Number 491                            February 2012                 Edited by Andy Simpson 


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 21st February 2012 (please note change of date from the usual format;

the February lecture is on the THIRD Tuesday to avoid clashing with a Valentine’s Day event at Avenue House) 

The Medieval Cellars of Winchelsea.  Lecture by Richard Comotto.

Richard Comotto of the Winchelsea Archaeological Society will be speaking about the historic Cinque Port town of Winchelsea and its medieval cellars. Winchelsea in fact has more medieval cellars than anywhere else in the country other than perhaps Southampton and Norwich. They are a remnant of the town's involvement in the wine trade with Gascony before the Hundred Years War. Winchelsea also uniquely retains the layout of the medieval planned town founded in 1288 by Edward I. 

Richard will be talking about the origins of Winchelsea, its medieval history, including the wine trade, and the archaeology of the town. The Winchelsea Archaeological Society was set up to do geophysical research in and around the town. Despite its historical significance, surprisingly little archaeology has been done on the medieval town and none on the port. 

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 - Tuesday 13th November 2012 - Archaeological Discoveries

in Southwark. Lecture by Peter Moore (Pre-Construct Archaeology)


Errata and Mea Culpa                                                                                 Mary Rawitzer 

The Editor of your last Newsletter must apologise for ennobling Dr Ann Saunders, the January Lecturer, to Dame, though she should surely be, if it were in my gift.  And I inadvertently left Jo Nelhams off the contributor's list for her great summary of Nathalie Cohen's November talk on The Thames Discovery Programme. 

A couple of notes via Stewart Wild; 

For those of you who are interested in geophysics "Revealing The Buried Past" by Chris Gaffney and John Gater. These two gentlemen are often seen on Time Team with a bewildering array of technical kit. This book explains the different types of equipment available to the archaeologist, how it works and the sort of results that can be expected. Available from Amazon for £12.59 

New discoveries in the cave at Hohle Fels (cave paintings in Germany). -ice-age-painting-in-central-europe and 



Andy Simpson 

The Sunday morning gang at Avenue House are, even now, making surprise discoveries amongst the Ted Sammes archive. Back in October 2011 we were delighted to come across finds material for one of several HADAS digs from along Golders Green Road. The White Swan pub site at 239-241 Golders Green Road, Hendon was situated on the western side of Golders Green Road, a quarter of a mile south-east of the junction with the North Circular Road and just north of Highfield Avenue; the pub still has a ‘mounting stone’ just outside it adjacent to the now-heavily trimmed large tree on the forecourt visible in Edwardian photographs, and this was shown on the 1954 OS Map, along with a milestone formerly showing six miles from London. Eighteenth century maps show the line of the originally medieval Hampstead Road, now Golders Green Road, established on its present NW-SE line in the nineteenth century, as a wide strip of land or unmetalled track passing through the original undeveloped manorial wastes of Hendon Manor. 

Apart from a small originally medieval Hamlet in the Temple Fortune area (shown on John Roques map of 1756), before the coming of the tube railway in 1907, almost the only development at Golders Green was a ribbon of a few eighteenth century cottages and eighteenth and early nineteenth century villas and smallholdings in spacious grounds strung out along the Golders Green Road, such as South Lodge standing almost opposite the White Swan. The shops of Russell Parade latterly lay directly opposite; the present day White Swan pub, serving Hungarian food (and two hand-pumps dispensing London Pride!), and with a large and pleasant rear garden, is still extant immediately adjacent to the location of the actual excavation, at 243 Golders Green Road. Behind its modified frontage erected 1913-14 is Golders Green’s only surviving eighteenth century building, with later renovations. The Field Book for the Cook map of 1796 lists Mr Jereboam Clark as occupant of the ‘Swan public house, with stable, yard, and garden; a piece of ground in front, not enclosed, and a large tree by the six mile stone’ 

For present-day photo of the pub frontage and list of past licensees from 1826, see

 On the opposite side of the Inn (once a Bass Ales establishment, and once called plain ‘The Swan’) on a site now occupied by a block of flats once stood the mid-19th century Highfield, originally a girl’s school, and later the HQ of the Worker’s Union, demolished in 1931 along with the weatherboarded two-story Grove Farm Dairy which stood between it and the pub. 

