Newsletter-466-January-2010

 HADAS EVENTS 2010

The winter lecture series takes place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Nearest tube Finchley Central. Lectures start promptly at 8 pm, non-members welcome - £1 donation please, coffee or tea available.

 

Tues. 12th January lecture by Ken Marks

The Archaeology of Anglo-Jewry in London 1066-1290 and 1656-1850. 

This month’s lecture will concentrate on the physical evidence (the archaeology) of Anglo-Jewry in London in the periods 1066-1290 and 1656-c1850. Following the blitz in 1941 and during excavations in the City post War and even up to c1950 when the City was being redeveloped excavations near the Guildhall which was near to the Jewry in the medieval period revealed the remains of two 13thc. mikvaot. The bombing destroyed the area which to day is the Barbican and revealed the only Jewish Cemetery in England from c.1090-1177. In the re-admission period the speaker will discuss the first synagogues: the only one remaining being Bevis Marks (1701) The first cemeteries in Mile End and objects that have been found during excavations such as two shofarot, one dredged up from the Thames and the other found in a rubbish dump in Leadenhall Street. 

Ken Marks has a B.A. (Hons) in Archaeology and a M.A. in Archaeology (U.C.L) where the subject was the Archaeology of London.  Ken’s talk to HADAS is based on his M.A. dissertation. He has now started an MPhil on the Archaeology of Anglo-Jewry 1656-1880 covering the whole of England and Wales. 

Tues. 9th February lecture by William Cumber - The Trendles Project 

Tues. 9th  March lecture by Erica Ferguson - The History of RAF Bentley Priory 

Tues. 13th April lecture by John Chapman - The GWR comes to the Thames Valley 

Tues. 11th  May lecture by John Johnson - Graeco-Roman Period Funerary Practices in Egypt 

Oliver Cromwell and the readmission of the Jews to England in 1656

10 October 2009 - 14 February 2010. Members with an interest in January’s lecture may find this exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum worth looking out for. 

The Jews were expelled from England in 1290, but in 1656 Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate government took an important step towards their readmission to this country. Cromwell was petitioned by Menasseh ben Israel, a rabbi based in Amsterdam, which had a thriving Jewish community, to live and worship freely in England again. Three councils were held, and although they came to no formal decisions, in 1656 Jews were allowed to worship privately, and the first synagogue and Jewish burial ground were allowed to be founded in London without any legal hindrance. 

Cromwell may have had mixed motives for his actions: the Jewish community had made a major contribution to the economic success of the Dutch, which impressed him, and he also believed that that God’s Kingdom on earth could not be established until the conversion of the Jews to Christianity, but Cromwell  also counted the Jews amongst the ‘Godly’ people, and there is no question that, after 1656, Jewish people were able to live in this country with a religious tolerance which would have been unimaginable in the preceding three centuries. (This exhibition, which was prepared by the Cromwell Museum at Huntingdon, has never been shown in London before.) 

Brockley Hill Roman pottery project 

Work continues at the Garden Room, Avenue House to process the finds from various Roman Brockley Hill finds in our care. It’s a big job,  but we’ve nearly finished the initial processing of the original 8 tea-chest size boxes of material. But there’s plenty more to do – we have to separate the pot into the year of excavation, weigh the material and check our findings on the database 

We are at the Garden Room most Sundays 10.30-1.30pm (contact Bill 8449 5666) 

Brick and Skeletons: 1632 Brick Church Ruin - review of the November lecture                                Stephen Brunning 

St John the Evangelist church of 1632 is located on the edge of Stanmore Park on the site of an earlier Saxon church (St Mary’s). The building was paid for by Sir John Wolstenholme, and was dedicated by William Laud in 1632.  Laud was Bishop of London at the time, but went on the become Archbishop of Canterbury. Further increase in population led to a third (and present) church being built of Kentish Ragstone in 1850.  A year later the people of Stanmore wanted to demolish the brick church to pay for the new one, but this was halted after a public outcry and it was left to decay.  As the title of the lecture suggests, the church is now a ruin, with only the tower still standing intact. 

