Salon Archive

Issue: 128

Forthcoming meetings

24 November: Ballot, with short papers on ‘The return of Charles Dawson's fake figurine’, by Paul Craddock, FSA, and ‘A 1786 watercolour of a Roman coin by Jacob Schnebbelie, draughtsman of the Society’, by Simon Bendall, FSA

1 December: From Medieval Castle to Baroque Palace: the restoration
of the Palazzo Madama in Turin
, by Enrica Pagella

8 December: Perfectly Medieval and Perfectly Modern: Christopher Whall’s Arts and Crafts stained glass at Gloucester Cathedral, by Peter Cormack, FSA

Christopher Whall’s stained-glass windows in the fifteenth-century Lady Chapel of Gloucester Cathedral, made between 1898 and 1910, are acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of the British Arts and Crafts movement. This lecture will examine the origins and history of the commission — including the significant involvement of the Society of Antiquaries — the innovative role of Christopher Whall as both designer and master-craftsman and the imagery and technique of the windows themselves.

15 December: A Miscellany of Papers, followed by mulled wine and mince pies

The papers to be given at this meeting will focus on the recent refurbishment of Burlington House, with Clerk of Works Ralph Bell talking about the exterior works, and former General Secretary Dai Morgan Evans talking about the Society’s apartments, their use and decoration over the years. General Secretary David Gaimster will conclude by unveiling future plans for the Society’s public areas and for the re-presentation of the Burlington House Courtyard.

Kelmscott Manor Christmas shopping

The shop at Kelmscott Manor will be open for Christmas shopping from 11am to 4 pm on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November 2005. Seasonal refreshments will be available in the Manor’s restaurant (but the house itself is not open for viewing during this weekend). A Kelmscott stall will also be mounted in the Burlington House lobby before and after the meeting to be held on 8 December and at the Miscellany of Papers on 15 December.

Online balloting

There are three days left in which to cast your vote online for the ballot to be held on 24 November using the online balloting system. The online ballot will close at 10 am on 24 November.

Ann Payne nominated Vice President

Exercising his prerogative under the statutes, the President has nominated Council member Ann Payne, OBE, BA, FSA, FRHistS, formerly Head of Manuscripts at the British Library, as a new Vice President of the Society.

Adrian James's silver jubilee

The Society’s staff came together on 18 November at Burlington House to mark the twenty-five years that have passed since Adrian James, our longest serving member of staff, first came to work at the Society. Some Fellows might be aware that Adrian, like Philip Larkin, is a very poetical Librarian; few occasions in the life of the staff go unmarked by one of his wittily wrought poems, so to return the compliment, Salon offers this small tribute to Adrian, his stamina and his longevity:

Though Adrian toils ’midst antiquarian tomes
And labours long in basements dim
He has a soul that is not with us
But basks in sun on Mount Olympus
And makes the laughing Muses dance
To hear the music of his song.

Meeting reports

Professor Norman Hammond, the Local Secretary for North America, South America and the Caribbean, reports that the Annual Meeting of the American Fellowship was held on Friday 4 November at the Union Oyster House, Boston, Massachusetts. The meeting was well attended by Fellows and guests from the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. Professor Charles Higham, FBA, Fellow, delivered a paper on The Origins of the Civilization of Angkor. The 2006 Meeting will be held on 3 November 2006 at the Houghton Library and the Faculty Club, Harvard University, when the speaker will be the Society’s President, Professor Eric Fernie, CBE.

At the Society’s ‘awayday’ meeting in Leicester on 10 November Fellows were hosted by the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Fellow Alan McWhirr took the opportunity at the ‘awayday’ meeting to present to the Society a complete index to every volume published between 1862 to 2000, consisting of a reprint of the index for volumes 1 to 20 and a new index of volumes 21—74 (1940—2000). This hard-backed volume runs to 388 pages and is available to non-members of the Leicestershire Society at £22 including postage and packing from Alan McWhirr, 37 Dovedale Road, Leicester LE2 2DN.

News of Fellows

Congratulations to Gwyn Miles, FSA, who has been appointed to the post of Director of the Somerset House Trust, succeeding Diana Hansen, who retires this year. Gwyn moved in 1985 from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) as Deputy Keeper of Conservation. In 1989 she was made Surveyor of Collections, responsible for the management of the collections and was project leader for the development of the new centre for research and conservation. She developed a programme of travelling exhibitions for the V&A collections which were shown across Japan and America, including a William Morris retrospective and a major exhibition about the V&A, A Grand Design. In 1995 Gwyn Miles became Head of Major Projects at the V&A. She acted as project director for the major re-display of the British Galleries, which opened in November 2001 to great critical acclaim. In 2001, as Director of Projects and Estate, she was instrumental in developing the ambitious new Masterplan for the V&A, which is currently being implemented. She takes up her appointment as Director of Somerset House on 3 January 2006.

Sir Christopher Mallaby, Chairman of the Somerset House Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Gwyn Miles, who joins Somerset House at a very important time in its development. Much has been achieved over the last five years in the Trust’s mission to open Somerset House to the public as a centre for culture and the arts. It now receives over one million visitors a year. Our ambition in the coming years is to unlock more of the cultural riches of Somerset House for the benefit of the public. Our decision to appoint Gwyn Miles as Director is a key part of this process.’


Following last week’s note on the demise of Latin within the Catholic Church, Fellow Percival Turnbull, of the Brigantia Archaeological Practice, writes to say that cardinals and others who wish to brush up their Latin might care to look at the internet Latin news service, subtly entitled Ephemeris, at .

Fellow Norman Hammond noticed that Salon’s summary of his recent Times article on the Whole Way, ‘the only surviving example in south-west Cambridgeshire of a group of tracks of Roman or even earlier date that bounded and gave access to contemporary fields’, ended abruptly. The article in The Times went on to say that plans to ‘divert’ this ancient road amounted to its destruction. Norman’s conclusion was that: ‘When you move an old house to a new site you divorce it from its context, but you still have the fabric; when you move an ancient road, you lose it altogether.’

Fellow John Nandris writes with regard top the reintroduction of European beavers to an estate in Gloucestershire that it would be interesting to know more about their past and present European distribution; he reports seeing beavers recently in Krakow in the semi-wild conditions of a park very close to the city centre. The people of the north European Mesolithic certainly knew the beaver: half a beaver mandible, with its incisors, formed a useful ready-hafted tool. John adds that for anyone who owns a beaver hat, brushing in one direction with Guinness is the best way to keep them in condition — raising the frivolous thought that the same might apply to live beavers?

On a more personal note, Ian lays hesitant claim (because he cannot quote the precise reference) to being the first Antiquary to have been published in Private Eye. ‘Many years ago I wrote to deplore the failure of Westminster Council to keep their word and place the award-winning work of the Romanian sculptor Paul Neagu on an island near Trafalgar Square; and at the same time to complain about the opinion of Taki that the equestrian sculpture of Charles I at the top of Whitehall is a masterpiece, which it is not. My appearance in Private Eye was the only one of my publications to have been received with any enthusiasm by my students at the Institute of Archaeology at the time.’

