HADAS DIARY - Forthcoming Lectures and Events in 2010 / 11


An important date for your diaries.                                               By Don Cooper 

Tuesday 8th June 2010

The HADAS annual general meeting (AGM) takes place at Avenue House at 8 pm.

This is member’s opportunity to hear what your Society has been doing and what it intends to do in the coming year as well as being your chance to make suggestions, ask questions and contribute to the running of your society.  Last year’s AGM was poorly attended but we are hoping that more members will come along this year to show support and appreciation for the hard work your volunteer committee does on your behalf.  Do come along – I look forward to seeing you there. 

Forthcoming Lectures 

Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, and start promptly at 8 pm. Nearest tube station is Finchley Central. Non-members: £1. Coffee, tea and biscuits available.  Buses 82, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by. 

Tuesday 11th May: John Johnson. 'Death on the (Graeco-Roman) Nile’ examines some of the cultural, religious and literary influences which impacted upon the funerary beliefs and practices of those living in Egypt from the time of Alexander the Great’s arrival in 332 BC until the close of the Second Century AD. This heavily illustrated lecture presents evidence from throughout Egypt as it considers the conservative nature of Egyptian religious belief against the backdrop of an increasingly multi-cultural society which developed as a result of Alexandria’s pre-eminent position in the Mediterranean world. 

John J. Johnston read Egyptology and Classics at the University of Liverpool and Open University, respectively. He obtained an MA in Egyptian Archaeology from University College London (UCL), where he is currently reading for a PhD.   John is a Trustee of the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) and a Committee Member of the Friends of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, where he contributes to a wide variety of projects and events.

 Sunday July 11th - Outing to Down House in Kent, the home of Charles Darwin 

Saturday 28 August - Wednesday 1 September, HADAS long weekend in Norwich 

Tue. 12th Oct.    Behind the scenes on Time Team – Raksha Dave. NB. The new series (13 episodes) of Channel 4’s Time Team began on Sun. 18th April at 5.30 pm. 

Tue 9th Nov.   Archaeology and the Olympics – David Divers, English Heritage 

Tue 11th Jan.  2011:   Science as a tool to help understand London’s archaeology - Jane Siddel, English Heritage 

Tue. 8th Feb.  2011:     The Roman wooden water pump – an ingenious machine –  Richard Stein, MA, PhD, FCA 

Local News:

Local Studies and Archives.                                            Peter Pickering / Don Cooper

HADAS and the other societies concerned with local history have recently been worried about the future of the Local Studies and Archives Centre currently located at 80 Daws Lane, Mill Hill.  Barnet Council have decided that the building was going to become surplus to requirements, and the Centre would therefore have to be relocated. A meeting was held in February, following which our Chairman, Don Cooper, wrote to Councillor Rams (the Cabinet Member for Investment in Learning) expressing concern over the proposal and asking to be reassured that the service, facilities and space at the new location will not in any way be reduced or inferior to those provided at present. He pointed out that the local studies centre serves as a focus for local societies involved in preserving the heritage and archaeology of the Borough, those researching its history, and Family History organisations providing genealogical service to the residents of the borough, as well as the tasks it carries out as the official Barnet Archive on behalf of the council etc.  In his reply Councillor Rams reassured us that the Council remains committed to providing a strong, developing Local Studies service with the input of local history societies and groups much appreciated. 

The Council aims to provide an accessible service to all customers and local groups, with some reduction in spending in the present challenging financial context. They are exploring the potential to integrate the service into a library, probably Hendon Library. Their intention is to provide a Local Studies service point supported by the Local Studies staff, with assistance from Library staff and to have direct access to as much of the most frequently consulted Local Studies material as can be accommodated and administered, alongside a longer-term plan to digitise more materials. Sharing duty with Library Staff will free the Local Studies staff from some of the most common local studies inquiries, thus allowing them to spend more time on specialised local studies work. The general facilities at a library are likely to be superior to those at Daws Lane, including better lighting, refreshment facilities, pay photocopiers, greater numbers of public computers, and Wi-Fi access for visitors and supporting book and non-book material. Moving these services into a Library would improve access - Hendon Library is, for example, open seven days a week, and until 8pm on three of those days.  Although Local Studies staff would not be present all that time, it gives greater flexibility to the service and some level of access could perhaps be provided when the Local Studies team are not working.

