Weekly meeting report

The Society met for its annual summer soir’e on 24 June ‘ Midsummer’s Day ‘ to hear a miscellany of papers. Ann Saunders, FSA, Christopher Whittick, FSA, and Pamela Tudor-Craig, FSA, each spoke about different aspects of Old St Paul’s: the Society of Antiquaries’ Diptych, 1616, which is both the title and the subject of a new monograph published jointly by the Society of Antiquaries and the London Topographical Society.

Next, David Starkey, FSA, introduced the Society of Antiquaries’ publication of the 1542 Inventory of Whitehall Palace, by Maria Hayward, FSA. The Inventory lists over 4,000 items owned by Henry VIII and kept by Sir Anthony Denny, Keeper of the Whitehall Palace, whom David Starkey likened to Alistair Campbell: the man who effectively ran the apparatus of government, controlling access to the king and deciding which documents the monarch would be asked to sign.

Finally, Andrew Fitzpatrick, FSA, of Wessex Archaeology, spoke about the ‘Boscombe bowmen ‘ builders of Stonehenge’. Andrew arrived late at the meeting, having come straight from a live broadcast on the ‘Richard and Judy Show’. The invitation to appear on this programme was, Andrew said, an indication of how much the past is of interest to a mass TV audience.

In this case, media interest was stimulated by the discovery of a single grave containing the bones of three adults, a teenager and three young children on Boscombe Down, on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. Analysis of the finds, bones and teeth shows that the adults, all male, were closely related and that they had migrated from the western extremities of the British Isles some 4,500 years ago, at about the time that the Preseli blue stones were erected at Stonehenge. The press had therefore dubbed them a ‘band of brothers’, and decided that they must have formed part of the team that accompanied the blue stones on their journey from Preseli to Stonehenge.

A fuller report on this week’s meeting can be read on the Fellows’ side of the Society’s website.

News of Fellows

Congratulations to Mike Heyworth, FSA, who has just been appointed as the new Director of the Council for British Archaeology to succeed George Lambrick, FSA, from 1 August 2004. Mike is, of course, no stranger to the job, having worked for the CBA for fourteen years, latterly as Deputy Director. Announcing the appointment, Dr Francis Pryor, President of the CBA, said: ‘Archaeology has never been more popular in the UK and nobody knows the world of archaeology better than Mike. The CBA is in his blood and I know that he will be an effective campaigner for British archaeology in the challenging years ahead.’ Mike Heyworth said: ‘I am delighted to have been appointed to this post and I look forward to building on our past successes.’

Corrections and amplifications

Apologies to our Fellow, David Barker, for a garbled account given in a recent edition of Salon of his recently awarded degree. Salon said that his degree was ‘honorary’, and given for his work at the Gladstone Pottery Museum, which caused a certain amount of puzzlement. Just to set the record straight, David’s degree is a PhD awarded on the basis of published work, and though he has spent much of his working life at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent (formerly the City Museum and Art Gallery), David has been the Senior Archaeologist for Stoke-on-Trent City Council for the last two years.

John Nandris picked up on the report in Salon 91 regarding the opening of the archives of the Royal Geographic Society and asked whether all was really as splendid as press reports had led us to believe ‘ so your intrepid Salon editor paid a visit to the RGS himself to see whether the hype was justified and came away very disappointed. Enthusiastic journalists had persuaded us that the newly opened RGS exhibition centre contained artefacts and original documents. In fact the very small exhibition has nothing but a dull series of printed posters explaining what the study of geography is all about ‘ something that most visitors to the RGS probably already know, or else they would not be there. John reports further that a friend of his who tried to use the archive still had to go through various bureaucratic procedures and pay for the privilege: is this, he asks, what the Heritage Lottery Fund expected for its millions of pounds of investment, given its emphasis on public access?


