Newsletter-481-April-2011

 No. 481 APRIL 2011             Edited by Peter Pickering

 

An update on Church Farmhouse Museum. Don Cooper

 

After Barnet Council’s meeting on the budget which confirmed the withdrawal of funds from Church Farmhouse Museum from the end of March 2011, we met with Barnet Council officials on 3rd March with a view to pursuing the possibility of taking over the running of the museum and the Grade II* listed building. At the meeting we asked a number of questions: What are the current operating costs? What are the closure costs? What form of lease would we be offered?

We have now (14/3/2011) received the operating statements versus the budget figures for the last three years. These show that the museum, excluding labour, costs approximately £25,000 a year to run. This would mean in practice that HADAS and the Friends would have to raise about £20,000 per year. Answers to our other questions have not yet been received!

In any event the museum will have closed on 31st March 2011 (by the time you get this newsletter). Externally owned collections are being withdrawn, the curator (Gerrard Roots) is retiring and it is anticipated that the museum will remain closed for at least a year.

Should HADAS take on this responsibility? Are you willing to be a volunteer? In what ways could we raise the money? Would you be prepared to be a trustee of the charity that we would need to form to run the museum?

Please let us know your views. We cannot undertake this project without your active help and support.

 

HADAS DIARY - Forthcoming Lectures and Events.

 

The winter lecture series is at Avenue House. Lectures start promptly at 8pm; non-members £1; coffee, tea and biscuits can be bought.

 

Tuesday 12th April 2011 Dr Robin Woolven Bomb Damage in London and Middlesex

Dr Robin Woolven's first career, of 23 years, was as a specialist navigator in the Royal Air Force and his second, of 17 years, was in the Security Service when, living in Hampstead, he was a Council member of the Camden Historical Society. On retiring to the Cotswolds in 1997 he researched the administration of wartime London in the War Studies Department of King’s College, London. A current interest is writing on wartime home front topics. He wrote the introduction to the London Topographical Society's London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945 (2005). His article on the Middlesex Bomb Damage Maps is in the current London Topographical Record (2010).

Tuesday, 10th May 2011- Ken Brereton The Markfield Beam Engine

 

Tuesday, 14th June 2011 the 50th HADAS Annual General Meeting – an important date for your diaries. Nomination papers for committee places will be sent out next month – so if you wish to join our committee of volunteers this is your opportunity.

 

Sunday July 31st 2011 Our Sunday outings in the last two years have worked well. This year we hope to go to Chatham Docks, where we haven't been since 1991; there have been considerable changes and updates since then

 

 Monday 19th – Friday, 23rd September 2011. Trip to the Isle of Wight

 

Tuesday 11th October 2011 Dr John Creighton: Silchester The revelation of an Iron Age and Roman city

 

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

 

Jack Newbury

Members will be very pleased to learn that Jack is now back at work following the horrendous accident he suffered in November

 

Friern Hospital

 

A hundred and sixty years ago, on Thursday 17 July 1851, the second Middlesex County Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch received its first patients. The Friern Barnet & District Local History Society has embarked on the compilation of a comprehensive history of the asylum, through from its inception and its renaming as Friern Hospital to its eventual closure in March 1993 and its subsequent redevelopment as luxury apartments.

 

There is a wealth of material held at the London Metropolitan Archives which we are gradually going through, but of equal importance will be the reminiscences of local people. If you worked there or visited it or if you know someone who did, we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you and, if you are agreeable, to tape record your memories for posterity.

 

Please contact David Berguer on 020 8368 8314 or by email at friernbarnethistory@hotmail.co.uk.

 

Under the Wires at Tally Ho

 

Today pollution-free transport is high on the political agenda, yet it is sometimes forgotten that electric vehicles ran on the streets of London from the early 1900s until 1962. The story of trams and trolleybuses in north west London is covered in a new book by David Berguer, Chairman of the Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. In it he describes the vehicles themselves and the effect that they had on the development of the suburbs. It paints a picture of what life was like in the capital during this golden age and includes material based on newspaper reports, council and official minutes and oral histories from those involved. With many previously unpublished photographs, there is even a chapter on the colourful "pirate" buses which were in competition to the trams in the 1920s.