This stretch of road has been well covered by HADAS excavations, with medieval material found at the Woodlands dig (TQ 2410 8850) in 1968 and 1975/76, as described below, and also 700ft/213m north of the White Swan at the Old Forge site on the opposite side of the road at 296 Golders Green Road (TQ 2414 8837) in 1991, where medieval pottery and a possible continuation of the road feature found at Woodlands was located. This was the site of Suckling’s Forge, destroyed by a V2 rocket in January 1945, and of the later Suckling’s Garage. This site, along with that of the adjacent Edwardian rebuilt Prince Albert Inn (latterly a Harvester Inn) demolished c.1993, still lies empty and awaiting redevelopment. 

(Below) Rear of White Swan, November 2011, with oldest section on right.



The Excavation 

This excavation, immediately adjacent to the White Swan pub itself on its southern side, was reported in HADAS Newsletters 63 (p.1) and 64 (p.4), May/June 1976. The excavation (NGR TQ 2420 8830, Barnet SMR ref 081976) began on the weekend of 10th/11th April 1976, and continued until 23 May 1976, being directed by Jeremy Clynes, assisted by Percy Reboul and others. 

Located on the site of a fairly large (1890s or Edwardian) weatherboarded two-story building at No.241 (originally a house, with single-story shop of similar construction and steeply pitched roof at No. 239 jutting out from the front of the main house) demolished a few years previously, (again shown on the 1954 OS Map). Weatherboarding was common locally – also seen in the former Clerk’s House in Church Terrace, Hendon for instance.

At one time the shop was occupied by S.J. Lester, Boot Maker and Repairer. In 2011 the site of 239-241 was occupied by a shop and new development of flats on the actual corner of the site with Highfield Avenue. 

Three trenches were opened prior to redevelopment work. 

The dig was described as being ‘disappointing’ in HADAS NL 64, with no evidence of occupation, either features or structures,  or of either the Roman road sought (Viatores Route 167, previously possibly located at Copthall Fields, Mill Hill) or the pebble-metalled medieval road or embankment and associated Hertfordshire greywares (adding to previously found Surrey and West Kent Wares of 14th-15th century date) found by HADAS at No. 1 Woodlands a quarter of a mile to the north at the junction with the north Circular Road in 1968 and again by Alex Jeakins’ HADAS team in 1975-76, and also reported in HADAS Newsletter No. 63 along with the White Swan excavation. (The Woodlands 1975/6 site archive and finds are still held in the HADAS archive, and may repay further study with the advances in pottery studies over the past 30 years) 

No site maps or context records etc. appear to survive, although there is a folder with a few map extracts in covering the immediate area. The three trenches were dug down to natural, with the only recorded finds being from the topsoil – broken glass (mostly beer bottles), pipe stems and what was thought at the time to be nineteenth/twentieth century pottery. 

Four site photographs on HADAS record cards (including that reproduced below- Jeremy Clynes on left, Percy Reboul on right) show a shallow trench being dug right alongside the pavement on the line of the former building frontage, which lay closer to the road than the adjacent pub which was set back from the road. The previously levelled site itself was long and covered the whole of the former building plot.



The Finds 

The surviving finds are mainly unremarkable and much what you would expect from the environs of a site going back to the eighteenth century; they now include only two fragments of glass, one green vessel fragment and one of clear, thin window glass; There is also a small sherd of modern glazed earthenware, plus a tiny (13 grammes) fragment of micacious tile and a probable sheep’s tooth. However, closer examination of the pottery and clay pipe fragments in particular have provided one or two surprises. 


The main finds. From left; Early Surrey Ware, Red Borderware, Tin-Glazed Ware Orton and Pearce style H (TGW H), German and English stonewares, and clay pipes (clockwise from top left; Types AO20; AO21; AO27 (two), AO18 and AO19)



The Pottery 

Somehow overlooked at the time was the fact that one pottery sherd is most emphatically medieval; it is a rim sherd (38g) of hand made Early Surrey Ware (ESUR, c. 1050 - 1150) probably from the Surrey/Hampshire border, kindly confirmed by Jacqui Pearce as being from a large cooking pot (Form code CP) One sherd of residual ‘background’ medieval pottery does not of course a settlement make, and it could have originated from manuring of fields or similar. 