Fellow Stephen Briggs urges that Salon should perhaps be cautious when referring (for example, in the review of Fellow John Prag's new book, The Archaeology of Alderley Edge in Salon 125) to Bronze Age 'mining' for ores in Britain and Ireland, which he argues is as yet an unproven activity (as distinct from the collection of minerals). He reasons that the evidence so far presented relies almost exclusively on radiocarbon dating without corroborative diagnostic Bronze Age artefacts and argues that the charcoal derives from peat used industrially on the mining sites mainly since medieval times. A puzzling near-absence of metal mines after c 1200 BC (most of those formerly thought to be Roman are now re-ascribed a Bronze Age currency) certainly suggests the need for corroborative calibrations from an independent physical technique, such as OSL (Optically Stimulated Luminescence). Stephen's detailed arguments are to be found in the Archaeological Journal Volume 160 in a paper entitled 'Manuscripts, Mapping and Primitive Mining on Mount Gabriel, County Cork', and are further developed in his essay for the forthcoming Colin Burgess festschrift (Oxbow, 2006).

William Morris in Australia

Dr J Patrick Greene, FSA, Chief Executive Officer at Museum Victoria, writes to inform Fellows in Australia, and anyone else visiting Melbourne between 25 November 2005 and 12 February 2006, that the excellent Morris and Co exhibition created by the Art Gallery of South Australia will be displayed at the Melbourne Museum between those dates. The exhibition has a remarkable range of hangings, rugs, furniture and wallpaper, most of which was imported by the wealthy Barr family of Adelaide for a succession of their houses. Activities accompanying the exhibition include a William Morris forum on 26 November and printmaking workshops in February.

Heritage Counts 2005

This year’s annual audit of the state of the historic environment — published by English Heritage on behalf of the heritage community in England — focused on threats to rural heritage. Figures published in the new report show that farm buildings are the single largest category of listed buildings in England: there are some 500,000 traditional farm buildings in the country and some 30,000 (6 per cent) are listed. They are also the category of building most at risk (especially historic timber farm buildings), with 7.4 per cent in a severe state of disrepair. As well as neglect, these buildings suffer from unsympathetic conversion: one in three historic farm buildings has already been converted, and the pressure for further conversion continues to build, with 57 per cent of all listed farm buildings having already been the subject of a planning application (of which eight out of ten have been approved).

Announcing thee figures at a press conference on 16 November, our Fellow Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said that conversion was not in itself a bad thing; but that so much conversion stripped the building of its character and significance, leading to the suburbanisation of the countryside. As a solution to the problem, he promised that EH would issue new and detailed design guidance to local authorities next year, showing good and bad practice when converting farms to offices, shops or homes.

The report also showed that historic parkland was under threat (since 1918, England has lost half of its historic landscapes, equivalent in area to the county of Warwickshire) and Simon called on planning authorities to exercise careful responsibility over the parkland that remains. He said that £147 million was needed to undertake urgent repairs to listed parish churches and announced that English Heritage would launch its ‘Inspired’ campaign in January 2006, with the Council for the Care of Churches, to explore imaginative ways of reusing redundant churches as a community resource.

Finally he said that ancient monuments, ‘our oldest and rarest heritage’, were under such threat that urgent concentrated co-ordinated action was needed by Government: he called on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to sort out class consent orders through the Heritage Protection Review and end the destruction of archaeology by ploughing (as a measure of the threat he said that 25 per cent of scheduled monuments in Gloucestershire are now at high risk) and to put pressure on the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to use grant schemes and agricultural subsidies to protect rural archaeology. Ending with a memorable phrase, Simon showed a landscape in Hertfordshire that had been rich in earthworks in the 1950s but that was now a featureless desert: ‘what was once a place’, he said, ‘is now just a space!’.

Copies of the Heritage Counts 2005 national and regional reports can be downloaded from the English Heritage website.

Tessa Jowell asks heritage professionals to rise to the Olympic challenge

Speaking at her fourth Heritage Counts launch on 17 November, Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said that heritage was a central part of what the UK had to offer to the rest of the world as part of the Olympic Games in 2012. She said that heritage played a key role in helping the UK win the Games: instead of hosting the Games in anonymous stadiums, promising to hold volley ball tournaments in The Mall and basketball in Trafalgar Square offered the winning combination of top athletes competing against a backdrop of major historical attractions. She added that the economic dividend would be enormous if people who came to the Games from all over the world stayed on to visit the best of the UK’s heritage and she issued a challenge to English Heritage to work with the travel industry and other heritage agencies and put together a heritage trail for the Olympics that showcased all that the UK had to offer.

Stonehenge and 2012

Referring to Stonehenge as one of the jewels in the crown of that heritage, Tessa Jowell said that nobody was more impatient than her to see an effective solution and that she was negotiating ‘through gritted teeth’ with Government colleagues, supported by the knowledge that the case for improving the future of ‘our greatest heritage site’ was so strong.

Replying to her address, our Fellow Sir Neil Cossons, Chairman of English Heritage said that his two predecessors had both confidently predicted that they would turn the key in the door of a new Stonehenge Visitor Centre during their term of office. He wasn’t about to make a similarly rash promise but he did hope that it would be possible for English Heritage to deliver a double heritage whammy in 2012 by offering Olympic Games participants the chance to visit a newly restored Stonehenge landscape on their days off from volleyball.

Flat VAT campaign and Memorials Grants Scheme

Spontaneous applause greeted Sir Neil Cossons’s call at the Heritage Counts launch for an end to the inequity (or should that be iniquity?) of rating building conversion and repairs at 17.5 per cent for VAT compared to new building, which is zero-rated. The campaign to level the playing field between new build and restoration is being taken up by Gordon Marsden, Labour MP for Blackpool South, who has tabled an Early Day Motion so that MPs can show their support for a single rate of VAT (below 10 per cent) for all building work, including refurbishment and repairs to historic buildings and places of worship. Further details, including a list of those MPs who have already signed, are on the Parliamentary website. Flat VAT campaigners are asking supporters to urge their MPs to sign.

Meanwhile details have been published of the scheme for refunding the costs incurred in the construction, renovation and maintenance of memorials under the Memorials Grants Scheme () announced in the 2005 Budget. Applications will be considered in respect of VAT on qualifying supplies made on or after 16 March 2005. Memorials qualify if they exist solely for the purposes of commemorating people, events or animals, bear a commemorative inscription and are publicly accessible for a minimum of thirty hours a week, but private expressions of remembrance, such as headstones, are not covered and gardens are excluded, except for minor landscaping and planting around the memorial. Guidance and application forms can be downloaded from the DCMS website.

Norfolk war memorial cottages to be listed

Culture Minister David Lammy has announced plans to give Grade-II listing to six World War II Memorial Cottages in Sprowston, Norfolk. Built between 1948 and 1950, the cottages commemorate veterans of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, including five members who were awarded Victoria Crosses, the greatest number for any British division in the conflict. Designed by Cecil Ulpher in ‘Baroque Vernacular’ style, the rich detailing of these high-quality brick houses was achieved despite the scarcity of building materials at the time.

