Newsletter-436-July-2007

No 436                                                           JULY 2007               Edited by Graham Javes

HADAS DIARY

Saturday 4 August, 2007, HADAS Outing to Sussex with June Porges & Stewart Wild. See below

Tuesday 9th October 2007, Denis Smith (lecturer, industrial archaeologist) Thomas Telford (1757­1834) 250th anniversary lecture.

Tuesday 13th November 2007, Martyn Barber (English Heritage Aerial Survey) Mata Hari's glass eye and other tales: a history of archaeology and aerial photography.

Tuesday 8th January 2008, Kate Sutton (Museum of London) The work of a Finds Liaison Officer.

Tuesday 12th February 2008, Christopher Sparey-Green, BA, MIFA. The archaeology of Dorset: a time-torn landscape.

Tuesday 11th March 2008, Chloe Cockerill (Regional Development Manager) The work of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Tuesday 8th April 2008, Peter Davey (Bristol Tram Photograph Collection) Clifton Rocks Railway.

Tuesday 13th April 2008, tba.

Lectures start at 8.00 pm in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. Buses 82, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, whilst Finchley Central station (Northern Line) is five to ten minutes walk

HADAS. Outing, to Sussex, Saturday 4 August                      June Porges & Stewart Wild

The itinerary and a booking form are enclosed in this mailing. Unfortunately, due to a technical error, the June Newsletter mentioned an outing to Fishbourne. It was realised that August 4, coincides with the finale of the Glorious Goodwood Festival, and the likely traffic congestion this will cause make it unwise to visit the Chichester area at this time. Thus, at short notice we had to come up with another itinerary, and postpone our visit to the Roman Villa at Fishbourne until a future occasion.

Our revised itinerary includes Worth Church, Pevensey Castle and the famous Battle of Hastings battlefield site at Battle. We hope that a large number of members will be able to join us, especially as this may be the only outing this summer.

Secretary's Corner                                                                                        Denis Ross

The Society's Annual General Meeting was held on 12 June 2007 at Avenue House with the President, Harvey Sheldon, in the Chair. 26 Members were present. The various Resolutions of the Notice of Meeting were duly passed including, in particular, approval of the Annual Report and Accounts.

The Officers elected for the current year are:

Chairman: Don Cooper

Vice-Chairman: Peter Pickering

Hon Treasurer: Jim Nelhams

Hon Secretary: Denis Ross

Hon Membership Secretary: Mary Rawitzer

The following were elected as 8 other members (the limit is 12) of the Society's Committee:

Bill Bass, Stephen Brunning, Andrew Coulson, Eric Morgan, Dorothy Newbury, June Porges,

Andrew Selkirk, and Tim Wilkins.

The Meeting was followed by:

(a)      A presentation by the President on the current digging and research at Syon House;

(b)      A display and explanation by the Chairman of the Society's activities over the past year; and

(c)      A talk by Stewart Wild on his recent journey to Antarctica.

All the above were warmly received.

It was made clear at the meeting that if the Society is to maintain or increase its activity and progress, there is an urgent need for new and active recruits, at both Officer and Committee levels, as several existing members wish to retire by the end of the current year.

Volunteers please!

New Look for The London Archaeologist.                                     Don Cooper

The London Archaeologist has been redesigned, and is now published in A4 size with full colour, whilst maintaining its four issues a year. The London Archaeologist is the Capital's only dedicated archaeology magazine/newsletter and a must for those of us who take an interest in London's archaeology. I am including a leaflet on the publication to give more details to potential readers —although the leaflets still have the old London Archaeologist's logo.

The London Archaeologist is publishing a profile of HADAS in its next issue, so be sure to look out for that!

TRAMS OF NORTH-WEST LONDON: a report by Andy Simpson on the MAY LECTURE by DAVID BERGUER, with added information by Andy.

Now a curatorial volunteer at London's Transport Museum, our speaker has a lifelong interest in transport, and has been working on the cataloguing of historic London Transport glass plate negatives.

