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Lecture Season Starts Details from Stephen Brunning

Tuesday 14th October 2008 - Lorna Richardson: Community Archaeology in Greater London: Outreach Work and Excavations at Prescot Street

The Prescot Street site lies around 500m to the east of the Roman city wall and is currently being excavated by L – P: Archaeology. A number of Roman burials have been found, and a wealth of interesting late- and post-medieval finds. The Prescot Street project is unique in commercial archaeology: L – P : Archaeology have created a digital outreach project, with a comprehensive website that combines public access to the full excavation data with staff blogs, site photos, videos and resources for understanding the archaeology on site, aimed at both adults and children.

Lorna has a BA in Medieval Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, and is currently finishing a Masters degree in Public Archaeology. She is the outreach coordinator for L – P : Archaeology, based in East London. After graduating, she worked for a number of charities and not-for-profit organisations and, most recently, as a field archaeologist in London and the South West.

Tuesday 11th November 2008 - Hugh Davies Bletchley Park: Enigma - how cracking the enemy codes led to the world's first computer.

Tuesday 13th January 2009 - Nicole Douek An exploration of the Western Desert of Egypt

Tuesday 10th February 2009 - Tony Earle The building of the Underground

Tuesday 10th March 2009, Tuesday 14th April 2009, Tuesday 12th May 2009 Topics and Lecturers to be arranged.

CHRISTMAS EVENT – Sunday 14th December: Visit to Headstone Manor Tithe Barn, followed by a Christmas Dinner

This year's Christmas occasion will, unusually, be a weekend event. The booking form is enclosed with this newsletter. Full details are also given later in the newsletter so that you can keep a copy.

We decided on an afternoon start to enable the outside of the manor house to be viewed before it gets too dark. Light afternoon refreshments can be purchased in the Tithe Barn for those waiting for the second tour, or having returned from the first. Bookings for the Dinner, including menu choices, required by 28th November.

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THE HISTORY OF HENDON SCHOOL by Trevor Eastfield Hendon School Archivist

The County School, Hendon, opened as a fee-paying school of 350 pupils in September 1914, just a month after the outbreak of the First World War.

By 1927 the field at the back of the school was levelled and trees planted, and in 1929-1930 the building of the gymnasium was started. In 1931 the intake of pupils rose from a two-form entry to a three-form entry, and by 1932-1933 the extension on the north side of the original school building was finished to enable accommodation of 480 pupils. In 1936 former pupil Harold Whitlock planted an oak tree sapling in front of the entrance to the gymnasium after being awarded a Gold Medal for the 50km walk by Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympic Games. By 1955 the school had 600 pupils and 320 staff, and in 1961 the extension on the south side of the building, which included a new Hall, Dining Hall and kitchens, was officially opened.

In the late 1960s, when plans for the reorganisation of secondary education were passed by Parliament, the London Borough of Barnet put forward, amongst other suggestions, the amalgamation of Hendon County Grammar School, situated in Golders Rise, with St David’s County Secondary School for Boys, in St David’s Place off Park Road in West Hendon. In 1971 this merger took place and Hendon County became Hendon Senior High School and St David’s was renamed Hendon Junior High School. It was not until 1978, when all the new buildings on the Hendon County site were finished, that the whole school became completely integrated on one site and called by its present name, Hendon School.

During 1987-1988 the school was threatened with closure by the London Borough of Barnet claiming falsely that it was no longer a viable institution, but by 1988-1989 the school had survived the threat after being awarded Grant Maintained status by the Government. Extensions to the new buildings close to the perimeter on the south side of the site took place during the 1990s.

The school currently has a seven-form intake with over 1,300 pupils, 120 teachers and 30 ancillary staff as well as a Saturday School for Languages with 200 pupils and 11 teachers.

In order to complete the picture it is also necessary to mention how St David’s County Secondary School for Boys came about. To explain this means going back to 1st October 1929 when Barnfield Senior Boys’ School opened in Silkstream Road, Burnt Oak, Edgware, with 267 boys. In January 1964 it amalgamated with Brent Secondary Modern School on its site in Sturgess Avenue, West Hendon. Brent Modern School, a mixed school, had opened on 7th January 1936 having been formally inaugurated the previous October by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll and daughter of Queen Victoria. (Three other schools were built to the same design – Colindale, Frith Manor and one other that the writer is unable to remember!).