Also present is a flower-patterned rim sherd of eighteenth English Tin-Glazed earthenware with pale blue glaze and dark blue decoration (TGW H) (otherwise known as Delftware) probably from a bowl or plate, with a broad date range of 1680-1800, plus a small body sherd from a second vessel of the same fabric, and another rather battered rim sherd (13g), this time of very-large diameter Surrey-Hampshire border redware (RBOR) with a rather wide date range of c.1550 to 1900. 

Stonewares are represented by four sherds (of two or three separate vessels, two of them co-joining and including a handle base) of English Stoneware (ENGS) of c.1700-1900 and a single sherd of German stoneware, possibly a tankard-hardly surprising given the location adjacent to a pub. 

The Clay Pipes 

In addition to forty fragments of stem and five unidentifiable broken pieces of bowl, ( but no mouthpieces) the three fairly complete identifiable clay pipe bowls, along with three more consisting of stem and heel/spur but very little bowl, give an approximate date range of 1660- 1820, of Atkinson and Oswald types  AO18 (1660-1680), AO19 (1690 – 1710), AO20 (1680 – 1710), AO21 (1680-1710) and AO27 (1780-1820), one of the two examples of the latter having the makers initials ‘PC’ on its heel.

Three other examples with this mark (as yet to be identified) were found on the HADAS Church Terrace excavation in 1973/74 (report forthcoming). This is the only pipe fragment with an identifiable maker’s mark, though a second AO27 type could be read as IE (or F) on the spur, the I being more certain than the E/F. 

The close grouping of dates perhaps a little before or after 1700 is of interest, and could be contemporary with the Tin-Glazed ware sherds mentioned above.

I am grateful to Jacqui Pearce for checking the pipes for me. 

In conclusion, it is clear that even the smallest finds group can contain some interesting material and a surprise or two. I hope to make similar studies of some other small finds groups from 1970s HADAS digs and watching briefs in due course, starting with the Fuller St excavation off Church Lane in Hendon in late 1974, which also has a sherd of previously unreported residual medieval pottery. 


Barnet Libraries Archives and Local studies Department    Bygone Hendon    

Howkins, F   c.1923   The Story of Golders Green and its Remarkable Development                                            

Jeakins, A   1976             The Woodlands Dig        HADAS Newsletter 63 May 1976

Petrie, H      2005            Hendon & Golders Green Past

Simpson, A    1991        A HADAS dig at Golders Green     HADAS Newsletter 247, Oct 1991

Smith, C (Ed)    n.d          Hendon As It Was Vol. Two

Smith, C.R and Hall, J.P (Comps)    1979   The story of Golders Green

Smith C          n.d         Golders Green As It Was 


Isle of Wight (Day 2)                                                                                         Jim Nelhams


For most people, no visit to the Island would be complete without exploring Osborne House and its grounds. After visiting the Glass Works and our ride on the railway (see December 2011), to find our coach waiting for us, we made our way to St Mildred’s Church, en route for Osborne House. 

St Mildred’s Church, Whippingham.                                                            Micky Watkins 

Prince Albert designed this church and it is an eclectic mix of Romanesque and Gothic that only a Victorian could design, or fully appreciate. The solid square tower with Romanesque arches has a thin Gothic central spire and four small spires, one at each corner. This strange mixture of styles continues throughout. 

Victoria used to enter the church through a special doorway leading into the Royal Pew. Here, sheltered from the congregation she sat on a royal blue chair, her retinue around her. Edward VII ordered pews to be fitted, but kept his mother’s chair. One wall has a large plaque which is a memorial to Prince Albert. 