News was received last week of the death of John Samuels, FSA. Many Fellows will know that John had been ill for some time. John’s funeral takes place at St Matthew’s Church, Normanton on Trent, Newark, on 2 July at 2.30pm. Margaret Bennet John’s widow, has asked that any donations in John’s memory should go to the Society’s Library for the purchase of books in recognition of the use and pleasure that the library gave John, both in his working life and during his illness. Donations to the ‘Society of Antiquaries of London’ may be sent to E Gill and Sons Ltd, Funeral Directors, 55 Albert Street, Newark NG24 4BQ, or directly to the Society.

The Society has also been informed of the death last week of the Revd Peter Charles Hawker, FSA, of Lincoln.

Our Fellow Andrea Tanner has written to inform the Society that her husband ‘ Dr John Tanner, FSA ‘ died on 18 May. His association with the Antiquaries was long and happy, says Andrea, and his membership of the Essay Club was one of the delights of his life.

John’s obituary appeared in The Independent (22 May) and The Times (11 June) (and one will shortly appear in The Daily Telegraph). Both newspapers described John as an archivist and scholar who, through his vision and energy, created the RAF Museum at Hendon and, against all the odds, made an improbable success of the venture, going on to create the Battle of Britain Museum, the Cosford Aero-Space Museum and the Bomber Command Museum.

John Benedict Ian Tanner was born in London in 1927 and educated at the City of London Library School. Having qualified as a librarian, he worked at Reading public library in 1950, moving from there to Kensington Library as archivist-librarian, and thence to Leighton House Art Gallery and Museum. In 1953 he arrived at the RAF College at Cranwell where he spent the next ten years as curator, librarian and tutor. From 1959 he also lectured in history of art at the University of Nottingham, from which he gained a doctorate in 1960.

Aware that Britain had no national aviation collection, John approached the Ministry of Defence and received a positive response. Appointed in 1963 as the founding director of the RAF Museum, he devoted his formidable energies, contacts and knowledge to raising funds and persuading major figures in the RAF and aviation worlds to lend their backing to the venture.

The opening of the RAF Museum by the Queen on 15 November 1972, was just the beginning of his quest to give a worthy account of the history of military aviation, as well as civilian life in wartime. In 1978 he founded the Battle of Britain Museum on the Hendon site, and that was followed in 1982 by the Bomber Command Museum. He also helped to set up what became the Aero-Space Museum at Cosford, the British Airways Museum at Cosford, and the Manchester Air and Space Museum. John’s advice was also much in demand in countries that wanted to set up their own aviation history collections. Notable among these was the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, which acknowledged his inspiration.

John was held in high esteem by the academic world. He was Walmsey Lecturer at City University in 1980; a senior research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, 1982’97; a visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, in 1983; and professor at the Polish University, 1987’94. City University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1982. He had by that time been appointed CBE. He had numerous international honours.

The future for heritage protection

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published a decision document setting out its future plans for the protection of the historic environment. In doing so the Heritage Minister, (Lord) Andrew McIntosh, stressed that the aim was to ‘breathe new life into an old regime’, by ‘retaining a robust level of protection for our historic assets’, whilst achieving greater transparency and effectiveness. ‘Our current system of heritage protection is second to none’, he said, ‘and the landscape of England today would be a vastly different, and infinitely poorer one if it did not exist’. But, he said, ‘few people, even amongst those working with the systems on a daily basis, had a clear grasp of all parts of the legislation and unsurprisingly there were inconsistencies in its interpretation’.

The proposed remedy involves the creation of a single ‘Register of Historic Sites and Buildings of England’, bringing together listing, scheduling and registration and incorporating all protected buildings, monuments, landscapes, parks, gardens and battlefields, and World Heritage Sites. It will also contain a local section recording conservation areas, local lists and registers.

This ‘Domesday Book’ of the built heritage will be accompanied by a single heritage consent regime for all types of heritage asset, administered by local authorities ‘ research is continuing into the feasibility of creating this unified consent regime, including the possible the integration of conservation area consent and planning permission with the new heritage consent.