In 1989 work was needed to “consolidate the ruin”, and English Heritage agreed to fund 80% of the restoration costs.  Ivy covering the structure was removed, and a firm of builders and masons made safe the loose brickwork with lime and mortar.  The work took 1 year 9 months to complete, at a cost of £175,000.  Three monuments in the churchyard were also deemed to be at risk, and more funds will for their repair. 

During the consolidation work, the missing coffin of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen was discovered.  George Hamilton Gordon KG, KT was Prime Minister from 1852 to 1855. He was identified by the coronet of an earl and insignia of the Ancient Order of the Thistle of Scotland.  Members of the Abercorn and Aberdeen families are buried in the Bentley Priory vault on the north side of the ruin.   

Another vault was revealed underneath the floor at the east end of the church.  This vault contained the burials of four John Wolstenholmes’ who are associated with Great Stanmore, including the tomb and lead coffin of the Sir John who built the church.  Identification was made by a plaque on the wall, which unfortunately turned to dust when moved!! 

There then followed the usual short question-and-answer session after the talk. One of the audience members asked about the connection of St John’s with Russia.  The lecturer Dr Frederick Hicks said he did not know, but in bed that night remembered the Bernays’ family.  Henry Arthur Bernays died on 8th July 1913 aged 61 in Moscow.  He was buried in the churchyard under a marble monument.   I have a letter with further information that Dr Hicks would like the gentleman who asked the original question to have.  Please contact me on 020 8959 6419 if you are that person. 

The ruin is open for viewing April to September every Saturday from 2.30 to 4.30 PM with guides - FREE.  Other times and groups by appointment. Contact Dr Hicks on 020 8954 1677. 

HADAS 2009 Long Weekend  --  Day 4 

Day 4 saw us visiting the third city of the Three Choirs Festival – Gloucester, with a stop en route at Newent. Sadly, The Shambles in Newent had been sold though it was possible to see part of it. 

Visit to The Church of St.Mary the Virgin, Newent           Andy Simpson 

A most appropriate stop-off on the way to Gloucester, this! (after an interesting sat-nav induced diversion around Newent and an ensuing short-cut taken by some 40 HADAS members through the back garden of one slightly bemused, but very helpful, Newent resident – (we sent her a bunch of flowers - JN)).

I was last at this beautiful Anglican church a couple of years ago when my old Wolverhampton primary school friend Simon Mason was inaugurated as vicar of the church – his first full rectorship after time as a Curate. As is the modern way, this means he is also responsible for ‘The United Benefice of Newent and Gorsley with Clifford’s Mesne in the Diocese of Gloucester’.  Unfortunately Simon was away on the day of our visit, but the church was open for a detailed exploration by HADAS members. Shame the Guidebooks ran out!

 

The earliest visible parts of the present church dates back to the thirteenth century, with arcades in Early English style and a fourteenth century tower with its much-rebuilt spire reaching a height of 153 feet, and has the largest unsupported wooden ceiling in the country, dating to 1679 to replace the original nave which collapsed under a heavy fall of snow in 1674. The church displays some notable Saxon sculpture, including a probable early ninth-century Mercian cross-shaft in the porch (found in the churchyard in 1907). The Northumbrian style carving shows the fall of man and the sacrifice of Isaac. Close by at the base of the bell tower are two grave slabs of probable seventh century Celtic workmanship – Gloucestershire and much of Herefordshire being a Celtic enclave in the early medieval period. 

 There are smaller (replica) sculpted stones within one of the aisles. Notable is the small but closely carved Newent Stone found in 1912 serving as the support for the skull of a medieval burial. It shows the ‘Harrowing of Hell’ and the name EDRED along with the names of the four evangelists. It again reflects Northumbrian styles and possibly originated as a portable altar in the pre-Conquest eleventh century before being re-used as a pillow stone in the burial, though one study suggests an eighth century date commemorating EDRED as the first Saxon Abbot. The Newent Stone cast is flanked by four further replicas of originals held in Gloucester Museum; the originals are again of probable seventh century Irish Celtic origin from a monastic community. 

