newsletter-397-april-2004

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Tuesday April 13th LECTURE "Hendon Field and Factory" by Hugh Petrie. Hugh has been Heritage Officer for the London Borough of Barnet, and works at Church Farmhouse Museum assisting Gerrard Roots. He will tell us about the different phases in the economy of Hendon — the changes in its agriculture from wheat to hay in the eighteenth century and diversification into dairy, horses and mushrooms in the late nineteenth century, and then industrialisation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Tuesday May 11th Lecture by Harvey Sheldon (our President) on Roman roads.

Tuesday June 8th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.

Wednesday July 14th to Sunday July 18th Long Weekend in Cumbria. Now full. If you want to be on a waiting list, contact Jackie Brookes Saturday August 7th Outing to Colchester with June Porges and Stewart Wild.

Saturday September 4th Outing to the Lewes area with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward.

Lectures start at 8pm in the Drawing Room (ground floor) of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley N3. Buses including the 82, 143, 260 and 326 pass close by, and it is alive to ten minute walk.from Finchley Central Tube Station

RESISTIVITY Don Cooper and Peter Pickering

HADAS's famous resistivity meter has been upgraded, and is now even less effort to work. No need to press a button, only push the two metal probes at the bottom of the frame into the ground; at once the meter registers the reading in its memory, and bleeps to tell you. Then take another stride — the tapes are helpfully marked by the indefatigable Andrew Coulson with red at metre intervals — and do the same again. When the meter comes to the end of the tape it bleeps twice to remind you to turn round and go back. It is easily lifted and moved by one person; how very different from our old meter, which took five people to work, one carrying it; one recording the readings, two sticking probes in the ground and one untaffling all the wires! The digging team tried out the upgraded machine on 29th February in the grounds of Avenue House. Despite the threatened snow the morning was pleasant, even balmy, and we laid out a grid of twenty metres by twenty metres in the lawn, where we knew from old plans and cropmarks seen last summer that there had been a pond. It took about an hour to take all the readings, and then the meter was plugged into a portable computer. Lo and behold, a mosaic of squares appeared - black, white and varying shades of grey - with the white and light grey, denoting the highest resistance, forming a polygon just where the pond had been. The meter is a wonderful tool for non-destructive investigation, and we look forward to using it a lot in the coming years. The next weekend Andrew Coulson, Peter Nicholson and Don Cooper attended a "master class" on using our resistivity meter at Millbrook in Bedfordshire run under the auspices of the Council for Independent Archaeology (CIA). The course was given by Bob Randall of TR Systems, the manufacturer and supplier of the TRS/CIA meter. All aspects of resistivity were covered with emphasis on good pre- survey preparation and accuracy in laying out the grid and probes. A detailed description of all the features of the machine was provided as well as examples of how to transfer the information to a computer and produce meaningful results. There was a large attendance from amateur archaeological societies from around the country and a lively day ensued with lots of interesting questions and discussions. Let us hope we shall get the opportunity to try out our new skills this summer.


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COPPED HALL

In 2001 HADAS undertook a resistivity survey at Copped Hall, in a hidden corner of Essex, where we helped the West Essex Archaeological Group who were trying to find an Elizabethan manor house in the grounds of the standing but romantically derelict mansion. The Copped Hall Trust Archaeological Project is going to run training courses from 29th August to 18th September, cost £170 per week. At least one of our members is planning to attend. If anyone else is interested, information is available from Mrs Pauline Dalton, Roseleigh, Epping Road, Epping CM16 5HW,

PAST VIEWS — PAST VOICES

This is the title of the current exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum, which runs until 16th May. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, postcards were a cheap and very quick means of communication (for a halfpenny stamp a card posted within London in the morning would be delivered elsewhere in the city at noon). The introduction of the 'topographical' postcard - one with a photographic view of any urban or rural scene - in the 1890s coincided with the increasing development of the area now covered by the London Borough of Barnet. The "Past Views" section of the exhibition traces this change from villages to suburb through postcards and other photographs from the early 1900s onward. The "Past Voices" are eleven different interviews, carried out by long-standing HADAS member Percy Reboul in the 1970s and 1980s; recordings will be played only at set times: please telephone the museum (020 8203 0130) for details. The memories of the speakers stretch back as far as the 1900s. They bring alive the work of sweet-shop owners, postmen, tram drivers, butchers and teachers, and give fascinating insights into such varied activities as nursing or digging Tube tunnels. Almost all of the participants were from the Borough of Barnet. Also on display are examples of nearly a hundred years of written memories from the Archive collection of the borough's Local Studies and Archives Centre, which is now situated in Daws Lane, Mill Hill, NW7. (020 8959 6657).