Lord Alanbrooke’s wartime papers to be saved

The National Heritage Memorial Fund has announced a grant of £182,000 to enable King's College London to buy the top-secret papers, diaries and letters of Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke (Lord Alanbrooke), the man who headed the British Armed Forces during World War II. Additional funding came from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, The Friends of the National Libraries, The King's College London Annual Fund, and alumni of the College.

As Churchill’s military right-hand man, Brooke’s papers give a compelling insight into the events of the war: the revealing collection ranges from incisive diaries to candid letters signed by Montgomery, Eisenhower and Churchill. Known as ‘the soldiers’ soldier’, Field Marshal Alan Brooke (1883—1963) was the foremost military adviser to Winston Churchill, the War Cabinet and Britain's allies. His papers give a rare insight into the top-level direction of the war, with descriptions of War Cabinet meetings, details of informal conversations and records of official meetings with Allied army commanders and members of British, US and Russian High Commands.

Call for boost to NHMF funds

Tristram Hunt, a trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), has called on the Government to live up to the original intentions of the Fund’s founders and substantially boost its resources. Writing in The Observer on Remembrance Sunday, Hunt said that Labour Chancellor Hugh Dalton established the National Land Fund (out of which the NHMF has evolved) with a ‘staggering’ endowment of £50 million. Its remit was to buy areas of countryside and historic buildings, which would be opened to the public, as a memorial to those who died in both world wars, preserving the physical nation they had died for.

‘Disappointingly’, Hunt wrote, ‘no Chancellor has since matched Hugh Dalton's visionary example. By 1998, the NHMF grant was down to £2m a year. Gordon Brown promises £10m for 2007, but in today's artefacts marketplace, that will quickly be expended. Those who have died in service are owed more than the annual, perfunctory nod at the Cenotaph. The country they served — the landscapes, buildings, artefacts and heroes which constitute a collective idea of nationhood — should be saved in their name. If the Prime Minister is looking for a legacy, he should revive the spirit of 1946, reinvest in the NHMF and ensure this living memorial continues to honour those we remember this week.’

Heritage Protection Review seminar

In Salon 125 we reported on the AGM of the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA) at which members were brought up to date on the Heritage Protection Review in England and on discussions taking place in Scotland on a similar initiative. Our Fellow Peter Hinton, Director of the IFA, now reports on a follow up seminar that English Heritage and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) organised at the Royal Institution on 8 November 2005.

‘Given that Heritage Protection is an issue that concerns several Government departments, it was good to see DCMS sharing the platform with Baroness Andrews, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), and to hear such a supportive and committed presentation from ODPM (as yet there has been no sighting of a minister from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), but we live in hope). It was good, too, to hear David Lammy, DCMS Culture Minister, give another assured performance: he seems as eager for a heritage debate in the house as he is for the job of piloting through the bill.

‘Simon Thurley, FSA, gave the English Heritage three-part shopping list for reform: revised legislation, a subtly rebalanced conservation policy, and more training and better resources at the delivery end. On training programmes he saw responsibility shared four ways, between English Heritage, the IFA, the Institute for Historic Building Conservation and the Local Government Association.

‘In the lively debate that followed most aspects of the proposed reforms were explored, including money. Lord Renfrew, FSA, managed to extract renewed assurances about the statutory requirement for local authorities to have access to a Historic Environment Register, and about reforms to the scheduled monuments class consents that currently permits many to be ploughed up. He also expressed concern that (in presentation, at least) the emphasis was on buildings and urban environments, and put in a plea for archaeological monuments and rural landscapes.’

Peter adds that he himself argued that archaeology was central to the proposed reforms, and that the new DCMS phrase ‘the historic built environment’ was therefore not helpful. Responding to David Lammy’s question ‘are we being bold enough?’, Peter said: ‘yes, providing the reforms take account of conservation areas and the maritime historic environment, resolve the position on ecclesiastical exemption, deliver HERs, reform the class consents and ensure enough resources go into capacity building in local authorities and the voluntary sector’. Peter was gratified to see ministerial nods and note-taking.

ICON and the UK Conservation Awards

Culture Minister David Lammy has officially launched the new Institute for Conservation (Icon), formed by fusing the Care of Collections Forum, the Institute of Paper Conservation, the Photographic Materials Conservation Group, the Scottish Society for Conservation and Restoration and the UK Institute for Conservation into one new organisation. At the launch event held in October at the Whitehall Banqueting House, David Lammy said there needed to be much greater awareness of heritage conservation, just as people now valued conservation of the environment.

Our Fellow David Leigh, who was Director of the UK Institute for Conservation until the merger, is now Icon’s Communications Manager, responsible for publications, the website and the Conservation Awards. David remains the envy of many in the heritage world for having secured Sir Paul McCartney as supporter of the annual Conservation Awards. The winners of the 2005 award are due to be announced at the British Museum on 22 November 2005 (and will be reported in the next issue of Salon). The shortlisted projects include the Museum of London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, conserving finds from 100 years of excavation across London, the restoration of the Doom wall-painting at Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, and work to conserve 105 Bronze Age pots from Stonehenge and Avebury.

From the News page of David’s excellent website you can download a copy of the Institute’s 64-page Icon News magazine, packed with national and international news from the world of materials conservation. Here too you can read about Icon’s nomination of Conservative MP John Whittingdale for the Charity Champions Award 2005 in the culture and heritage category. These awards honour the hard work and time which Members of Parliament devote to charitable causes and are run by politics website . Icon’s nomination was in recognition of the work of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of which John Whittingdale is the chair, and in particular for his championing of good conservation work as a key foundation for the commemoration of the bicentennial of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Advisory Committee on Historic Ships Consultation

In his capacity as chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, John Whittingdale has been highly critical of the Government initiative to create a new National Historic Ships Unit (see Salon issues 126 and 127), accusing the Government of paying 'lip-service to the value of historic vessels as part of the UK's cultural heritage' while being 'unable to produce what the sector desperately needs above all — adequate funding.' Nevertheless, the establishment of the unit is surely a step (albeit a small one) in the right direction of recognising the plight of the UK’s great historic ships and the serious lack of resources for conserving them.

One of the Unit’s first actions is to invite views on the composition of the Advisory Committee and the role specifications for the Chair and up to eleven members. Three of these members will be nominated by the devolved administrations, while the Chair and up to eight further members will be appointed by open competition, with the aim of achieving ‘a balanced membership comprising experts and advisers drawn from across the historic ships, heritage management, commercial and industrial sectors’. The consultation document can be downloaded from the Unit’s website, and responses are requested by 16 December 2005.

Heritage White Paper: Parliamentary Inquiry

John Whittingdale’s Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport has also just announced a new parliamentary inquiry on ‘Protecting, preserving and making accessible our nation’s heritage’.

The Committee says it is interested in receiving evidence on several issues: priorities for the forthcoming Heritage White Paper; the remit and effectiveness of DCMS, English Heritage and other relevant organisations in representing heritage interests inside and outside Government; the balance between heritage and development needs in planning policy; access to heritage and the position of heritage as a cultural asset in the community; funding, with particular reference to the adequacy of the budget for English Heritage and for museums and galleries, the impact of the London 2012 Olympics on Lottery funding for heritage projects, and forthcoming decisions on the sharing of funds from Lottery sources between good causes; the roles and responsibilities of English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, local authorities, museums and galleries, and charitable and other non-Governmental organisations in maintaining the nation’s heritage; and whether there is an adequate supply of professionals with conservation skills; the priority placed by planning authorities on conservation; and means of making conservation expertise more accessible to planning officers, councillors and the general public.