There was just time also to explore a little of the pretty town of Newent – with its well-stocked charity shops. Particularly notable is the timber –framed Market-house built as a butter market back in 1668. Now run by Newent Town Council, it hosts the Newent Heritage Exhibition, open in summer months, recoding historical information on the town which has prehistoric and Roman occupation in the vicinity (and an abandoned railway station closed since c.1964!) and was formerly on the drover’s road from Wales and retains a large lake created from former monastic fish ponds. The town is also known for its annual Onion Fayre held in September (www.newentonionfayre.org). Close by is the 900ft Masy Hill, the highest point in Gloucestershire. For further details see Newent-online.co.uk 

Gloucester Docks and the National Waterways Museum             Jo Nelhams 

The River Severn had provided an important trade route for hundreds of years for shallow draft sailing vessels, which were able to navigate the narrow, winding river.  In 1580 Gloucester became a customs port by charter from Queen Elizabeth 1, but few sea going vessels were able to sail as far as Gloucester. With considerable growth of trade in the 18th century, there was a proposal to construct a canal this was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1793. However, as with many projects, there were financial difficulties and delays with changes of plans, and the canal was finally completed in 1827. 

With the canal fully operational, merchants took advantage of the new facilities. The geographical position of Gloucester being so far inland gave it advantages over Bristol, because goods could be transferred to narrow boats to supply the Midlands through the canal network. Imports increased dramatically in the 1850s and 60s, but unfortunately vessels had to go elsewhere to find a return cargo as salt was the only regular export.

Improvements to the docks enabled them to take ships that were increasing in size and the docks remained busy until the 20th century. The First World War saw a dramatic decline in trade and competition with road transport also added to the dock’s demise. 

During the Second World War, the docks played a vital part in handling cargos for the Midlands, but after the war, the docks were used less as competition from other ports increased and larger coastal vessels were too big to enter the port at Gloucester. The last commercial traffic on the canal were grain barges passing through to Tewkesbury, but these came to an end in 1998. 

The National Waterways Museum is housed in a warehouse at Gloucester docks. Here you can find a comprehensive history of the development of transport by water with the construction of the canal system.

The Third Duke of Bridgewater is known as the Father of Canals. By the middle of the 18th century the need for improvement in transport was widely recognised and the Duke needed an outlet for his coal and he needed cheap transport. In 1759 he obtained an Act of Parliament to build the first proper canal from his coalmines at Worsley to Manchester. This eventually led to the construction of what is still known as the Bridgewater Canal. A few years earlier the Sankey Brook from St. Helens to the River Mersey had been widened and new cuts were made to straighten the brook. The Duke of Bridgewater employed James Brindley, who had already a reputation for his work with early steam power and flint mills. The Bridgewater canal was built with just hand tools and gangs of men who became known as navvies. 

Over the next 30 years numerous canals were built and much of the network is still in existence.  However the introduction of the railways signalled the end to the majority of commercial traffic on the canals, although small amounts of traffic continued until the early 1960s, until the ‘big freeze’ of 1963, which caused the canals to freeze over for nearly three months. 

The canals have given us some famous and beautiful constructions such as Telford’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen canal, the Anderton boat lift to the River Weaver and the Crofton Pumping Station on the Kennet and Avon canal, which houses two Cornish beam engines, the older built by Boulton and Watt dating from 1812. The Crofton Society restored the steam pumps in 1970 and regular steam weekends have been held ever since. 

Many of the canals have been restored and this programme continues. The canals are used for pleasure and narrow boating is a wonderful way to appreciate the beautiful scenery this country has to offer. Our visit to the Docks and Museum included a leisurely cruise along the canal with all the members of the party.

On a personal note, after the Hereford trip, Jim and I explored the Monmouth and Brecon canal on a narrow boat with our daughter and her husband plus two dogs. We visited Llanfoist Wharf, which was where Blaenavon was connected to the canal by a tram road. Here we saw the replica truck and position of the former tram track to the wharf from Blaenavon. 

Gloucester Cathedral    Jean Bayne 

My initial impression of the interior of Gloucester Cathedral was not very favourable. The view of the Great East Window from the West end was obscured. (I later realised that it was by a magnificent Tudor organ, very tall and richly decorated).

Also the floor space of much of the nave had been given over to an exhibition on Icons and reduced a powerful open space to something fragmentary and visually out of place. However, by the end of my visit, I was enchanted and enthralled by the glory and beauty of this great holy place. 