The last tram in the immediate HADAS area ran on 5 March 1938, being replaced by trolleybuses. The last London tram of all ran in the Woolwich/Charlton areas of south London on 5 July 1952. Traditional 'first generation' trams still of course run in Blackpool, and since the 1990s second

generation light rapid transit systems have been introduced in such locations as Sheffield, Manchester, Croydon and Birmingham/Wolverhampton.

`Trams' originated in sixteenth century German mines, running on wooden rails. Street tramways originated in Manhattan in 1832 and the in UK, at Birkenhead, in 1860, due to the work of the American, George Francis Train. Early motive power included horses, steam locomotives and cable traction, as used today in San Francisco, and formerly on Highgate Hill. Such types were more efficient than horse buses, but around ten horses were needed to keep one tram running and they literally ate the profits. A horse worked for about four hours at a time, and their working life was short, despite careful stabling and veterinary attention. Steam trams were produced by companies such as Merryweather, Falcon and Kitson.

The first London trams, drawn by horses, appeared in March 1861 on the Marble Arch — Bayswater Road route, introduced by the American, George Francis Train, followed by two other routes, but all had closed by mid 1862. There was a problem with the iron step-rail edges projecting above the road surface causing an obstruction to other traffic, and as a relatively well-off area there were few passengers from the well-off 'carriage folk', and jingoistic Londoners objected to the 'Yankee Railroads'. The first trams in North London were those in Finsbury Park in 1871, being horse trams running to the Nag's Head, and on to Archway in 1872. Steam trams appeared in Edmonton in 1885, being replaced by horse cars in 1891, and cable trams ran on Highgate Hill from 1884 to 1907.

London's first electric trams ran in Alexandra Palace park from May 1898 to September 1899, being four German-built 'toastrack' cars running on a 600 yard line. The Tramways Act of 1870 governed tramway operation, laying down sometimes restrictive regulations such as the requirement for the tramway operator to ensure his tracks were 9ft 6 inches from the kerb, and having to maintain the roadway 18 inches either side of the tracks, so the nicely made-up tramway section, usually of better quality than the rest of the road surface, was naturally used by all the other road users too. There was a legal requirement for cheap workmen's fares in the early morning, making public transport affordable for the working man, being cheaper than the horse buses. This was a tradition inherited by the trolleybuses, but not by the succeeding motorbuses.

The local authority could purchase company-owned tramways after 21 years, and at seven-year intervals thereafter, restricting the incentive for investment in ageing track and rolling stock. Trams had to have dedicated stopping places, but buses could stop anywhere until 1935 — a particular problem with the competing 'pirate' buses of the 1920s.

Local to Hendon was the Metropolitan Electric Tramways Co, (MET) with its extensive network of routes to Waltham Cross, High Barnet via Whetstone, Enfield, Edgware/Canons Park, Finchley, and Golders Green. Trams never ran in central London, nor did trolleybuses, only reaching the Embankment and Tottenham Court Road. The London County Council and the City of London did not want them in the central area. This was partly due to a prejudice against a working class form of transport. The London County Council (LCC) and smaller municipal operators such as Bexley, Walthamstow, East Ham, West Ham, Barking, Leyton, Ilford, Croydon and Erith also ran their own tramway systems, as did London United Tramways in the Kew Area and South Metropolitan Electric Tramways (SMET) around Wimbledon. There were around 200 London tram routes, with the bulk of lines opened 1903 — 1910.

The Cricklewood — Edgware line opened in December 1904, extending to Canons Park in October 1907. The Whetstone and Highgate Archway route opened to the public 8 June 1905, following a

formal opening the previous day, running from 5am to 11.47pm, and was extended in stages to High Barnet by 28 March 1907. MET cars met LCC cars at Archway, though through running between the two operators's systems did not begin until 1909.The Middlesex County Council had the authority to run the trams, which were operated by the MET on their behalf Trams started running from Wood Green to Finchley in April 1909 and to Enfield in July 1909, Golders Green to North Finchley opened in December 1909, and Golders Green to Cricklewood in February 1910.

