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Tuesday, 11th November 2008, Bletchley Park: Enigma - how breaking the Axis codes led to the world's first computer and what lessons it still has for today. Lecture by Hugh Davies.

"All the experts have stated unanimously that there is no possibility that Enigma messages have been deciphered and read by the enemy". This German message WAS deciphered by the codebreakers at Bletchley Park! How did they do it? And what advantage did it give us?

Hugh’s background is primarily in computers from the early days of punched cards through to large main frames and the modern PC, almost wholly in management positions. He founded his own IT security company some 10 years ago based on the invention of an authentication system that did away with passwords. Hugh won the British Computer Society overall award for innovation in 1996. Now technically retired, Hugh has been leading tour groups at Bletchley Park for over five years. He also gives many outside lectures to organizations such as U3A, WI etc, and is a guest lecturer on cruise ships.

Sunday 14h December 2008, HADAS Christmas Event. A guided tour of Headstone Manor, Harrow, & dinner at the “Moor Mill” Beefeater restaurant, Bricket Wood Radlett.

A reminder that the completed booking form is required by 28th November. Please return to Jim Nelhams (see contact details on back page). The cost of £35 includes transport, guided tour of the manor house, followed by the dinner in Radlett.

Tuesday 13th January 2009, An exploration of the Western Desert of Egypt. Lecture by Nicole Douek.

Tuesday 10th February 2009, The building of the Underground. Lecture by Tony Earle.

Tuesday 10th March, Tuesday 14th April & Tuesday 12th May 2009. The lectures for these dates are still to be arranged, but it is hoped to have at least one on a Roman theme.

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

John Donovan 1935-2008

John, one of our members, died on 8th September 2008. Although not a member for very long he was an active and enthusiastic one, researching inter alia the milestones and post boxes of Barnet. He was a prominent member of other local societies and was President of the Friern Barnet& District Local History Society. Our sincere condolences go to his daughter Linda Boxall and the rest of John’s family

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News from Post–Lib (Publication for Retired Librarians) September 2008

Baddesley Clinton is a small fifteenth century moated house owned by the National Trust. It was the home of the Catholic Ferrars family for 500 years. The library is not one of the largest in the National Trust houses, but is one of the most interesting as the books, shelved in fixed locations in bookcases around the walls with overflow into other rooms in the house, have been collected by the Ferrars over many years. Once the books have been catalogued and the catalogue made widely available, the National Trust will need to decide how to provide access for people who want to come and look at the books.

Situated in the bombed-out remains of a library in the Old Kent Road, the Livesey Museum was named after Sir George Livesey, Chairman of the Metropolitan Gas Company. The museum was opened by Sir John Betjeman is 1974. As a great lover of Victoriana, Sir John was also keen to see the Victorian church next door, and the Victorian gas works over the road.

(Baddesley Clinton medieval manor house & garden is situated near Solihull, West Midlands, and open to the public Wednesday to Sunday 11am-5pm between February & December. Times and dates vary between the house and grounds/shop/restaurant. Tel. 01564 783294 or email – Ed).

Book Title Competition – by Don Cooper

As the book on the HADAS Church Terrace excavation that took place in 1973/4 goes into its final editing stage, it is time to dream up a suitable title. There are no prizes except, of course, if your suggestion is accepted you will have the honour of seeing it on the shelves of many bookshops! As a little refresher, the dig carried out by HADAS volunteers took place near St Mary’s Church, Hendon and most of it is under the current Meritage Centre. The finds from the excavation cover many periods from the Romans to the present with an unusually high concentration of early Medieval pottery sherds. Rather than a turgid archaeological excavation report, the book aims to be a good read and should appeal to local people, HADAS members and people with an interest in history and archaeology.

So send us your suggestions and we will publish a selection of them in a future newsletter.

HADAS’s Long weekend in Beverley 27th to 31 August 2008

Rather than publish a separate report on the HADAS long weekend as is usually the custom, we have decided this year to serialise it in the newsletter. The main reason is that there were such good articles written by the attendees that it would have been a shame to condense them.