In readiness for the joining of the two schools new buildings were erected in St David’s Place, and the two adjacent sites became one school named St David’s after its location. Originally it was to be named The Grahame-White School, after Claude Grahame-White the famous English aviator who had established Hendon Aerodrome and who played a seminal role in early British aviation, but his widow was reluctant to give her permission for this.

Today, the buildings of Barnfield School still exist. The adjacent primary school has now taken over part of the original secondary school after it had been used by Middlesex Polytechnic, now known as Middlesex University. When Middlesex Poly left it first became a pupil referral unit, but now it has become a nursery school. At the St David’s location the Brent School building has been demolished, but the original St David’s school building still stands, along with other buildings which have been added to the site, now named Parkfield Primary and Nursery School and catering for children from the ages of three to eleven.

Editor’s note – HADAS has supported digs at this school for the last few years. Details are in earlier newsletters.

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Fishbourne Palace from Sheila Woodward

Fishbourne Palace is amongst the grandest of our Roman buildings and it is certainly one of our most interesting. Brilliantly excavated and conserved and constantly studied and re-evaluated, it repays regular visits and always produces some surprises. The first systematic excavation of the site in the 1960s revealed a large first century building, dubbed a palace for its size and grandeur though there is no evidence of a royal resident (the client King Cogidubrius may have lived there), and below it traces of timber structures dating back to 43AD. That suggests a Claudian supply base or perhaps a secondary landing point for the invaders. Later excavations in the 1980s yielded evidence (good quality pottery and amphora) of pre-conquest trade with Italy and Gaul. In 1995, to the east of the palace, a building very like a “principia” was excavated, possibly a Roman military administration centre. Finds from 2002 excavations included a Roman sword scabbard of about 20AD, suggesting an army presence even prior to 43AD. Recent examination of animal bones from the 1960s excavations of the “palace period” produced intriguing information. A fallow deer which died c.60AD seems to have been born in Sicily; others, dated to 110AD, were born and died at Fishbourne. What was going on? Were special animals being imported for a deer park? Investigations continue. But the main attraction of Fishbourne is, and has always been, the palace and its superb collection of mosaics. It is the largest “in situ” collection in Britain and includes some of the earliest, dating from the late 1st century AD. The most famous and finest of the mosaics is Cupid on a Dolphin, a lively depiction with its glowing reds and its attendant seahorses and sealeopards. Its tesserae are said to number 360,000 (no, I didn’t count them!). Mosaics rescued from elsewhere have been added to the Fishbourne collection. The site's high water table has presented special problems for both excavators and conservators. Floors have been lifted and re-laid, protective cover buildings erected, sun-reflective glass inserted. Last year the Collections Discovery Centre was opened, giving visitors an opportunity to see the reserve collections, to watch conservators at work and to view the more delicate finds preserved in the sensitive store. I doubt whether many people share the opinion of Pliny (quoted in the museum) that “whoever first discovered how to cut marble and carve up luxury into many portions was a man of misplaced ingenuity”.

Oliver Cromwell at Church Farm Museum from Gerrard Roots

Oliver Cromwell: Our Chief of Men

Oliver Cromwell, who died on 3 September 1658, was by any standards one of the most significant figures in British history. From obscure beginnings as an MP for Huntingdon, he went on to become a brilliant military commander who overthrew the monarchy, and a gifted orator who ruled over an – almost – united Great Britain.

Cromwell was a man of action in a violent time, but also a man of ideas in a period full of new ideas. His legacy was to put the lie to the Divine Right of Kings (after all, he executed one of them!), to establish Britain as a world power, and to introduce a measure of religious toleration – in an age when religion was politics – previously unknown in this country.

It is appropriate that Church Farmhouse Museum, Hendon’s only surviving mid-17th Century building, should mark the 350th Anniversary of Cromwell’s death with a small display of depictions of Cromwell – even a copy of his death mask, and other objects relating to the Civil War, with a brief look at some local Cromwell connexions (Richard Cromwell, his son, lived at Finchley in the 1680s, and General Monck’s men camped at Tally Ho Corner before marching on London to restore Charles II in 1660).

The display includes an overview of Cromwell (with a free accompanying article) by leading Cromwellian scholar Professor Ivan Roots. The display is on until 30 November. Please ring 0208 359 3942 for further details.