Written submissions are invited from any interested organisation or individual by 19 January 2006. It is expected that oral evidence sessions will be held during February and March 2006. Further information, including guidance on the preferred format, can be found on the UK parliamentary website.

Library and archive collections join the Designation Scheme

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has announced that its Designation Scheme, hitherto applied only to museum collections of national and international importance, is now being extended to cover library and archive collections across England that are deemed to be the nation's most significant cultural assets. By identifying the best assets, the Designation Scheme helps guard against neglect or disposal of national treasures and it promotes awareness of the importance, richness and variety of these collections

Applications for designation were invited earlier this year for assessment by a panel of experienced library and archive professionals. As a result, 38 collections held in 28 libraries and archives have been designated.

They include archives in Cornwall Record Office relating to the county's hard-rock mining industry from the sixteenth century; the books, manuscripts, recordings and printed music of the Britten—Pears Library; the photographic, archive, literature, music and printing collections of the Birmingham Central library, charting every aspect of Birmingham's history; the Archive of the United Africa Company held by Unilever Archive and Records Management containing papers dating from the late eighteenth century to the colonial period of African history and its aftermath; and the collections held in the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Also included are the Lincoln Episcopal Rolls and Registers (Lincolnshire Archives); the twelfth- to twentieth-century estate, political and literary papers of the Clumber family (University of Nottingham); the papers of leading politicians, diplomats, civil servants, military commanders and scientists at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge; records relating to the history of Norfolk from the eleventh century to the present day (Norfolk Record Office); the Old Library Collection of books, manuscripts, personal papers, photographs and artefacts (St John's College, Cambridge); The History of London Collection (Guildhall Library) and the London Metropolitan Archives (Corporation of London); the manuscripts and printed books of the archiepiscopal collections and the record office for the archives of the Archbishopric of Canterbury (Lambeth Palace Library); the Special Collections and Archives of the Royal Academy of Music Library; the collections of the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers; the British Architecture Library (RIBA); the Royal Mail Archive; the Wellcome Library; the Art and Design collection held at Westminster Reference Library and Westminster Archives; the Bishop Cosin's Library and The Sudan Archive (Durham University Library); the Manchester Medical Society Library (University of Manchester, John Rylands University Library); the Beckett Collection (Reading University Library); the Mass-Observation Archive (University of Sussex Library); collections relating to the history and development of Bath as a World Heritage City (Bath Record Office); collections relating to the history and development of the city of Bristol (Bristol City Record Office and Bristol Central Library's Local Studies Service); collections relating to Shakespeare's life and times and the performance and study of his works (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Royal Shakespeare Company); the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts (University of Birmingham); and the English Literature Collection, the Romany Collection, the Cookery Collection, the Leeds Russian Archive and the Liddle Collection (all Leeds University Library).

The scheme will shortly be open to new applications from museums, libraries and archives. Potential applicants are advised to contact their regional MLA agency for advice. Further details are on the MLA website.

National Trust confirms decision to split High Yewdale Farm

The plight of rural heritage highlighted by the Heritage Counts report also formed the context within which the National Trust’s Board of Trustees met last week to discuss the future of Beatrix Potter’s High Yewdale Farm. In the light of widespread concern expressed by Trust members and conservationists at the decision to break up the farm, the Trust’s Council (on which the Society of Antiquaries is represented by Marian Campbell) asked the Trustee Board, the highest decision-making body within the Trust, to look at the issues again. They met to do so last Wednesday and decided not to go back on the original decision, for reasons that the Trust’s Conservation Director, Peter Nixon, explained on the BBC’s Farming Today programme the following day.

Peter Nixon said the decision needed to be seen in the context of the very severe position facing all upland farms in England following the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. Analysis carried by the Trust had shown what a significant reduction in incomes upland farms will receive, particularly those in the Lake District. When this particular farm became vacant the Trust had the difficult decision to make as to whether to continue it as a single unit or to act in the broader interests of the Coniston Valley as a whole and look to the interest of the surrounding tenants, who all face an uncertain future. Having analysed the position the Trust decided that more benefits could be derived for the landscape and the local community by helping the surrounding tenants survive. Adding capacity to their farms will enable them to increase their labour force, maintaining their flocks and bring significant environmental benefits, as well as maintaining the landscape and the farm buildings.

Peter quoted what Beatrix Potter actually said in one of her letters: ‘much as I would like the National Trust to continue things as they are, the world won’t stand still’, and argued that she had herself amalgamated farms: Hill Top Farm, where Peter Rabbit was invented, was an amalgamation of other farms. ‘What she was interested in was ensuring that there was farming taking place and the landscape was well looked after with a thriving community’, he concluded.

All of this sounds very plausible and convincing, so it is difficult to know exactly where the truth lies, especially when Edward Hart, in a letter published in the Daily Telegraph on 19 November, claims that ‘every Lakeland farmer I have met declares that, if High Yewdale is non-viable, then so is every other Lakeland farm. The National Trust gives various reasons for its decisions, but four Lakeland farmers’ sons applied for the tenancy, believing it to be viable’. Hart goes on to declare that the National Trust should be ‘encouraging new entrants to farming, not splitting up the Farm’.

Even so, the time has come to accept that, as Peter Nixon says, the decision was not easy and was not taken lightly. Perhaps the lasting message for the Trust from this particular debate is that it must take the public into its confidence and communicate more effectively in future: it took public pressure for the arguments about High Yewdale’s future to be brought out into the light of day. The Trust needs to recognise that people (potential members and volunteers as well as actual members and volunteers) take an informed interest in the Trust’s affairs. It will continue to be England’s favourite conservation charity for as long as it recognises that members want to be treated more like stakeholders who have joined the Trust to support fundamental conservation principles rather than consumers who just want to gain free entry to some (admittedly splendid) properties.

National Trust founder’s home receives £900,000 lottery grant

The Octavia Hill Birthplace House in Wisbech, home of the National Trust founder and social reformer, is to undergo extensive renovation and expansion thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The money will enable the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust Ltd to buy the freeholds to two buildings adjacent to the current museum at 1 South Brink Place. No 8 South Brink will be refurbished and used to expand the museum display area, and No 7 will be converted into an education and research space.

The three buildings, built around 1740 and all Grade II* listed, were formerly a single house where Octavia Hill was born in 1838. Octavia Hill was not only a founder of the National Trust; she was also an influential social reformer dedicated to improving housing and urban open spaces for the poor. This project is the only museum to tell the story of a highly influential figure and the primary creator of the National Trust, based on a huge archive of documents, literature and photographs.