 

The book runs to 128 pages and contains over 90 photographs and illustrations and is published by The History Press at £12.99. It can be obtained direct from the publishers through their website www.thehistorypress.co.uk or on www.amazon.co.uk or through local booksellers. ISBN 978 0 7524 5875 5

 

Heritage Crime seminar at the RAF Museum Hendon Andy Simpson

 

With some 26 delegates, this informative seminar on 27th January, subtitled 'Policing the Past, Protecting the Future' was chaired by English Heritage Policing Adviser Chief Inspector Mark Harrison, seconded from Kent Police. In addition to delegates from English Heritage who are involved in the post-designation management of historic sites, other delegates represented a wide variety of bodies, with much useful networking throughout the day by a mix of practising archaeologists, museum professionals, and law enforcement agencies.

All of these groups are affected by Heritage crime (such as theft and vandalism) within the historic environment – damage through illegal metal-detecting (also known as 'night hawking') and unauthorised excavation of aircraft crash sites and anti-social behaviour affecting the fabric of a heritage asset or its setting in a wide range of sites. In police terms, heritage crime often comes under the umbrella of anti-social behaviour and can include graffiti, substance abuse, damage to sites by off-roading vehicles and motorbikes (who particularly like hillforts as

venues, it would appear) and all activities that affect the quality of life for law-abiding visitors and neighbours. Heritage crime, including arson and graffiti, needs to be reported/described in terms local and national partner agencies can understand and can be covered by local government areas setting their own crime reduction plans. It is necessary to decide who leads and supports initiatives to deal with heritage crime, and define the benefits from tackling it. These functions are set out within the heritage crime Memorandum of Understanding that has

now been signed by English Heritage, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service. Local authorities are also being invited to sign the Memorandum.

 

Acts of Parliament provide statutory protection for some 500,000 listed buildings in England and 20,000 scheduled ancient monuments. Wreck sites and military remains are covered, as are some 9,000 conservation areas, often town centres, and 18 World Heritage Sites, plus registered parks and gardens and 43 registered battlefields. Listed buildings, in particular churches, are suffering regular theft of metals and architectural materials. All of them potential locations for heritage crime.

 

Associated problems include criminal damage, theft of fuel oil in rural communities, intimidation of locals/witnesses, and the potentially irreversible damage from water ingress following theft of roof lead. There is a clear need to raise the profile and awareness of heritage crime with authorities such as magistrates, as it may be under-reported and is not always seen as a priority unless linked to other issues such as rural crime. The upcoming Localism Bill may help make people aware of what is on their own doorstep.

 

It can be useful to define crime and anti-social behaviour. Illicit metal-detecting or 'Night Hawking' sounds romantic; it is actually thieving, often with criminal damage and intimidation involved; the damage is great. Priority areas perhaps need to be established for action, by understanding specific threats to sites such as antisocial behaviour. Given that 70% of the population have visited at least one historic site in the past year, a possible source of observation/assistance are the very large number of members of historical and archaeological

societies, both local (such as HADAS) and national (such as the CBA and National Trust – English Heritage and the National Trust have 4.5 million members between them). These could provide a large pool of interested enthusiasts and volunteers (though from personal experience, given the age profile of many of these groups, active participation may not be an option - more desk-based than in the field, at best). An intelligence-led approach should be used, with information from all sources including evidence gathering and forensic analysis.

Impact Statements should be used in court to heighten court and public awareness of crime to get tougher sentences passed on those caught. A strategic assessment should be made of what the problem is, where it is, and who the perpetrators are. Arson, theft, disturbance to buried sites including illegal diving on wrecks and vehicle damage can be part of rural/wildlife issues extended to include heritage issues. The Strategic Assessment undertaken in November 2010 recommended the following priorities: to prevent and

detect damage caused to the historic environment; the excavation and removal of artefacts from protected archaeological sites; architectural theft from historic buildings, and the deliberate and unlawful alteration/demolition of listed buildings.

To combat such threats, crimes and anti-social behaviour that damage the historic environment will be tackled in a much more coordinated way through an initiative launched by English Heritage on 11th February 2011, when representatives from over 40 organisations met to discuss the formation of the Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH) - a voluntary national network to take forward the initiatives and galvanise local action.

 

Under the strategic guidance of English Heritage, the Police (through the Association of Chief Police Officers) and the Crown Prosecution Service, a nationwide network is developing among enforcement bodies, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, professional groups and amenity societies to systematically tackle and reduce offences such as architectural theft, including metal theft, criminal damage, illegal metal detecting, graffiti, vehicle nuisance and arson.

