Salon Archive

Issue: 264

Subscriptions

The Society’s annual subscription is to be increased next year to £156 in line with the Retail Prices Index. Payment is due on 1 January 2012. If you have changed your bank or credit card details since your last payment, please contact Giselle Pullen in the Society’s finance office or tel: 020 7479 7087 to provide up-to-date details.

Getting to know the Society: introductory tour of Burlington House

The next tour of Burlington House for new (and not so new) Fellows will take place on 24 November 2011. The tour includes a welcome from the General Secretary, with an overview of the Society, and its current activities; an introduction by the Head of Library and Collections to the history of the Society’s library and museum collections, followed by a tour of the library; a tour of the Society’s pictures and museum collection given by the Collections Manager; and a display of items from the Library organised and introduced by the Assistant Librarian.

Tours will start at 11am and last about 90 minutes, followed by an optional light sandwich lunch, for which a charge of £5 is made. Numbers are limited to twenty-five Fellows per tour. To book a place please contact Jola Zdunek, the Society’s Executive Assistant (admin@sal.org.uk).

York Antiquaries pre-Christmas lunch

The York Antiquaries will again be holding a pre-Christmas lunch at the Dean Court Hotel, York (opposite the west end of the Minster), on Saturday 3 December 2011, at 12.30 for 1.00pm. The cost is £27.50 per head. Fellows based in the York area should already have received an invitation, but other Fellows are very welcome to join in this festive occasion. Further details can be obtained from the Honorary Steward, Jim Spriggs, and the closing date for bookings is 15 November 2011.

Forthcoming meetings

The full meetings programme for this autumn can be seen on the Society’s website.

3 November 2011: ‘Big Landscape, Big Questions: the archaeological landscapes of Heathrow, Middlesex, and Stansted, Essex, compared’, by John Lewis FSA
This talk will focus on how commercially funded large-scale ‘landscape’ excavations at Heathrow Airport (in the middle Thames Valley) and Stansted Airport (on the Essex clay-lands) can contribute to understanding contrasting regional prehistories. It will offer an example of why regional synthesis and inter-regional analysis, based on twenty years of excavations under the aegis of PPG16, should be a priority for academic and commercial archaeologists alike, and suggest a way ahead for the future of archaeological publication and the dissemination of data.

10 November 2011: ‘Built upon a Temple: the influence of a legendary origin on Freemasonry’, by Mark Dennis
Mark Dennis, Curator at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, will look at the eighteenth-century origins of this secular fraternity and the way in which it sought legitimacy through links to the elite craft of stonemasonry and the building of the Temple of Solomon. The paper will examine the practical and intellectual consequences of these links on the development of Freemasonry and the role of Freemasons in the archaeological exploration of the Holy Land.

17 November 2011: ‘Between these … a great deal of my time is engaged’: Henry Baker (1698—1774), the Royal Society of Arts and the Society of Antiquaries, by David Allan FSA
This paper will explore the activities of the antiquary Henry Baker and the links between our Society and the RSA, of which he was a founder. Known in its early days as ‘the Society that pokes its nose into everything’, the RSA was typified by Baker, who maintained a considerable correspondence nationally and internationally on scientific, commercial, antiquarian and artistic topics.

24 November 2011: ‘Mapping Roman London: using GIS from site context to town plan’, by Julian Hill, of Museum of London Archaeology
The subject of Julian’s talk will be Museum of London Archaeology’s recently published Londinium map and guide to Roman London and the Streetmuseum Londinium iPhone app, which uses the map as its base. Julian will briefly discuss its content (and the editorial difficulties of what to present), and demonstrate how GIS mapping and the way that sites are now recorded during excavation should make the production (and updating) of such maps considerably easier than in the past. To that end he will take the late Roman buildings excavated at No. 1 Poultry and track them through from their physical remains, to their ‘preservation by record’ within the MOLA digital database and how that digital resource can then be used for map making.

Ballot result: 20 October 2011

At the ballot held on 20 October 2011, the following were elected as Ordinary Fellows (short career summaries can be found on the Society’s website: Gale Redfern Owen-Crocker, Deborah Klemperer, Jerry Charles Podany, Michael Jeremy Hodges, Ian Blatchford, Beth McKillop, Duncan Sayer and Barbara Browning Tomlinson.