National Trust enjoys a surprising hit with housekeeping guideFor

years it has been out of print, and the precious copies that have survived have been treasured by their owners: but now the National Trust has provided a revised and expanded version of its guide to cleaning marble halls and keeping stuffed tigers up to scratch. The newly published National Trust Manual of Housekeeping (Elsevier, £49.99) is proving an unexpected success — all the more surprising, as Maev Kennedy, pointed out in The Guardian last week, given that it is aimed at the sort of people who ‘do not need to buy their own furniture’ (in the late Alan Clark’s memorable phrase), who ‘worry about sooty deposits on their nymphs’, or who need guidance on ‘how to make a tasteful rope and stanchion barrier to stop visitors bouncing on the four poster bed’.

The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping is a compendium of everything the Trust has ever learned in the past century about how to clean its stately homes. It is 914 pages long, weighs seven pounds, and claims to be the guide to ‘the care of just about everything’. Perhaps the appeal lies in the glimpse the manual provides of a life that few of us will ever experience: there is poetry as well as social history in the advice on maintaining the gilt coronets on family coffins kept in damp vaults, on moving and dismantling carriages, on the handling of arms and armour and the keeping of stuffed birds (especially in the bathroom, where damp and fluctuating temperature can cause the eyes to drop out!).

Twelve towns to benefit from £15.5 million in THI grants

Twelve UK towns and cities are to share £15.5 million in Townscape Heritage Initiative funding, which helps communities to regenerate the historic parts of their towns and cities. The money will be distributed among projects in Hull, North Shields, Burnley, Dartford, Dudley, Rotherham and Chester in England, Leith and Brechin in Scotland and Holyhead, Maesteg and Pembroke in Wales. Industrial heritage will be the focus of regeneration in most of these towns. To date, HLF has supported 163 similar schemes to the tune of £127.5 million.

Funding review at the Arts and Humanities Research Council

The Independent carried an interview on 17 November with Professor Tony McEnery, the new director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), who joined the Bristol-based council in September from Lancaster University, where he ran the department of linguistics and English language.

The AHRC only became a research council this year, following Lord Dearing's 1997 recommendation that the arts and humanities should be put on an even footing with the other research councils. It now funds research and postgraduate study to the tune of £80m a year, making about 700 research and 1,500 postgraduate awards.

McEnery says in the interview that he wants to introduce grants focused around knowledge transfer and collaboration with public or non-public sector organisations. This includes ‘building strong relationships with organisations such as English Heritage and the National Trust’, organisations that he believes ‘provide a natural route for knowledge transfer’.

He also wants the fruits of council-funded research to be made available to as wide an audience as possible, saying that £5,000 dissemination grants will be offered to all grant-award holders at the end of their award, to promote their research, by touring schools, for example, or producing ‘popularised’ versions of their work, which are ‘accessible to the average reader browsing in Waterstones’.

McEnery also plans to develop some strategic research themes for the arts and humanities, with a share of the budget pre-allocated to these fields. The council's first strategic programmes, on diasporas and landscapes, are already being rolled out, and more are planned. The council has also ring-fenced PhDs for emerging or endangered subjects.

He is also considering an end to annual funding applications: ‘There is an annual call, and all hell is let loose’, he says. This is now under review. ‘We are trying to assess what the justification is for doing it in that way and explore different models of doing it.’

Research into ceramic production centres in Europe

Our Fellow Clive Orton, Professor of Quantitative Archaeology at the University College London Institute of Archaeology, is looking for support for a project that he is developing in order to bid for EU money under the eContentplus programme. He would like to hear from Fellows who might have ideas for funding or who are willing to make a contribution

The aim of this project is to create a five-language web-based database of pottery production centres across Europe, for the historic time-range AD 400 to 2000, linked to a suite of maps. The data will be extracted from records held digitally in many European countries, with a limited amount of new research to fill any gaps. Data will be entered into a field structure already established and tested for part of the time-range in one of the participant countries. This prototype format provides a research resource of pottery production from domestic to industrial, and by expanding the geographical spread it will log the distribution of similar products on a Europe-wide canvas, and thereby chart continent-wide historic patterns of trade, as well as of craftsmen, techniques and ideas. The database will be illuminated by a series of country-specific narrative texts, highlighting recent discoveries and research.

Data-collection will create one research post in the co-ordinating country, and one in each contributing country. The data structure is open-ended, so the project is able to offer a welcome to new partners to join and contribute during the life of the project. A secondary but vital objective is to create a five-language thesaurus of archaeological ceramic terms relating to production centres.

Leading the consortium is the Medieval Pottery Research Group, a charitable organisation based in the UK with an international membership. It was closely involved in setting up the prototype database, and has promoted the present initiative under the aegis of the European Association of Archaeologists. It is supported by the UK Institutes of Archaeology in London and Oxford.

Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Report

Some 67,000 archaeological artefacts were reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme PAS) by members of the public during 2004/5, according to the scheme’s annual report published on 9 November (available from the PAS website).

In addition, 427 pieces of treasure (as defined under the Treasure Act 1996) were reported by amateur archaeologists, metal detectorists, gardeners, farmers, builders and walkers, including an Anglo-Saxon skillet (AD 675—800), an important early Christian grave object made of sheet copper-alloy with a riveted mount in the form of a cross (from Shalfleet Parish, Isle of Wight) and two Anglo-Saxon gold pendants jewellery (AD 625—675), with polychrome glass settings, a gold spacer bead and a number of copper-alloy girdle accessories (from a female burial site in Thurnham, Kent). These and a selection of other objects reported under the Scheme are now on temporary display at the Museum of London. Full details are given in a separate DCMS Treasure report.

Announcing the launch of both reports, Culture Minister David Lammy said: ‘Treasure and PAS are remarkable success stories. This past year has seen a four-fold increase in the reporting of Treasure finds and the reporting of 67,213 archaeological items by the public. This is largely thanks to the Finds Liaison Officers who are the experts on your doorstep — there to advise finders on their discoveries. It is encouraging that so many people, no matter what their background, are learning more about the history of their area through archaeology.’

PAS is now being described as ‘the UK’s largest community archaeology project’, and Michael Lewis, deputy head of the initiative, says that the success of the scheme has led to enquiries from archaeologists in France, Germany and Holland who have been impressed by the way it works and are looking to set up something similar in their countries.

New Heritage Action group calls for responsible metal detecting

A different perspective on the Portable Antiquities Scheme is given on the website of a newly formed organisation called Heritage Action which has been set up to campaign on behalf of ‘all threatened heritage places’. Describing themselves as ‘ordinary people defending extraordinary places’, the founders of Heritage Action have highlighted twenty prehistoric sites currently under threat from neglect, abuse, vandalism or development. In each case, site reports and inspections, accompanied by photographs, show the nature and scale of the threat and the action currently under way to prevent further deterioration.

In a balanced and well argued paper, Heritage Action also sets out an agenda for more responsible metal detecting. It states that ‘the majority of detectorists still don’t report their finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, and that ‘growth in willingness to participate in the scheme has been slow … persuasion and education through the Portable Antiquities Scheme has still not got through to well over half of active detectorists’.

Heritage Action recommends that property owners and farmers should only give permission to detectorists to carry out surveys on their land if they agree to record and report their finds. ‘All metal detecting must start with a question: “May I detect on this land?” Our aim is to ensure that everybody's answer is always: “Only if we can be sure you will report to the Portable Antiquities Scheme”’, the site says.

