHLEY REMEMBERED

This new book edited and published by The Finchley Society contains Finchley residents' memories from the early 1900s, ranging from childhood and school to transport, shop¬keepers and war-time. There are 65 contributors and the book includes photos from the Society's archives or on loan from members, line drawings by Mari I'Anson and Peter Marsh and maps of Finchley. Copies, price £8.95 (plus p&p: 76p for one copy, £2.60 for two copies) are available from David Smith, 17 Abbots Gardens. East Finchley, N2 OJG. Cheques with order, payable to The Finchley Society.



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OF MOUNTING BLOCKS AND MILESTONES

Letter to the Editor of HADAS Journal No. 1

Having come to Whetstone as a boy in 1929 and grown up there until the war took me away, I was very interested in the article (Vol.1, 2002) on what in my time was the post office, next to The Griffin, (I can still recall the Misses Gilmour). I had no idea of its antiquity. The article included a picture of the mounting block outside The Griffin and I am glad to see it still survives. A mounting block! Why did I not think of that long ago? Even as a boy I had my doubts about the local story that it was the whetstone on which the knights sharpened their swords before the Battle of Barnet. But I have had more thoughts since The Journal revived memories. Was the stone in fact really a whetsone and did it give its name to the tiny medieval hamlet? E. Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names thinks so. Every settlement would have a whetstone of some sort, so there might have been something special about this one. Are there other suggested origins of the name? The notes accompanying a reproduced OS map of 1898 states that 'western settlement' is the most likely explanation'. But what was the settlement west of: Friern Barnet perhaps? And the stone itself: what kind of stone is it; where did it come from? Surely it was not local stone - not that size. Could it have been one of those stones brought down, far from their origins, by ice-age glaciers? If, as the author of The Journal article suggests, it was indeed a mounting block, it seems rather low; but perhaps the pavement around it has been built up? Or was it there to assist passengers getting down from a coach? Is there scope for an archaeologist here, to suggest some answers? And could someone find a lost stone? I remember a milestone (nine miles from London) which stood on the east side of the High Road, twenty yards or so from St. Margaret's Avenue. It is shown on the 1898 OS map. It once abutted the wall of the grounds of the big house, demolished c.1936, and was then left in the middle of the wide new pavement. As I recall, it was made of what looked like grey granite, triangular, about four feet above the ground. I think it was removed during the panic of 1940 - although if German troops coming along the High Road needed the milestone to guide them, they really were lost! It is some twenty years since I was last in Whetstone, and, though an old man's memory frequently fails him, I am sure that the stone was not in its place. Is it lost in a forgotten municipal dump? Is the finding of it a legitimate archaeological quest? Good luck in your projects. Donald F. Harris 15 Grangefields Road, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY3 9DD

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A SPECIAL EVENT AT CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM

Monday evening on 4 November - dark, damp but not actually raining and quiet. I arrived at Church Farmhouse Museum accompanied by two jittery dogs who had been bombarded by fireworks for nearly a week. As a Friend of the Museum I had been invited to attend a reception for members of HADAS to mark the presentation of a new display case to the museum in memory of Ted Sammes. I planned to leave the dogs sleeping in the car while I enjoyed the evening's event but as I opened the car door a barrage of explosions began! It sounded like an action replay of the Battle of Tobruk! We ran for cover. While the dogs sheltered under Gerrard's desk in the museum office, Friends and guests assembled in the kitchen. We were welcomed by Mary Ross on behalf of Cultural Services (previously known as Libraries, Arts and Museums!). Gerrard Roots, the Museum Curator well known to us all, then spoke. He thanked HADAS for their generosity providing the display case - something he had wanted for many years to enhance the kitchen which is so popular during school visits to the museum. He had enjoyed a long and happy association with both HADAS and Ted Sammes, who had been a frequent visitor. Gerrard particularly remembered working with Ted preparing the HADAS exhibition Pinning Down the Past and Ted's 'own' exhibition One Man's Archaeology. He recalled the two HADAS digs in the Museum garden during the 1990s and mentioned that an exhibition of significant finds from those digs is planned for 2003. Gerrard considers the association of fhe Museum and the Society particu¬larly important, partly for the generous loan of material to many exhibitions but mainly because the Museum has no significant archaeological finds in its col¬lection and relies on the work and expertise of the Society to show the long history of the local area. In reply our Chairman, Andrew Selkirk, recalled what a committed Hendonian Ted was and that a display case was a fitting tribute to Ted as he firmly believed in showing people what the Society was doing and that archaeology was for us all. Friends and HADAS members then joined in a toast to Ted's memory and his many years of work for archaeology. Liz Holliday