Lunar sky map found in the Black Forest

Our Fellow Dr Allard Mees, of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM), in Mainz, has made an extraordinary discovery by re-examining the pattern of secondary burials in the massive Black Forest burial mound at Magdalenenberg, east of Freiburg, close to the source of the Danube. Excavated several decades ago, and identified as a royal tomb, with a central burial surrounded by subsidiary interments, the mound dates to the first millennium BC and measures more than 100 metres across.

After re-evaluating old excavation plans, Dr Mees discovered that the secondary interments are not random, and by using NASA software, which enables the astronomical clock to be wound backwards and to show the night sky at different points in the past, Dr Mees has discovered that the pattern of burials matches the constellations visible in the sky some time between 618 and 609 BC, thus potentially dating the mound’s construction.

What is more, the builders of the mound positioned a long row of wooden posts in the burial mound that are aligned on the ‘lunar standstills’ that occur every 18.6 years, where the moon seems to rise and set in the same place, instead of rising in one place and appearing to move across the sky to set in another. Lunar standstills are marked in several ancient cultures (including stone alignments at sites in Colorado and Ohio), and the 18.6-year cycle is something that Julius Caesar remarked on in describing the lunar calendar of the Gallic people in his first-hand account of the Gallic Wars (Commentarii de Bello Gallico).

Writing about his discovery in the RGZM journal (Jahrbuch Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum 54, 217—64), Dr Mees says that such lunar calendars were lost with the destruction of Celtic elite culture under Roman rule and their full dimensions ‘have only now come to light again in the monumental burial mound of Magdalenenberg’.

England’s industrial heritage at risk

The annual ‘Heritage at Risk’ assessment carried out by English Heritage has this year focused on the threats to industrial heritage in England. A survey of listed buildings shows that industrial buildings are at greater risk than almost any other kind of heritage: almost 11 per cent of Grade I and II* industrial buildings are at risk, compared to the 3 per cent of Grade I and II* buildings which are at risk in England overall. In part this can be explained by the difficulty of finding sustainable and economic new uses for listed industrial buildings, especially those that retain historic machinery, redundant engineering structures or mining remains. Yet a poll of public attitudes to industrial heritage carried out by English Heritage shows that industrial buildings are of immense cultural value and often greatly loved. Some 80 per cent of those polled said they thought that industrial heritage is as important as England’s heritage of castles and country houses, and many of them are in fact sustained as visitor attractions by the hard work of committed local groups.

Further analysis shows that lead, tin, copper and coal mines are the industrial sites most at risk on the Register. Textile mills also make up a large proportion of at risk buildings, and this type of building is most concentrated in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire (an exception is the Ditherington Flax Mill, in Shrewsbury, shown left), by contrast with the east of England, where most of the industrial heritage sites at risk in are wind and watermills, while those in the south east are maritime structures.

English Heritage has responded to the findings by publishing guidance for developers and owners on how best to reuse industrial buildings, and our Fellow Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said at the launch of the 2012 Heritage At Risk Register that ‘some 40 percent of these buildings could be reused to house new advanced manufacturing, the sorts of technology, green engineering and creative and inventive businesses on which the country’s economic future now depends’. He also promised additional support and guidance from experts based in English Heritage local offices for developers interested in taking on ‘at risk priority sites’, backed-up by grants for urgent repairs.

English Heritage has also joined forces with the Pilgrim Trust and the J Paul Getty Junior Foundation to make £180,000 available for a three-year industrial ‘cold spot’ grant scheme to kick start charitable Building Preservation Trust rescue projects in places where few are presently going on. The scheme will be run by the Architectural Heritage Fund.