Heritage Action goes on to say that it will make every effort to gain media coverage for these issues, targeting specialist magazines and websites used by farmers and landowners. ‘We will also work to encourage responsible detectorists who support the scheme to further promote it to detectorists that don’t,’ it adds.

Saxon food pits found at Leominster Priory

Salon 124 reported on the excavation of a car park close to Leominster’s medieval Priory (established 1123), which failed to reveal the hoped-for evidence of the town’s Saxon church and monastery, documented as having been founded in about AD 660 by St Edfrith. However, now that carbon dates have been obtained for some of the deposits, there is a more positive story to tell in relation to the Saxon history of the site — samples of pits containing masses of animal, fish and bird bones have been dated to AD 655—730 and AD 650—730.

Bruce Watson, Senior Archaeologist at the Museum of London Archaeology Service, who directed this summer’s excavation as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund Local Heritage Initiative community project, says the samples were taken from levelling dumps, shallow pits and ditches underneath the remains of the medieval cloisters. ‘We cannot be certain that the features we found were part of a religious establishment’, Bruce says: ‘they could represent secular activity, but these two dates closely match the documented foundation of the Saxon church. We now think the Saxon church probably lies under the twelfth-century one, on top of a small rounded hillock and that these features were dug on the sloping northern part of the Saxon monastic precinct (perhaps near the kitchens), which was used for food waste disposal.’

Local Heritage Initiative to end

Talking of the Local Heritage Initiative (LHI), it has become apparent that this very popular lottery funding stream, which has helped to support numerous community archaeology and history projects, will come to an end on 1 October 2006. The LHI scheme was jointly administered by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Countryside Agency. The Countryside Agency is now to be merged into the new integrated agency Natural England, along with English Nature and the Rural Delivery Service of DEFRA, and it has been decided that the LHI scheme will not transfer to Natural England. The Heritage Lottery Fund has so far declined to comment on the demise of the LHI scheme, though insiders say that the scheme might well continue, but in a new form and under a new name, depending on the outcome of the Lottery consultation process currently under way.

Remains of Copernicus found in Polish cathedral

Polish archaeologists have discovered the remains of Copernicus buried under one of sixteen altars on the south side of Frombork cathedral, on Poland's Baltic coast, where the great astronomer served as canon. A police laboratory in Warsaw has used the skull to make a virtual reconstruction of a man's face, which matches contemporary portraits of Copernicus. The Polish Church employed Professor Jerzy Gassowski, Head of the Archaeology and Anthropology Institute in the Polish town of Pultusk, to find Copernicus in order to ‘make amends’ and raise a monument to the man whose treatise, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, demolished the Ptolemaic theory that the earth was the centre of the universe, a view that Galileo was forced to recant by the Inquisition.

No proof that Jamestown grave is that of Gosnold

Bill Kelso, director of archaeology for the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, has announced that DNA tests have failed to establish the identity of the skeleton found last year at Jamestown, which could be the remains of the Jamestown expedition leader, Bartholomew Gosnold, one of America's founding fathers.

Working with the Church of England and a team of English archaeologists, historians and genealogists, Kelso obtained permission to open what they hoped was the grave of Gosnold's sister, Elizabeth Tilney, known to have been buried at All Saints Church, Shelley, in Suffolk. But the bone samples they retrieved from the unmarked grave are now known to have belonged to a woman too young to be Elizabeth Tilney.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that the Jamestown grave is that of Gosnold, but Bill Kelso and his team admit that they cannot go on tearing up the floor of All Saints Church to locate his sister’s grave, and that further archaeological work there is now unlikely.

DNA suggests that Europeans are descended from hunters, not farmers

The press had fun last week with the results of DNA research suggesting that Europe’s population is descended from hunter-gatherers who pre-date the arrival of agricultural techniques. The Independent reported the news by saying: ‘Whisper it quietly in Brussels but Europe may not have been a continent of farmers from time immemorial after all!’.

The science behind the headline was carried out by Peter Forster, an archaeology research fellow at Cambridge University, and Joachim Burger of Johannes Gutenberg University, in Mainz, Germany. Having investigated mitochondrial DNA recovered from the teeth and bones of twenty-four skeletons from sixteen central European sites, they concluded that small pioneer groups carried farming into new areas of Europe from the Near East about 7,500 years ago, but that they did not displace the existing hunter-gatherer populations (descended from the first modern humans to arrive on the continent more than 40,000 years ago). The mitochondrial DNA signature of these early farmers is now extremely rare worldwide and has left virtually no trace in living Europeans. The report, published in the journal Science, concludes that the contribution of early farmers to the European gene pool ‘could be close to zero’, but that they did leave an extraordinary and lasting cultural legacy by introducing agriculture to Europe some 7,500 years ago.

Previously some experts had hypothesised that early farmers might have displaced hunter-gatherers because of an explosion in the farming population made possible by better diets, better health and improvements in food supply. Instead, an alternative hypothesis seems to be in the ascendant: that hunter-gatherers adopted farming to supplement their diet, once they saw the benefits of growing their own crops. From early origins in central Europe, notably the area of modern-day Hungary and Slovakia, farming spread north, east and west to reach France and and the Ukraine over a period of 500 years.

Not everyone accepts this new research as conclusive, however, pointing out that mitochondrial DNA is passed on only from mothers to their children so it is possible that the latest results could still be explained by incoming groups of male farmers taking local women for their wives: only by studying male genetic material — the Y-chromosome sequences — will it be possible to establish the origin of early European farmers and the scale of any colonisation.

Gravestone data on the internet

Genealogists have a new resource in the form of Naomi (The National Archive of Memorial Inscriptions), a database of British gravestone inscriptions, which went online earlier this month. The database includes inscriptions and names from more than 200 cemeteries dating from the twelfth century. Its creators say the website will eventually include millions of gravestones, helping amateur enthusiasts and historians to plot family trees. Richard Smart, the project leader, said that the internet had transformed the task of the family historian. He said: ‘You can now access all censuses, most wills and nearly full records of births, marriages and deaths on the web, often free. This was the missing bit.’

Gateway to European digital culture through MICHAEL

Another database with a friendly companionable name was launched last week by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA): MICHAEL is a Multilingual Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Europe that will, in the words of the MLA press release, ‘open up worldwide access to our shared European cultural heritage creating the first multilingual inventory of collections in museums, libraries and archives across Europe’.

MICHAEL is still something of an infant but is predicted to grow fast: the press release goes on to say that ‘work is continuing on cataloguing the rich digital collections in the UK, and a European portal of digital collections from Italy, France and the UK will be launched in 2006. As the project moves forwards, new partners will join the project from the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands and Poland. By 2007, the MICHAEL portal will be available in at least twelve European languages and give access to digital collections across Europe’.

Further information about the MICHAEL project is available from

Early Christian chapel found in jail compound

Israeli archaeologists claim to have found one of the earliest known Christian chapels under the concrete floor of a prison compound at Megiddo, near Tel Aviv. A mosaic floor, inscribed with a Greek dedication to ‘the God Jesus Christ’, was discovered during ground-clearing for a new wing.