 

A memorandum of understanding to delineate responsibilities between the three strategic partners was signed at the event. Local authorities will be encouraged to join the coordinated effort, with Canterbury City Council being the first authority also to have agreed to sign the memorandum. Local history societies, amenity groups, neighbourhood watch and residents associations will be encouraged to raise awareness of the risk of criminal damage to historic sites and buildings in their area.

 

Anniversaries heighten awareness and increase looting of sites, such as the upcoming 1914 centenary. Those who could encourage such behaviour, such as the media, need to be educated in the issues so as not to promote unlicensed and poorly recorded aviation archaeology, for instance, sometimes under the argued guise of 'recovering bodies for the families' when from personal observation of aviation magazines and websites it seems much material is hoarded in private collections or simply sold on eBay.

 

All this, against the background of limited resources available now, and even more limited in the future, with drastic cuts to the policing establishment suggested, and fewer prison places, will heighten the need for local partnerships, such as those already run by Canterbury City Council and other stewardship and guardian schemes where sites are assessed for vulnerability, and 'Key Individual' (contact/co-ordinator) roles, with stakeholders at various levels.

 

When drafting warning signs it cannot be assumed that potential offenders will understand even the simple written word, since many may have a low educational standard. Where warnings are made and understood, research indicates that 65% of those caught subject to an effective first intervention did not reoffend.

 

It seems to me that those involved in Heritage Protection need to make a clear case to argue why the offence is wrong, such as the hoarding/sale of aviation archaeology items with little care shown for the asset. Also sometimes affected are catastrophic burials – human remains from plague pits, sunken warships, battlefields or aviation crash sites, where the victims are largely of similar age and original function (sailors/troops, for instance) and not buried deliberately (as opposed to attritional losses such as those accumulated gradually in graveyards). An example is HMS London, which blew up off Southend in 1665, and was made a designated wreck site in 2008; very fresh looking human bone from the wreck is now being washed ashore which could be taken for a potential modern crime victim. A more recent victim, with the potentiality for living relatives of the dead, is the Storoa, torpedoed in 1943 when it sank in 30 seconds, with disarticulated human remains recently noted on her deck. If 100 years is taken to cover three generations, perhaps the minimum for archaeological investigation

should be four generations – those we never knew.

 

Richard Stein: The Roman Wooden Water pump – an ingenious machine. Sue Willetts

 

In this February lecture Richard provided a well illustrated overview of his research at Reading

University, on wooden water pumps which have survived from the Roman world. The technical expertise of the Romans is often under-estimated owing to the rare survival of machines compared to that of building materials. While we have evidence of the Roman use of technology and descriptions in the literature, the force pump is the only Roman machine of which we have substantial remains. They were used on the surface to fight fires, but also to raise water from wells for irrigation, for domestic use, or for industrial use such as pottery making. Eighteen examples are known, which have survived in wells. From such finds it has been possible to work out the dimensions of these machines, how they were configured and driven, the materials used, the different types and an estimation of their performance.

 

Richard illustrated how Roman ingenuity, perhaps in the first century AD, turned the existing technology on its head. Instead of using numerous (sometimes 30+) individual metal components to construct a pump, engineers used a wooden block (usually oak, typically 500mm high x 350mm wide x 250mm deep) and carved out the spaces required for the two (lined) cylinders, in which the pistons moved, the valve chamber and the connecting passages. The water flow was ensured by inlet and outlet valves set respectively in the base of the cylinders and in the valve chamber. The internal spaces were made safe against high water pressure with wooden plugs and plates. The plates of the valves and the liners of the cylinders were made of metal, usually lead. This type of pump was superior to metal since it was easier and cheaper to produce, maintain and repair.

The operation of the pump is achieved by having two pistons: as one goes up, the other goes down and the easiest way to achieve this is for them to be driven by a rocker arm through connecting rods. The performance of a pump depends on a number of factors: the height through which the water is raised (the lift), the diameter of the cylinders/liners and the stroke of the pistons. Richard's calculations (insufficient space to reproduce here) show that it is more likely that two men, rather than one, would have been used to work a pump. (You had to be

there to see the diagram and the model which explained the components and the motion!) No complete driving mechanism has been found but the iron fittings of a rocker were found in Luxembourg in 1998. Delivery of the water to the surface would have been via a pipeline made of wood.