Founded as a Anglo Saxon religious house by Osric, Prince of Mercia in 678, it became a Benedictine monastery in the 11th century. In 1072, William the Conqueror appointed Serlo, a Norman monk, to redesign and extend the building. So an entirely new Romanesque style church replaced the original Anglo Saxon building and the large round columns in the nave are testament to this. In the following centuries grand scale and small scale additions and projects demonstrated Gloucester’s capacity to develop and respond to changing contexts. For example, the Lady Chapel was added in 1470, using the Perpendicular style of English architecture and was  later restored by the Victorians. The stained glass here is both medieval and Victorian Arts and Crafts but there is no dissonance between the two types. Moreover, the beautiful music scroll stained glass windows, placed in the chapel in 1992 to celebrate a local composer of English church music, carry on this tradition and meld in as part of a whole. And my favourite window of all is also a very modern one in the South Ambulatory Chapel by Tom Denny in moving swirls of blue and yellow depicting Thomas in the presence of Christ and animals, plants and birds from Psalm 148. (He also has a smaller window in Worcester Cathedral) 

There are many fascinating monuments here too. Osric is immortalised in stone, holding a model of the building he founded close to his chest and the last Abbot of Gloucester, who died just before the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540, is also represented. A poignant monument is of two sisters in effigy, facing each other across an aisle: they had both died in childbirth within a year in Tudor times. There are two other unusual monuments which reflect earlier times: one is of Robert of Normandy, the eldest son of William, and the other is of King  Edward 11.  Robert was imprisoned by his younger brother, Henry, and died in 1134. He was a benefactor of the Abbey and is buried in the Chapter House. His effigy is made from Irish bog oak and is highly coloured and decorated. Moreover, he was a warrior in the first Crusade and is shown ready to fight. One leg is raised and his hand is on his sword, suggesting that he is about to spring up and go into battle. Nearby, there are 2 massive cope chests from the 1300s in which ceremonial church vestments were securely locked. The other monument of Edward 11 is huge. He is represented in alabaster, a rare medium at that time, and beautifully carved in great detail. He rests on a tomb clad in Purbeck marble and is covered by a intricate, pinnacled canopy made from local limestone with angels surrounding his bearded head. His tomb became a place of pilgrimage so he was very revered at the time. His best known claim to fame nowadays, though, is his alleged homosexuality and his supposed very gruesome murder by his estranged wife, Isabella and her lover Mortimer. Red hot pokers seem to have been involved according to later commentators! His death (1327) was also the impetus for the transformation of the East end of the cathedral by his son, Edward 111

Between 1337 and 1348 a perpendicular styled Quire replaced the Romanesque one of Serlo’s time and stone screen walls were taken to great heights. New stalls and misericords were put in place as well as a vaulted roof above the high altar with carved angels playing musical instruments around the central figure of Christ. 

Dominating the east end is the magnificent Great Window. It is the second largest in Britain and fills the whole wall space. It is as big as a tennis court, and the impact of its recurring patterns and strong horizontal and vertical lines reflect the medieval notion of hierarchy, rising from earth to heaven. Noble families at the bottom, followed by bishops ,abbots, saints ,apostles and angels in separate layers going up to its high  centrepiece, Christ and the Virgin Mary with the 12 apostles .In front is the high altar, designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1873. The Victorians were very active restorers in the nineteenth century and their work in Gloucester Cathedral is particularly sensitively done. They added more misericords and relaid the floor in the quire. 

We were lucky to be shown round by one of the cathedral guides and, therefore, able to go down into the Crypt. Very well preserved, it dated from 1087 and contained some of the earliest Norman architecture in the cathedral. Its solid round pillars, low vaulted ceilings and mix of light and shade infused with a strange silence, evoked images of monks moving slowly, chanting softly. It was also the place where monks’ bodies were laid to rest before burial. 