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Archaeological Evaluation at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School by Don Cooper

Site Code: MMS08 National Grid reference: 520938, 192206 Dated: April 2008 Site Address: Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School 68 Hale Lane Mill Hill London NW7 3RT

1.Introduction In May 1997 Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School submitted a planning application (planning references WO1858N & WO1858P issued on 13th May 1997), amended by WO1858U & WO1858V issued 5th February 2001, which inter alia included the construction of a new nursery building to replace a temporary structure on the north-east of the site. In November 2007 the Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) was asked by Anne Hiscock of Inhouse Design Associates, 12 Blackstock Mews, Islington, London N4 2BT if they would carry out an archaeological watching brief at the school in order to fulfil the following planning condition from the planning application:

“4. No development shall take place within the area indicated until the applicant has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological work in accordance with a written scheme of investigation which has been submitted by the applicant and approved by the Local Planning Authority. Reason: to enable archaeological investigation of the site.”

The reason for the planning condition was that part of the main school building is a Grade II listed structure. A Scheme of Investigation was agreed with Kim Stabler of English Heritage and Anne Hiscock and accepted by Jon Finney of the London Borough of Barnet planning authority.

2.Geological & Topographical In advance of the development a site investigation report was produced by Hemsley Consulting covering the geological and soil conditions on the site. In addition, piles were sunk to approximately 19m of which at least 10m was dark bluey/grey London clay – the piles did not go any deeper. This was overlain by 8m of orangey London clay, above which was 25cms of gravelly clay with small round pebbles. This was all overlain by approximately 50cms of top soil. Relevant maps of the area are reproduced in A R Wittrick’s report on behalf of English Heritage, produced in 1996 and revised in 1998.

3.Archaeological and Historical background The known historical background of the site is also covered in A R Wittrick’s report. A previous HADAS investigation of the site produced nothing of archaeological interest as the pile cap beam did not penetrate the made ground.

4.Methodology On visiting the site and being given a tour by the contractors, it was decided to excavate a small test pit on the edge of the area to be developed. The test pit was 1m x 1m and was dug down in small spits. At about 45-50cms down, the top soil ran out and was replaced by gravelly clay with river-rolled pebbles. This layer lasted about 25-30cms at which point orangey London clay was reached. The orangey London clay was presumed to be the natural ground surface, as can clearly be seen in section photographs.

While the contractors were taking off about 0.8m from the surface of the whole site we were able to observe that the whole area of the site was similar to that in our test pit. The only differences observed were more tree roots, some Victorian(?) drainage pipes and three large square concrete blocks in a line, presumably the remains of an outbuilding. The blocks, which had plywood attached, were deemed to be Victorian.

When piling started we examined the results. One pile was driven about 18m into the ground starting at the orangey London clay layer (the top soil having been removed). There was approximately 8m of orangey London clay with occasional sandy lenses (hoggin). For the next 10m the London clay became its natural bluey colour and very plastic. There were no signs of organic material in the clay.

5.Results The test pit yielded artefacts in both its layers. Clay pipe stems and part of a pipe bowl, sherds of pottery – blue and white, creamware, porcelain and stoneware – occurred in both layers. There was also some animal bone and oyster shell, but, surprisingly, no glass. After washing and analysing the artefacts it appeared that they would fit into a date of between 1850 and 1900. When watching the digger removing the surface a similar sample of artefacts was noted. None of the finds were of significance and only a small number were retained.

6.Conclusion The area being redeveloped showed no evidence of occupation earlier than the last half of the 19th century. This could be related to the conversion of the Shakerham Farm to Maxwelton (sometimes spelt Maxwellton) House, a gentleman’s residence, which took place sometime between 1865 and 1895.

7.Acknowledgements HADAS would like to thank all the staff, security and contractor staff at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy, especially Jamie Bullock and Barry Ryan, for their full co-operation and assistance in carrying out this evaluation, also Anne Hiscock of Inhouse Design Associates for her help and advice. Thanks too to Bill Bass for the photographs and his invaluable help with the excavation.