Britain’s ten most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings

The Victorian Society has also published its annual list of the ten most-threatened Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the country. The list includes three buildings that are at imminent risk of demolition: Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne, Berkshire (1858—63, Sir Joshua Jebb, Grade II), the South Eastern Railway Offices, Tooley Street, London (1897—1900, Charles Barry & Son, unlisted), and Ancoats Dispensary, Old Mill Street, Manchester (1879—91, Lewis & Crawcroft, Grade II). The remainder are suffering from neglect (like the former YMCA building, Portmorlais West, Merthyr Tydfil (1911, Percy Thomas, Grade II) shown left). Highlighting their plight can have a positive effect, says our Fellow Ian Dungavill, Director of the Victorian Society. Ian points to Normansfield Hospital, which was on last year’s list, but which is now secure and watertight after fourteen years of neglect and plans are due to be submitted to convert the building into flats, while in Sheffield, Hammerton School, another previous top ten structure at risk, has been now been repaired and given a new roof and is being secured from theft and vandalism by an on-site caretaker.

Campaign to save London’s former Jewish Maternity Hospital

Though by no means as spectacular in architectural terms as some of the Vic Soc’s top ten list, the former Jewish Maternity Hospital in London’s Underwood Street is one of a handful of buildings that stands testimony to the once thriving Jewish community of London’s East End. Built in stages between 1911 and 1927, thanks mainly to the fund-raising efforts of Alice Model MBE, the hospital, known affectionately as ‘Mother Levy’s’, was the only specifically Jewish maternity hospital in England.

The threat to the buildings comes from Peabody Housing, which intends to clear the site and construct a five-storey block of thirty-three flats for rent, shared ownership and sale on the open market. Our Fellow Dr Sharman Kadish (Director of Jewish Heritage UK) has written to Stephen Howlett (Chief Executive, Peabody) suggesting that architects Brady Mallalieu revise their proposals with a view to incorporating the cottage hospitals at Nos 22—24 Underwood Road into the new development, and campaigners have set up a petition, which supporters can sign, asking Peabody to think again.

New York’s Met re-opens its Islamic galleries

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Islamic art galleries, which closed for refurbishment in May 2003, just as war loomed with Iraq, will open again to the public on 1 November 2011, aiming to promote ‘mutual understanding and education’ through a display of some 1,200 objects in fifteen new galleries devoted to ‘the full course of Islamic civilization, over a span of fourteen centuries, from the Middle East to North Africa, Europe, and Central and South Asia’.

Highlights of the collection include the sumptuously ornamented Damascus Room, built in 1707, and one of the finest examples of Syrian homes of the wealthy during the Ottoman period, along with some superb classical carpets from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including the recently restored Emperor’s Carpet, an exceptional classical Persian carpet of the sixteenth century that was presented to Hapsburg Emperor Leopold I by Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia.

Writing about the new galleries on the Met’s website, our Fellow Tom Campbell, the Met’s Director, says: ‘We must recognize that we live in a nation where a widespread consciousness about the Islamic world really did not exist until ten years ago, and that awareness came at one of the darkest hours in American history. It is our job — and the great achievement of these galleries — to educate our audience about the depths and magnificence of the Islamic tradition, to allow the richness of fourteen centuries to be understood not solely through the narrow lens of contemporary politics, but with the broader perspective of history and through the evidence of a remarkable artistic heritage.’

Sheila Canby, the Patti Cadby Birch Curator in charge of the Department of Islamic Art, says that an extensive programme of related educational activities (including musical performances, lectures, films, gallery talks and an international symposium) will accompany the new displays designed to enhance understanding of the diversity that exist within Islamic culture. Like the British Museum, for which Sheila worked for eighteen years before joining the Met in 2009, the Met is demonstrating that art, heritage and culture can be a means of achieving a positive relationship with parts of the world that tend to be viewed through clichés and hostile news headlines — yet another positive reason for valuing heritage that has nothing to do with accountancy balance sheets. ‘We are not a tool of government, we are independent’, Tom Campbell said at the official gallery opening, ‘but there is a thirst for more understanding in America of these regions.’

Grayson Perry at the BM

Left: a work by Greyson Perry? In this case, not: this is a detail from a nineteenth-century cotton sarong from Java, from the British Museum's reserve collection

At the British Museum itself, the new Grayson Perry exhibition has been dividing critics, but Salon’s editor says ‘go and see one of the most exciting, challenging and thought-provoking exhibitions that the BM has mounted in recent years’. Housed in the upper part of the Round Reading Room, the exhibition consists of Perry’s own work partnered by objects chosen by the artist from the BM’s reserve collections.