HADAS and the other societies will monitor developments closely and will hold the Council to its assurances. One beneficial outcome from this worrying business is the closer co-operation of the concerned societies in the borough.

Jewish Museum - is now open after a major transformation project. Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, London NW1 7NB. Tel: 020 7284 7384. The collection includes a mikvah, a medieval ritual bath, one of the most important archaeological finds relating to Anglo-Jewry, excavated in 2001 in Milk Street in the City of London.

St Andrew’s Old Church – Heritage and Cultural Centre, Old Church Lane, Kingsbury, London, London, NW9 8RU.  Drama Workshop are planning for their future and want to hear from interested parties as they develop activities such as storytelling linked to its heritage as the oldest building in Brent. Contact Kaye James at: Drama Workhouse, PO Box 957, Wembley HA0 9EZ

Conferences / Study Days 

Thu. 20th – Fri 21st May. University College London, Institute of Archaeology. 31-34 Gordon Sq. London, WC1. Wrapping and unwrapping the body. Global and multi-period coverage of this topic, including practical demonstration, at Petrie Museum. Free to attend but book in advance: Email and/or further details at

University of London Study Days:  Hughes-Parry Hall (The Garden Halls), 19-26 Cartwright Gardens, Bloomsbury, London, WC1. Both days are aimed at adults.

Tut-ankh-amun on Saturday 29 May 2010: 11am - 5pm. Costs £35.00 incl. refreshments. Booking and payment before 10th May.

Forensic aspects of ancient Egypt. Sat. 19 June 2010: 11am - 5pm. Cost £30.00 incl. refreshments. Booking & payment before 2nd June.  Those of secondary school age need permission from the Organizer.  Posters & application forms available at  - follow link to Events or send application and payment by cheque (made out to Joyce Filer) with name/address/phone no./email & SAE to Joyce Filer. 4 Lowndes Court, London, W1F 7HE

 Lecture Report                                                         Andy Simpson / John Chapman 

The May lecture on ‘The GWR (Great Western Railway) Comes to the Thames Valley’ was given by Berkshire-based local historian and archaeologist John Chapman, who has kindly provided the lecture summary below. (Slightly shortened for space reasons) This was an excellent talk, illustrated with some fascinating nineteenth century illustrations, including early photos of the 1840s/50s, and was much enjoyed by the audience, prompting a number of questions at the end.  

Before the coming of the railways the ability to carry people and goods over long distances was strictly limited. Heavy goods were hauled in huge lumbering carts by teams of up to a dozen horses and you had to be fairly well off to have a carriage. Also the state of the roads was worse than awful. Things improved with the turnpikes and stage coaches provided some sort of public transport system. Canals were developed to carry heavy goods. 

The GWR was conceived by merchants in Bristol as a short cut in a journey from New York to London, and the first Bill was proposed in 1824 as a railway with a corresponding turnpike to collect passengers between stations and just off the route. Although it was fully subscribed the proposal failed. A new bill was promoted in 1833 when Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed as Engineer - this included a line through Windsor, Newbury and Devizes with some very long tunnels but it was strenuously opposed by landowners, the canal companies and Eton College, who were concerned about its effect on the behaviour of its pupils. The name Great Western Railway was proposed but - as a member of the House of Lords observed - it was neither Great, nor Western or even a railway.  The route was resurveyed by Brunel to run via Southall, Didcot and Chippenham and most of the tunnels were replaced by cuttings. Brunel achieved a most remarkable mathematical feat in his calculations which gave an almost level railway with only a few hundred tons of spoil left over.


The new Bill received Royal Assent in 1835 and gave the railway the right to compulsorily purchase land. Brunel hired many teams of contractors and each set to build their bit of the railway. The British contractors devised methods which were so efficient that over the next 50 years or so they were hired to build railways all over the world - local contractors just could not compete.  Brunel designed every last detail - even down to his own special screws. He had a standard range of buildings and bridges which could be readily adapted to local situations, but his attempts to design and specify locomotives was a disaster - about 20 years behind the times - and he employed the young Daniel Gooch as his locomotive engineer.  The first section of line from London to Maidenhead (actually Taplow) was opened on 4th June 1838, but the locomotives Brunel had ordered were so dreadful they were unable to keep to the timetable and Gooch had to do a vast amount of work to keep two or three locomotives operational and eventually designed his own Firefly Class of fast-running 2-2-2 tender engines which were immensely successful.  The Thames at Maidenhead posed a real problem as the river authorities required that river traffic must be unimpeded - Brunel’s standard designs were of no use so he designed a brand new bridge with shallow brick arches - everyone said it would fall down - but it didn't and is still there today.