Elson, W. K. 2007. Matilda Marks-Kennedy School, Mill Hill, London; Site investigation report (Hemsley Consulting) Wittrick, A. R. 1998. 68 Hale Lane Matilda Marks School LB Barnet; Report on buildings and other areas affected by proposed alterations/refurbishment (English Heritage)

Note: Photographs and maps of the excavation are available, but are not included here due to the difficulty of reproducing them in the newsletter.

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Stamp Costs and Charges from Mary Rawitzer

We are getting occasional reports of the Post Office imposing a surcharge on newsletters and other HADAS postal items, claiming the stamps were insufficient. This shouldn't happen: we are all trying to check that stamp values are correct and make use of the Post Office itself when we're not sure. If the Post Office tries to charge you, please check the envelope - even if you have to pay the surcharge first. We will refund the charges, right or wrong (contact the Treasurer).

Limerick Competion from Jim Nelhams

One feature of recent coach outings has been a Limerick competition usually inspired by Denis Ross who has supplied some challenging first lines. With such talent displayed by our coach passengers, how much more must there be among other HADAS members. So here is your chance to show us.

We want limericks relating either to HADAS or to archaeology. Send as many as you like to me (preferably by email, address shown on last page) by 10th November.

Nothing scurrilous please. Results judged by an eminent panel to be published in the December Newsletter.

CHRISTMAS EVENT – Sunday 14th December from Stephen Brunning/Don Cooper


Despite the disaster of 2006 when Headstone Manor was closed down shortly before the date of our Christmas dinner, we have decided to try again. Harrow Council took over the management of the museum when it reopened in February 2007 and things are now on a firmer footing.

Headstone Manor was built in 1310, although it was added to during the 14th, 17th & 18th centuries. The moat is also believed to date from the 14th century. In 1344 it was acquired for the Archbishop of Canterbury and remained his main residence in Middlesex until it was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1546. Shortly afterwards, Henry sold the manor and land into private ownership. It became part of Harrow Museum in 1986. Between autumn 2004 and August 2005 the “Ancient Parts” of the manor house were restored, having been covered up for many years.

The 1 hour guided tour will be split into two groups. the first one starting at 3pm and the second at 3.30pm. PLEASE WRAP UP WARMLY AS THERE IS NO HEATING IN THE MANOR HOUSE. The café will also be open for us to provide a welcome hot drink, and even afternoon refreshments, after the tour!!

We will board the coach at 5pm, giving us time for a brief look around the other buildings on the site. The coach will then transport us to The Moor Mill where we will have a celebratory meal.


1.30PM. Coach leaves the bus lay-by in front of the BP garage up from the Barnet Odeon, Great North Rd

1.45PM. Coach leaves from top of Hendon Lane, Finchley, opposite St Mary’s Church

1.55PM. Coach leaves Quadrant, Hendon, (outside DSS)

2.05PM. Coach leaves L’Artiste bus-stop, Golders Green, (under the Railway Bridge)

The Menu


Soup of the Day served with oven baked rustic bread Prawn Cocktail with tangy smoked salmon and citrus Marie Rose sauce, served with rustic bread Garlic & Herb Breaded Mushrooms with ranch and barbecue dips Koftas lamb and mutton koftas with a minted sour cream dip Honeydew Melon (V) served with red berry fruits and fresh orange slices

Mains Hand Carved Roast Turkey with sausage and herb stuffing, sausage wrapped in bacon, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, gravy and cranberry sauce

Honey Cured Gammon Ham with sausage and herb stuffing, sausage wrapped in bacon, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts and white onion sauce

Rump Steak with chips, fresh watercress, half a grilled tomato and a flat mushroom Fillets of Salmon with new potatoes and mixed salad, served with a pomegranate & maple sauce

Grilled Chicken Breast with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans, served with your choice of either red wines or smoked chilli sauce

Festive Quesadilla Wrap (V) filled with Brie, spinach and cranberry sauce, served with white & wild rice

DESSERTS Christmas Pudding§ with rich brandy sauce or crème fraîche Orange Liqueur Profiteroles§ with hot chocolate flavour fudge sauce and your choice of either crème fraîche or ice cream

Ice Cream Desserts with either hot chocolate flavour fudge sauce and Cadbury Crunchie Nuggets, or red berries and raspberry sauce, or mulled fruit mix

Fresh Fruit Salad in a Brandy Snap Basket a selection of fresh fruit in a brandy snap basket, served with crème fraîche

Apple & Mincemeat Tart with rich brandy sauce or crème fraîche

Cost: £35 – not including drinks


With so much of Colindale planned to be flattened, including the Newspaper Library and possibly the Police College too, there have been some fierce comments about the latest proposals for the area, and for Colindale Hospital in particular, on the Victorian Society's website.