Opposite the Royal Pew, in the South Transept, is the Battenburg Chapel, with a huge marble sarcophagus containing the bodies of Prince Henry of Battenburg and his wife Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s longest surviving daughter. The family changed the name to Mountbatten in 1917 owing to the widespread anti Bosch feelings during the war. The bronze statue in the Chapel was made by Princess Louise, who also designed the font; the tapestry carpet and stools were made by Princess Beatrice and other court ladies and the small lace hassock was made by Queen Victoria. Other members of the Mountbatten family are commemorated, but Lord Mountbatten, who was killed by an IRA bomb, was buried at Romsey Abbey near Broadlands. On the south wall of the Chapel is a crucifix in memory of Tsar Nicholas of Russia and his wife, Alexandra, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and their five children who were all shot in 1918 in the Russian Revolution. 

I found that the most beautiful feature of the church was the white marble reredos representing the Last Supper, a gift from Edward VII and other members of the Royal family in memory of Queen Victoria. 

The original church was Anglo-Saxon, but the only remaining feature is the carving in the west wall of the porch. It was replaced by a Norman church which lasted until 1804 when it was demolished and rebuilt by John Nash. So the Nash church only lasted 50 years until Prince Albert pulled it down and erected his new church. What would St Mildred think of all these changes? She was a grand-daughter of King Aethelbert and an abbess of Minster-in-Thanet and might be disappointed to find so much about these new royals and so little about herself in her church. 

OSBORNE HOUSE                                                                                           Tessa Smith 

I have spent many happy holidays as a child with bucket and spade on the Isle of Wight but none at so splendid a seaside home as that at which Queen Victoria spent hers with her husband Prince Albert and their large family. 

I arrived at Osborne House entrance by horse and trap driven by two smart bowler-hatted young grooms, via the short Ridgeway Carriage. The drive was edged with myrtle, laurel and dolphin-topped gas lamps - a fine flourish to the start of my visit. 

Built in 1846 by William Cubitt, the house was designed in Italianate style by Prince Albert in conjunction with the builder; Albert chose this spot as the view reminded him of the Bay of Naples. The central block, (the Pavilion) houses the family’s private apartments, the whole building is built of brick rendered with cement, coloured to imitate warm Bath stone. Above the Grand Corridor wing the arcade of Venetian windows is light and airy. 

The Long Corridor houses classical sculpture and sea paintings, “Naval Review at Spithead” and “Shipwreck of the Eurydice at Sandown Bay 1878” and leads to the main house. The Council Room is elaborately decorated with heavily embossed gold-coloured ceiling and it was in this room that the Privy Council ministers met. It was also used for dancing, charades and visiting entertainers, Dame Nellie Melba, Dame Clara Butt, Henry Irvine and Ellen Terry all performed there. Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his telephone in this room and it was later installed here.

 I had hardly begun to explore downstairs when I was offered the lift to the first floor by the friendly and helpful staff. My thoughts went to the elderly Queen Victoria who in her latter days had a lift installed. It was hand operated by an attendant in the basement who responded to a bell, it must have been quite a squash with crinolines, bustles and even Queen Victoria’s “Rolling seat”. 

The first floor was the main family living area, housing bedrooms, dressing - and writing- rooms, (his and hers), all with splendid views over the terraces towards the sea.                                   

 Prince Albert’s bathroom has a plumbed-in copper bathtub - very, very deep with a heavy lid-a bit scary-and a shower and WC hidden as a wardrobe, Albert was keen to include up-to-date plumbing, heating and lighting. His dressing and writing room held his favourite early Renaissance paintings, a washstand and writing table. This room leads directly in to Queen Victoria’s large sitting room, which has marvellous views, here she and Albert shared a double mahogany desk where they worked on the dispatch boxes, the Queen wrote her journal, Albert sorted his photographic records, or they played the piano. The two elder children often took their supper here.  The Queen’s bedroom seemed to me rather sombre with sad and mournful paintings. Beside the bed stands a little cushioned stool, and nearby a wardrobe with full-length mirror opened to reveal a bath, shower and W.C. She died in this room in January 1901. 

On the first floor landing is the Page’s Alcove where a page of the back stairs was always in attendance, and a collection of mementos belonging to the aptly named George Waite, page to the Queen for more than 50 years, is on show. 

Huffing and puffing after climbing 27 stairs to the nursery I caught up with other HADAS members admiring the nursery furniture, the table with chairs individually named (no squabbling), the royal cradles, and Noah’s ark. The children stayed in the nursery suite until they were 6 years old. A display of marble sculptures of baby hands and feet seems ghostly and macabre and very Victorian. On the walls are framed photographs that show how the present royal families of Europe are descended from Victoria and Albert’s 9 children.            