The early trams were impressive in size and appearance, bogie doubledeckers weighing some five tons and seating an average of 68 people, and had controllers at either end on which the driver `notched up' to accelerate, plus other controls including warning gong and sand pedal to release sand from the sandboxes to improve grip on wet, slippery rails. The Metropolitan Police would not permit driver's windscreens, as there was no safety glass in those days. Open top cars had wooden seats-although some cars originally had cushions in the lower saloons, they were removed due to carrying dirty, louse-ridden passengers.

in 1913, the central traction poles supporting the overhead through Finchley were replaced by traction poles either side of the road, helping to date photos, which have a value recording former street life, buildings and fashion as well as the trams themselves. At Tally Ho, Finchley, three routes converged. The coming of the trams encouraged development; tram services linked with the Hampstead Tube at Golders Green. During the First World War, women were employed for the first time on the trams, as conductresses (and in some places as drivers), but rapidly dismissed post-war when the troops returned home.

Photos used included a shot of Hendon tram depot and works at Annesley Avenue, Colindale, where Merit House stands today. Here the MET overhauled and built its own trams, such as the experimental car 318 - 'Bluebell' built there in 1927 with lightweight aluminium structure, and a distinctive pale blue colour scheme.

London's first trolleybus ran on an experimental circuit there in September 1909. The LCC used the conduit system rather than overhead wires — a short stretch of conduit track can still be seen at the northern ramped entrance to the former Kingsway tram subway at Holborn. Older readers may remember the routine at the change pit where the overhead and conduit swapped over — there was one at Archway Tavern from 1914 so MET cars could run south, and LCC cars could reach Finchley and Whetstone.

One tram ran away down the hill at Archway, and three people were killed. Finsbury Park was notorious at rush hours, needing police to control the crowds. Competition from motorbuses, with their upholstered seats and, latterly, pneumatic rather than solid tyres, increased in the 1920s, so older open-top trams gained covered tops and improved seating to compete.

The Felthams — built by the Union Construction Co — were luxurious modem streamlined cars, with prototypes in service from 1929 and production cars from 1931. Popular with both crews and public and speedy, they couldn't reach Barnet due to the closeness of the tracks beneath the railway bridge at the foot of Barnet Hill.

The London Passenger Transport Board took over the operation of the former company and municipal tramways in July 1933, inheriting some 316 trams from the MET and instituting a major trolleybus replacement programme instead of the trams, with the Edgware Road routes converting in August 1936. Trams still ran to Hendon Works for scrapping until October 1936. High Barnet, Finchley and Enfield lost their trams in March 1938, the last (single-deck) trams to Alexandra Palace having run the previous month, being known to all as 'The Ally Pally Bang Bangs'.

November 1938 saw the virtual end of trams in NW London, due to their replacement by trolleybuses, the Edmonton and Wood Green routes being the last to convert All the older MET trams were scrapped —many at Hampstead Depot - (tram enthusiasts had selected one to purchase preservation, but could find nowhere to keep it), and others at Hendon and Walthamstow, and only the modem Felthams survived to be transferred to other routes — they ran 'south of the river' until sold to Leeds in 1951, where they ran until the Leeds system closed in November 1959. The Barnet and Edgware trolleybuses in turn succumbed to the motor bus in January 1962.

A horse tram and West Ham electric car can be seen at the refurbished London's Transport Museum at Covent Garden hopefully reopening November 2007, and a Feltham and classic LCC `El' at the LT Museums' Acton Town depot, which has occasional public open days.

This was an excellent and informative talk, enjoyed by all — not just us tramway enthusiasts! (David Berguer is chairman of Friern Barnet and District Local History Society.)

Andy Simpson's further reading list.