English Heritage will in future be entrusted with the task of adding new assets to the register. Nominally this is the responsibility of the Secretary of State, though English Heritage has been performing this role in practice for decades. English Heritage will have to operate within published Government policies and criteria for designation, consult the public and stakeholders, and give an annual account of its activities. A new interim protection order will be placed on assets proposed for registration, to prevent owners destroying assets during the consultation period. Asset owners will be given the right to appeal against listing. They will also be able to negotiate management agreements with English Heritage that will eliminate the need for heritage consent for works that do not have an adverse impact on the asset.

The decision document also sets out a very ambitious plan to create ‘a comprehensive pack for owners’, including a ‘summary of importance, setting out the reasons for listing, a map which indicates the extent of listing, and general information on designation and seeking planning consent’. Andrew McIntosh explained that this was intended to ‘make it easier for the owners and tenants of heritage properties to take pride in their conservation and care. One way to do this is to provide better information about what makes their property special and how to keep it in good condition. We want to open up the system by offering a one-stop shop for applications and enquiries, providing information in a clear and comprehensible form, and offering the opportunity to request a review of listing decisions’.

All of these proposals were foreshadowed in the consultation document that DCMS published last July. Over 500 people and organisations responded to that document ‘ a huge number given that few government consultations generate more than 100 responses. For the most part, the response of the sector has been to welcome these proposals as a much-needed modernisation of a regime whose purpose in safeguarding the heritage has become fragmented in a patchwork of statute, legal precedent and bureaucracy. According to DCMS, primary legislation will be needed to implement some of the recommendations, and a slot is being sought in the 2006/7 parliamentary session.

One big question, implicit from the day that Tessa Jowell first announced the review of the regime in December 2002, remains unanswered: given the huge amount of new work that will be involved in (for example) creating owners’ packs, is the Government prepared to make new funding available to enable this vision to be achieved?

For further information and a copy of the decision document, see the DCMS website.

Revision of PPGs 15 and 16 off the agenda

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has announced that the long-delayed amalgamation and revision of PPGs 15 (Archaeology) and 16 (Historic Buildings) is no longer being regarded as a priority and will not go ahead in the foreseeable future. The announcement came in response to criticism of the ODPM by a Parliamentary Select Committee, which found that slow progress on revising Planning Policy Guidance notes with more succinct Planning Policy Statements was leading to uncertainty and delays in planning decisions: local authorities were reluctant to make decisions on the basis of policies they thought would soon be revised.

In response the ODPM has published the following list of those PPGs where early revision is considered necessary for ‘good policy reasons’: PPG1 (General Policies and Principles), PPG3 (Housing), PPG4 (Economic Development), PPG6 (Town Centres), PPG7 (Countryside), PPG9 (Nature Conservation and Biodiversity), PPG10 (Planning and Waste Management), PPG11 (Regional Planning), PPG12 (Development Plans), PPG22 (Renewable Energy), PPG23 (Planning and Pollution) and PPG25 (Development and Flood Risk). Revision or replacement of these PPGs will be completed by early 2005.

As for the remainder, the ODPM says that ‘the review and replacement of other Planning Policy Guidance notes will only take place as and when necessary in the light of their policy and strategic significance. In the meantime the current PPG will remain in place.’

Madonna and the human right to roam

In what is widely seen as an important test case, the pop singer, Madonna, and her husband, Guy Ritchie, have been spending large sums of money in an attempt to prevent walkers from having access to their Ashcombe estate, in Berkshire, under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Under the Act, walkers are allowed unrestricted access to land designated as mountain, moor, heath, down or registered common. The Ashcombe estate includes large areas of chalk downland and has therefore been designated as open access land.

Lawyers for the Ritchies have tried every argument in the book to seek to have this designation overturned, and to a degree their money and persistence has paid off: of seventeen areas originally designated as open access land, only two have survived after a series of challenges and a public inquiry (albeit those two areas embrace 130 acres ‘ 50 per cent of the land originally designated).

