newsletter-480-March-2011

 No. 480                                                          MARCH 2011                                     Edited by Deirdre Barrie

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MORE ON THE FUTURE OF BARNET’S MUSEUMS 

 

The January 2011 Newsletter broke the dire news that Barnet Council propose to withdraw funding to operate Church Farmhouse Museum and support Barnet Museum, taking effect from 1st April 2011. 

HADAS are considering taking over Church Farmhouse Museum from Barnet Council, and running it as a Community-operated museum, with the aid of volunteers. Don Cooper, as Chairman of HADAS, wrote the following discussion document to Barnet Council in response to their withdrawing funding from the Museum.

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Discussion document for Church Farmhouse Museum – Jan 2011

 

1.     Purpose of this document

 

This document is prepared in order to present a case to the London Borough of Barnet Council (LBBC) to allow the Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) with help from the Friends of Church Farmhouse Museum (FCFM) to take over from Barnet Council the Grade II * listed Church Farmhouse and its grounds, in order to continue running Church Farmhouse as a Community-operated museum with the aid of volunteers and to expand its range of activities so as to provide a valuable service to the local community. The building is 350 years old and was a working farmhouse until the 1930s. It is the biggest exhibit of the museum, providing the context for the artefacts which it contains and for the educational activities that take place both within the building and in the grounds.

This document is a discussion document only and represents an example proposal. Any potential or actual agreement would have to be approved by the HADAS and FCFM membership.

 

2.   Background

 

The London Borough of Barnet (LBB) produced a “Museum Consultation” document on 17th December 2010 (see Appendix A). This document set out the criteria for consultation for the following proposition:

“The Council proposes that funding to operate Church Farmhouse Museum and support Barnet Museum is withdrawn, taking effect from 1st April 2011.”

In summary the Council’s reasons for this proposal are:

i. The severe funding restrictions they have over the coming years

ii.      The high cost in financial terms of each visitor to the museum.

The consultation document allowed for other options for the future of Church Farmhouse Museum to be presented, hence this proposal.

 

 

3.   Partner Details

 

a.   The Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS).

 

HADAS is a registered charity (charity register no. 269948) with approximately 200 members by subscription. It is in its 50th year having been founded in 1961 by Themistocles Constantinides, with the then specific objective of finding by excavation the Saxon origins of Hendon. Over the years it has expanded its remit (a) to cover the whole of the LBB and (b) its scope to include training and education, as well as running community projects for both schools and adults. It is a financially-sound local society.

HADAS’s relationship with Church Farmhouse Museum is long standing. From its first exhibition, of many, there in 1963 to many excavations with the participation of local schools in the museum grounds, HADAS has supported the museum. The HADAS-owned Moxon collection is stored there and HADAS has sponsored a permanent display case. HADAS has a long list of publications on local history and archaeology to its name. It runs a winter series of lectures, outings to places of interest in the summer including a long week-end, as well as running excavations on local sites with pupils from nearby schools and adult volunteers.

 

b.   The Friends of Church Farmhouse Museum

FCFM is a registered charity (no. 1031227) with approximately 116 members by annual subscription. It has constitution and elected committee. FCFM was formed in 1993 with the express purpose of raising awareness of Church Farmhouse Museum, promoting the museum’s activities and events, fundraising for the museum, providing practical assistance in the operation of the museum and the collection and preservation of artefacts for the museum’s collection and displays. FCFM is financially sound.

 

4.   Proposed method of operation

 

HADAS and FCFM would provide volunteers to man the museum to an agreed schedule of opening hours. From the resources of the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC) and HADAS, artefacts representing Barnet’s past would be displayed in an upstairs room. These artefacts would be inter alia from the Roman site at Brockley Hill and elsewhere in the borough, as well as Mesolithic flints from Hampstead Heath and historical items from local excavations.

HADAS would move its education course and stores from Avenue House to Church Farmhouse which would contribute £4385pa to the running costs of the museum. We would expand the range of adult education courses to cover those in the heritage, culture, leisure and allied areas which are no longer provided by either Barnet or Birkbeck colleges. Courses which attract between 10 and 20 adult students have become increasingly difficult to house whether run by the WEA, U3A or other local societies. By closing the current museum shop and converting that space into a meeting room with appropriate facilities local community organisations could use it for meetings and/or lectures. The cost of adult “leisure” courses has spiralled following the withdrawal of subsidies. For example, the equivalent course, currently run by HADAS for £275 per person, costs £600 at Birkbeck College. HADAS’s course expenses include a space cost of £21.60 per hour. The course is tutored by the same lecturer.