Memorial to Brian Wrigley.

Several members of the Committee feel that it would be appropriate to donate a bench to Avenue House Grounds in memory of Brian Wrigley. Brian did an enormous amount for HADAS, including providing a most comfortable venue for Committee meetings (as his widow, Joan, has continued to do.) The cost, including a brass plaque, would be about £500, and more than £200 has already been pledged. If any members would like to contribute, please let Denis Ross (address etc at the end of this newsletter) know.

Daphne Lorimer - website

The Orkney Archaeological Trust have marked the retirement of Daphne Lorimer from its chair by constructing a website dedicated to her and her work. Daphne is one of our Vice-Presidents, and was very active in our Society between joining in 1969 and moving to Orkney in 1982. So of course HADAS has contributed to the website. Those members who are connected to the Internet (and of course access is available at libraries for those who do not have computers at home) will wish to visit this website at http://www.orkneydigs.org.uk/dhl. It is described by the Orkney Archaeological Trust as follows:- The site, which pays tribute to Daphne Home Lorimer MBE, features a selection of archaeological papers and pictures, including details of a newly discovered Pictish figure incised on a bone found in Burray. Mrs Lorimer was instrumental in setting up the Trust in 1996 and has been at the organisation's helm since its inception.

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Vacancy for a Treasurer.

Our long standing Treasurer has decided that her other commitments mean that she will have to resign at our Annual General Meeting in June. If any member would like to help our Society by becoming Treasurer, please get in touch with our Secretary, Denis Ross (address etc at the end of this newsletter).

CBA Winter Meeting Peter Pickering

On February 27th, for the second year running, the Winter General Meeting of the Council for British Archaeology was held in the elegant rooms of the British Academy in Carlton House Terrace. I was able to stay only for the morning. The keynote speech was to have been given by Lord McIntosh, Minister for Media and Heritage, but he was prevented by Parliamentary business, and his place was taken by Sir Patrick Cormack, the Chairman of the All-Party Arts and Heritage Group, who reminded us of the vision of those who founded the CBA in the dark days of 1944; we, their successors, must show the same vision and conviction of the importance of archaeology. The theme of the meeting was the relationship between history and archaeology, and in the morning Professor Wendy Davies of University College London contrasted the text-based discipline of history, concerned with what happened on particular dates and much less with precise location, and the object-based discipline of archaeology, happy with dating to decades or even centuries, but very concerned with precise location. At the formal General Meeting itself we learnt that George Lambrick will be leaving the post of Director during 2004 after five years, having found living in Oxford and working in York was not conducive to a satisfactory lifestyle, and that the CBA itself will be relocating in York to rather larger premises. George's report was upbeat — membership is increasing; on-line publication is booming; there are now over 70 Young Archaeologists' Clubs, and there is to be a conference relating to them in May; it is hoped that there will be National Archaeology days at 200 venues or more this year. The CBA is very energetically putting the case for archaeology at the current Public Inquiry on the plans for the roads near Stonehenge.

Temple Bar by Audree Price-Davies

This arch, built after the Great Fire of London as a grand archway to the City, was moved from Fleet Street in 1878, because it caused Victorian gridlock. It was moved stone by Portland stone as the gateway to Theobalds, the country estate of the brewer, Lord Meux. He and his wife used a room over the arch for entertaining. Later, the arch became a ruin in the woods, fenced off to thwart vandals, This arch, Christopher Wren's Temple Bar, was visited by HADAS in 2001 (see illustration.) For a century it had been in this Hertfordshire field, close to the M25. Temple Bar has witnessed great historical events. In an earlier version of the arch, in 1356, the Black Prince after victory at Poitiers rode through the Temple Bar; in 1381 it was damaged in the Peasants' Revolt; in 1588 Elizabeth I rode through it on a chariot to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada — but the new Temple Bar will witness nothing worth the name. It is being taken down ready for transport back to London. to be rebuilt not in Fleet Street but as the centrepiece to the new Paternoster Square development, a part of the new development that consists of a variety of styles. The reincarnation of Temple Bar is a mixed blessing. It survives but only by casting off its proud past and becoming a part of the new development, not as a gateway to London but as a gateway to the new Marks and Spencers.