The mosaic, which measures 33 ft by 18 ft, features three inscriptions and a medallion decorated with a pair of fish. One inscription was dedicated to ‘Gaianus, a Roman officer who paid for the mosaics out of his own pocket’. A second commemorates four women, Primilia, Kiraka, Dorothea and Crista; while a third praises ‘God-loving Akeftos, who donated the table as a memorial to Jesus’.

Uzi Da'ari, an expert on early Christianity at Haifa University, believes that the unusual plan of the building suggests it was constructed prior to AD 313. ‘The style and atmosphere are quite different from anything we know in the churches Constantine built here’, he said, pointing to the lack of an east-facing apse and high altar. Leah Di Segni, the Jerusalem-based professor who translated the inscriptions, confirms that the wording and the lettering point to a period before Byzantium.

Fortnum's to modernise

The Society of Antiquaries is not the only Piccadilly institution about to celebrate a tercentenary. Fortnum and Mason, grocer to the Queen, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill and Jacqueline Kennedy, has announced that it will celebrate its three-hundredth anniversary in 2007 by undergoing a £24 million overhaul to bring the Piccadilly store more into line with the twenty-first century. Beverley Aspinall, the managing director, who oversaw the transformation of Peter Jones, the Chelsea department store, said that the changes would be extensive, but that the essential character of the store would remain. Not everyone is happy with the news. Michael Winner, film director and restaurant reviewer, described the move as ‘very, very sad’. ‘I go to Fortnum and Mason all the time’, he said: ‘It is very beautiful. I don't know why they want to redesign places that are so good. There seems to be this pathetic belief that if you do something new then more money comes in. It's not true. It is another bastion of good taste destroyed.’

SAVE’s Thirtieth Anniversary

Our Fellow Sir Roy Strong was guest of honour at the private view held on 7 November to launch the V&A’s new exhibition marking SAVE’s thirtieth anniversary. In a spirited homage to the work of SAVE, Sir Roy said that the V&A exhibition on the Destruction of the Country House that led to SAVE’s founding was designed to make people angry and that he was glad to have lived in an age when national museums could still mount polemical exhibitions: today galleries played safe and only wanted crowd-pleasing Impressionist paintings. He also paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher, saying that, for all that he and she had many differences of opinion, she at least engaged in debate and realised that it mattered, whereas today’s politicians lack values or principles and only care about staying in power. As for our Fellow Marcus Binney, founder of SAVE, Sir Roy said he genuinely loved this country and cared passionately about its aesthetic and historical landscapes: this passion was combined with a ‘devil may care’ attitude to speaking out and fighting against needless and wanton destruction.

In similar spirit, our Fellow Simon Jenkins used his Friday column in The Guardian this week to say ‘Marcus Binney has fought to save anything British not on two legs. He is the dread of every developer, the scourge of every minister … he must single-handedly have salvaged more of Britain's heritage in brick and stone than any other living soul.

‘SAVE's current battle is against the deputy prime minister John Prescott's Pathfinder plan for the north of England, which appropriately shares the name of the vanguard of Bomber Harris's raids on Germany. He wants to demolish more than 100,000 Victorian terrace houses in a savage homage to Labour's 1970s social engineering. A huge aerial photograph in the V&A shows the doomed Welsh Streets area of Liverpool, ironically a city whose property market is now reviving. It comprises the sorts of buildings about which the government's Islington friends would purr were they in London. It is unbelievable that such destruction can still be wrought on local communities in twenty-first-century England.

‘The lesson of SAVE is that conservation has little to do with aesthetics and even less to do with money. It is mostly about the politics of land use, and about class. The government has spent a staggering £163m on consultants for the Pathfinder project, outrageous expenditure that should surely have gone on housing.

‘When politicians boast of London's urban vitality, as for the Olympics, they cite Covent Garden, Camden Town, Spitalfields and Brick Lane. They seem unaware that these assets had to be defended fiercely against them and their precursors. They jeered at Binney and SAVE for fighting to stop their demolition. Those with no money had to fight those with millions because they believed such areas added value to the city, value which politics could not recognise.

‘SAVE played a major role in reviving the self-confidence of urban Britain after years in which its cities were as depressed as any in Europe. It showed that every town centre need not obliterate all relics of its past identity. Old and new could live in harmony, and with profit. We do not realise how lucky we are.’

Fight to save Palladian villa country not over yet

Campaigners opposed to the construction of a motorway through the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy thought they had delivered a terminal blow to the project last year when a regional administrative court of the Veneto Italian court of appeal ruled that the road broke numerous European Union environmental rules. This being Italy, however, ‘illegality’ is easily dealt with. A couple of sweeps of Silvio Berlusconi’s magic pen led to the sacking of all those members of the environmental panel who voted against the motorway plans, to be replaced by members who couldn’t care less about the environment; for good measure, Berlusconi has ruled that environmental impact assessments are merely ‘a technical matter’, and an unfavourable assessment can no longer be counted as an obstacle to project’s progress. After that it was simply a matter of time before the Veneto court’s ruling should be overturned and the motorway plan has now gone on to be approved by the the Consiglio di Stato, the highest court in Italy.

Reporting on this sorry affair in The Times, Marcus Binney said that petty revenge-minded bureaucrats were threatening to take the Landmark Trust, one of the main opponents of the motorway, to court for erecting an ‘illegal’ swimming pool beside the Palladian villa that they have rescued from dereliction and restored to form a holiday home; in reality this is a temporary demountable pool that is only erected for the summer months.

Objectors have vowed to continue and fight the matter through the European courts if necessary, but what a sad thought it is that this should be necessary, and that one of the world’s most beautiful, civilised and heritage-rich countries should be ruled by people so incapable of understanding any other value than selfish, personal, short-term gain.

‘Help us save old St Helena’

Our Fellow Martin Drury (former Director General of the National Trust) has given his support to a campaign to help save the threatened heritage of St Helena. The remoteness of the mid-Atlantic island, famous as the place of Napoleon’s imprisonment from 1815 until his death six years later, has ensured that a wealth of Napoleonic-era heritage has survived — including colonial town houses and villas, forts and batteries, canons and even soldiers’ brass buttons lying in the dust.

Accessible at present only by sea, the UK Government has announced plans to build an international airport to encourage tourism: conservationists fear that the associated development (including hotels, roads and gold courses) will have a devastating effect on the island’s wealth of rare and indigenous plants and wildlife, and lead to the flattening of vulnerable buildings dating from 1700. ‘The whole character of St Helena is one of simplicity’, Martin Drury told The Independent recently: ‘that is absolutely not what tourist operators understand. It’s a matter of regret to have an international-scale airport. It’s mad’.

On St Helena itself, only 30 per cent of the electorate is in favour of the airport, according to a recent poll organised by the island’s government. A plea for help was published on behalf of the St Helena National Trust, formed three years ago, in the most recent issue of Cornerstone, the SPAB magazine, saying that the Trust is ineligible for most of the forms of heritage funding that the UK takes for granted (from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund or the European Union). ‘What we need’, the appeal said, ‘is a conservation and repair expert who might be willing to come to St Helena and work voluntarily — if we can fund accommodation and travel here’. Further information is available on the Trust’s website and anyone who might be able to help is urged to contact Barbara George, Director of the St Helena National Trust.