Day 1. HADAS Long Weekend

Flag Fen by Jo Nelhams

Wednesday August 27th dawned and an intrepid number of HADAS members were collected by a bright red Galleon coach from a number of appointed boarding points. All were counted on as present and correct and our cheerful driver Mark headed north with his erudite load!!

After a quick stop at Baldock to observe the facilities, our next destination was Flag Fen, located near Peterborough in a region which has proved to be one of the most important areas in the country for evidence enhancing our understanding today of Britain in prehistoric times.

The yellow flag iris which flourished in wetlands is the flower after which the basin was named. The earliest occupation of the Flag Fen basin dates from Neolithic times and occupation of the fenland area can be traced through to modern times.

The area was known possibly to have much archaeological evidence buried deeply beneath the surface and that excessive drainage would be harmful, but in the latter half of the 20th century the Fenlands were drained more extensively than in any previous historical era. In 1982, while dykes were being machine cleaned, archaeo-logists, led by Francis Pryor, found some timbers which had been worked in a distinctive manner. This was the catalyst that inspired the discovery of this fascinating and enormously important site. A 3000 year old line of posts was unearthed stretching nearly a kilometre. The post alignment was constructed across a wet stretch of ground. In the lowest lying, wettest part of the Fen a large timber platform had been built covering 2 to 3 acres. These finds were preserved in Flag Fen Park which was laid out in 1987and has gradually been enlarged to cover the whole length of the post alignment, now taking in an area of 20 acres. Much of the timber platform itself is now visible in an indoors viewing and preservation building.

What was the function of this extraordinary construction? It is thought to be almost certainly a route or track across a wet stretch of ground, but it could have been a defensive wall to protect against intruders who were living in the surrounding areas. In Europe in the Bronze and Iron Ages, water and wet places were important religious symbols so maybe it was a religious shrine.

Two Bronze Age roundhouses have been reconstructed, the smaller one recreated in the position it was found when the fields were first excavated. An Iron Age roundhouse has been reconstructed too, on the evidence from known roundhouses in the region.

A Roman road, wide enough for two carts to pass, was built in the mid 1st century and was the only major Roman road across the Fens. It joined the Roman road network at Denver, in Norfolk, where today there is also a fine working windmill.

The museum has displays of wooden objects as well as weapons, jewellery and sacrificial items. There are also accounts and illustrations of the excavations that have taken place since the initial discovery. Also displayed is a Bronze Age wheel, the oldest wheel in England. Outside there are two ancient breeds of pigs, Saddleback and Tamworth. We spent a couple of hours at Flag Fen, but the site has so much to offer that this somewhat brief account only scratches the surface of the wealth of information that has come to light since its discovery. Excavation is ongoing, so one does not know what else may come to light and all that you do see in the ground today is what was left there from the Bronze Age.

This visit was a splendid beginning and just a taste of what was to come over the next few days.

St. Peter’s Church, Barton-upon-Humber by Don Cooper

Our next port of call was the English Heritage managed St. Peter’s Church at Barton-upon-Humber, very close to the Humber Bridge. Described by Warwick Rodwell in the English Heritage Guidebook as “one of the most celebrated parish churches in England”, St. Peter’s is also one of the most thoroughly studied from its origins in the 10th C right up to it being declared redundant in 1972. The original tiny Anglo-Saxon church consisted of “a tower, which was used as a nave, a chancel and a baptistery” (English Heritage, 2007). The survival of the tower, the upper part of which was added in Norman times, and the baptistery is unique in England. Over the succeeding 1000 years or so a myriad of enhancements and extensions were added to the church. It was fascinating to explore the structure with the English Heritage guidebook and identify the surviving remains from the various changes over the centuries.

The site is also noted for its display of artefacts and human skeletons from the major excavation carried out when the cemetery was cleared. Some 2750 skeletons were uncovered during the excavation between 1978 and 1985 and have been studied ever since by archaeologists. The results of these studies are on display in the church. Everything from coffins to grave goods is shown with good explanation panels. The analysis of the human bones has helped to identify the causes of death of the skeletons found, as well as improving our knowledge of their diet and the diseases they suffered from.

At five o’clock our big red coach returned and we left a fascinating church with its well-displayed results of seven years of excavation.