The main staircase has a wonderful sweeping mahogany banister – how tempting to all those children. 

A small, rather gloomy and uncomfortable-looking room – the horn room –contains furniture made from stag’s antlers; even the candelabra, pictures, and chairs are framed with antlers. On the wall hangs the famous painting by Landseer –“Sorrow” – showing the widowed Queen seated on her pony reading a dispatch. John Brown is standing close by in attendance with head bowed. This fuelled speculation and gossip about their relationship. 

In contrast to the horn room, the dining room, drawing room and billiard room, are gloriously golden and richly decorated with elaborate ceilings and doors opening onto the terraces. The dining room table was set for a festive Christmas and huge paintings of family groups hang on the walls giving the impression that the room is alive with family. The drawing room is most opulent with huge mirrors and chandeliers, the piano is decorated with porcelain plaques painted as Old Italian masters, here Victoria and Albert played duets together.    It was also in this room that Queen Victoria lay in state after her death. 

Finally, the unexpected magnificence of the Durbar room, a high, light and atmospheric hall with mysterious music and aroma. The wonderful coffered ceiling is highly decorated with carvings and plasterwork, and the hugely ornate peacock chimneypiece sets the background to a display commemorating Queen Victoria’s golden and diamond jubilees. Address caskets containing loyal greetings are set in exquisite models coated in silver, of palaces, cannons and elephants, wonderful examples of Indian craftsmanship.

Following her death, the house was given to the state, and in 1903 part of the estate became a junior officer training college. During World War 1 it was used   as an officers’ convalescent home. Now it is partly opened to the public and stage managed by English Heritage. 


The Swiss Cottage, Osborne House, Isle of Wight                                          Vicki Baldwin

The foundation stone of the Swiss Cottage was laid by the children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1853 in the grounds of Osborne House.  In appearance the grandest play house imaginable, it was intended by Prince Albert to be the locus of the children’s practical education.         

Here they learnt to grow food in the vegetable garden, cook and prepare meals in the kitchen, and entertain their parents in the dining room.  Queen Victoria had a small writing desk in the dining room where she was able to continue working when visiting. 

All the furnishings in the Swiss Cottage are scaled to suit children and the garden tools were marked with the owner’s rank and initials.  A miniature shop: “Spratt, Grocer to Her Majesty”, complete in every detail, is one of the many fascinating objects on display. 

Nearby is the miniature Victoria Fort and accompanying Albert Barracks, with earthworks, redoubts and buildings that the children helped to construct as a birthday surprise for Queen Victoria. 

The children were also encouraged to build natural history collections which soon outgrew the space available in the Swiss Cottage.  A museum was built to house the collections in 1862 and has the original cases built for the specimens although the contents were rearranged in 1916.  Mementos from foreign visits were added to the museum. 

In spite of the changes necessary to enable the public to visit, the Swiss Cottage somehow manages to retain the impression of its original owners, and it is not difficult to imagine them intent upon their various tasks and duties as they learnt about the running of an ‘ordinary’ household. 

Isle of Wight – Wednesday                                                                                 Jim Nelhams 

Wednesday was always going to be our riskiest day. Two boat crossings of the Solent in a small ferryboat. Hurst Castle with little shelter, and on our return to the island, an open top bus trip to the Needles Batteries. The only other way to get to the batteries is a mile long walk from Alum Bay. And when we awoke, it was raining. 

The Needles is not the flattest part of the island, but the bus trip was a circular route, with commentary. The choices this allowed meant that while most people opted to visit the batteries. some stayed in Yarmouth, some stayed on the bus for the whole round trip back to Yarmouth, while Ken Carter and Micky Watkins stopped at Dimbola Lodge. Ken Carter’s note on Dimbola Lodge was published in the January newsletter..

Fortunately everybody made it back to Yarmouth to find our Galleon. 

