The Societys former Librarian, John Hopkins, died on 19 February at the age of eighty-nine. In announcing the news at the Societys weekly meeting on 28 February, our President Geoff Wainwright said: I have lost a very dear friend and the Society has lost one of its greatest characters and most devoted servants.
Johns funeral will be held on 6 March at 11.45am in West Norwood Crematorium, West Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, London SE27 9JU. All are welcome and donations can be given to the Alzheimers Research Trust or the Royal British Legion.
Bernard Nurse has written the following appreciation of Johns life but we would welcome further contributions, anecdotes and memories for sharing with other Fellows in Salon.
John Hopkins was born on 26 April 1918 and worked for the Society all his life starting at the age of fourteen in March 1933 and retiring at the age of sixty-seven in April 1986 with an interruption for war service between 1940 and 1946. At fifty-three years, this is thought to be the longest period that anyone has served the Society. In 1983, John was elected a Fellow after the Statutes were changed to allow the Assistant Secretary and Librarian to be Fellows. In the same year, to mark fifty years service, he was given the only Silver Medal the Society has ever awarded. John was therefore associated with the Society for nearly seventy-five years as an employee and later as a Fellow, a period that is also thought to be a record (Sir Thomas Lennard, who died in 1857, currently holds the record for the longest period of Fellowship at seventy-two years).
John owed his first position as general assistant to his mothers contacts with the Minet family, owners of the Minet estate in Camberwell near where they lived. William Minet (died 1933) had been the Societys Treasurer and his daughter, Susan Minet, proved later to be one of the Societys greatest benefactors. He left school at the then normal leaving age of fourteen, preferring the certainty of work in insecure times to the school scholarship he was offered. In 1946, on return from service in the Middle East with the Royal Army Pay Corps, John was appointed Library Clerk on condition that he studied librarianship in evening classes. His extensive knowledge of the collections and dedication to the Society secured him the post of Librarian in 1964. Though he published very little, academic recognition came in 1975 when he was awarded an honorary MA by the University of Leicester for services to antiquarian scholarship. He was a member of the Royal Archaeological Institute from 1954, served on its Council, was Vice-President (later Honorary Vice-President) from 1987 and regularly took part in the summer excursions.
John saw the library as a live institution, a place where all seekers after knowledge would receive a ready welcome, and not just a collection of books. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of readers interests and is best remembered for the frequent help he gave others in their research. He witnessed a huge expansion in the use of the library after the 1930s, especially by students from the Institute of Archaeology and the Courtauld Institute and by members of the Royal Archaeological Institute.
As Librarian, he responded to the rapid growth in periodical publication by installing mobile shelving in the basement. His extensive knowledge of the Society and sense of humour shone through in the highly entertaining lecture he gave just before retirement, when he regaled the audience with tales of Fellows in the 1930s strolling in from their clubs in evening dress half-seas over to hear Mortimer Wheeler and others give their lectures. His own special contribution to a bygone era was the puff of smoke that occasionally emerged from his pipe (or sometimes from his pocket).
John was a frequent visitor to Burlington House after his retirement and, despite his fading memory in recent years brought about by Alzheimers, he looked forward to the Societys Tercentenary. His last visit was made in the autumn of 2007 to see the exhibition at the Royal Academy. Unfortunately John did not live to see the bronze bust of himself that David Neal modelled at the end of last year. This is currently being cast and will join the pantheon of busts of other notable Fellows in the library, Johns natural habitat, when it is completed in a months time. Contributions towards the cost can still be made to the Society in his memory.
Tea is served from 4.15pm, and the chair will be taken promptly at 5pm. Non-Fellows are welcome to attend as a guest of a Fellow. Please contact the Society if you need help in finding a Fellow to act as your host.
6 March 2008: Archaeology and wine. Six Fellows will explore the connections between wine and the archaeology or historic landscapes of France, Switzerland and Portugal. After the meeting, samples of some of the wines discussed in the meeting will be available for tasting in the Council Room under the guidance of wine expert Jamie Waugh from Fortnum & Mason, who are generously sponsoring this event. Tickets cost £15 (proceeds to the Tercentenary Development Fund) and are available from the Society.
The speakers and their topics are as follows: Ian Ralston, FSA: Wine in the Iron Age: the Bituriges cubi of Berry; John Collis, FSA: From import to export: wine consumption in the Auvergne; Peter Fowler, FSA: Wine on the rocks: Pico, Portugal; Christopher Catling, FSA: Madeira: an uncharted historic landscape; Jason Wood: Filling buckets, emptying bottles: in the Garden of France; Henry Cleere, FSA: Viticulture between the Alps and Lake Geneva: Lavaux, Switzerland.
14 March 2008: Globalization: the making of our world, by Sir Neil Cossons, OBE, FSA, FMA, introduced by Loyd Grossman, OBE, FSA, in the Small Concert Hall, St Georges Hall, William Brown Street, Liverpool, starting at 6pm. In this Tercentenary Festival Lecture, Sir Neil will argue that there are moments in history that divide precisely and irreversibly everything that went before from all that came after. One such was in Liverpool, under a watery sun at a few minutes before 11 oclock on the morning of 15 September 1830. Another was in New Jersey on 26 April 1956, at which time the consequences for the wider world, but especially for Liverpool, were unimaginable. Intrigued? If you want to know more, Fellows tickets are available from the Society, while tickets for guests and members of the public can be booked online online.
4 April 2008: Women in the Heritage Day. As part of its Tercentenary Festival, the Society will celebrate the achievements of Women in the Heritage with a colloquium at Burlington House on 4 April 2008, from 9.30am to 4.30pm, followed by a wine reception. A copy of the days programme can be downloaded from the Societys website. Tickets costing £10, to cover the cost of lunch and the wine reception, are available from the Society.
During the day, participants will be encouraged to take out and/or sign Blue Papers for people they would like to see elected to the Fellowship. Ideally, Blue Papers should be taken out in advance so that they can be available for signing at the meeting (full instructions on how to take out a digital Blue Paper are available on the Fellows side of the website; if you prefer to take out a physical Blue Paper, please contact the Society. If you plan to take out Blue Papers on the day, you will need to bring, for each candidate, their full name, details of degrees and honours, their profession or occupation, their address and a statement of the grounds for their election (no more than 1,000 characters in length). You must also seek prior confirmation from candidates that they desire to be considered for election and are aware of the financial and other obligations of Fellowship.