The tunnels on either side of Reading were replaced by deep cuttings at Sonning and Purley and the line to Steventon opened on 1st June 1840 and later a branch from Didcot to Oxford was constructed.  At the same time construction had started from the Bristol end and the line to Bath was opened on 31st August 1840, Chippenham was reached from Steventon on the 31st May 1841 and on June 30th when Box tunnel was completed it became possible to traverse the whole route from Bristol to London. Branches were built to Windsor, Oxford and Newbury and then to Cheltenham and under the direction of Charles Russell a thriving business was established which saw off most of the canals. Expansion to Penzance, Birkenhead and Fishguard followed and soon they had a very comprehensive travel business which eventually got into hotels, steamships, package holidays, buses and aeroplanes.


Initially the first station from Paddington was West Drayton but the Enclosure Acts had allowed the building of estates on the fringes of London and the railway built stations to serve them. A deal was done with the North London Railway to provide a link from Acton to London Docks and with the Metropolitan Railway to link to the markets at Smithfield and Covent Garden and to the City of London.  At first, rolling stock was based either on stage coaches or farmers' carts but an accident in Sonning cutting on Christmas Eve 1841 (killing 8 and severely injuring another 17), caused the Board of Trade to begin to take rail safety seriously. Signalling had been a matter of hand signals but it was so obviously inadequate that other methods had to be devised and GWR introduced a simple ball and crossbar system. 


The GWR ran to a ‘Broad’ gauge of seven feet which enabled trains to be much bigger, faster and more stable, but the rest of the country were adopting Stephenson's standard gauge of 4ft 8½ inches. The Manchester and Southampton Railway got the right to build a standard gauge line in 1844 which meant that the GWR from Birmingham to Basingstoke had to have dual gauge track. These complications became so uneconomic that finally the GWR gave way and the last Broad Gauge train ran from Paddington to the West Country in May 1892. (The 2009 HADAS long weekend allowed us to view the replica Broad Gauge line and train at Didcot Railway Centre, hauled by a new-build ‘Firefly’ class engine – Ed.)  In the early 1850s there was a take-over bid by interests in South Wales and the Midlands and Brunel was sacked after the railway ran into severe financial difficulties. He turned his hand to building Steam Ships and died on September 15th 1859. Daniel Gooch bought Brunel's Great Eastern and pioneered laying transoceanic cables to link the Empire. He became an MP and was very wealthy and long-lived. 


Exhibitions:          Church Farm House Museum, Hendon         

 DREAMS OF FLIGHT: Hendon Aerodrome 1910- 1925                 Gerrard Roots 

7 April - 9 May 2010. The exhibition includes material from London Borough of Barnet’s Archives and the archives of the Royal Aero Club and marks the centenary of the French aviator Louis Paulhan’s victory in the London to Manchester Air Race of 1910. Paulhan took off from Hendon and landed in Manchester some 12 hours later, so easily winning the Daily Mail newspaper’s prize of £10,000 for anyone flying the distance in under 24 hours.


Hendon has long had an important place in the history of aeronautics. Manned balloons flew in the area from the 1860s onwards, and a non-rigid airship took off from Hendon in 1909 to drop suffragette leaflets over the Houses of Parliament. The first Hendon Aerodrome was built in Colindale in 1909 by Everitt and Edgecumbe, and when this was taken over by Claude Grahame-White in 1910, flying at Hendon quite literally ‘took off’. Grahame-White’s flying school was successful - it even, with some reluctance, trained women as pilots - but after 1911 his ‘Aerial Derbies’, in which planes flew over London, starting and finishing at Hendon, were even more profitable. 45,000 spectators attended the 1912 Aerial Derby, and by 1914 Hendon was as much a part of the Social Circuit as Royal Ascot or Cowes.