MARCH OF THE GUARDS TO FINCHLEY

Members may have seen reproductions of William Hogarth's famous painting of the King's Guards in 1745. on their way from London to Finchley Common. At that time Finchley Common was a regular site for army training and manoeuvres and The Guards were preparing to fight Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite troops. The painting shows the army in a state of drunken debauchery and George II, for whom the painting was intended, was not impressed with the artist's satire of his troops and refused to buy it. Hogarth then organised a lottery for the painting and it was won by the Coram Foundling Hospital, a charity for abandoned babies which Hogarth had helped to establish with his friend, Thomas Coram. The Foundling Hospital was financed by charitable contributions and was an important centre for cultural display in the 18th century. Handel gave fund-raising concerts in its chapel and left the hospital the rights to Messiah. For many years Hogarth's painting was on display at the hospital with other works of art acquired by the Coram family. Although the site of the hospital in Lambs Conduit Fields was sold in 1926 the Coram Family Foundation for Children survived. However, Government guidelines have been issued recently to prevent charities owning valuable art and earlier this year Hogarth's masterpiece was sold for £4 million pounds to the new Foundling Museum in London, which is open to groups of 20 or more, by appointment only. A future outing for HADAS perhaps?



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ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL RE-VISITED Sheila Woodward reports on the October lecture

The winter lecture season got off to a fine start with a lively talk by Dr. Ann Saunders, our President, about a group of funery monuments in St. Paul's Cathedral. Dr. Saunders is contribut-ing a chapter on these monuments to the massive tome being prepared for publication in 2004 (the 1400th anniversary of the founding of the first St. Paul's Cathedral on the site) and she has already produced a popular version entitled St. Paul's: the Story of the Cathedral. Looking round St. Paul's today, with its plethora of monuments, it is hard to believe that for over seventy years after its completion no monuments at all were permitted in the main body of the cathedral. The Dean and Chapter considered that they would mar the integrity of the architecture. By the late 18th century pressure to commemorate great national figures, including heros of the Napoleonic wars, caused a change of heart. The first monument to be authorised was to John Howard, the great prison and hospital reformer. The sculptor, John Bacon the elder, planned a two-figure monument to show Howard expressing his charity. However, a Committee of The Royal Academy (including Sir Joshua Reynolds) which had to approve all designs, decreed only one figure. So Howard stands in solitary splendour, clad in a Greek chiton, kicking away fetters, with a key in his right hand and a scroll of his "Plan for the Improvement of Prisons" in his left. Bacon was unhappy with it but be got his own way by carving the attractive relief at the base of the monument which shows Howard raising an elderly sick man to whom food is being brought, while a jailer reluctantly unlocks the door. The Committee's insistence on a one-figure monument for Howard was doubtless influenced by its plans for a second monument to Dr. Johnson, who had just died. Reynolds did not wish the lone figure of his old friend to be overshadowed by a two-figured Howard monument. Bacon was again the sculptor, this time with less happy results. Johnson is depicted draped in a toga, leaning on a column, with his arms held awkwardly across his body, in a rather clumsy attempt at a classical pose. It is said that Italian visitors thought that Howard's figure with its key must he St. Peter and that Johnson's must therefore be St. Paul! Bacon also sculpted the third monument to be approved, to Sir William Jones, an eminent Calcutta judge. He too is shown in classical garb and it is only on the plinth relief that Bacon had a free hand, depicting Indian deities. The wars with France produced many heroes, resulting in many monuments and (unusually) government funding to pay for them. Thomas Banks produced a splendid monument to Richard Burges, a naval commander who died in 1797. His naked figure, with scarcely a wisp of drapery was said to have "brought a blush of shame to the cheek of modesty"! A draped figure of Victory hands him a sheathed sword and there is a beautifully ornate cannon and a realistic coil of rope. Another navel hero, Captain Robert Faulkner who attacked a French gunboat and was killed in the moment of victory, has a monument by Charles Rossi. It shows Faulkner dying in the arms of Neptune while a winged Victory holds up a laurel wreath. The inscription is worth reading: it tells much about the courage of the combatants and the public's sympathy with the armed forces. Major-General Thomas Dundas saw action in the West Indies and his monument by Bacon the younger records the Parliamentary resolution that a monument be erected in St.Paul's. A graceful group of figures includes Britannia holding a laurel wreath above a por¬trait bust of Dundas, while a magnificent lion lies at her feet. An even more striking monument is to Captain George Westcott, killed in a sea battle in 1805. He is shown dying in the arms of Victory and three reliefs on the plinth depict the battle at its height with French gunship exploding.As monuments proliferated the Government, worried about the vast expense, appointed its own Committee of National Monuments, popularly known as the Committee of Good Taste. Its members were gentlemen who had completed their Grand Tour but had no practical knowledge of the problems of sculp¬ture! However, under their auspices the sculptor John Harman produced his massive monument to Admiral Lord Howe, standing against the prow of his ship, accompanied by Britannia and the inevitable lion. Amid a welter of naval commemorations, Lt. General Sir Ralph Abercromby stands out as a military hero of the Egyptian campaign. Richard Westmacott depicted him in military uniform, falling from his horse as he dies. Of the naval heros Nelson must take pride of place. He is buried in St. Paul's crypt in a sarcophagus originally intended for Cardinal Wolsey, and his monument by Flaxman is one of the finest. Nelson wears his peer's robes which disguise his missing arm; his sightless eye is cleverly conveyed. Marine gods disport themselves around the plinth, Britannia explains Nelson's exploits to two young boys and there is of course a British lion. Other heros of Trafalgar are Lord Collingwood, Nelson's second-in-command, depicted (by Westmacott) in his funeral barge attended by Neptune and with tiny carved cupids forging instruments of war; Captain Geoge Duff (by Bacon junior) whose portrait medallion is flanked by a pensive Britannia and a mourning midshipman; and Captain John Cooke (by Westmacott) with a mourning female figure offset by two cupids "playing at war". Finally, two more military heros. Sir John Moore was killed at Corunna early in the Peninsula Campaign. After some debate, the younger Bacon was commissioned and produced a dramat-ic scene with Victory lowering Sir John into a sarcophagus. Sir William Ponsonby died at Waterloo after his horse stumbled and he was killed by a French lancer. In his monument, which shows the influence of the Elgin Marbles, the naked hero leans against his horse while a winged figure holds out a wreath. During this period the Government paid for 37 monuments in all and intervened when St. Paul's began to charge 2d or 3d per person to view them. Admission must be free! That no longer applies but I am sure that this lecture will inspire many of us to re-visit St. Paul's to take "the monument trail".