Barrie, J, North London's Tramways 1938-1952, LRTA, 1968

Gibbs, T.A, The Metropolitdn Electric Tramways — A Short History, TLRS 1964

Harley, R J, Barnet and Finchley Tramways, Middleton Press, 1997

Harley, R J, Edgware and Willesden Tramways, Middleton Press, 1998

Jones, D, Enfield and Wood Green Tramways, Middleton Press, 1997

Jones, D, Hampstead and Highgate Tramways, Middleton Press, 1995

Kidner, R W, The London Tramcar 1861 — 1952, Oakwood Press, 1992

Smeeton, C S, The Metropolitan Electric Tramways, LRTA vol. 1, Origins to 1920, 1984, vol. 2,

1921 to 1933, 1986

Other Societies' Events                                                                       Eric Morgan  

Sunday 1 July, 2.30pm, Heath & Hampstead Society, Burgh House, New End Square, NW3. How the Heath and Kenwood were saved from Development, a walk led by Thomas Radice, £2 donation. Optional visit to Hampstead Museum. Burgh House, 2.00pm. See June Newsletter for exhibitions.

Thursday 5 July, 7.00pm, Enfield Preservation Society. Heritage walk around Edmonton. Meet Millfield House, Silver St. Finish at Charity School, Church St.

Sunday 8 July, 11.00am-5.00pm, Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Rd, NW10/Ladbroke -Grove, W10. Open Day, tours, band, refreshments, stalls, including Willesden Local History Society.

Sunday 8 July, 12.00pm-4.00pm, Myddelton House Gardens, Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield. Open Day hosted by London Wildlife Trust & Lee Valley Park. Refreshments, plant sale. £2.60. HADAS did resistivity survey here a few years ago.

Sunday 8 July, 2.00pm, Ancient & Modern East Barnet. Guided walk by Paul Baker, meet East Barnet Library, Brookhill Rd, £6.

Tuesday 10 July, 8.00pm, Amateur Geological Society, The Parlour, St Margaret's Church, Victoria Ave, N3. Magnetism in the Solar System: a Journey from the Sun to the Centre of the Earth, speaker Prof. David Price (Birkbeck and UCL).

Saturday 14 July, 9.00pm, Barnet & District Local History Society. Coach outing to Jane Austin's house at Chawton, Hants, to Gilbert White's house at Selborne, and to the Oates' Museum also at Selborne. Meet Odeon Cinema, Underhill. Returning from Selborne 5.00pm. Cost £23, including entrance fees. Apply to Pat Alison, 37 Ladbrooke Drive, Potters Bar, Herts, EN6 1QR (n 01707 858430), including your name, address and a contact phone number, together with a cheque payable to Barnet & District Local History Society.

Saturday 14 July, 2.00pm, The Battle of Barnet, a guided walk led by Paul Baker. Meet junction Great North Rd & Hadley Green Rd, £6.

Sunday 15 July, 11.30-4.00pm National Archaeology Day. Forty Hall. Enfield Archaeological Society & Enfield Museum Service. The event is planned to coincide with a weekend dig by EAS in the grounds, where HADAS has previously done resistivity surveying.

Wednesday 18 July 7.30pm ‘Willesden Local History- Society. Meet entrance to Willesden Junction station for 11/2 Mile guided walk of Willesden Junction area, including new; .Powerday Canal Wharf, former LNWR, Old Oak village and the newly modified All Souls church (Fr Michael Moorhead).

Wednesday 18 July, 8.00pm, Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, Jubilee Hall, junction Chase Side & Parsonage Lane, Enfield in World War I, talk by Graham Dalling.

Friday 20 July, 7.00pm COLAS, St Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3. The Archaeology of the Clay Tobacco Pipe, talk by Peter Hammond.

Saturday & Sunday 21 & 22 July, 11.30-4,00pm. National Archaeology Weekend, Archaeology at the Tower of London with COLAS. Venue: public path between The Tower & the River Thames. Lots to do: handle finds from London sites: bones, pots, shoes; learn about London's past from past Londoners; try to be a London archaeologist; dress up as a Roman Londoner. Visit Tower Beach on the Thames foreshore, 12 noon-2.00pm Saturday, 12.30-2.30pm Sunday.

Saturday & Sunday 21 & 22 July, 11.00 4,30pm. Museum of London. National Archaeology Weekend, Home Sweet Home, Roman Style; how the Romans built their houses, with demonstrations of building crafts; what Roman Londoner's wore, and Roman artefacts.

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