A page will be set up for the event on the Societys website and the Society would be grateful for any thoughts, memories, anecdotes and photographs relating to the theme of Women in the Heritage, especially personal stories of your involvement in the heritage, tributes to women whose work deserves to be better known or to inspiring teachers and mentors, or thoughts on why you value Fellowship of the Society. Please send any contributions to Christopher Catling, the website manager (by email to 16 May 2008: Antiquaries in Europe: the role of national antiquarian societies today. This international colloquium, to be held at Burlington House to celebrate the Societys Tercentenary, aims to provide an overview of the intersecting interests and future challenges for independent national heritage bodies (NGOs) in Europe today. By meeting together, we aim to initiate a more formal network of national independent heritage bodies with an eye to future international collaboration and joint initiatives. A presentation on the Societys history and current role will take place on the previous evening, Thursday 15 May, followed by a wine reception. Further details are available on the Societys website, and tickets, costing £15 (Fellows) / £25 (public) including wine and refreshments, are available from the Society. 4 and 5 July 2008: Westminster Abbey Chapter House: its history, architecture and context. This Society of Antiquaries Tercentenary Research Symposium will bring together leading scholars to present the results of recent unpublished research and to assess our current knowledge of what the chronicler Matthew Paris described as a chapter house beyond compare, ranking as one of the spectacular achievements in Gothic architecture. Co-hosted by the Society of Antiquaries and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, with the collaboration of English Heritage, the symposium will be held at the Society of Antiquaries and will be followed by visits to the Chapter House, Undercroft and Pyx Chamber on 5 July, before the event concludes with a reception in the Abbey Museum. The conference fee is £40 for both days, £20 for a single day, and the number of places is limited to 100. Further details are available on the Societys website, and a booking form will be available shortly. Tuesday 15 April and Tuesday 24 June: Getting to know the Society introductory tours. Each tour will include an introductory tour of the Burlington House apartments by David Gaimster, the General Secretary, with an overview of the history of the Society and its Fellows over 300 years, a tour of the Societys library, and the services it offers Fellows, by Heather Rowland, the Head of Library and Collections, and a tour of the Societys pictures and museum collection by Julia Steele, the Collections Officer. Tours start at 11am (coffee from 10.30am) and end at 12.30pm, followed, for those who wish it, by a light sandwich lunch, for which a charge of £5 will be made. Numbers are limited to twenty-five Fellows per tour. Please contact the Society to book a place.
16 May 2008: Antiquaries in Europe: the role of national antiquarian societies today. This international colloquium, to be held at Burlington House to celebrate the Societys Tercentenary, aims to provide an overview of the intersecting interests and future challenges for independent national heritage bodies (NGOs) in Europe today. By meeting together, we aim to initiate a more formal network of national independent heritage bodies with an eye to future international collaboration and joint initiatives. A presentation on the Societys history and current role will take place on the previous evening, Thursday 15 May, followed by a wine reception. Further details are available on the Societys website, and tickets, costing £15 (Fellows) / £25 (public) including wine and refreshments, are available from the Society.
4 and 5 July 2008: Westminster Abbey Chapter House: its history, architecture and context. This Society of Antiquaries Tercentenary Research Symposium will bring together leading scholars to present the results of recent unpublished research and to assess our current knowledge of what the chronicler Matthew Paris described as a chapter house beyond compare, ranking as one of the spectacular achievements in Gothic architecture. Co-hosted by the Society of Antiquaries and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, with the collaboration of English Heritage, the symposium will be held at the Society of Antiquaries and will be followed by visits to the Chapter House, Undercroft and Pyx Chamber on 5 July, before the event concludes with a reception in the Abbey Museum.
The conference fee is £40 for both days, £20 for a single day, and the number of places is limited to 100. Further details are available on the Societys website, and a booking form will be available shortly.
Tuesday 15 April and Tuesday 24 June: Getting to know the Society introductory tours. Each tour will include an introductory tour of the Burlington House apartments by David Gaimster, the General Secretary, with an overview of the history of the Society and its Fellows over 300 years, a tour of the Societys library, and the services it offers Fellows, by Heather Rowland, the Head of Library and Collections, and a tour of the Societys pictures and museum collection by Julia Steele, the Collections Officer. Tours start at 11am (coffee from 10.30am) and end at 12.30pm, followed, for those who wish it, by a light sandwich lunch, for which a charge of £5 will be made. Numbers are limited to twenty-five Fellows per tour. Please contact the Society to book a place.
The Societys Library will be closed for public holidays over Easter (Friday 21 March to Tuesday 25 March inclusive) and the spring bank holidays (Monday 5 May, Monday and Tuesday 26 and 27 May).
The Society is pleased to welcome the following as Fellows, all of whom were elected in the ballot held on 28 February 2008.
