Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8 pm, with coffee/tea and biscuits afterwards.  Non-members: £1. Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central station (Northern Line), is a short walk away. 

Tuesday 8th November 2011.  The Thames Discovery Programme.  Lecture by Nathalie Cohen. 

When the tide is out, the Thames is the longest open–air archaeological site in London, and much of the foreshore is freely accessible to the public. However, many of the exposed archaeological sites are often unrecognised and unprotected, and almost all are vulnerable to the twice–daily scouring of the tidal river, and thus require close monitoring. 

Building on initiatives pioneered by the Museum of London’s Thames Archaeological Survey that took place from 1993–1999 and the Thames Explorer Trust’s innovative education projects, the Thames Discovery Programme aimed to communicate an understanding and informed enjoyment of the historic Thames to the widest possible audience. From 2008-2011, Nathalie was the Team Leader for the Thames Discovery Programme, a Heritage Lottery Funded community archaeology project.  This talk will present some of the exciting discoveries made on the Thames foreshore during the three years of the project and the plans for the future of the programme. 

Sunday 4th December 2011 – HADAS Christmas Party

This will be a lunch/afternoon affair. Please see separate booking form with this newsletter. As noted last month, we have booked Avenue House for this event. The cost is £20 per head and we need to have your booking form and money by 15th November, so that we can order sufficient food 

Tuesday 10th January 2012  The Merchant Taylors Great Feast, 1607. Lecture by Ann Saunders. 

Tuesday 14th February 2012 The Medieval Cellars of Winchelsea. Lecture by Richard Comotto. 

Tuesday 13th March 2012

It's all in the bones. Lecture by Jelena Bekvalac (Curator of Human Osteology – Museum of London). 

Tuesday 10th April 2012  Conservation Techniques in Stone Masonry. Lecture by Stephen Critchley. 

Tuesday 8th May 2012  Bumps, Bombs and Birds: the history and archaeology of RSPB reserves.

Lecture by Robin Standring (RSPB Reserves Archaeologist).

 Tuesday 12th June 2012 Annual General Meeting.

 Tuesday 9th October 2012

The Life and Legacy of George Peabody. Lecture by Christine Wagg. 

Tuesday 13th November 2012 Lecture to be confirmed 



2012 is both Diamond Jubilee Year and Olympic Year; many regular holiday arrangements will be amended. Therefore we have started our planning early. 

Our base will be Ironbridge and we have provisionally booked the Best Western Valley Hotel, which is in the Severn Gorge less than a mile from the Iron Bridge itself. Very few dates were available in our regular window. 

Preliminary checks show that there is more than enough of interest in the area, and although we will visit some of the “industrial” museums, we have also listed a Roman town (Wroxeter) and vineyard, a brewery, and interesting old town (Shrewsbury), some unusual churches, an air museum, a boat trip, a steam railway and a wildlife park. And there are others… 

So please put the dates in your diary:  Monday 27th (Bank Holiday) to Friday 31st August 2012

More details in the New Year when initial deposits will be required. Final costs should be about the same as this year, say £390 sharing a room and £450 in your own room. 

We have booked rooms based on this year’s Isle of Wight group – and that may not be enough. If you are interested, and you are coming to our Christmas Party, please complete the section provided on the form enclosed with this newsletter. If you are not coming to the Party, you can still return the form, or email or phone Jim or Jo Nelhams (contact details at end of the newsletter) so that we have a better idea of numbers. 


Report of an excavation at Harrow-on-the-Hill village Green    –    August 12th/13th 2011        by Don Cooper

1.      Introduction 

At the request of Harrow Hill Trust in the form of Judith Mills, members of digging team of the Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) carried out two days excavation. The site of the excavation was the triangle of grass bounded by Byron Hill Road, London Road and High Street at Harrow on the Hill (see appendix B) on which stands a wooden gantry. Grid references are TQ 15160, 87040 or latitude 51.570479 longitude -0.33976523. The site is 120.39m above sea level. A site code of HHG11 has been allocated by the Museum of London.   The research question to be addressed was “is there any evidence of the remains of previous gantries in the ground.” 

As the site is in a conservation area, permission was sought and granted by English Heritage (Kim Stabler). Harrow Council also gave permission and there was an assurance from the utilities that there were no relevant services. 