In contrast, the cloisters were light, airy and welcoming. The view down the east walk was stunning. The beautifully carved fan vaulting is the earliest surviving example in Britain. Its ‘white’ look suggested recent cleaning but not so! The word ‘cloister means an enclosed space and it comprises walled walks on the sides of a central open garth . Consistent with Benedictine practice, the domestic quarters were built on the outside of 3 of the walks (1412). The east walk gave access to the Chapter House and the dormitories. Twenty carrels were placed on the South walk where the monks read and studied at wooden desks. There was also a lavatorium  for communal  washing on the north walk which used water from a local stream and there was a well in the garth, or outside space, in the centre. Monks were able to hang up their towels on the wall on which the kitchen was built as it was warmed from the fire on the other side! Some small compensation for the privations of monastic life! 

This life came to an end in 1540 with the Dissolution and Henry VIII reconsecrated the building as a cathedral in honour of Edward 11. The next great upheaval in the seventeenth century was the Civil War. Gloucester escaped the ravages of Puritan fanaticism and later the Mayor and city of Gloucester saved the cathedral from planned destruction 

One tiny detail which we enjoyed: our guide told us that there is a resident stone mason at Gloucester Cathedral who has been working there for 50 years. On one of the newly repaired stone walls in the garth, the stone mason had left not only his mark, but a tiny carving of himself at work! It is details like this that enhance a guided tour and, thanks to her, we learnt from her knowledge and enthusiasm as she brought this wonderful building alive for us. 

Gloucester Folk Museum            Brenda  Pershouse 

The Folk Museum in Gloucester was well worth a visit. It had exhibits showing ancient machinery with descriptions of a variety of trades. The making of metal pins was skilful. Very small machines cut up the wires which had been stretched to great lengths. At last I know the meaning of “wire drawers”, who have a livery hall in the City of London. 

There were exhibits of old fashioned dairy methods that I remember on my cousin’s farm in the 1950s. There was a shoemaking factory, a Victorian classroom, a room full of children’s toys, fishing nets of all kinds, civil war weapons and many more interesting exhibits. 

CBA Study Weekend – Shrewsbury 16th to 18th October 2009                                                                      Emma Robinson

The CBA must yet again be thanked for organising a most enjoyable and stimulating weekend.  Participants were given wide ranging insights into impressive sites and landscapes around Shrewsbury and located on or near to the River Severn. We are all in great debt to those who gave up time to talk to us, guide us round the various sites and to the CBA staff themselves. The main foci of the weekend were on landscapes of the British industrial revolution and Roman settlement – but this was set in a wider context stressing the complexity of the making of the landscapes. It was above all an active weekend where morning lectures were skilfully crafted to illuminate field trips in the afternoon. Fortunately the weather was kind to us.  

On Friday afternoon we were introduced to Shrewsbury by Martin Wood the Town Crier and joined his party for a memorable walking trip to explore its past.  He opened so many doors for us.  We were fascinated, for example, to be shown the recently discovered remains of the Norman castle wall below the Prince Rupert Hotel’s newly opened heath club.  

The tone for the formal part of the programme was set by Professor Marilyn Palmer the speaker for the De Cardi Lecture on Friday evening.  Marilyn became Britain’s first professor of industrial archaeology in 2000 and gave a most informative overview of the history of the discipline.  She also reminded us that Britain was effectively the birthplace of the industrial revolution from the 16th century. 

 

On Saturday we departed in good time for the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge for morning lectures in the Heritage Centre at Coalbrookdale.  To give some background context - Dr Roger White spoke eloquently on the archaeology of Shropshire.  This gave us a strong foundation for Paul Belford’s talk on Birthplace of Industry?  Coalbrookdale from 1500 to 1900.  We learnt that the geographical location and fortunate geology of this area simply brought together so many of the mineral resources that were required for exploring and perfecting new industrial techniques. The achievements of pioneering industrialists - including Abraham Darby, William Reynolds and John Wilkinson - led to these landscapes becoming the most technologically advanced area in the world by the end of the 18th century. Roger and Paul then spoke further on Antiquarians and Archaeologists in Shropshire and the Manufacturing Industrial Heritage in Telford. (The new town of Telford is the local government area into which the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge now falls and its industrial heritage is seen as an important element in giving rise to its place identity.)  This gave us further insights not only into how this part of the nation’s past was being re-discovered and re-interpreted, but also into the rise of industrial tourism which has surprisingly early roots. In the afternoon Roger and Paul took us for a walk through the surviving built and natural environment, including the world famous Iron Bridge of 1779.  All of this reminded us of the area’s unique contribution to the history and development of industrialised society.  In the evening many of the party met for a convivial dinner in the Prince Rupert Hotel.  