Richard Ovenden: Keeper of Special Collections and Associate Director of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, with research interests in English and Scottish antiquaries and book collectors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Gerald Morgan: writer, formerly head teacher and lecturer, specialist in the history of Wales and Celtic Studies
Edward Sargent: Conservation Officer for Medway Council, Kent, with extensive experience in the conservation of historic buildings and the history and development of London Docks
Alan George Walmsley: Associate Professor in Islamic Archaeology and Art, Institute of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, expert in the archaeology and history of the Early Islamic Near East
Emma Loosley: Lecturer in Art History, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, The University of Manchester, specialist in Christian art, the archaeology of the Near and Middle East and monastic sites in Syria
Dieter Planck: Chairman of the German Limeskommission (formerly the Director of the State Archaeology Museum and the State Monuments Service of Baden-Württemberg), expert in the Roman period in Germany
Christopher James Rowe: Head of the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Durham, a distinguished classicist who has made a substantial contribution to Hellenic studies
Michael Jeffrey Silverman: researcher and writer, editor of the Antiquarian Booksellers Associations Handbook, whose research interests include the dating of Anglo-Saxon poetry
Geoffrey Bond: Master of the Guild of Art Scholars, Dealers and Collectors, Board Member of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
Simon Richard Houfe: historian and art historian, formerly editor of the Antique Collector, specialising in Victorian painters and illustrators
Jane Rowan McIntosh: Senior Research Associate, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge, researching the development of trade in the regions from Mesopotamia to the Indus basin in the fourth and third millennia BC
Trevor Foulds: Documentary Historian, Nottingham City Council, whose publications have made a substantial contribution to the study of the city and county of Nottingham
Rainer Wolfgang Grun: Professor of Earth Environment, Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, distinguished in the dating of archaeological sites and application of new dating techniques
Frederick Wilkinson: Arms and Armour Consultant who has published on firearms collections in the Royal Armouries and the Imperial War Museum
Timothy James Clayton: author and historian, specialist in eighteenth-century cultural and naval history and in engraved imagery and history of print trade; former Associate Editor for the Oxford DNB
Richard Silyn Kelly: Head of Sustainable Landscapes Section, Countryside Council for Wales, an archaeologist who has made a substantial contribution in raising awareness of the historic environment within Wales
Casper Johnson: County Archaeologist for East Sussex and an experienced field archaeologist who has led projects across southern England
David Anthony Stoker: writer, formerly Senior Lecturer at the University of Wales, who has made an important contribution to the study of the English provincial book trade in the eighteenth century
Peter Topping: Head of Archaeological Survey and Investigation, English Heritage, expert in field archaeology and landscape studies with publications on prehistoric landscapes in northern England
Peter Nicholas Poole-Wilson: Managing Director, Bernard Quaritch Ltd, who has played an important role internationally in advancing bibliographical studies and research
Gerallt David Nash: Senior Curator, St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff, and an authority on traditional historic building practices and public structures in Wales
Matthew Reeve: Assistant Professor in Art and Architectural History, Department of Art History, Carleton University, Canada, a specialist in English medieval art and post-medieval antiquarianism
Anthony Charles Peers: Architectural Historian, Rodney Melville & Partners, Warwickshire, specialist in building conservation philosophy and repair techniques
Thomas Hugh Moore: Lecturer in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Durham, specialist in the Iron Age archaeology of Britain and western Europe
Stephen David Church: Medieval Archaeologist and Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, University of East Anglia, specialist in kingship and the exercise and perception of royal power.
In a statement published on 30 January 2008, Scotlands First Minister, Alex Salmond, set out plans to abolish or merge fifty-two national public bodies in Scotland as part of a drive to achieve a more integrated approach to national policy. One of the organisations to be abolished is the Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland (HEACS), set up when the Ancient Monuments Board and Historic Buildings Council were abolished during the last bonfire of the quangos in 2001. In place of HEACS, Historic Scotland will in future be responsible for advising Ministers on the historic environment.
The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland issued a press release questioning this decision and saying that while Historic Scotland can, of course, provide expert advice in the area, it is not clear whence Ministers can expect to receive impartial and independent advice in the future. This point was reinforced by the statement from the National Trust for Scotland, which said that: Public policy in these areas needs independent and creative thinking and that requires certain freedoms of both thought and action. HEACS has served this role diligently in the public interest.
HEACS is expected to complete its current programme of work, which includes identifying the economic impact of the historic environment in Scotland, mapping the infrastructure of the historic environment as it relates to the voluntary sector, and identifying ways of attracting young people to become more involved in protecting, conserving, understanding and enjoying the historic environment.
The current review has stopped short of a merger between Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, even though this had been promised in the Scottish National Partys election-wining manifesto. Instead, the First Minister announced a further review, examining functions and scope for streamlining across the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments, Historic Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland and an increased connection with Scotlands People [an online database of genealogical information].
The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland welcomed the proposal for further engagement with the sector on the options to streamline the archival, recording and presentation functions of Scotlands heritage and said it believes there are significant benefits to Scotlands heritage, environment and people in maintaining these as separate organisations with fundamentally different responsibilities, while greater public understanding of what these various organisations do, and how they go about it, is highly desirable.
The National Trust for Scotland was very positive about plans to place Scotlands marine environment under a single body, the Marine Management Organisation. Commenting on that decision, our Fellow Robin Turner, Head of Archaeological Services for the National Trust for Scotland, said: Marine issues are a priority for the National Trust for Scotland and this news makes a lot of sense. Managing the marine environment is something the Trust has been calling for, for a long time and it should be warmly welcomed. The idea was one of the main recommendations made by the Advisory Group on Marine and Coastal Strategy (AGMACS) and we hope it will be well supported in principle by other natural and cultural heritage NGOs and other professional bodies.
There was also strong National Trust for Scotland support for the First Ministers call for increased collaboration between the National Galleries, National Museums and the National Library better to support collections activity throughout Scotland.
The Scottish Government has also published new draft supplementary planning policy guidance for the protection, conservation and enhancement of the historic environment. SPP 23: Planning and the Historic Environment will consolidate, clarify and supersede existing planning policy guidance (contained in NPPG 5: Archaeology and Planning and NPPG 18: Planning and the Historic Environment). The SPP also reflects the changes introduced by the Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006 and cross references to Historic Scotlands series of Scottish Historic Environment Policies (SHEPs), which were not reflected in previous planning guidance. Details of the consultation are available on the Scottish Government website, and the closing date for responses is 9 May 2008.
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has announced that it intends to hold an inquiry into the draft Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill, published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 7 January 2008 (Command Paper 7298), and that it is seeking views on the overall aims of the draft Bill and whether the Bill is structured and drafted in a way which enables those aims to be met.
The Bill has been drafted to allow the UK to ratify the 1954 Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and to accede to the Conventions two Protocols of 1954 and 1999. It strengthens the UKs commitment to the protection of its own heritage in the event of war and formalises the UKs responsibilities to respect the cultural property of other nations during armed conflict.
This inquiry is quite separate from the recent Department for Culture, Media and Sport consultation on the draft bill. Further guidance can be found on the committees web page.
English Heritage has announced the appointment of the members of a Working Group to take forward the recommendation of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology that the heritage sector should develop a comprehensive national strategy for heritage science.