2.      Excavation 

The excavation began on Friday 12th August at 09.00 in fine weather. There were six members of the digging team (Bill Bass, Guy Taylor, Vicki Baldwin, Jim Nelhams, Sarah Dhanjal and Don Cooper). A 3m x 1m trench, running north to south, was opened near the site of the present gantry (see the accompanying photo on p.3].  The local geology is known as “Bagshot Beds” and it was reached (somewhat surprisingly) at approximately 30cm. down. The intervening 30cm was made up of a much disturbed top soil. Finds included stems of clay pipe, willow-patterned pottery, English stoneware, nails and amorphous rusty lumps, buttons, animal bone, coins and a sea-urchin fossil. Contrary to expectations there was an old (rusty) iron pipe of small dimension running north-south along the trench. There were no structures indicated and the natural appeared undisturbed. It is speculated that the pipe was an iron gas pipe connecting a gas light that appears on old photos of the area. It was left in situ (see photo on p.3).

Although contributing only negative evidence to the research question, this trench attracted a lot of local interest from passers-by who showed great interest in the prospect of a replacement gantry. The local estate agents (Woodwards) mounted a photographic exhibition of old photos of the area which showed previous version of the gantry as well as highlighting other uses of the Green. 

The combination of the excavation and photographic exhibition provoked much discussion and many interesting recollections. The finds also attracted attention with onlookers fascinated by these glimpses of the past. At the end of Friday the trench and spoil heap were fenced off.

There was a slight drizzle on Saturday morning but the weather soon cleared up into another perfect day for “digging”. It was decided to extend the trench westward towards the remains of the pre-1987 gantry. This gantry had been destroyed by the 1987 hurricane and the present crude one erected. After de-turfing, the same pattern as the rest of the trench was revealed with the natural “Bagshot Beds” being reached at approximately 30cm. The list of finds was similar although perhaps more 20th century than 19th. 

The foundations of the pre-1987 gantry were exposed to about half their length as was the area around half of the wooden end piece. The area was cleaned up and after it was photographed drawn and planned, the whole trench was back-filled with help from members of the Harrow Hill Trust, re-turfed and the excavation completed.

 3.      Discussion 

The Harrow Hill Trust has produced a document, “King’s Head Hotel, Gantry Restoration Project 2010”, which is online at: 

This describes the project and includes some fascinating photographs. In summary the gantry first appears in a painting by John Inigo Richards in 1770 which shows a gantry with three posts directly into the ground, but once we get to the mid-19th century the gantry clearly has a rendered (brick?) base with a wooden plank on top and wooden end pieces. The excavation confirms the date of the brick structure as mid-19th century as nearly all the finds indicate dates around that time. A brick from the bottom of the structure has been dated by the Museum of London to mid to late 19th century. There was, unfortunately, no obvious evidence from any older structures.

4.      Acknowledgements 

Thanks are due to all the members of the Harrow Hill Trust especially Judith Mills, Anthony Leyland and Ted Allett and to the members of the HADAS digging team Bill Bass, Guy Taylor, Sarah Dhanjal, Jim Nelhams and Vicki Baldwin.


The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre is granting special access the Archive with weekly behind-the-scenes tours. Visitors can walk amongst the 10km of shelving and discover some of the hidden archaeological treasures that have not made it yet into the Museum of London’s galleries. As well as touring the vast store, visitors also have the opportunity to see the area where the objects are cleaned and sorted when they first come out of the ground. Guests will have the chance to handle objects and visit the phenomenal Ceramics and Glass store. 

Visits to the Archive take place every Friday and on the first and third Saturday of the month. Tour times: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Cost £5 (advance booking required). To book, call the Museum of London Box Office on 020 7001 9844. 


CBA in Oxford – Saturday 1 October                                        Emma and David Robinson 

We attended the CBA Study Day and AGM.  This successful and enjoyable day was based at the Pitt Rivers Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology (University of Oxford). The programme began with a walking tour of Oxford led by experienced Blue Badge City Guides.  They had been briefed to tell us something of the history and archaeology of the city - rather than to dwell simply on the Oxford Colleges alone.  The questions asked by our lively group took us down all sorts of by-ways of Oxford’s past. Taking the guide’s recommendation we lunched convivially at The Turf - an ancient inn frequented by that well known TV detective Inspector Morse.  Legend has it that the inn got its name because Oxford students used to go there to settle their gambling debts with their turf accountants.