Those hostile to the whole idea of public rights of way have hailed this as a great victory: a Daily Telegraph leader argued that the Countryside Commission (responsible for designating access land) had proved itself so incompetent that it should be abolished and that the costly, bureaucratic and time-consuming Act should be torn up.

But should they really be celebrating? A very important statement in the judgement of the planning inspector, David Pinner, addressed the issue of human rights. Lawyers for the Ritchies claimed that allowing walkers access to the estate would transgress their rights to privacy, security and the enjoyment of family life in their own home, as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights. Not so, the inspector ruled: it was never the intention of human rights legislation, he argued, that individuals should be able to use it to subvert the wishes of Parliament, or to undermine legislation that was framed in the wider public interest. That is an argument well worth remembering next time someone claims (vide the recent demolition of Greenside, the Grade-I listed Modernist villa at Wentworth) that human rights legislation over-rides the Government’s policy to protect archaeology and listed buildings.

The Attingham Trust throws open the doors to education

The Attingham Trust has just published its long-awaited report into learning and the historic environment. Opening Doors is the result of three years’ research led by our Fellow Giles Waterfield looking at educational activity at historic houses and sites in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland. It calls on the Government to invest a similar level of resources in the ‘site-based heritage learning sector’ as it already gives to museums and galleries. It also argues for the creation of a ‘single advocate and co-ordinator for heritage learning’ in each country, analogous to the Group for Education in Museums (GEM), with the role of helping the sector develop effective heritage education programmes, train staff, realise the potential of information technology, and share resources and knowledge.

Launching the report at the Wallace Collection on 29 June, Heritage Minister, Andrew McIntosh, said that Opening Doors made a strong case for placing the historic environment at the centre of Government thinking about citizenship and education. Our Fellow David Cannadine went further and said that ‘our sense of place, purpose and identity is conditioned by the localities in which we live and work’ and that an understanding of that environment was capable of ‘enhancing and transforming lives’. He also said that ‘we are part of a long and complex historical process which is still unfolding, and it is an important duty of all decision-makers to understand the historic environment that we inhabit before seeking to change it or create new heritage’.

A second report on education and the built environment is due to be published in a month’s time, resulting from the work of the Joint Advisory Committee on Built Environment Education, chaired by Gillian Wolfe, of Dulwich Picture Gallery, and jointly sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education and Skills. It is likely that the report will reinforce the main message of Opening Doors: that much good work has been done but much remains to be done.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from the Attingham Trust website.

House of Lords debates Latin and Greek GCSEs and A levels

Our Fellow Graham Shipley, who is Chair of the Council of University Classical Departments, has written to draw the Society’s attention to the House of Lords debate on the future of classics teaching, occasioned by the recent decision by the AQA examination board (the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) to drop Latin and Greek from its GCSE and A-level syllabuses in England and Wales.

During the debate, the Education Minister, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, said that the Government was satisfied that Latin and Greek were being properly supported because exams continued to be available through another board [OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA)]. She did, though, acknowledge that the AQA decision had been taken without consultation, saying that ‘I have no doubt that the AQA ‘ will take time to reflect on the widespread criticism of its decision and the impact that it could have’.

Lord Redesdale asked if Archaeology GCSE was under threat if the exam boards decided not to support subjects with less than 1,000 entrants a year. Baroness Ashton said she believed that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority would work to ensure that minority subjects are offered by at least one of the examining boards and she confirmed that they had the right to intervene to ensure that subjects remained available through at least one board. She also revealed that there were 9,350 students studying for GCSE Latin in 2003 and about 900 studying for GCSE Greek. Of those students, approximately two-thirds had already opted for the OCR board syllabus.

The full debate can be read on the Hansard website.

New Forest declared a national park

Alun Michael, the Rural Affairs Minister, announced on 29 June that the New Forest is to become the first new national park to be designated in England and Wales since the Brecon Beacons National Park in 1957. William the Conqueror’s royal hunting ground will now benefit from the highest level of legal protection available in England against inappropriate development. Designation as the twelfth (and smallest) national park in England and Wales means that the Forest will get its own planning authority and staff, and a management plan for the future conservation of the natural and historic heritage of the 200 square miles of ancient woodland, pasture and heath. The ancient Court of Verderers, the 1,000-year-old body that represents Forest commoners, will remain and will be incorporated into the new administrative arrangements.