Grahame-White was an advocate of the importance of military aviation, and during World War I he placed London Aerodrome (as it was now known) at the disposal of the government, who used it to train pilots for the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, and to test new military planes. (The first bombing raid from Britain took off from Hendon in 1917.)  The War saw a massive increase in the manufacture of aircraft at Hendon:  Grahame-White’s own factory employed 3500 men by 1918, and there were other major factories nearby such as Airco and Handley Page. After WWI the demand for aircraft fell, and Grahame-White’s factory turned to making cars and furniture instead. The aerial displays started up again in 1919, with a Victory Derby, but Hendon was soon deemed inadequate for the faster new planes and in 1923 the Derbies were moved to Croydon. In 1922 the Air Ministry requisitioned London Aerodrome and, after a bitter legal battle, Grahame-White pulled out of Hendon in 1925. However, his name is commemorated by the Grahame Park Estate, which occupies much of the old aerodrome site; nearby still stands ‘Aeroville’, the ‘model’ cottages that Grahame-White (an enlightened employer) built for his factory workers; and the Royal Airforce Museum incorporates some of Grahame-White’s factory buildings. Flying at Hendon may have long ceased, but all around us are reminders of Hendon’s fascinating aeronautical past.


Membership Matters                                                            Stephen Brunning 

Many thanks to everyone who has already paid their subscriptions for this year.  As the newsletter went to press, well over half of our members who pay by cheque have done so.  Having the money by 5th April means we can claim Gift Aid this year for those people who have signed the declaration form.  If you intend to pay by cheque this year and have not renewed, I would be grateful if you could do so as soon as possible.  To request a Renewal or Gift Aid form, please contact me (details on back page).  Thank you.  We extend a warm welcome to new members who have joined HADAS recently, Paul Jackson, Susan Gordon and Alan Slade.


Media – TV & Cinema 

Channel 4’s new series of Time Team began on Sunday 18 April, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm Episodes 1 and 2 were based on Westminster Abbey and Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. The next episode on 2nd May features Piercebridge but the following list of sites may not be broadcast in this order since it has been obtained from the unofficial Time Team website: Sutton Courtenay (Oxon), Hopton Castle (Shropshire), Cunetio (Mildenhall, Wilts), Tregruk Castle (Wales), Burford Priory (Oxon), Governor’s Green (Portsmouth), Norman Cross (Cambs), Litlington (Cambs.), Dinmore Hill (Herefordshire), Bedford, Purlies Wood (near Peterborough). 

Agora, a new Roman epic film – released 23rd April - stars Rachel Weisz as Hypatia of Alexandria, an astronomer-philosopher and Max Minghella as her slave Davus. 


Other Societies’ Lectures and events                Eric Morgan / Sue Willetts


Sun. 2nd May, 2pm. Enfield Arch. Society.  Theobalds Lane, Theobalds Palace, Cedars Park, Cheshunt. History tour led by Mike Dewbrey. Meet outside the Tearooms in the Park. No booking required.


Mon. 3rd May – Fri. 14th May  10.30, Tues. 4th – Fri. 14th May.  Barnet Borough Arts Council. South Friern Library, Colney Hatch Lane, N10.  Spring Art Exhibition and Information stalls – including HADAS.  Mon. 3rd May  10.30, Tues - Sat 10am – 5pm (closed 1 - 2pm) & Wed 10am – 8pm.


Mon.  3rd May, 10.30 am – 5.00 pm. Harrow Museum. Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. Medieval May Day including Morris Men, Falconry, Maypole dancing and craft stalls. Small entry fee.


Tues. 4th  May 6.15-8.15 pm Highgate Society. Summer Walk. The ecology and history of Highgate Wood (site of a Roman pottery kiln). Information Hut near Café, Led by Michael Hammerson, HADAS member.  £5.00


Thur. 6th May, 1.15 pm. British Museum, Stevenson Lecture Theatre.  Calleva (Silchester): facing up to Rome, Prof. Michael Fulford.  Free, booking advised. (book online or phone 020 7323 8181 or Ticket Desk in BM,10.00 to 16.45 daily).


Fri. 7th May, 10.30 am. Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries. South Friern Library. Colney Hatch Lane, N10. Talk: Southgate before World War I.