Seminars, lectures and conferences

ASPRoM Symposium, 26 November at the Institute of Classical Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1, from 2 to 5 pm
The Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics (ASPRoM) will be holding its 53rd Symposium next week. Lectures will be given by Fellow Professor Roger Wilson (University of Nottingham) on Living in luxury in late Roman Spain: villas and their mosaics at Marbella, Almedilla, Cercadilla and Carranque, and Star-gazing? Some thoughts on the reception room at Brading, and by Fellow David Neal on New discoveries at Dinnington (Somerset). Further details are available on the Association’s website.

Museums Debate, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, 28 November 2005, 17.30 to 19.00, followed by drinks
Our Fellow Giles Waterfield is chairing this debate between Jane Glaister (Director, Arts, Heritage and Leisure, Bradford, and author of Collections for the Future) and Julian Spalding (writer and curator, former Director of Glasgow Museums) on museum acquisitions policy: do museums still need to collect or do they have more than they can cope with; have the days of buying expensive Old Masters passed; and given the limits on resources, should they be concentrating on the art of today? Tickets (£5) are available in advance (tel: 020 7420 9406) or on the door.

Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, Annual Lecture 2005, 5 December 2005, at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London
Our Fellow Gavin Stamp will deliver this lecture on the Theme of Neo-Tudor and its Enemies, charting the origins of Neo-Tudor in the Picturesque movement, in the Victorian ‘Old English’ revival and in the Arts and Crafts movement before considering the phenomenon of Neo-Tudor in the 1920s and 1930s, arguing that this is a subject well worthy of serious consideration by architectural historians.

The Wallace Collection Seminars in the History of Collecting, 7 December 2005, 4.30 to 6pm
Dr Norbert Jopek will lead this seminar on the theme of ‘New Discoveries Among Nineteenth-century Dealers’ Visitors’ Books in Nuremberg’. Dr Jopek’s paper focuses on three visitors’ books, covering the period 1838 to 1909, of the art dealers and collectors Abraham, Siegmund and Max Pickert, now preserved in the city archive in Nuremberg. Their well-known collection attracted many collectors and curators from all over Europe throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The aim of the paper is to shed light on the life and business of the Pickerts and their context in Fürth and Nuremberg, to investigate the scope of their collection and the acquisitions made by the various collectors and museums that patronised them.

If you would like to attend please inform Sophie Carr, Assistant Curator, The Wallace Collection, in advance.

The Image of Maps/Maps of the Imagination: call for papers
This one-day symposium will take place at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, on 13 May 2006, hosted by the Department of the History of Art at Oxford University. The aim is to address the concept of mapping in two distinct but related ways: the physical product and the concept of mapping as a means of organizing the world. Some possible topics include maps as evidence of intellectual history, the relationship between reading maps and reading texts, the relationship between maps and painted map cycles, the relationship between medicine and maps, tourism, travel and maps as an index to cultural consumption, conflicting world views and the creation of maps. Three-hundred-word proposals for thirty-minute papers are requested by 12 January 2006 and should be addressed to . Further information is available on the symposium website.

Books by Fellows

The last issue of Salon promised a bumper list of ‘Books by Fellows’, largely by virtue of the list supplied by our Librarian, Bernard Nurse, of books that have recently been donated to the Society’s Library by their authors. They are The Greek Islands; a guide to the Byzantine and medieval buildings and their art (2005), by Paul Hetherington, Catholics of Sutton Park (2005), by Brian Taylor, Requiem: the medieval monastic cemetery in Britain (2005), by Roberta Gilchrist and Barney Sloane, Medieval Seal Matrices in the Schoyen Collection (2005) by Richard Linenthal, Suffolk in Anglo-Saxon Times (2005), by Stephen Plunkett, Heritage of value, archaeology of renown (2005), by Timothy Darvill, Frontiers of the Roman Empire (2005) and The Antonine Wall (2005), by David Breeze and Roman Britain (2005), by Martin Millett.

In addition, the executors of the late C S (Paddie) Drake gave fifty-one books on art history to the Society at his bequest and Peter Roe donated a watercolour by H G Hine exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851 entitled ‘A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries’.

Finally our congratulations go to Fellow Kathryn Morrison, of English Heritage, whose study of English Shops and Shopping (Yale University Press, 2003) has won the first ever RIBA Trust Book Award. The award citation says that Kathryn ‘makes us look with a fresh eye at the high street, whether in provincial towns or the tawdry wasteland of Oxford Street, and explores the architectural, social and economic history of how we have arrived at the present state’.


Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, Chief Executive (ref: HWH001)
Up to £100,000, closing date 6 December 2005

Hadrian’s Wall Heritage is a new charitable company being formed to ‘preserve and conserve the World Heritage Site, whilst also maximising its further potential to contribute to the economic, social and cultural regeneration of the communities and environs through which it passes’. The Chief Executive’s role will be to provide highly visible leadership, cohesion and focus to the new organisation, building national and international partnerships and engaging local communities. Informal enquiries may be made to Geoff Brown at the search consultant Pearsons, tel: 07876 357520. More information is available on the company’s website.

Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, Chair and Non-executive Directors
Closing date 28 November 2005

Hadrian’s Wall Heritage is also seeking a Chair (£20,000 per annum, based on four days a month) and three non-executive board members (£5,000 per annum, based on two days a month) with experience of heritage, culture, conservation, regeneration, voluntary or community work. Enquiries should be addressed to the search consultant NRG Executive by email. More information is available on the company’s website.

78 Derngate Northampton Trust, House Administrator
Salary £20,000 with a bonus of up to £10,000 on achieving targets; closing date 28 November 2005

The Georgian house at 78 Derngate, Northampton, was remodelled in 1916—17 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Northampton businessman Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke. The house has been returned to its 1917 appearance, while adjoining properties now house displays on the design of number 78 and about Bassett-Lowke’s business. The House Administrator’s role combines curatorial responsibility with the management of a commercial visitor attraction staffed by volunteers. A full job description can be found on the 78 Derngate website.

English Heritage, General Editor: Survey of London
Salary £38,000 to £44,000), closing date 30 November 2005

The requirements include a good first degree in architectural history or a related subject, substantial experience in research, writing and editing to the highest standards, managerial skills and leadership qualities. Further details from, quoting ref no. R/110/05 in the subject box.

The National Art Fund, Deputy Director
Closing date 5 December 2005

The newly created post of Deputy Director involves giving a clear focus to the Art Fund’s core activities of grant giving and public affairs. Candidates must have the personal presence and enthusiasm to act as an effective champion for the Art Fund and be a motivational member of the senior management team. Further details from the search consultant’s website using reference AJJA.

British Library, Chair
Around £35,000 for two days a week, closing date 16 December 2005

A successor to Lord Eatwell is sought as Chair of the British Library Board. Ideally candidates should be able to demonstrate strategic ability, experience of change management implementation in a large and complex organisation, an empathy with the diverse aims that underpin the British Library’s commercial, research and cultural roles, an understanding of the technology needed to achieve these aims, the charisma to inspire the organisation and command respect on national and international platforms, and an ability to attract sponsorship and develop new income streams.

Further details from Edna Elcombe at the DCMS Public Appointments Unit.