Inevitably the decision has its supporters and its critics. Environmentalists are disappointed that the national park will be considerably smaller than that initially proposed by the Countryside Agency two years ago. Areas excluded include the valley of the River Avon west of the Forest, and Dibden Bay, the area of land on Southampton Water where a proposal for a giant container port was recently mooted. Mr Michael said the exclusions were based on the recommendations of the inspector who conducted a six-month public enquiry into the boundaries ‘because they did not fit in with the landscape character of the rest of the Forest’, but Emily Richmond, of the Ramblers’ Association, said ‘the Government seems to have based its boundary decision on the erroneous view that all the areas included in the national park have to be identical’.

Opponents of National Park status claim that it is unnecessarily bureaucratic and that it will stifle development needed to sustain the tourist-based economy of the Forest, which receives 22 million visitors a year. Julian Lewis, Tory MP for New Forest East, said: ‘In the past, decisions about the future of the Forest evolved from a consensus of interested bodies and individuals; now the National Park Authority will be able to force decisions through’.

Mary I and Elizabeth Taylor ‘ linked by a pearl

The Society’s portrait of Mary I is the centrepiece of an exhibition this summer at Winchester Cathedral, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the monarch’s marriage to Philip II of Spain. The marriage was a glittering affair, with 5,000 guests who ate off plates of silver and gold. As a wedding present, Philip gave Mary an enormous pearl, which she is wearing in the Society’s portrait, which our Fellow David Starkey described at the launch of the exhibition as ‘by far the best portrait of Mary ‘ probably painted for Mary herself and as iconic of her as the Holbein is of Henry VIII’. The pearl was later dubbed ‘La Peregrina’ (‘The Pilgrim’), because of its many journeys around Europe. After Mary’s death it was returned to Spain, from where it was taken to France by Joseph Napoleon, brother of Napoleon I, and later sold to the Marquis of Abercorn. It was then sold again in 1969 ‘ this time to Richard Burton, who gave it to Elizabeth Taylor after their first marriage in that year.

The exhibition, The Marriage of England and Spain, is on at the cathedral until 30 September 2004. Further details from the cathedral’s website.

Cultures of Commemoration: War Memorials Ancient and Modern

This inter-disciplinary British Academy symposium offers an important opportunity to explore cultural responses to the commemoration of war dead, ranging from the Greek and Roman civilisations to the practices of the more recent past. The conference will bring together experts working on Vietnam, the two World Wars of the twentieth century, post-revolutionary France, nineteenth-century England, Imperial Rome, the Hellenistic World and Ancient Greece.

The symposium takes place over 16 and 17 July 2004 at the British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1. Further details from the British Academy website.

Celebrating the inspiration of W G Hoskins

To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of W G Hoskins’ seminal book on The Making of the English Landscape, a conference is to be held at Leicester on 7 to 10 July 2005. The conference will celebrate the achievements of the discipline of landscape history which Hoskins inspired and take his contribution as a starting point, but will focus on recent developments and the future outlook as well as the major themes of rural settlement, towns and hinterlands, industry and communications, buildings, Britain before the English, designed landscapes, perceptions of landscape, ritual and spiritual landscapes, environments and the mapping of the landscape. Offers of papers (12-word maximum title, 50-word maximum summary) should be sent to Christopher Dyer, Centre for English Local History, University of Leicester, 5 Salisbury Road, Leicester LE1 7QR; e-mail: [email protected]; tel: 0116 252 2765.

Digital catalogue of illuminated manuscripts

The Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) has awarded a grant to the Institute of English Studies in partnership with the British Library (BL) to produce the first ever digitally illustrated and searchable catalogue of Western illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts held in the BL’s collections. A pilot project was previously conducted by the BL, with the support of the Getty Grant Program, entailing the creation of a pilot website. This currently holds descriptions and selected images of some 250 manuscripts, drawn from different periods and regions. It can be consulted on the BL website.