The exhibition is worth seeing for these latter objects alone: Perry has an eye for a fascinating artefact, and every piece he has chosen speaks of human creativity and inventiveness, as well as testifying to the extraordinary richness and diversity of the BM’s collections.

It is when these objects are partnered with Perry’s own work in a variety of media — ceramic, textile, cast iron, and even a highly decorated motor bike — that the sparks begin to fly across cultures and generations: Perry soon ceases to be a twenty-first century artist with a distinctive and idiosyncratic style — and he suddenly fits into something bigger and more universal in art, and the best proof of this is that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish which object was made by Perry, and which one comes from the BM store.

And that brings us to the point of the exhibition and Perry’s purpose. The title of the exhibition is ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’ and there is a cast-iron sculpture made by Perry at the heart of the exhibition which has the same title: it consists of a Sutton Hoo-like ship sailing metaphorically into the future, with its cargo of objects that have been cast from famous objects from the BM’s collection, from a Palaeolithic hand axe to Benin bronze mask. But Perry wants us to think of the British Museum in its entirety, not just this sculpture, as ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman (and Craftswoman)’ because of the huge number of objects that it contains that are visited by people from all over the world and venerated but that were made by unknown men and women — unlike, say, the works of the great named artists of the past.

Perry plays on this idea of the British Museum as the world’s most important shrine or pilgrimage destination (on the grounds that it is the most visited museum in the world) in some of the objects that he has created especially for the exhibition, including an immense tapestry that has a symbolic plan of the museum at its heart, surrounded by embroidered references to other places around the world that attract international pilgrims, such as Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal, Glastonbury, Bethlehem and Silicon Valley. The effect is to send you out into the museum with entirely new eyes: the visitors really are pilgrims (watch how they behave as they arrive in the forecourt and mount the steps) and the objects in the museum really are astonishing feats of human craftsmanship and talismans of world culture.

The British Museum has bravely mounted an exhibition that is witty, funny and irreverent, but also profound, inventive and intellectually challenging, full of images that will live in your mind long after you have departed the BM.

National Planning Framework debated in the House of Lords

Our Fellow Lord Howarth of Newport was amongst those who spoke in the House of Lords on 13 October 2011 in a debate on the draft National Planning Framework. Lord Howarth said that the Framework was ‘well on the way to becoming a sensible and civilised policy document’, but that the Government needed to be more realistic about the time and resources that local authorities would need to prepare themselves to ‘fulfil all the demanding requirements set out in the NPPF’, especially in the light of ‘Government imposed cuts of approaching 30 per cent on local authority expenditure’ that had left many planning departments weak. Lord Howarth drew attention to the impact of those cuts on historic environment services, leading to a reduction of 13.5 per cent in conservation officers and 9 per cent in archaeological officers in the past year, and he called for a rebuilding of planning authority expertise. He also asked the Government to ‘explain how parishes and neighbourhood forums are to have the skills needed for the role that the NPPF proposes for them? How are they to avoid capture by developer interests?’

He regretted that planning policy statements had been abandoned, as ‘these were the product of a huge amount of work in recent years by expert and committed people; they represented arduously achieved and invaluable concordats’, and he called for the simple overriding statement of planning philosophy that is the NPPF to be supported by the more detailed guidance contained in the current planning policy statements. Without that, he feared that ‘the new planning regime will be vulnerable to endless litigation’.

Finally, Lord Howarth said that the document should ‘unequivocally and unmistakably make clear that the purpose of planning is equally to conserve and improve the quality of the environment as it is to promote development. The planning system should not be distorted in legislation to deliver short-term financial gains’, and he called on the Government to ‘pay heed to sensible representations’ on this issue, if it wished to ‘reach a consensus which will serve us well’.