Hurst Castle                                                                                                    Beverley Perkins 

As we drove west from Sandown through an increasingly hilly landscape, the remnants of the previous night’s rain cleared and blue skies welcomed us to Yarmouth.  There we boarded a specially chartered boat to cross the ¾ mile of water that separates the Isle of Wight from the tip of the narrow shingle spit on which Hurst Castle is built – the narrowest point of the Solent. 

The low castle with its huge Victorian wing extensions looks impressively defensive, looming threateningly over the Solent.  The Tudor castle at its core, constructed between 1540 and 1544, was one of a chain of fortresses built by Henry VIII to defend the vulnerable South coast from the feared Spanish or French invasion.  

A display in the tower shows how the designs of Henrician castles varied according to the defensive needs of their sites, ranging from simple circular shapes to towers with up to six bastions.  Hurst Castle was built as a 12-sided central tower encircled by a courtyard and a curtain wall, with three semi-circular gun bastions to the North East, North West and South so that it could withstand assaults from both land and sea.                                                                

Circular holes on either side of the gateway show that it originally had a drawbridge spanning a moat.  Inside the gateway are slots for the portcullis.  When completed, the castle had 71 gun positions in six tiers, though it is unlikely that it was ever equipped with so many weapons. 

The ground and first floors of the 12-sided, two-storey tower were probably the living quarters of the garrison. The first floor had a defensive function, as its windows were above the level of the curtain wall so that small guns could be fired through them. Three doors in the first floor, now blocked, led to timber bridges across to the bastions.  A cupboard off the staircase to the roof contained boxes of ammunition within easy reach of the gun crews.  The roof offers splendid views over the south coast, the Solent and the Isle of Wight, including Fort Albert opposite, built in the 1850s, which has been partially converted to a block of very expensive flats. 

The North West bastion, which covered the landward side and the gateway, was the most solidly built.  The ground floor room had four gun embrasures, though one of these is now covered by the 1860s wing and the others have been narrowed.  One still has its Tudor smoke vent which let out the clouds of noxious smoke produced by the guns.  A doorway in the first floor leads to the portcullis chamber over the main gateway where the portcullis, weights and chains can still be seen.  At the bottom of the steps to the basement is the entrance to a caponier – one of three built in 1852, it is a low, barrel-vaulted building protruding out to the north east with rifle slots on both sides covering the approaches to the castle.  According to Wikipedia, the name ‘caponier’ originates - somewhat inappropriately - from the French for chicken-house! 

The North curtain wall contains a chamber with a cartridge hoist.  The circular vaulted basement is lined with recesses for stacking powder barrels.  Lamp chambers in the central brick pier allowed the magazine to be lit without taking lamps directly into it. The North East and South bastions followed a similar pattern but have been partially masked by the 1860s wings. 

Even after the threat of invasion had passed, the castle continued to be garrisoned.  During the Civil War it was occupied by Parliamentary forces and Charles I was briefly imprisoned there in December 1648 on his way from Carisbrooke Castle to his trial in London.  In the 1700s it became a jail for Popish prisoners.  By 1793, when Britain went to war with France, it had become very dilapidated.  It was repaired and equipped with eighteen 9-pdr guns.  In 1803 more substantial repairs were made, the interior of the tower was gutted and a strong brick vault was inserted to support six 24-pdr guns on the roof.  The basement was also vaulted and strengthened to protect the magazine.  Doorways and windows were altered and the central spiral staircase linking the floors and the basement was replaced by a massive central brick pier.  The remains of fireplaces several feet above the current floor level show that floor levels too were changed.  However, the castle was not after all needed for defence and in 1809 became a hospital for soldiers wounded in Spain.  Further strengthening was undertaken in the 1850s and new batteries were added. 

By the start of the 1860s England once again feared invasion and the existing batteries were considered inadequate to protect the approaches to Southampton and Portsmouth Dockyard.  They were therefore replaced by the massive East and West wing batteries, built out from the sides of the North East and North West bastions.  These wings held a total of 30 guns of varying calibres.  So many guns were needed because the casemates limited the angle of fire and the new steam warships moved faster than the old sailing vessels.  