 

Of the eighteen known wooden force pumps only the remains of thirteen survive. The first was found in 1868 by a schoolmaster in Alsace at the bottom of a Roman well. They have been found at a range of depths from 2.7 to over 26 m. and their distribution is as follows: 10 in the Rhine/Moselle area, (5 around Trier), 3 in Milan, 1 in Rome, 2 in Southern France (Perigueux and Lyon) and 2 in Southern England. In Britain, the pump at Tarrant Hinton in Dorset was found in the deepest well at a depth of 26.4 m and would have supplied the villa site and

bath house; the other from the shallowest well was from Silchester, where although over eighty wells were found, only one contained a pump.

 

Once at the surface, water could be distributed or stored in tanks. If a tank was set at a higher level, water could be distributed to a site using gravity. The advantage of a force pump is that it can produce a strong jet of water and can be used to drain water from uneven twisting inclines as in mines. However, pumps fixed in wells would be difficult to repair compared to the above ground portable type used for fire-fighting. None of the portable ones survive today but one found in a cellar of the amphitheatre at Trier in 1908 (now lost) may have been used for this purpose and/or for removing water from the cellar or even to spray perfume into the arena.

 

No pumps are known from Spain, North Africa, or the eastern empire. Work continues on this subject and Richard speculated that archaeologists may have missed the evidence from some sites in the form of small finds. since even if major parts were re-used / recycled, and the wood perished, the metal valve plates should survive. Finally, what might be the meaning of numerals XV scratched on the block of the Bertrange pump from Luxembourg? Richard suggests: Size 15, model number 15, the 15th in a particular batch, the 15th one made by the engineer? Does anyone have any ideas?

For full details and further references: Stein, R.J.B. Roman wooden force pumps: a case study in innovation. Journal of Roman Archaeology 17, 2004, pp. 221-250.

 

In origin, a Greek invention, the principle of the force pump is attributed to Ctesibius of Alexandria (c.270 B.C.) and is described by 3 ancient authors, Philo, Vitruvius and Hero.

 

Current Archaeology Conference Peter Pickering

 

From 25th to 27th February I was at the conference in the British Museum organised by Current Archaeology. It was very well attended, mainly, as far as I could judge, by people from all over Britain who were having a weekend in London.

 

On the Friday eight people contended for 'Presentation of Heritage Research Awards', designed to encourage researchers to present their work to a wider public. Three of the entries were from the Irish Republic, including one of the joint winners, on the use of new techniques to date Irish Tower Houses. The other winner was a study of mediaeval (and some much later) graffiti in Norfolk churches -of which there are a very large number, hitherto completely unobserved and unrecorded; there are for instance sixty carvings of ships, with a date range

of over 300 years, on piers in Blakeney church. They require careful photography at various angles, and computer enhancement, to see now, but when they were originally made, the speaker said, they would have been incised through paint into the stone, and therefore easily visible. The only London presentation was by Natalie Cohen on possible explanations for human remains found in the Thames (some from makeshift graves).

 

On Saturday and Sunday there were two parallel sessions. There were five papers about Hadrian's Wall, its purpose and effect. One paper compared it with other frontiers, including the defensive structures in early colonial North America, where the English and French were guarding against each other rather than the native population. David Breeze argued that the emperor himself had a lot to do with the design of the wall which correctly bears his name. What emerged most strikingly from the session as a whole was that the Wall had a

primarily military function, defending against raids from the north, and that it was not primarily a peaceful customs barrier or a means of keeping the inhabitants of the Roman province within it.

 

Another thought-provoking session was entitled 'How Civilisations End' - perhaps intended to make us think about our own civilisation. But the emerging message was that civilisations do not end, they change; people in the past muddled through, and so shall we. Cyprian Broodbank looked at the convulsions around 1200BC, when the Hittite Empire and the near eastern palace states (including Mycenae) fell and Egypt was sorely troubled; he rejected climate, foreigners, entrepreneurial failure and economic problems (e.g. a shortage of tin) as the cause.