Membership Renewals: Payments by Cheque Now Due

Mary Rawitzer (Membership Secretary) As previously announced, HADAS membership charges for next year (which starts on April 1st 2004) have increased to £12 for individuals and £4 each for further family members at the same address. Corporate membership has also risen to £12. If you normally pay by cheque, postal order, etc, you will find a form enclosed with this Newsletter. There is also a Gift Aid form for people who have not yet completed one, but might like to help increase HADAS's income in this way. Any mistakes, questions or uncertainties? As usual, please let me know and I'll be happy to track down the answer - contact details are shown on the back page.

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London Archaeological Prize Peter Pickering

I am sorry that no HADAS member has yet nominated a publication for this prize, which SCOLA and LONDON ARCHAEOLOGIST are offering for the best publication relating to archaeology in London that appeared in 2002 or 2003. The award, of £250 plus a certificate, will be presented at a ceremony in October 2004. The publication must be in letterpress or digital form and must relate to archaeology in the area of Greater London. There is no restriction on the type of publication, which may be professional, commercial or amateur, nor is there any restriction on the target audience — scholars, the general public, or children. The judges will be looking for quality and excellence; they will want to know how well the publication succeeds in its aims, whatever those aims may be. I am sure that many HADAS members have come across a publication that they think deserves recognition. Please do not be shy. Send your nomination to me (Peter Pickering, 3 Westbury Road, London N12 7NY; 020-8445 2807; now; do not wait until the closing date of May 15th. Just name the publication and give on a single A4 sheet the reasons you believe it is worthy of the prize. I can let anyone who asks have our standard nomination form, but using it is not necessary; nor is there any need to provide copies of the publication.

London Archaeological Forum Peter Pickering

The last meeting of the London Archaeological Forum was held at the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, Mortimer Wheeler House, on 11th February. I attended for HADAS as well as for the Standing Conference on London Archaeology. There was a very interesting presentation by John Clark of the plans for the new Mediaeval gallery at the Museum of London. He was optimistic about the funding for it, and I think it will be exciting. We were also taken on a tour of the new Ceramic and Glass store. This is a fine and diverse collection, from prehistoric to very recent indeed. It was fascinating to go round what was in effect an old-style museum display; the maximum number of objects and the minimum amount of `interpretation'. I am sure that HADAS members with more than a passing interest in ceramics and glass would find a visit to the store worthwhile. But though the meeting was reasonably well attended, and received a report of recent archaeological work in London, there was little in the way of contributions from either contractors or local societies. If the Forum is to flourish, and meet the high hopes of its early meetings, there will have to be more genuine exchange of information and views at it.

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Churchyards of Greater London: Decay and Resurrection. A talk by Dr Roger Bowdler given on Tuesday 10 February 2004. Reported by Liz Gapp.

