Salon Archive

Issue: 19

Forthcoming meetings

The last meeting of the season will take the form of a Miscellany of Papers, to be presented at the Summer Soir�e on 20 June.

There will also be a Ballot, with exhibits, on Thursday 4 July.

Fellows� news

We have learnt with regret of the death on 29 April of Frank Henry Simpson, who was elected a Fellow in 1958.

Speculation in SALON 18 on who might be the Society�s senior fellow produced a number of responses. Roger Ling suggests that it could be Norman Davey, FSA, who was born in 1900. Roger would be pleased to hear news of his erstwhile collaborator, if anyone has had recent contact with Norman. Jennifer Price, FSA, wrote to say that Anna Mary Chitty, FSA, the only surviving Fellow to have been elected before the war, must be close to her 100th birthday, as she was 80 or thereabouts in 1985 when the University of Leeds Adult Education Department and the Yorkshire Archaeological Society held a conference in her honour (published as Recent Research in Roman Yorkshire, BAR British Series No 193). Jennifer adds that �another Fellow now well into her 90s is Aileen Fox, FSA, elected a Fellow in 1944'.

The Oldest Briton

Meanwhile Boxgrove Man (age 500,000 years) is about to be knocked from his pedestal as the UK�s oldest hominid. The Times reported on 4 June that animal bones with cut marks have been found in association with worked flints at an undisclosed site in East Anglia that dates from 700,000 years ago, suggesting that Anglian Man (or Woman) is at least that old. The finds have been made by a team led by Professor Chris Stringer, Head of Human Origins at the Natural History Museum. For the full story see the website at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-2-316361,00.html.

Norwich Castle Symposium on St Balthild

Fellows Sandy Heslop, Andrew Rogerson, Leslie Webster, Steven Plunkett, Patrick P�rin and John Mitchell are among those who will be giving papers at a one-day symposium at Norwich Castle Museum on 29 June 2002 devoted to the topic of St Balthild.

Balthild was an Anglo-Saxon slave-girl who became the queen of the Frankish King Clovis II and a major figure in Merovingian politics in the mid-seventh century. The discovery near Norwich, three years ago, of a small swivelling bezel from a gold seal-ring, with an inscription referring to 'Baldehildis' and striking imagery on both faces, immediately suggested links with Balthild. Speakers at the symposium will discuss the circumstances of the ring�s discovery and the significance of the site, the typological, historical and cultural context of the seal and, of course, the identity, imagery, hagiography and legend of St Balthild herself.

For further information call the Archaeology Department, Norwich Castle Museum, on tel: 01603 493658.

The Society now has two musuems

Resource, the Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives, has officially registered Kelmscott Manor and Burlington House as museums. Registration means that the Society is eligible for government funding for projects such as the current work of creating an on-line catalogue of all the Society�s collections. Registration as a museum is by no means an automatic procedure. In order to qualify, the Society had to demonstrate that its collections are properly managed, conserved and monitored by trained curatorial staff.

Society objects on loan

Registration as a museum also imposes obligations of public access, which is achieved by opening Kelmscott Manor to the public and by lending objects from its collections to temporary exhibitions mounted by other institutions. At the start of the year, the Society lent its portrait of Henry VII (by an unknown artist) to the Thistle and the Rose exhibition at Stirling Castle to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Signing of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace between James IV of Scotland and Henry VII of England. Nearly 60,000 visitors came to see the exhibition during its short lifetime (from 20 March to 20 May).

More recently the Society has lent its copy of Henry VIII�s Inventory of 1547, along with the 1649 Inventory of the Jewel House and the watercolour painting of Edward VI�s Coronation Procession (an eighteenth-century watercolour based on the lost original) to Historic Royal Palaces for its summer-long exhibition at the Tower of London called The Castle and the Crown (30 May to 29 September 2002). The exhibition looks at the history of the storage and display of the Crown Jewels at the Tower, and features some of the oldest surviving pieces of the regalia, including a silver crown of 1460. In return for the loan, HRP has provided a umber of free tickets to the Tower and the exhibition. These are available from Lisa Elliott and are strictly for the use of Fellows (Fellows� guests must pay the normal admission price).