Bats in churches

Also discussed in Parliament that same day, 13 October 2011, was the problem of bats in churches and other listed buildings in response to a parliamentary question from Tony Baldry, the Conservative MP for Banbury, who referred to the damage done by bat faeces and urine to church fabric. Anne McIntosh (Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton) referred to the problem at St Hilda’s Church, Ellerburn, where ‘the bats are allowed to use the church but the congregation is not’, a reference to the decision by parishioners to cease using the church because of the damage done by protected bats. Though the parliamentary debate shed no new light on the topic, Natural England and the Church of England put out a joint press release saying that they had embarked on research into ‘the serious heritage and conservation issues around bats in churches’ and had set up the ‘Bats in Churches Working Group’, chaired by Anne Sloman, who is also Chair of the Church Buildings Council, to provide guidance and advice on how best to manage resident bats.

The press release can be accessed on the Natural England website from where a leaflet can be downloaded that has been produced by the working group to outline the findings from research projects currently underway designed to improve our understanding of bat behaviour and explore ways to minimise their impact on church buildings and congregations.

Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches phase II

Last year’s Antiquaries Journal (Vol 90) reported on the work of our Fellows Richard Fawcett, Richard Oram and Julian Luxford in looking for the architectural remains of medieval churches in Scotland and their conclusion that, from a pilot study based on 105 parish churches in the dioceses of Dunkeld and Dunblane, a great deal more had survived Reformationary reforms than had been thought.

Now the Arts and Humanities Research Council has awarded a grant of £490,656 to the Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches project for a second phase, this time covering the 258 parishes in the dioceses of St Andrews and Brechin. Work will start early in 2012 on the three-year project, the aim of which is to analyse the architectural and documentary evidence for all buildings and sites known to have been associated with medieval parish churches, and to present that evidence in the form of a freely accessible website, supported by a range of publications and presentations. Our Fellows will be assisted in their research by a PhD student based at St Andrews, who will carry out research into the architecture of the Scottish collegiate churches, and a post-doctoral researcher, based at Stirling.

Facebook site for National Trust libraries

Fellow Mark Purcell, Libraries Curator with the National Trust, has set up a Facebook site for National Trust libraries, proving once again that the real purpose of the internet is to encourage an interest in books! ‘With well over 600 members, the site is proving a very effective way of raising the profile of the collections’, Mark says, ‘and it is starting to generate a lot of interest and discussion. I generally post two or three times each day, with images of books and manuscripts, as well of library interiors and fittings, and I say something about my almost continuous progress around the 167 libraries in our care. My most recent round of postings has included an illuminated Milanese incunabulum from Kedleston, a medieval book cupboard at Lacock, Victorian library rooms in the south west, and chapbooks from Townend, where there is a unique early yeoman farmers’ library. The emphasis is very much on substantive issues rather than marketing, and members themselves frequently join in — needless to say, we’d be delighted to welcome any Facebook-friendly Fellows.’

Do you tweet?

On the subject of social media, Fellow David Gill wonders how many Fellows tweet? If you do, and if you would like Salon to publicise your tweets, do send an email to the editor. Two who we already know about are EH Chief Executive Simon Thurley and CBA Director Mike Heyworth.

Lives remembered: Arthur Grogan (1924—2011)

Left: The drawing room at Standen with the William Morris carpet bought by Arthur Grogan in about 1973 for £5,000. Photograph: Nadia Mackenzie / NTPL

Elected a Fellow on 3 March 1966, Arthur Henry Grogan died on 25 August 2011 at the age of eighty-six. In an obituary published on 27 October 2011 in the Guardian, our Fellow Martin Drury described Arthur Grogan as a discerning collector of late nineteenth-century British works of art and craftsmanship, an authority on the Arts and Crafts movement and a benefactor of public collections in Britain — notably through the generous donation that he and his wife Helen made to the National Trust in 1972, enabling the Trust to acquire Standen, in West Sussex. Designed by Philip Webb, Standen had survived unaltered as an example of late-Victorian design and craftsmanship at its best and most original.

Helen Grogan, herself an architect, and Arthur, an inspector with the Historic Buildings Council, the predecessor of English Heritage, sold their house in Richmond, south-west London, in order to provide the Trust with an endowment for the upkeep of Standen, and they donated their picture collection to furnish Standen’s then rather bare walls. The official opening of Standen as a Trust property in the summer of 1977 was marked by a memorable speech given by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner on the revival of interest in Victorian architecture.