Dr Roger Bowdler, who works for English Heritage, introduced himself, explaining that he has the title of Designation Inspector with responsibility for London and the Southeast. He has a background in the study of tombs. There is, he said, currently a crisis in the maintenance of churchyards, a crisis which dates back to the 1960s, as they do not have the status that buildings have in respect of the preservation priorities of English Heritage and others. However, the Hendon and Finchley churchyards, which were the subject of the evening's talk, were well maintained. A history of churchyards has yet to be written. The first churchyard talked about was St Mary's, Hendon of which there exists a watercolour by Alan Sorrell showing it in former times. A development to the church porch meant that the headstones in that area had been moved, so there is now a line of them either side of the path leading to the church door. These headstones form part of the best 18th century collection of headstones anywhere in London. The audience were shown slides of several of the gravestones and monuments from the churchyard, juxtapositioned with some of those from cemeteries such as Kensal Green. Interesting details like the stone used for the structures, and some of the common ciphers used, with their meanings, were revealed. Before the 18th century, Portland stone was the most commonly used stone for graveyard monuments. After this, the emergence of canals facilitated the transport of stone such as York stone which then superseded Portland stone as the prime material. Granite was also used on some prestigious monuments. Some monuments also incorporated marble, such as Carreras marble, which unfortunately does not weather well. With respect to ciphers, a very common one is the skull and crossbones. This does not mean there is a piratical connection. The skull and crossbones was only adopted as an emblem for pirates in the 19th century, and the majority of graves incorporating it date from well before then. This cipher was also used in Jewish churchyards. It really represents the decay of the body. Father Time is also used as an agent of decay, seen with the time-glass and scythe as the destroyer and devourer of time. An open book represents devotion; an hourglass represents time going by. Other ciphers are a tail-biting snake symbol known as an orobolus; putti which act as a consoling reminder; and palms which represent a symbol of Christian victory over death. A display of bones at the bottom of a gravestone shows the family as facing up stoically to what actually happens in death. Very few of the stonemasons who created these gravestones and monuments are identifiable, as they did not generally sign their creations, although there are one or two exceptions to this — an interesting example is a monument in Kensal Green cemetery signed by Princess Louise, one of Queen Victoria's children. People have been buried in the churchyard of St Mary's, Hendon for 7-800 years. As a result, close examination of the soil shows fragments of bone. In any churchyard, the procession through the graveyard to the church is a reminder of the human end. The early 18th century was a fascinating time for the development of monumental outdoor monuments, and a return to a Roman pattern of burial. With this came the problem of monumental decay. Monuments were frequently quite fiddly in their construction, often built with a core of brick and a facing of stone, held together with iron cramps. The problem is that unless they are built with the ability to throw off all the falling water, water creeps through every nook and cranny, ultimately corroding the iron, resulting in the collapse of the structure. Another cause of water creeping in is the build-up of leaves, such as pine needles, at the base of tombs. Cemeteries were slow to grow, as people were uneasy about being buried outdoors, especially in a cemetery rather than a churchyard. This can partly be explained by the existence of body snatchers. One unfortunate example was that of a 7 foot 6 inches man, who was buried in Hendon in a grave 15 foot deep to deter such people. A guard was kept on his grave for a few weeks. Unfortunately as soon as this ceased, the body, despite the unusual depth of the grave, was stolen. Part of the St Mary's, Hendon churchyard is gravelled, instead of grassed, round the graves. This is unusual in Christian churchyards, although one section of Jewish graveyards, possibly that of the Sephardic Jews, favour a gravel base so that the graves are not interfered with by growing plants. Generally churchyards are maintained as controlled, nature-friendly environments. The best ones are like this, not too manicured, but not totally out of control, allowing for individual personality to be expressed, so producing the special atmosphere that the best graveyards contain. The true beauty of graveyards is created by their combination of architecture, history and nature. An interesting connection of the St Mary's, Hendon graveyard is with the Mint. Several graves are of people who worked there, epitomised by that of John Haley, a moneyer from the 17th century. The rise of cemeteries, which started in 1833 with the Kensal Green cemetery, was brought about by the fact that in 1850 to 1860 a large majority of church graveyards were full. Currently, the graveyard at St Mary's, Hendon is still open, but that at St Mary's Finchley is closed. The St Mary's Finchley graveyard was then briefly touched on with, again, some illustrative slides. An interesting feature of this graveyard is the preservation of the iron railings round the grave plots. Many of the country's graveyards were stripped of their railings in the Second World War, as indeed was that at Hendon, but here at Finchley the vicar considered the railings were too important for this to happen. In this graveyard, an obelisk monument erected in 1835 by public subscription to the memory of Major John Cartwright, the Father of Radicalism, who died in 1824, is being conserved. This monument has a carving of Major Cartwright which is badly decayed, with the result that the message is lost. The original drawing from which this carving was made still exists. This raises the issue of whether the conservator's mantra 'To conserve as found, never restore' is sometimes inappropriate, as here the information exists to faithfully restore this memorial. There is also an unusual outdoor sculpture showing a grieving woman on printed cottons and with mourning rings, which is on top of a tomb to Elizabeth Norris, who died in 1779. To sum up, Dr Roger Bowdler said that there is food for thought in the current consultation of the Home Office on what is to be done when, as will happen soon, cemeteries run out of burial space. This consultation lasts until June, and does not include churchyards in its brief. As a final thought, who is responsible for maintaining the churchyards? Currently the Hendon one is still owned by the church, although the vicar has made approaches to the council to maintain the churchyard. The Finchley one is currently maintained by the council. The problem of course is a lack of money for maintenance, compounded by a skills shortage for conservators. For anyone wishing to pursue an interest in churchyard graveyards and monuments further, a couple of books were mentioned as a starting point. They are: 1. English Churchyard Memorials by F. Burgess, published in 1963 in London by Lutterworth Press. 2. English Churchyard Memorials by H. Lees, published in 2000 in London by Tempus Publishing Limited.