On Sunday we explored the adjacent landscapes of Wroxeter (the Roman city of Viroconium) and Attingham Park (an 18th century mansion, gardens and park) which are located on the outskirts of Shrewsbury.  Before leaving Shrewsbury Roger White first gave us a most informative talk about Wroxeter which gave us real insights into its position in the landscape and land use in the area for settlement, trade, agriculture and routes of communication.  We found his work on the study of the history of place names particularly interesting.  The physical remains are impressive – particularly the walls known as the ‘old work’ – however, it was Roger’s tour of the hinterland of Viroconium which for us was a particular highlight.  He led us to the highest point in the vast city and described the landscape – naming the hills and rocky outcrops around and also the building materials and mineral resources that were so close to hand – whilst a mixed herd of interested cows looked on. Only a fraction of the city has been excavated – the rest is now mostly under grassland. The fine mid 19th century model farm (located opposite the current visitor centre) is an increasingly rare survival.  It is good to hear that they have been preserved with the intention of forming a more fitting interpretation centre for the site.   

The afternoon found us at Atcham Memorial Hall (the village in which Attingham is situated) for a talk on the history and archaeology of Attingham Park. Atcham itself was a planned medieval town.  However, much of the original settlement was ‘lost’ when ‘improvements’ were made to the park which was the ancestral home of the Berwick family for over 160 years and where each generation has left its mark. The mansion is set in a magnificent deer park, substantially landscaped by Humphrey Repton. However, we were reminded that the park had its origins in an industrial landscape and evidence of this is etched onto the surface of the landscape.  Eamonn Baldwin spoke briefly about current archaeological work in the Deer Park.  He focussed on a Roman marching camp (an overnight camp with surrounding ditch thrown up as and when required) – which unusually showed signs of having been reused We enjoyed a guided walk through the deer park and viewed the environmental study centre, the walled gardens, conservatories and orchards which are under restoration. 

Since the programme was largely focussed outside Shrewsbury many participants (ourselves included) decided to stay over until Monday.  We particularly wanted to see the remains of the great Abbey church outside the city walls and also have a better opportunity to look at the strong defensive setting of the city in a loop the River Seven.  The great Benedictine Abbey Church of Saints Peter and Paul was  founded in 1083 by Roger de Montgomery, a relative of William the Conqueror – although it has Saxon origins.  It grew to become one of the most important and influential abbeys in Britain. After the relics of the Welsh Saint Winefride were brought to the Abbey from Wales in 1147 it became an important centre of pilgrimage.  The Abbey was granted its own charter and its Abbot was privileged to sit in the House of Lords. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Abbey was finally surrendered to the Crown in January 1540.  The town was allowed to keep the nave of the Abbey which had been a parish church – but most of the rest was destroyed and the stone robbed for other buildings – but nevertheless it is still impressive.

RAF Museum watchtower move

St George, London's leading mixed-use developer, and the Royal Air Force Museum, held on December 7th a turf cutting ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the relocation and refurbishment of the historic Grahame-White Watchtower building from Beaufort Park to the Museum’s site. 

The redundant Watchtower building, built in 1911, was once the centre piece of the aviation pioneer Claude Grahame-White’s aircraft factory in Hendon and was home to the birth of British aviation. Flying from Hendon ceased in the late 1960’s and since then, the Watchtower has fallen into disrepair and is to be renovated and relocated to the adjacent museum by St George.

Ross Faragher, Managing Director of award winning developers St George Central London commented: "Today we celebrate the first steps to relocate and refurbish the redundant Grahame-White Watchtower. This historic building is to be rejoined to the Grahame-White factory at The Royal Air Force Museum and is set to become an important learning resource reflecting the achievements of this early aviation pioneer and the history of the local area, for the benefit of the nation."  