Then we crossed the Humber Bridge, of which more in later reports, and travelled on to our accommodation for our four days stay at Bishop Burton Agricultural College.

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HADRIAN – Exhibition at the British Museum - by Tessa Smith

Whilst in Beverley four HADAS members were chatting about the Hadrian Exhibition at the British Museum and decided we would like to visit it some time. A few weeks ago our plans materialised, and we met near the Reading Room below the splendid Dome of the Museum

Immediately inside the exhibition one is met by a huge, exquisitely carved marble head, part of a colossal statue of the Emperor Hadrian, excavated just last year at Sagalassos in Turkey. The hair and beard are strong and curly; the pleated earlobe evident, the face looks so young.

The exhibition seems spacious even though it is contained within the area of the Reading Room. One aspect of Hadrian’s life leads to another, his rise to power, the Empire at war and in peacetime, his family, his relationships and his love of architecture. In each area statues reflect his power and his gradual ageing. The central part of the exhibition is devoted to architecture commissioned by Hadrian - the Tivoli, the Pantheon and the Wall.

A fascinating model of the site at Tivoli shows that it was not just a home and gardens for Hadrian, it was more like a small city with over 30 buildings, Imperial Palaces, library, theatre, barracks, bath houses, gardens, temples, fountains, and Doric columns - a sumptuous complex.

The Pantheon was built in 125 AD and is the best preserved example of an ancient building in the world, its dome being the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever having been built until recently. Hadrian ordered the granite columns from Egypt to be transported to the Nile, thence to Alexandria, crossing the Mediterranean to the Roman port of Ostia, then barged up the river Tiber. The oculus of the Pantheon is circled by a bronze cornice through which prayers go up towards the gods, and around which were thought to circle the sun, the heavens and the universe.

The Wall was begun in 122AD and completed in six years, a most important monument built in Britain as a sign of power and order. It stretched from Luguvalium (Carlisle) to Coria (Corbridge). The exhibition shows original parts of the Wall, two of the famous writing tablets and the exquisite studded slipper of Lepidusa. One space is devoted to Hadrian’s young lover Antinous, who drowned in the Nile causing Hadrian to mourn his death without precedent. This exhibition shows Hadrian not only as a powerful ruler but also as a human being.

We all enjoyed our visit so much that we felt we would like to do something similar again.

Next exhibition---BABYLON --- Would anyone like to make up a group?

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A new image for the Museum of London

The following was circulated to contacts outside the museum. Thanks to Peter Pickering for bringing it to our attention.

"The Museum of London Group is rebranding to bring together its venues and values, with new names and a new logo.

The different parts of the Museum will now be known as Museum of London (MOL - note upper case 'O') , Museum of London Docklands (MOL Docklands) and Museum of London Archaeology (MOL Archaeology - not MoLAS) , respectively.

The striking new logo takes the conceptual form of London’s thumbprint. Coloured layers map the shape of London over time, reflecting the ever-changing, diverse and dynamic make up of London and Londoners, past, present and future. It links our three venues as destinations united in a single mission: to inspire a passion for London.

The Museum will begin rolling out its rebrand, in phases, in the run up to the opening of spectacular new £20.5 million galleries at Museum of London in spring 2010."

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Avenue House Events

Quiz Night – Monday 10th November 2008 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 (or £8.50 with a Jacket potato with filling) and are available from the Lodge House.

Race Night – Monday 8th December 2008 at 7.30pm.Tickets, £5.00, available from the Lodge House.

For more details on both events, please ask at the Kiosk, Main House, or Lodge House, or phone 020 8346 7812.

As you know, without Avenue House we would not be able to lease the Garden Room and garage to store our finds & library. Please try and support the above events in order to keep the roof over our heads!

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In the light of all the development and particularly the future work planned on Colindale Hospital's green site, I wanted to find out how Colindale once was. The word "Collindalia" (two ll's) written in the stone in some housing in Colindale Avenue and a Victorian post box, shorter than the norm, intrigued me.