The Working Group will be chaired by Sarah Staniforth, Historic Properties Director, the National Trust, and the members include our Fellows Alastair McCapra (Chief Executive, Institute of Conservation), Nick Merriman (Director, Manchester Museum), Sebastian Payne (Chief Scientist, English Heritage), Mark Pollard (Oxford University) and David Watkinson (Cardiff University), plus Peter Brimblecombe (University of East Anglia), Craig Kennedy (Head of Science, Historic Scotland), Katy Lithgow (Head Conservator, National Trust), Helen Shenton (Head of Collection Care, The British Library), Jim Tate (Department of Conservation and Analytical Research, National Museums Scotland) and Heather Viles (Oxford University).
English Heritage intends to appoint a co-ordinator to work with the sector in assembling the information the Working Group will need to develop the strategy, and to develop a website to keep the sector informed and provide it with a channel for communication. It is intended that the first draft of the strategy will be completed by the summer of 2009.
English Heritage has posted Draft Guidance for Discoverers and Visitors to Underwater Heritage on its website. One aim is to encourage divers to train and join volunteer archaeological projects.
Wessex Archaeology has been re-appointed as the Governments contractor for archaeological services in relation to the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. The principle duty of the contractor is to supply advice to English Heritage, Historic Scotland, Cadw and the Environment and Heritage Service (Northern Ireland) to enable them to advise their respective Secretary of State, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland Ministers about issues of designation and licensing under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. The contract runs from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2011. At present, sixty sites are designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 in UK territorial seas.
The Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology is part of a bid for World Heritage Site status being prepared by a consortium of organisations involved in the heritage of the Solent area, including Portsmouth Harbour, the Isle of Wight and Spithead. The group aims to create the worlds first cultural seascape that will include the submerged Mesolithic landscape and the naval dockyard and its supporting establishments. Further information can be found on the Portsmouth Society website.
The Board of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has announced plans to streamline the MLAs national and regional operations in a major reorganisation intended to reduce the MLAs infrastructural costs and channel more funding to front-line cultural activities. The nine separate regional MLAs are to be reconfigured as a single national entity, with key operations based in Birmingham.
MLA Chairman Mark Wood said: The MLA has a key role to play in leading the transformation of our museum, library and archive services and managing its Renaissance flagship investment programme in regional museums. We aim to fulfil that role with greater effectiveness despite reduced government funding. The Board has taken the decision that only radical reorganisation will sustain a stronger, more focused MLA working nationally and regionally, and making better use of public money. We believe that the cost of nine independent regional agencies is unsustainable.
Protests have taken place this month in Florence to voice opposition to the construction of a tram line through the historic centre of Florence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. Italia Nostra and Europe Nostra have both called on the Florentine and Italian authorities to halt the construction of what they describe as an intrusion, whose vibrations will impact on the citys historic buildings. Europa Nostra says the historic heart of Florence should be properly pedestrianised (in theory it is already, but the ban on traffic excludes residents) and argues for an extension of the network of electric minibuses already in use in the historic centre.
Europa Nostra is also organising opposition to plans by the Republic of Turkey to flood areas of the countrys historic landscapes. Having already flooded Hellenistic and Roman Zeugma, on the Euphrates, with its wonderful mosaics, as well as numerous other sites of prehistoric and historic date, the Turkish government is now preparing plans for a dam that will flood Hasankeyf, on the Tigris, with its exceptional Islamic architecture (including a Central-Asian-style turbe that is unique in Turkey), and yet more sites of prehistoric and historic date, and it is on the point of flooding the exceptionally well-preserved Hellenistic and Roman spa site of Allianoi, situated near Izmir in western Turkey.
Europa Nostra calls the imminent destruction of one of the prime healing centres of the ancient world deplorable and unacceptable. So far only 20 per cent of the site has been excavated and Europa Nostra is therefore calling for adequate excavation and documentation of the site as the very least that needs to be done. For further information, see the Europa Nostra website.
If you have ever wondered what happens to petitions on the Prime Ministers website once the petition deadline passes, we now have an answer. The thousands of people who signed the petition last year asking the Prime Minister to remove all VAT charges on building repairs to listed buildings received an email response last week, and the stark answer is that you will be told patronisingly that your argument lacks detailed evidence and that the problem you are concerned about is not widespread.
In full, the message read as follows: The Treasury has no detailed evidence to date that demonstrates that there are widespread instances of the VAT rules as they stand encouraging new build construction work rather than refurbishment. VAT may rarely be decisive in such circumstances, as it is only one of a range of factors that influence commercial decisions for regeneration projects. However, the Government keeps the impact of VAT on different types of building work under careful review, alongside broader measures to increase the supply of housing.
Campaigners say they have no intention of giving up on this and have promised a vigorous rebuttal, saying that it is typical of Treasury mandarins to pretend that the petition is about incentives for regeneration, when it is really about the very serious issue of the disincentives to the repair and maintenance of historic assets.
Our Fellow Mark Horton accused English Heritage of whitewashing history last week when an application to list a Brunel pumping station in Totnes station yard was turned down. Owners Dairycrest have already removed part of the roof and have applied for permission to demolish the rest of the building, one of only three to survive from Brunels atmospheric railway experiments of the 1840s (the two remaining pumping stations at Starcross and Torre are listed at Grade I and II* respectively). The English Heritage decision was based on the fact that the building has been altered considerably since it was first constructed and is incomplete, having lost its original machinery and its chimney.
Very little of our industrial heritage is now safe if this extraordinary decision is allowed to stand, Mark Horton said, adding: The world would be a poorer place if this building was demolished. It is vital to understanding the atmospheric railway and tells how Brunel planned a much more ambitious scheme that was thwarted by the directors, which is not found in any of the documents or indeed standard accounts of his life. One might as well just burn one of his notebooks.
Mark was giving his backing to a campaign being organised by SAVE Britains Heritage to prevent the pumping station from being pulled down. Our Fellow Marcus Binney, President of SAVE, who led the 1980 rescue and restoration of Brunels original railway terminus at Bristol Temple Meads, said: Brunel was not only Britains most famous engineer but he had his own highly distinctive architectural style bold, rugged and making excellent use of natural materials. Every building he designed, great or small, is a landmark in its locality.