HADAS and FCFM would create a new trust and apply for charitable status. As a registered charity, the new trust would be able to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a grant to bring the building up to an appropriate standard consistent with its status as a Grade II* listed building which was considered by Pevsner and the Victoria County History to be of significant importance (see Appendix B). 

The grounds contain an 11th century ditch running approximately parallel to St Mary’s Church boundary; artefacts from the excavation of the ditch so far would be displayed in the museum.

 

HADAS expect that the ongoing costs of running the museum following negotiations to be about £15,000 per annum.

A warranty would be required from LBB that the building in its present state met all relevant standards and was fit for purpose.

HADAS would be prepared to provide up to £10,000 towards the initial setting up of this proposal. FCFM and HADAS would run funding raising events at the museum to support this proposal and would solicit support from local enterprises.

 

5.   Services to local schools

 

HADAS runs courses in practical archaeology with local schools in conjunction with University College London’s archaeology department, which include running excavations for year 8 and 9 pupils both in the grounds of CFM and well as on their own playing fields. These excavations are well established having been run, for instance, with Hendon School for the last six years. Finds from these excavations would be displayed in the museum. Tours of the museum and talks on local history and archaeology would be provided to local schools. The trust would seek to establish a partnership with LBB’s Local Studies and Archives team to allow LBB staff to use the building for educational outreach work.

 

6.   Conclusion

 

HADAS would like to initiate discussions with LBB with the objective of  ensuring the Church Farmhouse Museum continues to serve the local community as a museum housed as it is in an architecturally special and historical  Grade II* listed building.

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There are two main issues to be considered, if this option were accepted by the Council:

 

1.  Would members be prepared to commit to act as volunteers for, say, one day a month?

 

2.  We would need to raise, by activities, about £15,000 per annum towards the running costs of the building.

 

Would members be willing to organise and take part in fund raising events?

Please give this some thought and we will canvass opinion before a final decision takes place.

 

 

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HADAS DIARY - Forthcoming Lectures and Events in 2011

 

The winter lecture series takes place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Nearest tube Finchley Central. Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby. Lectures start promptly at 8 pm, non-members welcome - £1 donation please, coffee or tea available.

 

Tuesday 8th March 2011 - The Archaeology of Baldock - lecture by Keith J Fitzpatrick-Matthews (Archaeology Officer, North Hertfordshire DC)

 

Baldock is arguably the first urban settlement in Britain. Dating from the early first century BC, it became a thriving Roman small town and survived the collapse of Roman rule before being abandoned in the sixth century  AD.  Its most remarkable feature is the number and range of cemeteries so far discovered,  of which

twenty-two have been excavated in part or completely, with over two thousand burials recorded. They range

 

from very high status Iron Age 'chieftain's' burials to those of very poor individuals with appallingly low life

expectation. Other evidence from the town suggests that it was the centre of an important religious cult, attracting visitors, who may occasionally have deposited the ashes of deceased relatives in its cemeteries.

 

Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews graduated from Lancaster University in 1980. His first paid work was on the excavations carried out by Gil Burleigh at Baldock in the 1980s, where numerous Iron Age and Roman burials

were excavated in advance of building work. Leaving North Hertfordshire for Chester in 1990, he went on to establish the degree in archaeology at the University of Chester, and began excavations at the city's amphitheatre in 2000. In 2004, he returned to North Herts, where he has been editing the reports of Gil Burleigh's excavations for publication.

 

Tuesday 12th April - Bomb Damage in London and Middlesex - Dr Robin Woolven

 

Tuesday 10th May 2011 - The Markfield Beam Engine – the influence of effluence - Ken Brereton

 

Tuesday 11th October 2011 - Silchester: The Revelation of an Iron Age and Roman City - Dr John Creighton

 

Tuesday 8th November 2011 - The Thames Discovery Programme - Nathalie Cohen:

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Jane Sidell: Archaeological Science and London’s Archaeology                       Sigrid Padel

Science as a tool to help understand London’s archaeology.

 

 

In this January lecture Jane Sidell set out to deal with two questions: what is archaeological science, and what is its contribution to the interpretation of archaeological sites?

To answer the first, Jane gave a brief overview of scientific techniques used in archaeology at the moment.

 

Human osteology is probably the most popular: it provides fundamental information about sex, age, possible disease and the cause of death of individuals.  Even methods of medical procedure can sometimes be detected. A spectacular example is a trepanned skull fragment from about 1500 BC found on the Chelsea foreshore, which showed signs of bone tissue formed after the operation, indicating survival of the patient. More recently stable isotope examination of dental material is contributing exciting data on diet and possible origin. These techniques have in fact proved more useful than the investigation of DNA. 