Looking at maps I see it was once just fields of course, and life grew up around Colindeep Lane, once an important main road used to cut through to London via the Burroughs and up to Hampstead and London as an alternative route when Watling Street became difficult to use. Some reference even mentions it was used during the War of the Roses. Later it was known as Ancient Street. I read that the name of Colindale comes from a sixteenth century family so I decided to see if I could find out more. At the archives I found a reference to John Collin living in the area “with right of his wife and a messuage [house] and a meadow” in Gladwin Street. Was the area previously known as Gladwin?

Interestingly I found elsewhere that Colindeep is derived from old Roman landmarks, for the purpose of rating and allotting land to natives! It says the Col would be evident here as the cross road or by-lane leading to the junction of two streams forming a deep. A booklet on Colindale Hospital quotes this version of the name. So what can you believe in these writings?

Later a few more houses were built in the area and reference is made to some residents including a Mr Twyford, originally from Willesden, who lived in Colindeep Lane between 1685 and 1689. It is said he once owned a house called "The Chestnuts". Colindeep Lane was later to have houses built on it by Trobridge. It is still a cut-through road and very busy.

In 1890 the authorities in London were looking for a place where the "sick poor" might have a hospital and they looked out to Hendon, then a country parish seven miles from the City, and found Colindale. The Foundation Stone for Colindale Hospital was laid in June 1898. A leaflet says the site was bought for £12,500. One ward was filled with cases of TB patients and another with sick children and babies. Yet another served as a casualty ward. Colindale Avenue grew as a service road to the hospital, and was extended to serve the Aerodrome when that arrived. The road must have been the height of activity.

In 1901 Garstons trunk factory came to Colindale, in 1902 the British Museum built storage for its newspaper collection, then came the Government Lymph Establishment in 1907 and later the Police College, which was once the London Country Club and a golf course. The tube arrived and then was extended to Edgware.

During the Great War Colindale hospital did its bit, treating casualties from the aerodrome including a Mrs Stocks, the first woman to fly, who was unconscious for 30 days. Nurses would also do their bit for the war effort working in nearby fields. With limited transport (the main line at Hendon and an odd tram) a nurse would have to arrange to have enough time-off for a trip to Cricklewood!

In 1920 the hospital was taken over by the Metropolitan Asylums Board as a Sanatorium for advanced TB. A Dr Marcus Paterson, attached to the Brompton Hospital, took over its management. A pioneer in TB, he also encouraged Occupational Therapy and apparently let patients help out in the well-kept gardens. It was recognized as an important factor in treatment. But in 1930 the Asylums Board ceased to exist and the LCC took over the hospital. Dr Paterson retired.

During the Second World War the Hospital was incorporated into the Emergency Hospital Service. Ward 9 was made the first-aid post for Hendon Borough and other wards were made available for casualties from the Aerodrome. A bomb dropped in Hendon killed over 100 people with 350 casualties. Fifty of these were brought to Colindale.

In 1948 after fifty years service, with a lot of work on TB, the hospital came under the National Health Service.  

Once almost on its own, the hospital has become surrounded by buildings, housing and factories. Latest proposals for the site include more housing, a high rise hotel and the movement of Barnet College from its Grahame Park location. This may be the last piece of an earlier Colindale left. The Victorian Society want to see more of it preserved. If you have any views please let your councillor know. An area action plan has been sent to local residents (see and an exhibition is to take place on Saturday 8 November and Monday 10 November 2008 at the RAF Museum, Colindale. See what you think.

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Other Societies’ Events Compiled by Eric Morgan

Tuesday 4th November 2-3pm. Harrow Museum, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. Bushey through Artists’ Eyes. Talk by Hugh Lewis (Curator of Bushey Museum). Cost £3.

Thursday 6th November, 6.30pm. LAMAS. Terrace Room, Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2. Archaeological Assemblages from 19th Century Houses. Talk by Nigel Jeffries (MoLAS). Refreshments 6pm.

Thursday 6th November 8pm. Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. London before London. Talk by Jon Cotton (MoL). Visitors £2.