Elizabeth Graham denied that the Maya civilisation had suffered a major catastrophe through deforestation, soil run-off, or such; individual Mayan states of course rose and fell, but the biggest change was from building ceremonial monuments in enduring stone (now conserved for tourists) to using wood, which does not survive well and is often not thought worth meticulous investigation or study. As for the Roman Empire, well Miles Russell emphasised that not only did it continue after 476 for a millennium in the east, but also the tribes that invaded (Goths, Vandals, etc) wanted to be part of the Roman system, not to destroy it, and in 800 Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans.

 

Among the other papers I was particularly interested in close studies of the Lewis chessmen, and of hoards of Viking silver, and in Barry Cunliffe's theory that the Celtic language developed in the west of Spain in the Bronze Age or even earlier. There was also a lively panel discussion about 'archaeology and the cuts'. Other Societies' Events Eric Morgan

 

Wednesday 6th April, 8pm - Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society, Wealdstone Baptist Church, High Street, Wealdstone, 'Ruislip: An Early 20th Century Garden Suburb' Eileen Bowlt Visitors £1.

 

Friday 8th April 10.30 to 12 noon Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries South Friern Library, Colney Hatch Lane N10 'Historic Towns of S E England' Coffee

 

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.

 

Saturday 9th April, 10 am to 4 pm, Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA), Cat Hill

 

Enfield Chase: from hunters to commuters. A study day by the London Parks and Gardens Trust "to explore the evolution of Enfield Chase from its origins as a privileged medieval hunting domain to the residential suburb it is today". Tickets £30. For programme and booking form go to www.londongardenstrust.org.

 

Monday 11th April 3pm Barnet and District Local History Society. Church House Wood Street Barnet (opposite museum) "The Revolting Peasants" Talk by Patricia Pearce. Tea at 2.30 pm

 

Wednesday 13th April 8pm Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church Hall; Corner of Ferme Park Road and Weston Park N8 "The History of Tottenham" Chris Protz Visitors £2.

 

Thursday 14th April 7.30 pm Camden HIstory Society 'The Eyre estate in St John's Wood and Camden ': Charlie Ratchford Resource Centre, Belmont Street NW1 (Belmont Street is a turning off Chalk Farm Road, opposite the Roundhouse). Visitors £1

 

Friday 15th April 7pm COLAS St Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. "Clocks and Watches in the British Museum" Talk by David Thompson. Visitors £2.

 

Friday 15th April. 7.30 for 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane\Junction Chase Side Enfield. AGM & 'The excavations and fieldwork of Enfield Archaeological Society 2010' Visitors £1.

 

Saturday 16th April 10 am to 4 pm London Maze. Guildhall, Guildhall Yard (off Gresham Street) EC2V 5AE Free local history fair devoted to London; for one day the City of London opens up the whole of the Guildhall complex to host displays by community history groups, local societies, museums, archives and libraries; talks; guided walks; tours of the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Roman Amphitheatre; film shows from the City's archives and performances from youth and adult groups.

 

Tuesday 19 April 6.30 pm LAMAS. Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2.

'Expanding City, 1670s – 1850s: Creating One of the New Galleries of Modern London at the Museum of London' Alex Werner, Curator, Museum of London

 

Wednesday 20th April. 7.30 for 8pm Edmonton Hundred Historical Society Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane\Junction Chase Side Enfield. 'The story of Trent Park' Talk by Keith Hammond. Visitors £1.

 

 

Wednesday 20th April - 8 pm Islington Archaeology & History Society Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1. 'Insanity in Islington: treatment and records (provisional title)' Dr Kathy Chater

 

Wednesday 27th April. 7.45pm Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. St John's Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Station) Friern Barnet Lane N20. 'Local Archaeology: Fifty Years of HADAS' Talk by our Chairman, Don Cooper. Visitors £2. Refreshments.

 

 

Thursday 28th April 8pm Finchley Society. Trinity Church Centre, 15 Nether Street, N12 (note unusual venue) 'Slides of yesteryear and planning issues in North Finchley'

 

Exhibitions

Till 3rd May Monday-Friday from 11 am to 4 pm. Dugdale Centre, Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, Enfield 'Roman Enfield - From Settlement to London Suburb'

Till 16th June Hampstead Museum, Burgh House 'Past Poems and Personalities: a Look at Hampstead’s Poets'

Till 3rd July British Museum 'Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World'

Till 4th September Museum of London 'London Street Photography'

 

 

 

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