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OTHER SOCIETIES' DECEMBER EVENTS Prepared by Eric Morgan

Tue. 3 Dec. 2.00pm Afternoon Arts at The Bull The Bull, 68 High Street, Barnet.Local History Talk by John Heathfield (A HADAS member)

Tuesday 3 Dec. 7.30pm Primrose Hill Community Assoc. Comm.Centre, 29 Hopkinson's Place, (off Fitzroy Road) NW11 Parks and Open Spaces: two talks: Ann Muller on 20c. History of Regents Park and Past, Present and Future of Primrose Hill by Roger Cline (Camden History Society) Admission £4 to include wine/soft drinks

Wed. 4 Dec. 5.00pm British Archaeological Association Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Picadilly Regional Diversity in English Romanesque Architectural Sculpture by Dr. Kathleen Lane

Wed 4th Dec.8.00pm Islington Archaeology and History Society Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N.1 Highgate Dissenters by Dr. John Thompson


Thur. 5 Dec. 6.00pm The London Canal Museum 12-13 New Wharf Road, Kings Cross, N.1 to 7.30pm Christmas Shopping Evening with mince pies and wine. £1.25 (cone.)

Thurs. 5th Dec 7.30pm Boating and Barging in the 1950s Talk by Tom Foxon

Tue. 10 Dec. 8.00pm Amateur Geological Society The Parlour, St. Margaret's Church, Victoria Avenue,Finchley, N3 Jurassic Sharks by Dr. Charlie Underwood (Birkbeck College)

Wed. 11 Dec. 8.15pm Mill Hill Historical Society Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, Mill Hill Instruments for a Victorian Musician by Richard York (includes performance)

Wed. 11 Dec. 8.00pm Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, corner of Ferme Park Road and Weston Park, N8 Victorian Christmas Cards by Peter Street

Thur. 12 Dec. 7.30pm Camden History Society Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 Photographing Camden by Adrian Flood (Camden Local Studies and Archives)

Thur. 12th Dec 8.15pm Hampstead Scientific Society The Crypt Room, St. John's Church, Church Row, NW3 Learning From Nature by Professor Jacquie McGlade (U. C. L.)

Fri. 13 Dec. 8.00pm Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, junction of Chaseside and Parsonage Lane, Enfield Animal Bones and Archaeological Sites by Nicholas Bareson

Sat. 14 Dec. 10.15am Amateur Geological Society St. Mary's Hall, Hendon Lane, Finchley, N3 to 3.30pm Mineral and Fossil Bazaar (rocks, crystals, gemstones and jewellery)Refreshments. Admission 50p

Tue. 17 Dec. 8.00pm Barnet National Trust Association St. Mary Magdalen Hall, Atheneum Road,Whetstone, N20 Seasons in the Garden at Fenton House by Head Gardener Danny Snapes

Wed. 18 Dec. 6.15pm London & Middlesex Archaeological Society Museum of London, 150 London Wall,EC2 Estuarine English: the Ubiquitous Lighters of Erith by Giles Dawkes

From Monday 9 to Saturday 21 December 9.30am to 7.00pm (Sunday 11.00am to 4.00pm) Barnet Borough Arts Council Chipping Barnet Library, Stapylton Road, Barnet Paintings by Local Artists and What's On in Local Societies (including HADAS)

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