 

Dating: several methods are in common use. Dendrochronology is very useful, but depends on the availability of tables specific to the area of origin. It goes hand in hand with radiocarbon dating methods. Today much use is made of optically stimulated thermo-luminescence dating, which gives dates as far back as 750,000 years ago.  (Jane also mentioned thermal dating which is rather less reliable, because it only tells us when an object was last exposed to heat, which may be different from its date of manufacture.)

 

Conservation: used both in the field and laboratory, it makes possible the investigation and identification of objects. It can also provide data on materials and techniques used in the manufacture of artefacts.

Geophysics: Jane did not enlarge on this as it is well known to and used by members of HADAS.

Environmental archaeology: Jane’s hobbyhorse. In her case, as often, it began with an interest in food. It has many aspects, from looking at evidence in context to its landscape at the time of deposition, investigation of pollen, diatoms, plant fossils and water supply (often neglected).  Jane also stressed the importance of zooarchaeology. It concentrates on anything from the use and manipulation of animals to the presence of insects. The latter can provide good dating evidence because they tend to be climate and food supply specific.

Ancient technology: looking at materials and manufacturing processes and use.

 

Part two of the lecture dealt with the application of some of these methods on specific sites in and around London.

Erith is a salt marsh on the Thames estuary east of London, where remains of a large prehistoric forest are visible at low tide. First commented on by Spurrell in 1889, they have been investigated over several seasons since 1998. Two distinctly different types of forest have been identified. Labelled “Upper and Lower Exposure” it has been possible to date these to 990-790 cal BC and 3800-1700 cal BC respectively. The older levels showed a surprising prevalence of yew trees, whereas the later consisted of a greater variety of deciduous forest.

Dendrochronology has played a huge part in the dating and interpretation of the London waterfront, indicating type of wood, its origin and use and how timber was often recycled. At best this technique can establish the dates when the trees in question were felled to within six months in any year. An example is Bull Wharf, where dating has been very comprehensive and accurate.

Comprehensive use of all available techniques of the 10,516 human bodies from St. Mary Spital has produced a wealth of information on social conditions, epidemics, possible famine and various types of disease and the timing and phasing of these.

This lecture provided a fascinating overview of a huge area of archaeological investigation. Jane emphasised that the targets of investigation in archaeology are constantly changing.  Science in archaeology has opened the way to answering new and different questions. She ended by stating that in the end the most important thing is that we ask the right questions.

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Membership Renewal   - by  Stephen Brunning, Membership Secretary

 

The HADAS membership year runs from 1st April, so all memberships are now due for renewal apart from those new members who have joined since January this year.  I have enclosed a renewal form for those people who pay by cheque, and would ask that you return the form to me along with your remittance for the

appropriate amount.  The rates remain unchanged.   

Anyone who thinks they should have had a membership renewal form or Standing Order form but hasn't received one, anyone who wants to make their membership under Gift Aid and hasn't already done so, or anyone who has any question at all about their membership, please contact me. (contact details on back page)

 

Many thanks.

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COLESHILL ESTATE                                                                                                               Brian Warren

 

I was interested to read in the January Newsletter about the non-invasive survey proposed for Coleshill Estate. When I was a local volunteer for the National Trust in the Thames and Chilterns Region, by way of a thank you, volunteers were invited once a year to attend a day at one of their properties. The day involved a summary of the regions activities and a visit to a NT property. On the 19th July 1998 I was one of the group to visit Coleshill and in the afternoon Alfreds Castle.


Coleshill House was an ideal place to become the headquarters of the Auxiliary Units, as it was isolated and had extensive, secluded grounds and parkland. The Auxiliaries were mobilised from people often in reserved occupations like farmers, foresters and gamekeepers, who had a detailed knowledge of the local countryside. The leader of each Auxiliary Unit team would be trained by the nucleus of training officers and instructors over a long weekend at Coleshill. They would be trained in destruction, reconnaissance survival skills, silent killing and how to move about the countryside undetected by day or night. On the completion of the course they would return to their daily occupation, and recruit and train their group of eight men.