The full obituary can be read on the Guardian’s website.

Lives remembered: George Daniels CBE (1926—2011)

Our Fellow George Daniels, elected on 13 January 1977, died on 21 October 2011 at the age of eighty-five. His obituary in the Daily Telegraph described him as ‘the greatest watchmaker since Abraham Louis Breguet (1747—1823)’. The claim is justified because of his invention of the co-axial escapement, which has been described as the most important horological development for 250 years and that has now all but replaced the traditional lever escapement (the part of a watch that regulates its timekeeping) in mechanical watches. Whereas the lever escapement needed regular lubrication, and regular servicing to remove the residues that slowed the escapement down as the oil degraded, George’s co-axial escapement significantly reduced sliding friction and virtually eliminated the need for lubrication, thus ensuring greater accuracy over time and reducing the need for servicing. His invention came just in time to counter the threat to the traditional watch industry from battery-powered electronic watches with no moving parts.

George Daniels’s life resembles those improving biographies that were once fed to young people to encourage a life of hard work and rectitude: the abused and illegitimate son of a violent and drunken father, he found a watch in the street at the age of five, took it apart and saw the universe in its workings, read everything he could about watches and, put to work in a mattress factory at the age of fourteen, made a spare-time living by repairing clocks, seeking orders by going from door-to-door.

By 1967, he had become such an expert on the work of the eighteenth-century French horologist, Breguet, that he was invited to take over the Breguet company. He declined the offer and instead, having mastered the thirty-four different skills (by his own estimation) involved in making a mechanical watch, he produced his own first timepiece in 1969, marking the start of his subsequent career as a specialist watchmaker.

That first timepiece recently sold at auction in the United States for $285,000, and all of his subsequent timepieces have become sought-after collectors’ items, fetching prices in excess of £100,000. In 2006, to celebrate his work and his eightieth birthday, Sotheby’s and Bobinet (the antique watch dealer) held a retrospective exhibition of his work, featuring every watch Daniels had made, except for the one that is held by the British Museum.

Calls for papers

‘Gardening Time’: 1 May 2012 deadline for titles and abstracts to be sent to Dr Isabelle Vella Gregory for a conference to be held on 21 to 23 September 2012 at the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research and Magdalene College, Cambridge, on archaeological approaches to memory in later European prehistory.

‘Gardening Time’ aims to bring together researchers from Scotland and Sardinia, northern and Mediterranean Europe and beyond, in a first step towards a continent-wide archaeology of memory in later European prehistory (and more specifically the Iron Age). Gardening may seem worlds away from nuraghi and brochs, but tending a garden is a long process involving patience, accretion and memory. Scholars argue that memories are also cultivated, developed and regained. The monuments in Scotland and Sardinia are both testament to the importance of memory and its role in maintaining social relations.

The conference builds on the concept of the successful conference, ‘Fingerprinting the Iron Age’, held in the same venue in September 2011, which focused on another region, the Balkans, and another theme, Identity. In the same spirit, this conference aims to take a theme, memory, and two unconnected regions, where the material form of monuments in the broadest sense is prominent. Both conferences also share the purpose of establishing a dialogue between scholars of different backgrounds, by exploring theoretical dimensions beyond mere material (including architectural) forms.

Academics and graduate students are invited to give presentations on the archaeological approaches to memory in later European prehistory. Preference will be given to papers that deal with issues relating to Scotland and Sardinia, although original contributions to the study of memory in other regions of Europe and beyond are also warmly invited to give a comparative perspective and anthropological dimensions are also welcomed.

More (and constantly updated) information can be found on the conference website.