The 1840s Atmospheric Pumping House is a part of Brunels attempt to introduce a radical form of locomotion, with trains being pushed by air pressure from a pipe between the railway tracks. Trials between Exeter and Teignmouth were abandoned after a year when rats chewed through the tallowed leather valves along the line.
SAVEs Secretary, Adam Wilkinson, said: Totnes is up in arms at the threat to the building, and our Fellow Marilyn Palmer, of the Association for Industrial Archaeology, said the Association strongly supported the efforts of local people in Totnes to prevent the demolition. Totnes Museum Administrator Alan Langmaid said the Atmospheric Pumping House was one of the very few heritage sites outside the main town and a great landmark it would be a tragedy to lose it.
A picture of the Brunel building, with its damaged roof, can be seen on the Totnes Online website.
The Euston Arch, another monument of the railway age and a structure whose demolition galvanised the architectural preservation movement could be rebuilt under a scheme to redevelop Londons Euston Station from 2009. The arch was demolished in 1962 on the personal authority of the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan. The impact of that decision reverberates to this day: Euston Arch; never again became and remains the rallying call of conservationists everywhere.
Dan Cruickshank, the founder of the Euston Arch Trust, has never given up hope of seeing the arch restored, and he used his TV programme ten years ago to prove that the stone from the arch was still salvageable from the bed of the River Lea, close to the 2012 Olympic site, where it was dumped after the demolition. Cruickshank estimates that 60 per cent of the facing stone from the arch might lie in the riverbed, and the rest could be supplied from the original Yorkshire gritstone quarry at Bramley, which is still in operation.
Cruickshanks campaign to get the arch rebuilt has support from several architects, including the Modernist, Sir Terry Farrell, who says: As it stands, Euston Station is a textbook example of how not to plan a station. The arch should come back as one of the great set pieces along Euston Road. Network Rail will announce its choice of architect for the new Euston Station in April.
The airport operator BAA has been told to remove uPVC windows from a seventeenth-century Grade II listed cottage that they own near Stansted airport. Uttlesford District Council has told BAA that it must replace the windows with more suitable glazing or face prosecution. Douglas Kent, the case officer at the SPAB, who reported the violation to the planning authority, said that putting plastic double-glazed windows into an old building is like dressing your great granny up in hotpants.
The SPAB also believes that the BAAs plans for the expansion of Stansted are in de facto breach of heritage protection laws. There are 161 conservation areas within the vicinity of the airport, and 30,280 listed buildings, 128 of them within 2km of the airport. Douglas Kent says: BAA is playing down the quality of the built heritage around Stansted because of the damage that its plans would inflict on the positive buildings and their setting
but centuries worth of heritage should not just be swept under the carpet.
The BAA would do well to consult a helpful new set of guidelines published by English Heritage and targeted at the owners of traditional houses thinking of making changes to their homes to make them more energy efficient. The three sets of guidelines are Energy conservation in traditional Buildings, Micro wind generation and traditional buildings and Small-scale solar thermal energy and traditional buildings, and all are available from the Climate Change area of the English Heritage website.
English Heritage has also responded to concerns that Home Information Packs might lead to inappropriate alterations to historic buildings in response to the mandatory Energy Performance Certificates. The website says that many modern construction methods and materials are unsuitable for older buildings and if thoughtlessly applied could not only destroy important features, they could ultimately lead to damp and condensation problems.
A poster depicting Lucas Cranach the Elders painting of Venus was deemed likely to cause offence to travellers on the Underground by Transport for London officials, who initially refused to display the poster unless the image was cropped from the waist down. The poster is designed to advertise the Cranach exhibition, which opens at the Royal Academy on 8 March. Writing in the Guardian, our Fellow Maev Kennedy described Venus as Wearing nothing but her best necklace, a wisp of gauze and a foxy expression.
Academy spokeswoman Jennifer Francis said: Were shocked
we actually thought it was quite an innocent painting, and we chose it because it best represents Cranachs work.
Transport for London has since relented and Venus will now appear on the underground to brighten the day of the capitals weary commuters (and, no doubt, to attract graffiti, both witty and gratuitous).
Our Fellow Tim Knox, Director of the Sir John Soanes Museum in London, has described recent public sculpture in the UK as tasteless Frankenstein monster memorials, saying that there is a multiplication of sentimental figurative work that is just not good enough. In interviews with the Independent and the Art Newspaper, he singles out The Monument to the Unknown Construction Worker (2006), by Alan Wilson as an example; this three-metre-high statue near the Tower of London is a gigantic Village People-style navvy in an attitude derived from Michelangelos David, says Tim. The work was commissioned by the construction union UCATT at a cost of £100,000.
Tims views are shared by artist Grayson Perry, who recently described much public art as cultural tanks parked on the lawn of society. Burlington magazine editor, Richard Shone, has also written about the infestation of public places … by bad statues and memorials, citing the Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square as crudely sculpted. Shone also finds the two sculptures in St Pancras Station offensive; he describes The Meeting Place, the colossal sculpture by Paul Day of a man and woman embracing, as dreary and mournful, having all the romance of a couple who have just been refused a mortgage, while the tribute to Sir John Betjeman smacks of the toyshop.
Ian Leith, Deputy Chairman of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, says the problem is that there is no public body to audit public art. A related problem, says Leith, is that good works that were once public, by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, have been removed and sold or stolen for scrap.
Also displaying a gift for polished invective in the Art Newspaper recently was our Fellow Giles Waterfield, who describes the many distractions that prevented him from enjoying a visit to the Seurat exhibition in New York last year. They included tour group leaders showing off their knowledge in tones that could have been heard in Central Park, lively and loud students engaged in sociability rather than learning or viewing, a man sorting out a property deal for 15 minutes on his mobile phone and flash photography going off every two seconds.
Fashionable museums and tourists sites now attract so many visitors, he says, that quiet personal experience is effectively unachievable. The notion that public behaviour might be governed by polite restraint has gone, and art is now seen as just another form of rapidly absorbed consumer fodder.