Burlington House Courtyard

Fellows might have seen a diary piece in The Independent last week blaming the learned societies for compromising the appearance of the newly refurbished Burlington House Courtyard by refusing to give up the right to park cars around the perimeter. �Despite pleas from the Academy�, the newspaper claimed, �they all refuse to move their motors and walk to work from the tube or another parking spot; and so what could become one of the most striking cultural spaces in London is spoilt. Learned maybe; lazy definitely.'

Clearly the journalist who wrote the piece is keener on rhetoric than the truth, which is that the Society has no staff parking places at all, and on very rare occasions makes space available for service engineers and deliveries. As for the vehicles that continue to clutter the Burlington House Courtyard, Fellows will probably not be surprised to learn that they belong to the Royal Academy�s sponsors and patrons and to the endless stream of contractors and caterers who work for that same body.

VAT on Listed Buildings � law report

Alterations to outbuildings within the curtilage of a Listed Building are zero-rated for value-added tax, the Court of Appeal decided on 17 May. HM Customs and Excise had raised an assessment for �32,639 as VAT due on the cost of converting an outbuilding within the grounds of a Listed Building into an indoor swimming pool. Lords Justice Aldous, Tuckey and Rix rejected the VAT claim on the grounds that the Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act 1990 extends the ambit of a Listed Building over any structure within the curtilage of the Listed Building so long as it formed part of the land prior to 1 July 1948, and that therefore the work done on the outbuilding was zero-rated, pursuant to section 30 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994.

PPGs 15 and 16

Work has begun on the long-heralded redrafting of two key government documents relating to the treatment of England�s archaeological and architectural heritage within the planning process: PPG 15 (Planning and the Historic Environment) and PPG 16 (Archaeology and Planning). The Government has signalled its intention to merge the two policy guidance notes into a single document. At a meeting convened by the DTLR (now the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister � see below) on 30 May 2002, representatives of the heritage sector (including the CBA, IFA, ALGAO, IHBC, MoLAS, the National Trust, English Heritage and Heritage Link) were given further information on how the redrafting process would work. The new combined PPG will consist of two parts, both of equal weight: a brief statement of core policy, and an appendix containing detailed procedural guidance. The deficiencies of the existing PPGs will be remedied by the inclusion within the appendix of guidance on the purpose and expected outcomes of the PPGs, with an emphasis on quality, standards and the communication of the results of archaeological and conservation work carried out under the PPG process.

The task of finding words to explain these concepts has been divided between DTLR/ODPM, DCMS and English Heritage. The precise timetable has yet to be confirmed, but first drafts are likely to be reviewed by the working group in October, after which point there will be a six-week consultation period, prior to Christmas, followed by redrafting in the light of comments received and publication in early spring 2003.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Although it is too early to assess the impact on the heritage of the Cabinet reshuffle that followed Stephen Byers� resignation on 28 April, many commentators have welcomed not only the departure of the former Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, but also that of Lord Falconer, former Housing Minister, who becomes Minister for Criminal Policy. Both men have made clear on numerous occasions their belief that conservation is an impediment to �development and prosperity�, and last year�s Planning Green Paper (ironically published under the slogan, �It�s time for a change�) proposes a very substantial downgrading of heritage considerations in the planning process.

Planning now falls within the scope of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, headed by John Prescott � and specifically under Lord Rooker, the newly appointed Minister for Housing and Planning (who moves from being the minister for asylum and immigration at the Home Office). It is to be hoped that Lord Rooker will take a more balanced view of the role of the heritage as the proposals in the Planning Green Paper are taken forward.

The continuing travails at the British Museum

The British Museum is to close on Monday 17 June after members of the two main unions voted by 85 per cent to 15 to stage a one-day strike. The strike is in protest against the proposed cutbacks of �6.5 million, and the potential loss of 150 staff, as well as plans to cut the acquisitions budget by 80 per cent to �100,000, stage fewer exhibitions, and close little-visited galleries except to pre-booked parties.

The ballot was called by Prospect, representing curatorial staff, and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), representing warders and security staff. Union officers said that the strike was not just about the loss of members� livelihoods: �national treasures will be hidden away, galleries will be closed off, and fewer children will be educated by the BM if the government does not accept that a world-class museum cannot be funded by gift shops and cafes alone�, said Terry Adams, the PCS national officer.