Events

Thursdays from 3 November 2011: the Twentieth Century Society’s Autumn 2011 Lecture Series features authors of new books on aspects of twentieth-century and later landscape and garden design. The speakers are: on 3 November, Janet Waymark (Institute of Historical Research) on ‘Thomas Mawson, Life, Gardens and Landscapes’ (published by Frances Lincoln); on 10 November, Barbara Simms (University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education) on ‘John Brookes, Garden and Landscape Designer’ (Conran Octopus); on 17 November, Trish Gibson (journalist and gardener) on ‘Brenda Colvin — A Career in Landscape’ (Frances Lincoln); on 24 November, David Haney (University of Kent/CREATE) on ‘When Modern was Green: the Life and Work of Leberecht Migge, Landscape Architect’ (Routledge); and on 1 December, Tim Richardson (author and critic) on ‘Landscape Urbanism versus Real Design’ (Futurescapes: Designers for Tomorrow’s Outdoor Spaces, Thames & Hudson). Enquiries and bookings: the C20 website, or tel: 020 7250 3857.

12 November 2011: Church Monuments Society conference on Victorian Monuments. To mark the 200th anniversary in 2011 of the birth of Sir George Gilbert Scott (the best-known and most prolific architect of the Gothic revival and designer of several monuments) and the 200th anniversary in 2012 of the birth of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (who played the leading role in this great cultural shift), the Church Monuments Society will be breaking new ground for the Society by holding a one-day conference devoted to the subject of Victorian monuments. The event will take place in the Senate Room, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. For more information and a booking form, visit the CMS website.

12 November 2011: Policing the Past, the CBA South East Annual Conference 2011, in association with the Centre for Community Engagement at the University of Sussex and the Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage, Lecture Theatre A, Fulton Building, University of Sussex. For details see the Centre for Community Engagement’s website. Topics include combating illicit detecting, the English Heritage National Heritage Protection Plan, shipwreck heritage, and military and battlefield heritage.

23 and 24 November 2011: ‘I Know Where I’m Going’, a conference on remote access to World Heritage Sites from St Kilda to Uluru, to be held in Edinburgh, which will focus on the potential created by new technologies for creating high-quality, remote-access visitor experiences for World Heritage Sites and other sites of cultural, historical and natural significance. The main aims of the conference are to showcase some of the new technologies available (3D/4D scanning, mobile technologies, GPS/GIS, satellite technologies, apps and social media), discuss their applications and debate the policy issues these new technologies present for site preservation, conservation and interpretation. Further details can be found on the conference website.

21 January 2012: More New Insights into Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century British Architecture. This follow-up to January 2010’s well-supported study day on the same theme takes place at Burlington House and is again organised by Fellows Claire Gapper and Paula Henderson, both of whom are happy to supply further information and a booking form.

Amongst the speakers are Lucy Gent on ‘Eloquence, theory, persuasion: the underpinning of late Elizabethan architectural practice’, Fellow Richard Simpson on ‘Building design, construction, and texts at Sir Thomas Smith’s Hill Hall 1566—1576’, Olivia Horsfall Turner on ‘Illustrating architecture in seventeenth-century England’, Lee Prosser on ‘The British staircase as a means of exploring developments in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century architecture’, Fellow Rick Turner on ‘Re-inventing castles in Tudor Wales’ and Fellow John Schofield on ‘Reconstructing St Paul’s Cathedral before and during the restoration of Inigo Jones’.

28 January 2012: An introduction to Ceramic Building Materials, hosted by Bexley Archaeological Group, 10am to 4.30pm at Bexley—Sidcup Conservative Club, 19 Station Road, Sidcup, led by Dr Phil Mills, currently Finds Director for the University of Rimouski excavations at Ras el Bassit, Syria, having worked on many Roman and medieval assemblages around Britain and in Lebanon, Tunisia, Bulgaria, Syria and Italy, with research interests in the development of integrated methodologies, especially using databases and multivariate approaches to artefact assemblages. For further information contact Pip Pulfer.

A second workshop, to be led by our Fellow John Shepherd, will take place on 25 February 2012, this time on the history of glass. The focus will be on archaeological material from the Roman period onwards and the kinds of glass that normally turn up in excavations and evaluations on multi-period sites, with the emphasis on identifying the features that allow dating and distinctions to be made between different glass types and functions.

22 and 23 February 2012: ‘Digital Past 2012: new technologies in heritage, interpretation and outreach’, hosted by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales at The Pavilion, Llandrindod Wells, Radnorshire. Registration is now open via the RCAHMW website.