The Victorian Society says it fears: "... plans to sweep away all but the listed [Colindale Hospital] administration block for a residential scheme could erase much of the historic interest of the site, stripping Colindale of one of its most fascinating links with the past. This would be an appalling waste of Colindale’s heritage. The unlisted buildings have an inseparable relationship with the administration block, without them the site would not make historical sense. They add to the national importance of the listed building .... To sweep away [the pre-1940s buildings] would be to squander the potential of the historic buildings to contribute to an inspiring conversion scheme which capitalizes on the best of the area’s past."

Fuller details of the area and its history and the latest plans will appear in the next Newsletter, but in the meantime planning decisions may be made. If you have some concerns for the heritage of the area you can find out more from the Victorian Society website or from the Council's own site and may like to contact your Barnet Councillor, or even your local MP.

Other Societies' Events from Eric Morgan

8th October Wednesday 8pm Mill Hill Historical Society. The Wilberforce Centre, St. Paul’s Church, The Ridgeway NW7 (note new venue). Would Wilberforce recognise St.Paul’s today? Dr Michael Works (Hon. Archivist)

8pm Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church Hall, corner Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park N8. Paintings from Alexandra Palace - The Art of George Kenner. Mick McCormick. Refreshments 7.45 pm. Visitors £1

9th October Thursday 7pm Friends of Cricklewood Library. 152 Olive Road, NW2. History of Cricklewood from the Archives. Malcolm Barres-Baker

7.30pm Camden History Society. The Foundling Museum (Lecture Hall) Brunswick Square WC1. Celebrating Gray’s Anatomy(150th Anniversary) - Ruth Richardson

11th October Saturday 10am-4pm The London Maze. The Guildhall Art Gallery & Library, Guildhall Yard (off Gresham St.) EC2. Local History Fair with displays by 50 local history societies, museums and special interest groups. Access to main parts of the historic Guildhall. Specialist talks, guided walks and a wide range of activities. LAMAS and COLAS will both have stalls. Museum of London stall in the Roman Amphitheatre with finds from the Guildhall excavations. Admission free. Visit

11am Waltham Abbey Gardens. King Harold Day. Medieval Festivities including re-enactments, falconry, archery and crafts. See Other Societies’ Events (continued)

12th October Sunday 

2.30pm London Canal Museum. 12-13 New Wharf Road, Kings Cross N1. Guided Panoramic Water Tower walk. £5 (concessions £4)

13th October Monday Barnet and District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street. Barnet Quislings and Resistance after 1066. Lucy Johnson

15th October Wednesday 2-4pm Amateur Geological Society. Stones of the City Walk. Mike Howgate. Meet at Museum of London Cafe. Contact 020 8882 2606 or mob.07913 391063 or email £7. Cheques to Mike Howgate 77 Hoppers Road, London N21 3LP or pay on the day.

17th October Friday 7pm COLAS. St Katherine Free Church Hall, Leadenhall Street EC3. Excavations at Drapers Gardens - Neil Hawkins. Visitors £2

8pm Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield. 19th Century London Cemeteries. Dr. Ken Worpole. Visitors £1

20th October Monday

8.15pm Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society St.Martin’s Church Hall, Eastcote Road, Ruislip.  Ruislip - an early 20th Century Garden Suburb - Eileen Bowlt.  Visitors £2

21st October Tuesday 2.30pm Harrow Museum, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, N. Harrow. A Walk around Old Pinner. P Clarke

30th October Thursday 8pm Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3. Why, How and What We Conserve - Philosophy and Practice in the Local Context. John Finney. Non-members £2

1st November Saturday 10.30am-4.30pm. Festival of Geology UCL. Gower Street WC1. Exhibitions of fossil and mineral displays and much more. Admission free. Tel 020 7434 9298. E-mail 7 years to save the planet Prof. Bill McGuire Climate Change Prof. Duncan Wingham Diamonds, Big Bang to Big Bucks Dr. Adrian Jones Dinosaurs Prof. Mike Benton