Asking does this matter?, he quotes our Fellow Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, who says that looking at art is a difficult experience, one that has to be learnt and that requires concentration. Giles argues that we need to design the museum experience better so that the visitor doesnt always have to negotiate crowds and noise and can enjoy a relatively intimate experience.
The news, then, that London has seven of the top forty most-visited museums and art galleries in the world more than any other city is not likely to be welcome to seekers after peace and solitude. Rival capitals Paris and Madrid each have three of the worlds most popular museums, while Washington, Chicago, Barcelona and Moscow have two.
Paris takes the top two spots for individual museums: the Louvre recorded 8.3 million visits last year, followed by the newly renovated Pompidou Centre (5.5 million). Tate Modern, with almost 5.2 million visitors, is the worlds third most popular, followed by the British Museum at fourth (4.8 million) and the National Gallery at eighth (4.1 million). The other London institutions in the top forty are the Victoria and Albert Museum (twelfth, with 2.4 million visitors), the National Portrait Gallery (twenty-second, with 1.6 million), Tate Britain (twenty-third, with 1.6 million) and the Royal Academy (thirty-seventh, with 955,000).
The visitor figures, published in last weeks Art Newspaper, showed that Glasgows Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is the worlds fourteenth most popular museum, with 2.2 million visitors, up from the 955,000 visitors a year it had before its recent £29 million modernisation.
New York has long dominated the league tables for visitor numbers based on special exhibitions, but counting total visitors provides a very different picture.
Fellows who have managed to read their way to the back of Volume 87 of the Antiquaries Journal will have enjoyed the account by our Fellow Michael Lewis on the theft of a fragment of the Bayeux Tapestry in 1816, following Charles Stothards visit to Bayeux on behalf of the Society to make drawings of the tapestry. One of Stothards visits to Bayeux coincided with his honeymoon, and his young wife, Eliza, was subsequently accused of having stolen the missing fragment.
Michael Lewis believes it was Stothard himself who removed the tapestry fragment as a souvenir of his work. The custodian at Bayeux was nevertheless in the habit of telling visitors that Madame confessed to the theft upon her death bed; this despite the fact that Madame was very much alive and well, better known to the English speaking world as Mrs Bray, the celebrated historical novelist.
Intrigued by the episode, our Fellow Carola Hicks decided to take the story further, and the results of her research were published in the Times Literary Supplement on 8 February 2008 (a copy is available in the Societys Library).
Eliza Stothards story reads like one of her own romantic novels. Elizas parents refused their consent to her marriage to Charles because, as a freelance antiquarian artist, Stothard was not considered to have adequate financial prospects to support a wife. In the end they eloped, and it was because of their poverty that work and honeymoon came to be combined. Eliza was not idle while Charles sketched the tapestry: she penned an account of their honeymoon, which was subsequently published as Letters written during a tour through Normandy, Brittany and other parts of France, with her husbands illustrations. The account she gives of the Tapestry in that book became the main source for the next generation of scholars and tourists.
Charles Stothards prospects improved when he was appointed Historical Draftsman to the Society in 1818, but he died in 1821 after falling from a ladder and hitting his head on a tomb whilst tracing a stained-glass window at St Andrews Church, Beer Ferrers, in Devon. Eliza, newly widowed and pregnant, turned to writing as a means of support. Her first work was a biography of her late husband, published in 1823, but Eliza then suffered a breakdown when her baby daughter died at the age of nine months. Salvation, says Carola, came through writing: her first novel was set in fourteenth-century France and based on an incident in Froissarts Chronicles, and eleven further historical romances followed, written at the rate of one every other year.
Carola paints a picture of an impulsive, excitable, credulous and nervous woman, totally unfitted to become a clergymans wife, though that is what she became when she married the Revd Edward Bray, Vicar of Tavistock, in Devon, settling there and turning to local history and biographical works, backed, like her novels, by industrious research. By 1881, she was a celebrated writer and national figure. So when a new book was published that year on the Bayeux Tapestry mentioning the theft and the Bayeux Museums caption, explaining the missing fragment as having been removed by Eliza impelled by a feminine instinct, it was not surprising that The Times should leap to the defence, insisting in a leader of 26 September, that Charles Stothard had already possessed one or two small fragments taken from a ragged portion of the tapestry before Eliza ever visited Bayeux.
Eliza died two years later, aged ninety-four, and The Times described her as a national heroine, who had contributed more than any other woman to the amusement and instruction of her country. She died serene and exonerated; her great nephew, John Kempe, described her as surrounded by relics of the past, believing that Charles Stothard was with her again by her side. Her last words were: Is the old world come back yet?
Also in the Societys Library is the latest issue of Current Archaeology, with an article by Lydia Carr (one of our speakers at the forthcoming Women in Heritage day) on two of the Societys first lady Fellows, Tessa Verney Wheeler and her student, Veronica Seton-Williams. Lydia also writes about the invasion of the Society by young men and women, all in trousers, speaking the exciting new language of stratigraphy and object typologies that took place in the late 1930s when, witnessed and very much encouraged by our late Fellow and Librarian, John Hopkins, students from the newly founded Institute of Archaeology, lacking a physical home of their own, made the Societys Library one of its main bases.
And while browsing the magazine rack, dont forget to take a quick look at British Archaeology, whose March/April issue features an account by Fellows Philip Crummy, Nina Crummy and Ralph Jackson, plus Ulrich Schädler, on an unusual grave excavated at Stanway, near Colchester. Dating from AD 40 to 60, the grave is one of five in an area of Iron Age Camulodunum that appears to have been set aside for a few distinctive people, one of whom appears to have been a warrior (buried with shield, spear and such rarities as an amber glass bowl, lion-handled water jug and rams-head-handled hand basin), while the other conforms to the Elder Plinys description of Druids as seers and medicine men.