After lunch we heard three diverse presentations on current archaeological work in Oxfordshire.  David Clark of the Oxfordshire Archaeological and Historical Society gave us a fascinating account of some recent listed buildings casework and building recording in the county.  We were particularly interested in his detective work on what he argued to be an early manor house in the village of Horley near Banbury.  David Griffiths then spoke about the East Oxford Project – a community archaeology initiative led by the University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education and involving many local history societies, community groups and individuals. This project revealed that the eastern suburbs of Oxford also have a long and fascinating history. The third presentation was given by Dan Poore of Oxford Archaeology and explored some recent work in the City. Through case studies he demonstrated that in the centre of the historic city new developments require careful initial investigations before building work can proceed. 


The main focus of the AGM was the CBA’s financial situation.  The challenge here is that the CBA’s core grant of some £300k from the British Academy is to be phased out over the next five years.  CBA President Dr Kate Pretty told us that the Academy now wished to focus on developing countries to help internationalise their research.  The Academy’s decision was not forced by reductions in its own Governmental grants – but was simply a strategic choice in spite of their continuing praise for the high standard of CBA’s work.  This decision has had a great impact on CBA’s work.  CBA Director Mike Heyworth told us that the new strategy was going to focus on expanding the membership base and making the CBA more financially independent. He also stressed that the CBA’s problems nationally merely mirror problems of the heritage sector generally and it was important that heritage organisations, for example,     the National Trust and CBA, work together more collaboratively.


The AGM was followed by a private viewing of the Pitt Rivers collections.  What makes this museum different is that whilst in most ethnographic and archaeological museums the displays are arranged according to geographical or cultural areas, here they are arranged according to type.  Some of our favorites included musical instruments, writing implements and carved bone objects – all demonstrating how different peoples have solved the same problems in very different ways over time. 


The final event of the day was the annual De Cardi lecture.  This was given by Professor Richard Bradley of the University of Reading on “British prehistory since 1948: the CBA’s research policy after sixty years”.  He eloquently explored the initial research priorities set out by the CBA and linked these to the then giants of archaeological practice who drafted it  – including Stuart Piggott and, Christopher and Jacquetta Hawkes. The lecture was a masterpiece.



As noted in the September newsletter, at our party on 7th August, we invited those present to contribute their memories of HADAS. The newsletter invited further contributions and that opportunity has not closed, so here is your chance to send yours to Jo Nelhams – contact details at the end of the newsletter. A number have been received, three of which are printed below  - with thanks to the writers. 

From Celia Gould 

I joined HADAS in September 1971 and participated regularly in activities over the next few years, including a short stint on the committee and editing a couple of issues of the newsletter. 

My fondest memories relate to the early sessions of the West Heath Dig. I was a regular digger in glorious hot sunny weather, where endeavours were agreeably punctuated by lunch at the café in Golders Hill Park. Perhaps the most memorable activity was participation in the brief dig at the nearby bog from which soil samples were taken to determine climate and vegetation. I spent a glorious week up to my neck in mud, discarding my clothes and jumping straight into a bath immediately after I returned home each day, I have a few photos to prove the point. 

Although no longer resident in the immediate area, I enjoy occasional participation in HADAS events, and was delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Society.


From Joan Wrigley 

We were digging on site at Hampstead Heath with Margaret Maher (Site Director) when a policeman on a horse came up to the site fence and said, “I’m looking for a man.” Margaret replied, “Aren’t we all?” 

Also on site, I was making tea for the members when a man came up and asked a technical question I was not able to answer. I said I would get an archaeologist to speak to him and that I was only the tea lady. He replied, “I’ll have two cups of tea with milk, one with sugar and one without. I had to tell him that I was only making tea for the diggers. 

From Erna and Harold Karton 

We celebrate. 

Today is a great day. It was about 47 years ago that we moved to Hampstead Garden Suburb and not long after, our friends Mary and Barney Barnett who were members of HADAS  suggested that we join. 