Footnote by the Editor

HADAS undertook the recording of all the tombstones in Hendon Churchyard in 1974, just before many of the more recent ones were moved to provide open space for the use of the pupils at St. Mary's school. The Finchley Society recorded those in Finchley Churchyard in the 1980s.


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Dick Turpin: the Myth of the English Highwayman by James Sharpe 258pp, Profile Books, £15.99

Dick Turpin is associated with York. Rightly so — he was hanged there in 1739. But he is also associated with Hendon and Finchley, and especially Finchley Common, the area between East Finchley and North Finchley on either side of the Great North Road. In this well-written and interesting book, the author deals with the facts and myths surrounding this ne'er-do-well's rather uninteresting and unedifying life. He was a butcher and burglar from Essex, and belonged to an Epping Forest gang that went in for robbery with assault. When the gang was broken up, Turpin took to highway robbery, apparently with no great success. He never made the famous ride to York on his mare Black Bess; indeed there was no such mare. He went north when London became too dangerous for him, and when he was arrested in York on charges of horse-stealing he was living under an assumed name. He was not well known in his own lifetime and after his death was forgotten for 100 years. Now, however, Turpin figures in the heritage industry. There are, apparently, not only 37 pubs but also a brand of sausages named after him. So how has this rogue become such a celebrity? The responsibility rests with the Victorian novelist W Harrison Ainsworth whose first novel, Rook-wood, features Turpin and the ride to York. Ainsworth adapted this 'fact' from a similar ride by another highwayman named William Nevison, but it was Ainsworth who gave it to Turpin and immortalised him and his mare. The author has three aims in this book. First, to cut the historical Turpin down to size. Secondly, to give us an accurate picture of the criminal world of the early 18th century and the response of the forces of law. Thirdly, to ask what sort of history we want. Should historical myth triumph over reality? Should we worry that so much of what we are fed by the heritage industry is not only fanciful but dishonest? Criminals, the author reminds us, are not romantic but generally nasty, selfish and often brutal scoundrels. One thinks of the Kray brothers. But the author respects Ainsworth's achievement in creating a figure of Turpin's stature and celebrity — not easy for a mere novelist. The evil character lying in an old cemetery in York now, it seems, will live for ever. Adapted from a book review in The Daily Telegraph by Allan Massie.

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Other Societies' Events Compiled by Eric Morgan

Saturday and Sunday 3rd and 4th April, 11 am to 5 pm. RAF Museum Grahame Park Way NW9 'Those magnificent men in their flying machines.' Family event, including talks, exploring the work of the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War.

Easter Sunday 11th and Monday 12th April. Enfield Archaeological Society Myddleton House, Bulls Cross. Fieldwork — test pit in the grounds (Tom Tiddlers) to establish if anything remains of Bowling Green House foundations. If anyone wants to help call Mike Dewbrey at his office on 020-8346 2244. (HADAS did resistivity surveys here.)

Wednesday 14th April 6.30 pm. London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2. `4th century "Bling Bling" — South London's Roman Cemetery at 1 America Street Southwark.' Talk by Melissa Melikian.

Wednesday 14th April 8 pm. Barnet and District Local History Society Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, Barnet. 'The Diary of Anne Wickham — Wife of a Hertford Brewer 1852-6.' Talk by JeanRiddell.

Wednesday 14th April 8 pm. Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, corner of Ferme Park Road, Weston Park, N8. 'The Work and Development of the Museum of London.' Talk by John Shepherd. Visitors £1.

Thursday 15th April 8 pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society joint meeting with Enfield Historical Society. Jubilee Hall, Junction 2, Parsonage Lane, Chase Side, Enfield. 'Architecture and Historic Buildings.' Talk by Peter Riddington. £1

Thursday 16th April 7 pm. City of London Archaeological Society St Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3. `The Role of the Consultant in Archaeology.' Talk by Duncan Hawkins.

Monday 19th April 8.15 pm. Ruislip.N, St Martin's Church Hall, Ruislip 'The History of Bushey.' Talk by Hugh Lewis £2.

Friday 23rd April-Saturday 15th May 10 am to 5 pm (Mon-Sat) Barnet Borough Arts Council Arts Depot, The Bull, 68 High Street, 'Barnet Exhibitions and What's on' — Paintings, and also information from member societies, including HADAS.

Thursday 29th April 8 pm. Finchley Society Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road N3. 'Our Garden Through the Seasons.' Talk by Bruce Bennett.


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