Sunday 9th November, 11am. A Meander through Monken Hadley. Meet outside The Spires, High Street, Barnet. Led by Paul Baker. Cost £6. Historical walk through beautiful, unspoilt Georgian Hadley . Wednesday 12th November 8pm. Mill Hill Historical Society. The Wilberforce Centre, St Paul’s Church, The Ridgeway NW7. Middlesex – The Lost County. Talk by Graham Dalling.

Friday 14th November 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, junction of Chase Side, Enfield. St Andrews Church - The Early Church and its Context. Talk by Daniel Secker. £1

Saturday 15th November 10am to 5pm. LAMAS Local History Conference. City of London School for Girls, Barbican EC2. London Recorded by Word, Map & Camera. For full details see September newsletter.

Sunday 16th November 11am. East Barnet Village. Guided walk. Meet outside East Barnet Library, Brookhill Road. Historical walk through ancient & modern East Barnet. Led by Paul Baker. Costs £6 and lasts 2 hours.

Tuesday 19th November 2.30pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. Jubilee Hall, Parsonage Lane (junction of Chase Side) Enfield. Curiosities & Customs in the City. Talk by Paul Taylor.

Wednesday 19th November 1pm. Brent Museum, Education Room, Willesden Green Library Centre, High Road NW10. London During the English Civil Wars. Talk by Joe Carr (Curator)

Wednesday 19th November 8pm. Barnet & District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite museum). AGM.

Wednesday 19th November 7.30pm. Willesden Local History Society. Scout House, High Road (corner of Strode Road) NW10. History of Gladstone Park & Dollis Hill House. Talk by Margaret Pratt & Cliff Wadsworth.

Wednesday 19th November 8pm. Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society. Wealdstone Baptist Church, High Street, Wealdstone. Archaeological Interests. Talk by Isobel Thompson.

Wednesday 19th November 8pm. Islington Archaeological & Historical Society. Islington Town Hall, Upper Street N1. London’s Gasholders: Works of Art & Engraving. Talk by Malcolm Tucker.

Thursday 20th November 7.30pm. Camden History Society. 5th Floor, Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road NW1. Innovation & Reform: Education and Medical Projects in 19th Century Bloomsbury. Talk by Professors Rosemary Ashton & Anne Hardy.

Friday 21st November 7pm. COLAS. St Katharine Cree Church Hall, Leadenhall Street EC3. The Archaeology of Jamestown USA. Talk by Geoff Egan (MoL). Visitors £2. Light refreshments afterwards.

Friday 21st November 7.30pm. Wembley History Society. St Andrews NEW Church, Church Lane, Kingsbury NW9. 176 years of the Oxford Movement. Talk by John Smith. Visitors £1. Light refreshments during interval.

Sunday 23rd November 11am. In the Footsteps of the Famous. Guided walk led by Paul Baker. Meet at High Barnet tube (top of Meadway). Explore the history of Barnet through the lives of the famous & infamous! £6.

Wednesday 26th November 7.45pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. St John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone police station), Friern Barnet Lane, N20. A Brief History of London Underground. Talk by Peter McMahon. £2. Refreshments.

Thursday 27th November 2.30pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road N3. Sound & Vision: Entertainment in Finchley & Surrounding District. Talk by Yasmine Webb (Barnet Archivist). Non-members £2.

Saturday 29th November 10.15am-3.30pm. Amateur Geological Society. Mineral & Fossil Bazaar. St Mary’s Hall, Hendon Lane N3. Including Rocks, Crystals, Gemstones & Jewellery. Refreshments. £1.

Sunday 30th November 11am. Every other House a Tavern. Guided walk led by Paul Baker. Meet at High Barnet tube (top of Meadway). See some of Barnet’s most Historical Pubs, and finish conveniently at a pub! Costs £6. Lasts 2 hours.

Monday 1st – Sunday 7th December. Barnet Borough Arts Council. The Spires (outside Waitrose), High Street Barnet. Paintings & What’s On (including HADAS) Sunday 7th December 11am-4pm. Barnet High Street Christmas Fair. Light music & teas in Barnet Church from 1pm. Music and Dance in the High Street & The Spires. Craft Fairs in Church House. Children’s Events at the Bull Theatre. Lots of Community and Charity stalls in the High Street & Funfair. Barnet Museum will also be open.