 

At Coleshill there was the prototype of all the secret underground hides of Operational Bases. On our visit we went into the only one that had been discovered at that time. We were told they had possibly located a further two, but it was believed there had been seven structures, so well-hidden were the others. At this distance in time two things stand out: one was the very tall hollow tree, which acted as a chimney, to carry the smoke and smells high up into the canopy of the encircling trees. The other was the escape route from the underground base, via a trench which led to a ditch that enabled the Auxiliaries to leave along a ditch at the edge of a large field. We were shown the secret trapdoor and the entrance via a ladder down a vertical shaft, where we viewed the rooms.

 

There were over 2,000 OBs, each manned by eight saboteurs. Had we been invaded, they would have gone to earth, only to resurface when the enemy was established in their area. The Auxiliary Units were so secret that it was only many years after the end of the War that their organisation become common knowledge.

 

Source:- Thames and Chilterns Region Newsletter, No. 5, January 1999. Clandestine Coleshill by Keith Blaxhall, Ashdown Park Estate Office.

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TIME TEAM 2011

 

Would you like to work for “Time Team“? Present vacancies include Past Preservers: Casting for Time Team – Various Opportunities including a Presenter/Co-host & an Archaeologist. Also, a Landscape Archaeologist & a Computing Archaeologist for occasional contributions. See the website:

 http://www.le.ac.uk/ms/jobs/full_job_descriptions/28009.htm . The unofficial Time Team website [lists forthcoming programmes of the series for 2011. http://www.timeteam.k1z.com/].  Still to come are:

 
Furnace in the Forest 6th Mar - Derwentcote, Co Durham
Under the Gravestones 13th Mar - Castor, Cambs
House of the White Queen 20th Mar – Groby Hall, Leics
Cannons v Castles 27th Mar – Mont Orgueil, Jersey
Mystery of the Manor Moat 3rd Apr – Llancaiach Fawr, S Wales
Search for the Doomesday Mill 10th Apr – Buck Mill, Somerset
Rooting for the Romans 17th Apr – Bedford Purlieus Wood, Cambs
Castle of the Saxon Kings 24th Apr – Bamburgh, Northumberland
Looking Underground 1st May – Geophysics Compilation
Hunters to Hearths 8th May – “The way we lived” compilation

 

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Hephzibah – a twist in the tale                                                                                                      Jim Nelhams

 

In previous newsletters, I have charted our hunt to locate Jo’s Great Half-Auntie Hephzibah, born Hephzibah Willows in Coton, near Cambridge in 1842. In the October 2010 newsletter, I reported that during a visit to Australia in February 2010, we had stayed with Hephzibah’s Great Grandson, Norman Dyer, and found that his cousin Duncan had a photograph of Hephzibah. Also that the niece we had hoped to visit near Sydney was actually with her mother in Ealing when we got to Oz, though we did visit her sister in the US Virgin Islands on our way home..

 

Hephzibah’s daughter Ethel had become the second wife of a gentleman named Jesse Dyer, who had both a citrus fruit farm at Gosford, north of Sydney, and a shop near Sydney harbour selling goods and provisions to the boats there.

 

While visiting Norman, we found that he had no information about Jesse’s origins, so I promised to follow this up when we returned to England.

Having looked at the census and emigration records, there was one possible candidate, born in Crawley, Oxfordshire, just north of Witney, in 1853, the son of a farmer. In the 1861, he is with his family, and in 1871, he is an apprentice grocer in Witney. After 1871, he did not show on any census records. It sounded promising.

 

I ordered a copy of Jesse’s death certificate on the internet. This provided lots of information including the names of both his parents – I had the right person. Checking various records, we found that Jesse had two sisters and two brothers, all of whom stayed in England. Could we find any of their descendants?

 

This actually proved quite easy. Crawley came into the parish of Hailey, and there Jesse’s father had his farm. When he died, the farm was divided between the two sons still in Hailey, so they stayed in the village, as did both sisters. Jesse had actually sailed to Australia two days after his father had died.

And in the churchyard at Hailey, there are five family graves.

 

By 1901, most of the family are still in Hailey, but one name caught my eye. This was Ada Fanny Dyer, daughter of Jesse’s eldest brother Robert. Ada married in 1898 in Hailey to Ernest John Chandler, a draper from Derbyshire, and in 1901, they were living with two sons in Southall. By the 1911 census, there were three more sons and a daughter, and the family had moved to a large house in Ealing. Their eldest son was named Robert Storer Chandler – a name which rang a bell in my memory. So I checked first with Jo, and then with her sister. Armed with this, I re-checked, and confirmed that Robert Storer Chandler had a son named Robert Hugh Chandler, born in Ealing in 1930 (and died in 1999 in Ipswich).