We have found the HADAS programme of lectures, outings, digs and training etc fascinating. Although we are not able to participate as much as we would like, the Newsletter keeps us in touch and we look forward to its prompt monthly arrival.

 As to memories, we read in the local paper that Dorothy (Newbury) had been given an Honour. She had been unaware of this and was not convinced that the report and accompanying photograph referred to her! Eventually we had a delightful party, with Dorothy wearing her decoration, and everybody was very happy.  

HADAS TRIP to ISLE OF WIGHT         Jim Nelhams                        


The previous HADAS excursion to the Isle of Wight had been for one day while staying at Portsmouth, so this trip allowed more latitude in our choice of places to visit. This year we had 38 travellers in the splendid gold coach from Galleon Coaches driven by Dave, our driver last year to Norwich and more recently to Folkestone. Fresh fruit and items for our packed lunches having been loaded, we set off around the borough to collect our passengers, and once this was completed, headed south. First, a comfort stop at Fleet. Then on to Southampton. With no motorway problems, we arrived at the ferry terminal suitably early, allowing us to visit the small Maritime Museum opposite the ferry terminal. Everybody having returned to the coach, we waited to board the ferry, which duly arrived from East Cowes.


But this ferry was not going anywhere. The engine had a fault and was being checked. Occasional puffs of black smoke showed that work was ongoing, but with no positive outcome. Were they electing a Pope, suggested one traveller. We just had to wait an hour for the next available boat. 

We had planned on reaching the island to visit the Roman Villa in Newport which closed at 4 p.m. We must be grateful to the people there that they agreed to remain open so that we could visit them, and once we arrived, we were made most welcome and not rushed. Leaving Newport, we headed for our hotel in Sandown. 

The Wight Montrene Hotel in Sandown was to be our base for the trip. As befits a seaside holiday hotel, it is close to the beach and shops, making it suitable for an early morning or evening stroll for those who felt the need. The hotel did us proud, with 5 course meals in the evening and musical entertainment, and also provided the pre-ordered sandwiches for our packed lunches. It also provided the first challenge for Dave in getting his 13 metre coach into the narrow entrance. Dave does like a challenge.


The Southampton Maritime Museum                                                       Brian Warren 

On reaching Southampton Docks, most of the party crossed the road to visit this small museum. My main interest concerned the permanent exhibition on the sinking of Titanic in 1912. This small exhibition was upstairs, and primarily recorded the people who lived in the neighbourhood of Southampton and their experiences. There were mounted photographs of them and in some cases brief descriptions. Also included was a commentary of their opinions on various aspects of the tragedy.  Other displays of some of the survivors related to their experiences and their subsequent lives. For instance, none of the senior officers subsequently held command of their own ship. 

The most senior officer to survive was Second Officer Lightoller who had moved with his family to Netley, Southampton in 1907. When Titanic was sunk, he saw that all the lifeboats on his side of the liner were lowered except one. He attended both inquiries in America and Britain to give evidence. Not mentioned in the exhibition but of previous interest to me was that he later lived at The Cottage, Games Road, Cockfosters, the last house on the right before the entrance to Hadley Wood. He was awarded the DSC in the first World War and later took his own boat to rescue as many troops as he could from Dunkirk.

 As there is to be an exhibition at Potters Bar Museum next year to celebrate one hundred years since the sinking of  Titanic, I noted the following facts: -

            703 were saved from 2206 people on board

            202 were first class

            115 were second class

            210 crew

            100% of the first/second class children

            30% of the third class children.


There was a larger exhibition on the origins of the Ordnance Survey, but I only had time to glance at it and did not have time for other items. 

The Museum is in the Wool House, which was built in 1417 as a warehouse for the medieval wool trade with Flanders and Italy. It had other uses, including to house prisoners of war, before it was opened as the Southampton Maritime Museum in 1966. (Note – The Museum has now been closed and is being relocated elsewhere in the City, though it will not re-open until April 1912. JN)


Newport Roman Villa                                                                                   Don Cooper 

Getting our trip off to a flying start, we went straight from the ferry to a residential part of Newport and there, surrounded by family houses, was the entrance to Newport Roman Villa. We were met by Corina Westwood, the curator, who introduced us to the villa. It was built in the AD 270s, lasted about 50 years, and is a good example of a winged-corridor villa of a type typical in Britain.  The site, which was excavated in 1926 by Percy Stone and Ambrose Sherwin, is well preserved with much of it enclosed by a modern roof, notably the west wing bathhouse. 