Sun. 9th May, 2.30 pm. Historical High Barnet. Guided walk Through 1,000 years led by Paul Baker. Meet outside Barnet College, Wood Street. £7.00


Tues. 11th May, 6.30 pm London & Middlesex Archaeological Society. Clore Learning Centre at the Museum of London, London EC2Y 5HN at 6:30pm. Refreshments from 6 pm. Open to all: members may bring guests, and non-members welcome. Life in London’s Eastern Suburb c.1550-1700, Philip Baker, Senior Research Officer, Centre for Metropolitan History, University of London

Thurs. 13th May, 1.15 pm.  British Museum, Stevenson Lecture Theatre. Vindolanda writing tablets, Prof. Alan Bowman.  Book tickets online etc, - see May 6th.

Fri. 14th May, 8.00 pm.  Enfield Archaeology Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield.  The Rose Theatre. New Developments, Harvey Sheldon (HADAS President). Doors open 7.30p.m. Visitors £1.00. Refreshments available.

Sat. 15th May, 6.00 – 8.00 pm  Clore Learning Centre at Discover Greenwich, the Old Royal Naval College. The Archaeology of the Roman Temple in Greenwich Park, Harvey Sheldon. Tickets cost £20.00 (no concessions). Book tickets or call 020 8853 7037 or 020 8853 7034

Sun. 16th May – Sun. 23rd, Barnet Borough Arts Council. The Spires, High St, Barnet,  Spring Art exhibition and Information stalls,  including. HADAS.

Phone 0208 445 8388 for opening times.

Sun. 16th May, 2.30 pm. Guided walk around Georgian Monken Hadley led by Paul Barker. (2 hours)  Meet outside The Spires, High Street, Barnet. £7.00.

Tue. 18th May, 7.00 pm. London Archaeologist. Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. Annual lecture & General Meeting. New light on London’s Shakespearean Playhouses. Julian Bowsher. Refreshments from 6.30 pm.

Wed. 19th May, 10.30 am. Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries Friern Barnet Library Rd, N11. A peep at Barnet postcards. Talk.

Wed. 19th May, 8.00 pm.  Islington Archaeology & History Soc. Islington Town Hall, Upper St, N1.  St. Pancras on Time. Lester Hillman.

Fri. 21st May, 7.00 – 8.00 pm.  COLAS, St Olaves Hall, Mark Lane EC3. Near Fenchurch St (BR) station. Doors open 6.30pm. Copped Hall Excavations. Christina Holloway MoLA / West Essex Archaeology Group.  Visitors £2.00. Refreshments after. NB HADAS helped WEAG with resistivity & surveying.

Fri. 21st May, 7.30 pm. Wembley History Society. St. Andrew’s Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury, NW9. The Air-Co Rag. Talk by  Malcolm Barres-Baker (Archivist) on the Aircraft Manufacturing Co’s magazine (1917-20) incl. artwork

Wed. 26th May, 8.00 pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. St. John’s Church Hall, Friern Barnet Lane. 100 Years of the Phoenix Cinema by Gerry Turvey. (Preceded by AGM)  £2.00, free refreshments 7.45 pm and afterwards.

Wed 26th May, 7.00 pm. St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, SW1. A Tudor body in Georgian clothes. Update on archaeological findings at Westminster. Talk by Warwick Rodwell + music by Cecilia Osmond & Robert Quinney.  £15 incl. wine. Buy tickets online or from Abbey Shop or Chapter Office in Dean’s Yard.  Proceeds to Church Appeal Fund. Tel: 020 7654 4963

Thurs. 27th May, 8.00 pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Rd, N3. Long Lane Pasture. Talk by Ann Brown. Non-members £2.

Mon 31st May, 10.30 am – 4.00 pm. Kingsbury Open Day. St.Andrews Church (see p.3) HADAS helped on a dig here with Andy Agate. Stalls e.g. Wembley History Soc.

Thurs. 3rd June. 1.15 pm. British Museum, Stevenson Lecture Theatre. Hordes and hoards in Roman Britain, Dr. Andrew Burnett. Booking as for 6th May. Also Roman Society 100th Anniversary.  A celebration will feature the Legio II Augusta