This doctors grave goods include a set of iron and bronze instruments that would not look out of place in a modern surgeons toolkit among them, scalpels, surgical saws, hooks, needles, probes and forceps. The divination side of his healing art is represented by divining rods and a jet bead (possessed of prophylactic powers?), while a strainer bowl buried with him was last used for preparing a herbal tea that included a plant of the Artemisia family, such as wormwood. Intriguingly, the medical instruments include forms common in the Greco-Roman world, and some derived from Gallic or native British practice. The authors believe he was part of a princely British household, his role similar, perhaps, to that of the personal physicians in the retinues of Roman emperors, aristocrats and top officials.
Nationwide Building Society has teamed up with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to launch the Nationwide Community and Heritage Awards 2008, inviting the public to nominate people or groups who deserve recognition as Community Champions, through their work in the community, and Heritage Heroes, for their involvement in saving a part of their heritage and sharing it with others. The awards were previously known as the Nationwide Awards for Voluntary Endeavour (NAVE). Nomination forms can be found online, and in Nationwide Building Society branches and public libraries. The closing date for nominations is 28 April 2008. A series of regional events for short-listed nominations will be taking place up and down the country at a variety of heritage venues. The final will take place in London during November 2008.
Four community archaeology projects are on the short list for the inaugural Marsh Archaeology Award. They are the Badsey Society Enclosure Map Project, which looked at the development of the parishes of Badsey and Aldington, Worcestershire, since 1807; the Mellor Archaeological Trust, for work on the multi-period site around Mellor Church, near Stockport in Greater Manchester; the North of Scotland Archaeological Societys programme of survey and excavation on the Glen Feshie Estate; and Royton Lives Through The Ages, for its work on the history of Royton Hall, Manchester.
The awards were set up by Brian Marsh, chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, to recognise those who do it out of love, not for money. The winner will be announced on 2 May 2008. Full details can be found on the Community Archaeology Forum website.
Fellow Malcolm Jones has drawn Salons attention to an ambitious project which aims to create a digital library of prints and book illustrations from early modern Britain some 10,000 prints in all, many of them from the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, but complemented by items from other collections, notably the Victoria and Albert Museum. Full details can be found on the projects website, including the news of a conference at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 12 and 13 September 2008 to present research on early modern printed images.
Malcolm Jones himself contributes the Print of the Month page of the website, billed as presenting surprising and unusual printed images from early modern England from the polemical to the pornographic, with commentaries derived from Malcolms longstanding researches, to be published in a forthcoming book, The Print in Early Modern England: an historical oversight (Yale University Press). (For obvious reasons, Salons editor quite likes the print entitled Tittle-Tattle; Or, the several Branches of Gossipping, first issued c 1600, when it was called The Severall Places Where you May hear News, a copy of which was owned by Samuel Pepys and is now in the Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge.)
And another new website to which Fellows have contributed (including Ralph Jackson and Kenneth Painter) is the one devoted to documenting the excavation of two suburban villas and a Late Antique granary located at Via Gabina, 14km due east of the centre of Rome. The site is the brainchild of our Fellow Walter M Widrig, of Rice University, Houston, Texas, who is the co-director of the excavations, with Philip Oliver-Smith.
The website documents the excavation and the finds with letters and notebooks, as well as more formal specialist reports. Thus we learn, as the excavators did, the disappointing news that the seed samples from the site sent for analysis to Willem van Zeist, the Director of the Biologisch-Archaeologisch Instituut, Rijksuniversiteit, Groningen, in The Netherlands, consist of modern weed seeds such as milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and curled dock (Rumex cf. crispus), which found their way into the deeper layers of the site through animal action; I am very sorry that I cannot inform you of more exciting results, writes Professor van Zeist. Compensation for this disappointment comes from the quality of some of the mosaic floors and wall plaster.
If you are visiting Winchester before 27 April, do make time to visit this inaugural exhibition at the citys former Public Library, newly rebranded as the Winchester Discovery Centre. Dont be put off by the hype on the exhibition website, which says that advance booking is necessary to avoid disappointment; Salons editor had no trouble walking in off the street, perhaps because the admission price of £5 is too steep for most people. The website also exaggerates in characterising this as an unmissable, momentous show featuring significant and stunning objects from the reign of King Alfred; the reality is one small room with a handful of objects, some of which are replicas, and many of which date from a different period altogether than Alfreds reign. There is also a dire audio-visual in which a headless figure dressed in a purple chasuble exchanges Masonic handshakes with a disembodied figure and hands over a purse full of coins; apparently, this is supposed to tell us that Alfred encouraged trade.
None of this detracts from the good material that is here: the real feast for the eyes and mind consists of books and aestels (pointers for following text while reading). Looking as fresh as if it had been written a century ago, one star exhibit consists of the manuscript of Alfreds own translation of Pope Gregorys Cura Pastoralis (On Pastoral Care). On loan from the Bodleian Library in Oxford, this has been called the first ever book in the English language, and it was central to the benign rule of a man who believed that loss of faith and learning were the reasons why Wessex was under attack from the Vikings: the revival of scholarship was Alfreds greatest weapon of war; every authority is soon obsolete if it is without wisdom, he wrote, in translating Boethius Consolation of Philosophy.
The other star exhibit is the aestel known as the Alfred Jewel, on loan from the Ashmolean, and here surrounded by a constellation of lesser aestels, such as the Minster Lovell Jewel and the well-named Bidford Bobble. One of them the Borg Aestel comes from as far away as the Lofoten Islands of Norway. In her excellent catalogue to accompany the exhibition, Fellow Barbara Yorke explains that this might well have travelled to the chieftains hall at Borg in the baggage of the Norwegian trader, Ohthere, whose visit to the court of King Alfred is recorded in the World History of Orosius, another of the books that Alfred had translated into English and extended to chronicle some of the events of his own short but decisive reign.
18 to 20 March 2008: The 2008 IFA Conference, Swansea. We are just two weeks away now from the annual IFA conference, but it is still not too late to book online on the BritArch website. One of the sessions at the 2008 Conference will look at the topical subject of climate change, the possible impact on the historic environment and methodologies for dealing with a changing climate. See the IFA website for further information.
5 April 2008: Earth, Air, Fire and Water: Surreys industries in a rural setting. This study day at the Surrey History Centre in Woking will focus on the impact of industry on the landscapes of the county, and will begin with a paper by our Fellow Rob Poulton, of Surrey County Archaeological Unit, on Industry and the Building of Guildford and Oatlands Palaces. Further information from the Surrey History Centre website.