The main project started this March at the British Library, in partnership with the Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies in the Institute of English Studies. When complete, the entire project will hold details of approximately 9,500 manuscripts, making it the world’s largest resource for this sort of material. Some of the books being catalogued are internationally renowned, such as the eighth-century Lindisfarne Gospels and the Sforza Hours, made in Milan in the fifteenth century. Many others are virtually unknown and the project will open up a wide pool of unique material to scholars, students and the public. Each manuscript will have an electronic description and will be illustrated by a selection of captioned images. The site includes thematic tours, some in the form of virtual exhibitions, introducing and exploring aspects of the manuscripts.

The BL has also begun a series of seminars arising from the Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts Project (DigCIM). The first seminar will be led by Dr Scot Mckendrick (Head of Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, British Library) on the subject of ‘The Charles Burney Manuscript Collection’. It takes place on Monday 5 July 2004 at 5.30pm in Room 329/330, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E. If you would like to attend the seminar, which is free of charge and open to the public, please contact Jon Millington to reserve a place.

A second seminar will be held in November 2004, and a conference for February 2005 is in the planning stages. Further details can be found on the University of London School of Advanced Study’s website.

Books by Fellows

Anthony Quiney has written to say that his book on the Town Houses of Medieval Britain is now in the Society of Antiquaries’ library, having been published by Yale University Press in December 2003. The book synthesises recent archaeological, architectural and historical findings to present a survey of houses from the early fifth century to the ascent of James VI of Scotland to the English throne in 1603. The book features over 300 illustrations that include medieval depictions of houses and their occupants, historic prints and photographs, as well as numerous explanatory drawings. The first part of the book considers a variety of political, religious and economic contexts and their influence on medieval building. The second part looks at the houses themselves: royal palaces; the houses of burgesses, craftsmen and clergy; hovels of the impecunious; as well as social buildings such as guildhalls, almshouses and hospitals.

A review of the book, written by our Fellow Clive Aslet, can be read on the Country Life website.


Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Investigator
Salary ‘15,322 to ‘20,218, closing date 12 July 2004

Candidates should have some experience of the use of CAD in archaeological and/or building survey and preferably of the use of Total Station or Global Positioning (GPS) survey equipment, although further training will be given. Duties will include survey of the most significant sites discovered during the Uplands Archaeology Initiative. These sites have a wide date range, including hill-forts, burial mounds and cairns together with post-medieval seasonally used long-huts and numerous mine and quarry sites. Other duties will be to prepare survey data, using CAD, for inclusion on the Royal Commission’s website, for use by Ordnance Survey, and to compile and digitise building survey records from work such as that undertaken on the eighteenth-century industrial settlement at Amlwch in Anglesey and resulting from the recording of nineteenth-century nonconformist chapels.

Application form and further details are available from Mrs S J Billingsley.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Keeper of Word and Image Department and Keeper of Asian Department (two posts)
Salary c ‘63,000, no closing date specified in advert

Following the appointment of Deborah Swallow as Director of the Courtauld Institute and the retirement of Susan Lambert, two senior curatorial posts are vacant at the V&A. The Word and Image Department cares for the V&A’s collections of Western prints, drawings, paintings, photographs and book art, and the Asian Department cares for substantial holdings of decorative and fine art, furniture and textiles. Further information about both posts can be found on the V&A’s website.

Head of National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
Salary ‘37,000 to ‘52,531, closing date 19 July 2004

This new museum will tell the story of Wales as the world’s first industrial nation. Further information can be found on the website of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales.

Handel House Museum, Director
Salary c ‘35,000, closing date 27 August 2004

The Handel House Museum is looking for someone with a good knowledge of music and eighteenth-century culture, plus curatorial and financial management experience, to take over as Director. For an application pack, contact Letty Porter.