The bath suite is said to be one of the best preserved in southern Britain with its hypocaust system well displayed. The outline of the villa is marked by the original bases of the walls which were made of local stone (flint, chalk, limestone and greensand) and can be seen almost to their original height. There is also a well-stocked authentic Roman garden maintained by the museum staff. There are good display cases showing the finds from the site. 

The education room is fitted out with replica artefacts showing the Roman way of life, especially in cooking, eating and drinking. A remarkable object was the replica glirarium or dormouse fattening pot where dormice (Glis glis) would have been fattened with walnuts and almonds before being eaten. The villa was probably a farmhouse lived in by a Romano-British family growing cereals and keeping livestock. Corina gave us a demonstration of flour-making, grinding local corn using replica Roman quern stones, and there is a reconstructed corn-drier at the entrance to the site highlighting the theme of cereal growing in the area. The small shop sold out of its books and leaflets of the site! 

This was a memorable visit to a beautifully displayed Roman Villa. The staff, who were very knowledgeable, accessible and friendly, went out of their way to make our visit a success - our thanks to every one of them. All too soon it was back on the coach and off to our hotel. 

Other Societies’ Events                                                                                           Compiled by Eric Morgan


Saturday 5th November, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Geologists Association Festival of Geology, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT. Exhibitions, fossil and mineral displays, stonecraft, books, maps, geological equipment and talks. Also Sunday 6th, walks and field trips. Further details  - 020 7434 9298; email -  Visit Admission free.


Tuesday 8th November, 2 – 3 p.m. Harrow Museum, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow, HA2 6PX. From Queen Victoria to Avatar – The History of 3D. Karen Cochrane. £3.


Tuesday 8th November, 5:30 p.m. Institute of Archaeology and British Museum Medieval Seminar. Room 612, IOA, UCL, 31-34 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PY.Who was buried at Wics? Community and Identity in the 7th century. Chris Scull


Wednesday 9th November, 2:30 pm – 4 p.m. Mill Hill Historical Society. Wilberforce Centre, St Paul’s Church, The Ridgeway, NW7 1QU. The History of Money. Talk by Richard Selby.

Wednesday 16th November, 10:30 a.m. Society of Genealogists 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road London EC1M 7BA Getting the Most from the Society of Genealogists A Lecture with Else Churchill – FREE but advanced booking required – 020 7553 3290.

Wednesday 16th November, 7:30 p.m. Willesden Local History Society. Scout House, High Road (corner of Strode Road), NW10 2RY. Ken Valentine and the Pillar Boxes. Talk by Margaret Pratt (Gen. Sec.) on his research on Willesden Pillar Boxes and other work.


Wednesday 16th November, 8 p.m. Islington Archaeological and History Society. Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD.– Toymakers of Islington. Talk by Chris Rule (G.L.I.A.S.)


Friday 18th November, 8 p.m. Enfield Archeaological Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. The Roast Beef of Old England. Talk by Neil Pinchbeck (EAS osteo-archaeologist). Visitors - £1. Refreshments, sales from 7:30 p.m.


Saturday 19th November, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. LAMAS. Local History Conference. Weston Theatre, Museum of London, London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Sporting London. See September newsletter for full details.  


Wednesday 23rd November, 7:45 p.m. Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. St John’s Church Hall, (next to police station), Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0LW.  Leisure and Entertainment in and around Finchley. Yasmine Webb (Barnet Archivist). Cost £2.


Thursday 24th November, 2:30 p.m. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3 3QE. 40 Years at Kodak. Talk by Tony Earle. Non-members – £2.


Tuesday 29th November, 5:30 p.m. Institute of Archaeology and British Museum Medieval Seminar. Room 612, IOA, UCL, 31-34 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PY. The River Thames in the Middle Ages – Evidence Old and New. John Clark and Natalie Cohen (HADAS November lecturer)


Thursday 1st December, 7:30 p.m. Friends of Avenue House. Avenue House, East End Road, N3 3QE.

Quiz Supper. £12:50 including food. HADAS usually enters a team. Contact Jim Nelhams (see below) if interested.