Dr Fopp, Director General, Royal Air Force Museum commented: "Claude Grahame-White was one of the most important pioneers in British Aviation. The relocation of The Watchtower marks a continuing chapter of the Museum’s efforts to preserve the historic fabric of this cradle of aviation. It will provide a fitting tribute to him and the history of aviation in the local area.” 

CAMRA celebrates news of National Brewing Museum

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is delighted to announce their support for the opening of the National Brewery Centre in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, in 2010, after brewer Molson Coors UK reversed its decision to close the brewery site. Last summer, the Coors Visitor Centre, formerly the Bass Museum, closed its doors due to falling visitor numbers, despite opposition by CAMRA, Janet Dean MP, local and county councils, Burton Civic Society and Chamber of Commerce, and the local media. 

However, through the work of a Local Action Group, CAMRA is pleased that the Brewing Centre will now become a reality, and will retain key elements of the existing facilities to ensure the building’s historic aspects remain.

Nik Antona, CAMRA Director, and Burton branch spokesperson, said: 

‘It’s fantastic news that we will again have a brewing museum in this country, and a centre reflecting the brewing styles of the UK. This is something CAMRA has been campaigning strongly for over the past year. Having passed a motion at our national AGM to campaign to keep the museum open, we participated in a march through the town centre of Burton, as well as organising  a petition at our Burton Beer Festival last September. 

The plans for the Centre are very promising, and an official opening could be a real boost for the local Burton economy. As the capital of British brewing, this is exactly what the town deserves. This is especially promising for the White Shield Brewery, which is based on site. Having won CAMRA awards in the past, it will be great to see their quality recognised further in the public domain. Once again this is a really exciting development, and CAMRA is looking forward to working with all parties involved in the opening in order to promote real ale and celebrate one of Britain’s most historic industries." 

Other societies’ events                                                                                                                                              Eric Morgan

 

Weds 6th Jan: 8.00pm, Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society, Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St, Wealdstone.

40 years with Kodak by Tony Earl

 

Thurs 7th Jan: 7.30pm, London Canal Museum, 12=13 New Wharf Rd, Kings X, N1

Birmingham Canals – Past & Present by Eric Lewis. £3 (cons £2)

 

Thur 7th Jan: 8.00pm, Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner.

London’s Woodlands by Colin Bowlt . Visitors £2.

 

Mon 11th Jan: 2.30 for 3.00pm, Barnet & Local History Society, Church House, Wood St, Barnet, (opposite museum).

Hospital & Quarantine Ships on the River Thames by Dr Ian Johnston

 

Weds 13th Jan: 8.00pm, Mill Hill Historical Society, The Wilberforce Centre, St Paul’s Church, The Ridgeway NW7.

Newspaper Printing by Martin Bourn

 

Weds 13th Jan: 7.45pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Corner of Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park, N8.

History of Crouch End & Hornsey by Steven Denford. Visitors £1.

 

Fri 15th Jan: 7.30pm, Wembley Historical Society, St Andrews Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury NW9.

The History of the Welsh Harp by Mr Leslie Williams. Visitors £1

 

Weds 20th Jan: 8.00pm Islington Archaeological Society, Islington Town Hall, Upper St, N1.

Islington’s ‘Baby Farm’ by Joan Lock.

 

Thur 21st Jan: 7.30pm, Camden History Society, Charlie Ratchford Centre, Belmont Street, NW1

From Hatton Garden to Hampstead – Buildings of the Royal Free by Neil McIntyre.

 

Thur 21st Jan: 8.00pm, Enfield Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/junction Chase Side, Enfield.

Enfield’s Industrial Heritage by Stephen Gilburt.

 

        Sun 24th: 11.00am-1.00pm  Battle of Barnet Guided Walk, meet at the junction of Great North Rd/Hadley Green Rd.

Led by Paul Baker – cost £7.

 

Weds 27th Jan: 7.45pm, Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, St John’s Hall (next Whetstone Police stn), Friern Barnet Lane, N20. 50 Years in Estate Agency by Barry Carmody. £2

 

Fri 29th Jan: 7.45 SAHAAS, College of Law, University of Herts, Hatfield Rd Campus, St Albans.

The Second Battle of St Albans, 17th February 1461 by Dr Peter Burley

 

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