Each gun was protected by a massive granite-fronted casemate lined inside with a thick wrought iron shield.  Two 12.5-inch 38-ton guns, salvaged from the sea below the Needles Old Battery, are on display in two of the alcoves.  They fired shells weighing 820 lbs. with a range of 3½ miles. Twelve men were needed to load and move each gun.  Woven rope mantles, hung in front of the metal shields, acted as flash screens, absorbing the metal splinters in case of a direct hit. The rear of the casemates provided accommodation for the garrison. Hoists raised the shells from the basement to the level of the guns through openings of various shapes and sizes. 

Further guns were added to Hurst’s defence in 1893 and again during the First World War, when two Defence Electric Searchlights were also installed to light up the Needles passage.  During the Second World War the castle was garrisoned by the 129 Coastal Battery Royal Artillery. One casemate became the garrison theatre, which still has its painted backdrop of a charming Restoration scene - apparently the only wartime backdrop which survives.  How nice to know that during those dark days the garrison was allowed the relief of some light entertainment. 

At the end of this fascinating visit we re-embarked, enjoying splendid views of the Solent and the coast as we sailed back to Yarmouth.




Tutor: Jacqui Pearce, BA FSA MIFA   Saturday 17 March 2012 or Saturday 21 April 2012 

The LAARC holds thousands of clay tobacco pipes, representing dozens of London makers and enabling us to trace the evolution of this commonplace artefact from before 1600 until after 1850. We are currently creating a new reference collection, initially comprising over 500 individual pipes, which will be completed in March 2012 and used for the first time during these two study days. 

There will be a strong emphasis on practical activities, handling and studying the original artefacts, and so we are restricting the number of participants on each day to just 12. The sessions will include: 

•       Introduction and overview of tobacco pipes in London, c. 1600-1850

•       Makers and makers’ marks

•       Decorated pipes

•       Archaeological assemblages: pipes in association with other artefacts

•       Recording pipes individually and in groups 

Course cost: £60, including: All tutorial expenses and access to on-line resourcesfollowing the course, Tea/coffee (morning and afternoon, and  Lunch 

To book, please contact the Museum of London Box Office (tel: 020 7001 9844)

•       To discuss the content of the course, please contact

(Preferably by e-mail) Francis Grew (;

Telephone 020 7566 9317) or Jacqui Pearce

(; telephone: 020 7566 9325) 

About the Archive and Research Centre: 

The Friends of Avenue House are running this event:

Talk on the Livery Companies of London.  Wednesday 29th February 2012 @7.30pm

City of London expert Yasha Beresiner introduces the ancient and fascinating livery companies of London. Cash bar, hot drinks and cake. £7.50. To book for above event at Avenue House: telephone 8346-7812, or contact the Friends via                              

 Other Societies’ Events                                                                                     Eric Morgan 

Friday 3rd February 10.30am-12noon Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries South Friern Library, Colney Hatch Lane, N10 Myths & Legends on the Battle of Barnet Talk by Hugh Petrie (Barnet Archivist) Tea/Coffee and Biscuits 50p. 

Wednesday 8th February 2.30-4pm Mill Hill Historical Society Wilberforce Centre, St Paul’s Church, The Ridgeway NW7 1QU  The Thames Barge Talk by Tony Earle 

Monday 13th February 3pm Barnet & District Local History Society Church House, Wood St, Barnet (opposite Museum) Agincourt Talk by Prof. Anne Curry. 

Tuesday 14th February, 8pm Amateur Geological Society The Parlour, St Margaret’s Church, Victoria Ave, N3 (off Hendon Lane) A Geological Map Puzzle Talk by Chris Darmon. 

Wednesday 22nd February 7.45pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Society St John’s Church Hall (Next to Whetstone Police Station) Friern Barnet Lane, N20 The Arts Depot Talk by Keith Martin, Cost £2 Refreshments 7.45pm and after. 

Thursday 23rd February 2.30-4pm Finchley Society Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road N3 3QE Tales of Tunnels & Tubes – The London Underground Talk by Brenda Cole Non-members £2. 

Tuesday 28th February 6.15pm LAMAS Clare Learning Centre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN  Reconstructing Nonsuch; Evidence, Elevations and a Model  Presidential Address by Prof. Martin Biddle, Preceded by A.G.M. Refreshments from 5.30pm.