The study day will include a demonstration of the new web-based finding aid called Exploring Surreys Past, a mine of information about archaeological sites, chance finds, historic buildings and landscapes, taken from Surreys Historic Environment Record. The site can be used to search the archive collections of the Surrey History Centre, which holds information on a huge variety of businesses, institutions, families and individuals.
12 April 2008: W G Hoskins and the Modern World. To mark the centenary of the birth of W G Hoskins, this day seminar is being held at Oriel College, Oxford. David Matless will talk about Hoskinss Contribution to Post-War English Topographic Culture. The event will also focus on his work in local politics and conservation in Exeter. Peter Jones, who produced Hoskinss television programmes in the 1970s, will speak and there will be a rare opportunity to see some of his television work. Anyone interested should contact Fellow Trevor Rowley.
The History Press (Tempus Publications as was) has just published Michael Stammerss book on The Industrial Archaeology of Docks and Harbours, which Michael says is an introduction for the general reader, covering the development of port facilities in the British Isles from beach ports to container cranes, a subject that he says is especially relevant to an island nation like the UK which still depends on the sea for transport and where 95 per cent of its trade, including imports and exports, is still carried by ships.
Maney has just published two books of potential interest to Fellows. The Shapwick Project, Somerset: a landscape explored, edited by Chris Gerrard and Mick Aston, sets out the multi-disciplinary methods used in the exploration of this wetland-edge landscape and summarises the archaeology of a community and its lands from early prehistory to the present day. Excavations at Dryslwyn Castle 19801995 by Christopher Caple, explores the excavations at Dryslwyn between 1980 and 1995 which uncovered a masonry castle, founded in the late 1220s by Rhys Gryg for his son Maredudd ap Rhys, the first Lord of Dryslwyn. From a simple round tower and polygonal walled enclosure, the castle was greatly expanded in the late thirteenth century, with a white rendered exterior, creating a dramatic and highly visible symbol of lordship, while the lords and guest apartments had decorative wall paintings and glazed windows. This castle and its associated settlement were besieged and captured in 1287 by an English royal army of over 11,000 men following damage inflicted by a trebuchet and mining of the walls. Throughout the fourteenth century the English Crown garrisoned and repaired the castle, supervised by an appointed constable, before it was surrendered to Owain Glyn Dŵr in 1403. During the early to mid-fifteenth century the castle was deliberately walled up to deny its use to a potential enemy and it was subsequently looted and demolished.
Our late Fellow, Canon Maurice Ridgway, spent over fifty years on a survey of the Church Plate of the Diocese of Chester, between running a parish and producing five other major books on silver, in addition to numerous articles and booklets. When he died, this work had reached the final draft typescript stage, and so this new book, edited by Michael Sherratt, is as Maurice wrote it. Its publication comes as a memorial and tribute to the scholar who did so much to put Chester silver firmly on the collectors map (288 pages with 75 plates showing pieces, marks and engraving, price £35 plus postage; orders and cheques made out to Phillimore & Co. Ltd, should be sent to Madam Green Farm Business Centre, Oving, Chichester PO20 2DD).
The London Guildhall: an archaeological history of a neighbourhood from early medieval to modern times (MoLAS Monogr Ser 36; 2-part set; £65) has just been published with generous funding from the City of London Corporation. Taryn Nixon, Chief Executive of the Museum of London Archaeology Service, says this monograph marks the tenth anniversary of MoLASs venture into publishing. Its 1997 monograph (on St Mary Spital) marked the beginning of a determined effort to ensure that London would be the best published city in the UK archaeologically. Since then, MoLAS has published over eighty volumes by means of its three main series: monographs (themes of regional and national significance), studies (regional and local significance) and popular books, as well as archive gazetteers, international conference proceedings and technical and reference manuals.
This latest book, in a handsome new hardback format to mark the tenth anniversary, is monograph number 36, a two-volume publication that epitomises the MoLAS approach in that it combines evidence from archaeological excavations with historical and architectural analysis to create a definitive integrated history of the London Guildhall, the home of the City of Londons government. Beginning with the first, twelfth-century, hall, the volumes go on to describe the later halls and precinct buildings from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries, drawing on the good organic evidence for an eleventh- and twelfth-century parish churchyard and a number of adjacent timber houses. The volumes highlight themes such as evidence for medieval Jewish occupation, the cloth market of Blackwell Hall, inns, craft activity and two parish churches. A volume on the Roman discoveries (Guildhall is the site of Londons Roman amphitheatre) is due out this autumn, when the popular publication Gladiators at the Guildhall will also be updated and republished.
Fellows Graham Fairclough and John Schofield, along with Rodney Harrison and John H Jameson, have jointly produced The Heritage Reader (published by Routledge), as an introduction and overview of the principles and new thinking in cultural heritage management. Together, the four editors bring perspectives from their practice in Europe, North America and Australia, combining theory with geographically and thematically diverse case studies.
From David H Williams comes Images of Welsh History: seals of the National Library of Wales. This documents the seal impressions attached to deeds preserved in The National Library of Wales, which range in date from the twelfth century to modern times. This booklet seeks to portray the variety of seal impressions to be found in the Principality; not only the seals used by Welsh princes and English monarchs, by official bodies like the Courts of Great Sessions, and by boroughs, bishops and monasteries, but also the seals employed by lesser folk and those used by coal, steel, railway and canal companies during the Industrial Revolution.
Royal Academy of Arts, Director of Exhibitions
Closing date 14 March 2008
An experienced Director of Exhibitions is sought with the imagination, contacts and intellectual interests, combined with financial and budget management experience and communications skills, to plan and manage all aspects of the Royal Academys exhibitions programme. Further details are on the Odgers website.
The National Trust, Chairman
Closing date 25 March 2008
The National Trust is seeking to appoint a Chairman of its Council and Board of Trustees to succeed Sir William Proby when he steps down in November 2008. The post is not remunerated and the time commitment is estimated at two days a week. Further details are on the Odgers website.