New exhibitions at the BM

Despite the funding crisis, the BM has nevertheless just opened several new exhibitions. A new permanent display called Prehistory: Objects of Power spotlights some of the oldest human artefacts in the BM�s collections, among them tools of rock and lava dating back 1.8 million years and the beautiful 400,000-year-old Hoxne hand axe. Given that many of these objects have an aesthetic quality that is not vital to their function the exhibition asks whether these objects represent not just the birth of toolmaking but also the beginnings of art, ritual and/or symbolism.

In another part of the museum, the Queen of Sheba is used as the hook for an exhibition of Treasures from Ancient Yemen. The story behind the legend of the Queen of Sheba will be revealed through rare gold jewellery, bronze statues of the early kings of Sheba, a unique bronze altar, offering vessels from tombs, architectural friezes and magnificent funerary sculptures.

Heritage short of �4 billion

It is not just the British Museum that is short of funds. The Heritage Lottery Fund, in publishing its first Strategic Plan last month, estimated that �3.88 billion is needed over the next ten years �to put the UK�s heritage in good order�. That figure consists of �1.2 billion for natural habitats, �800 million for museums and galleries, �480 million for archives, and �400 million for historic buildings (in England alone). By comparison, the HLF warns that its own income of �300 million (less than 10 per cent of the total needed) will fall to �262 million by 2006/7 because of the overall decline in Lottery revenue.

The Strategic Plan, entitled Broadening the Horizons of Heritage, promises a simpler application process (with a new application pack due in the autumn). It also stresses the need for the involvement of more people �not just in the enjoyment of heritage but also in the process of identifying which buildings, objects, places or activities represent meaning and value from the past of their own towns, villages or communities and how they should be looked after and managed�. Copies of the report can be downloaded from www.culture.gov.uk/heritage/index.html

More on the Villa of the Papyri

The June 2002 edition of The Art Newspaper (No 126, available in the Society�s Library or online at www.theartnewspaper.com/news/article.asp?idart=9598) carried an article explaining the exact nature of the archaeological work that has just begun at the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum. At a press conference given on 20 May, the Soprintendenza of Pompeii and Herculaneum stressed that the new work fell far short of the total excavation demanded by those classicists who believe that important manuscripts lie buried within the villa ruins. Instead, the work is designed to protect and conserve the existing structure, part of which has been used as an illegal rubbish tip, and parts of which are infested with pigeons, rats and rampant vegetation.

A feasibility study, to be completed by 2004, will examine the various options for further excavation, including guidelines for conservation and maintenance of any remains brought to light.

Copies of Archaeologia for sale

The Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society recently purchased an incomplete set of Archaeologia in order to fill gaps in its own run, and is now seeking to sell duplicate copies, which include every volume from 79 to 109, plus various volumes from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A complete list can be seen on the website at www.abbeybooks.com.

Job vacancies

Here is a selection of jobs advertised in the last two weeks. Fellows are encouraged to pass details on to suitably qualified students, friends or colleagues.

Heritage Lottery Fund, Director of Policy and Research: reporting to the Chief Executive and taking board-level responsibility for strategic planning, including the development, monitoring and evaluation of the HLF�s Strategic Plan, and development and delivery of the Fund�s Research programme. Further details from www.hlfrecruitment.co.uk. Salary �58,000-�60,000. Closing date 19 June 2002.


Head of Heritage Services, Borough of Barking and Dagenham: to develop the eight major strands of the Borough�s heritage strategy, including the Barking Abbey site, Eastbury Manor House, Valence House and its collections, maritime, fishing and industrial heritage, Becontree Housing Estate, and Old Dagenham village and its church. Further details from Roger Luxton, tel: 020 8270 4797, or email ealpersonnel@lbbd.gov.uk. Salary �32,661-�34,791. Closing date 14 June 2002.

Courses and lectures

The Department of Archaeology, University of York, is hosting a course on Church Conservation: Creative and Responsible Management of Church Buildings, on 25 to 27 June. This is a practically orientated course for lay people and clergy of all denominations involved with the care of churches. Further details by emailing The Graduate Secretary, pab11@york.ac.uk or visiting the website at www.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/gsp/openshort/menu.htm.



The UKIC Stone and Wall Paintings Section holds its AGM at the Central Baptist Church, Bucknall Street, London, on 15 June, following which there will be a lecture and walking tour of the British Museum Great Court and London churches looking at the use of Portland stone in Bloomsbury. Contact UKIC Stone and Wall Paintings Section, tel 020 7721 8721 for further details or see the website at
www.ukic.org.uk.