 

Why did this ring a bell? In 1959, Robert Hugh Chandler married Patricia Ann Willows in Ealing, and their daughters were born in Ealing in 1961 and 1964. Pat is Jo’s sister, and the two girls are the nieces we visited and missed on our journey.

 

So to summarise: -

·    William Willows was born in 1821 in the village of Coton, near Cambridge.

·    William Dyer, born 1813, lived 100 miles away in Hailey in Oxfordshire.

·    William Willows’ granddaughter Ethel married William Dyer’s son Jesse in Sydney, Australia in 1903.

·    William Willows’ great granddaughter Patricia married William Dyer’s great grandson Robert in Ealing in 1959.

 

It’s a small world.

 

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OTHER  SOCIETIES  LECTURES  AND  EVENTS                                         Eric Morgan

 

Wednesday 2nd March, 5pm - Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society, Wealdstone Baptist Church, High Street, Wealdstone, “General History of Pinner.” Pat Clark. Visitors £1.

 

Sunday 6th March - 2.30 - 5pm, St.Mary-at-Finchley Parish Church Hendon Lane, N3 - History Day in the church. Guided tour of churchyard. Learn about monuments and other aspects of church interior. Teas served. Entry free. Part of Oral History Project.

 

Wednesday 9th March - 2.30 - 4 pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Wilberforce Centre, St. Paul’s Church, The Ridgeway, NW7. “Russia Past and Present” -  talk by Michael Beech..

 

Wednesday 9th March - 7.45 pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Corner Ferme Park Road/ Weston Park , N8. “St. Mary’s Hornsey - the Final Phase”. Talk by Bridget Cherry. Visitors £2, refreshments, sales and info.

 

Monday 14th March, 3 pm, Barnet & District Local History Society,  Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite Museum) “Jesus Hospital Charity - Almshouses.” Talk by Simon Smith. Tea and biscuits afterwards.

 

Tuesday 15th March - 6.30 pm, L.A.M.A.S. Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. “Moving to Smithfield - a History of the Halls of the Haberdashers’ Company.” Talk by Dr. David Bartle (Archivist). Refreshments 6 pm.

 

Wednesday 16th March - 8 pm, Islington Archaeology & History Society, Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1. “T.U.C. Library Collection: Union History on the Holloway Road.” Talk by Christine Coates.

 

Thursday 17th March, 7.30 pm. Camden History Society, Burgh House, New End Square, NW3. “How the London & Birmingham Railway Reached Euston”. Talk by John Liffen.

 

Friday 18th March, 7 pm - C.O.L.A.S,  St  Olave’s Church Hall,  Mark Lane, EC3. “Excavations at Kings Mead Quarry, Horton, 2003-10. Talk by Gareth Chaffey (Wessex Archaeology). Visitors £2. Light refreshments after.

 

Friday 18th March, 8 pm - Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield. “Thames Discovery Programme”. Talk by Natalie Cohen. Visitors £1. Refreshments, sales and info. from 7.30pm and after.

 

Wednesday 23rd March - 7.45 pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Society St John’s Church Hall, (next to Whetstone Police Station) Friern Barnet Lane, N20 “The New River.” Talk by Harry Gluck. Cost £2. Refreshments 7.45 pm and after.

 

Thursday 31st March, 2.30 pm. Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3. “The Rise and Fall of Fleet Street” - Brenda Cole. Visitors £2.

 

EXHIBITION - Till Sunday 27th March - Church Farmhouse Museum, Greyhound Hill, NW4. “Harry Beck and the London Tube Map”. Mon-Thurs.10am-1pm and 2 - 5pm; Saturday 10am-1pm and 2 - 5pm.

 

ADVANCE NOTICE

 

1st, 8th and 15th April and 6th 13th and 20th May - Mill Hill Archaeological Study Society are running a course of six meetings, “The Archaeology of the Mayan Civilisation”, price £40. For further details contact Peter Nicholson (020 8959 4757) or see MHAS’s  website: www.mhass.co.uk.

 

Saturday 9th April, 11 am-5.30 pm - LAMAS ARCHAEOLOGY CONFERENCE, Weston Theatre, Museum of London, EC2. Morning Session 11am - 1 pm: Recent Work. Afternoon Session 2-5.30pm “The Archaeology of Modern London”. Cost for HADAS members including afternoon tea (3.30-4.30pm) £8. Ticket application to Jon Cotton, Dept. of Archaeological Collections and Archive, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. [mailto: jcotton@museumoflondon.org.uk]. Make cheques/P.O.s payable to LAMAS and enclose S.A.E. There will be displays of publications (hopefully HADAS may have a table).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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