Books by Fellows: Enthusiasms

Left: Mark Girouard's Aunt Evie: Lady Evelyn Cavendish, portrayed by John Singer Sargent

Enthusiasms (ISBN: 9780711233294; Frances Lincoln) by our Fellow Mark Girouard, is a handsomely produced volume of fifteen short essays, many of which capture the author’s responses to works of literature that he has encountered in a life of ‘random reading’ that omnivorously ranges from Jane Austen’s youthful and unfinished work, Catherine, to the memoir of a Victorian gentleman’s sexual experiences called My Secret Life (Girouard is intrigued by the suggestion that the pseudonymous ‘Walter’, the purported author, might have been Henry Spencer Ashbee, father of the Arts and Crafts designer, C R Ashbee, who was known to be an avid collector of pornography and who bequeathed his collection to the British Museum).

These essays are diverting enough, but the book becomes unputdownable (or should that be unputtable down?) when it becomes autobiographical, and Girouard writes compellingly about his family. The final essay, ‘Aunt Evie’, begins with the arresting words: ‘When my mother was killed in a car crash in October 1940 …’, and it goes on to describe life with Great-Aunt Evie, who adopted the nine-year-old Mark, along with his sisters, Teresa (aged twelve) and Mary (two). The seventy-year-old Aunt Evie, we are told, lives in Derbyshire, and it is a little while before the realisation dawns that Evie was, in fact, the former Evelyn, Duchess of Devonshire (1870—1960), Dowager Countess of Devonshire and that the home where Girouard grew up is Hardwick Hall.

Girouard’s account of growing up in such a home and with such an aunt is a glimpse into another world: we learn of Aunt Evie’s techniques for dealing with woodworm (tapping the furniture with a little hammer in order to give the worms concussion), her great love of gardening and her devotion to the textiles that filled the hall, her especial delight being to re-create fifteenth-century tapestries by stitching back together the fragments into which they had been cut by earlier owners: one product of such labour being the medieval ‘Hunting Tapestries’ now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Girouard’s own future as a historian of Elizabethan architecture was probably inevitable given the background to his formative years; how many people could boast of writing a PhD thesis in the drawing room or loggia at Chatsworth based on documents called up from the family’s own muniment room?

Books by Fellows: The Friends to Literature: Bristol Library Society 1772—1894

In an age in which the library is under threat from digital technology, local authority spending cuts and the desire of university administrators to consolidate collections and free up space currently occupied by book collections, it is interesting to read about the other end of the library movement, and the formation, in December 1772, of what began as a private subscription library and evolved into Bristol’s public library. Our Fellow Kathleen Thompson (writing as Kathleen Hapgood) tells the story in The Friends to Literature: Bristol Library Society 1772—1894 (published by Avon Local History & Archaeology; £3.50 from the Editor, Jonathan Harlow.

This is a short but lively account of the sort of ‘proprietary library’ being set up in England’s major cities by gentlemen of relatively modest means who purchased shares in the library in order to keep abreast with the growing output of the bookshops and publishers of the age. Kathleen weaves into the story of the library the unrest in the city that led to the Bristol Reform Act riots of 1832, and the growing pressure on the library from the Corporation of Bristol for public access. The city’s great champion of public library reform turns out to have been a former Fellow of our Society: the Liberal city councillor, Charles Tovey, FSA, who traded as a wine merchant, was a keen musician and organist at his local Unitarian chapel, and a strong advocate of the benefits of a scientific and literary education.

As with a number of similar institutions, it was growing debt that eventually gave the institution its public character — or rather it was Sir Charles Wathen’s offer to pay off those debts in return for unrestricted public access, that led to the creation of Bristol’s combined public library and museum; rather dramatically, Wathen, a wool merchant and philanthropist, was ‘taken by a seizure and died minutes later in the Council Chamber’ just after his generous offer had been formally accepted by the Council.

Books by Fellows: Prehistoric Gloucestershire: Forests and Vales and High Blue Hills

Our former Vice-President Timothy Darvill, a native of Gloucestershire, has poured his knowledge and love of the county (and of its music: the subtitle alludes to folk musician Johnny Coppin’s album of poems from the area set to music, including F W Harvey’s wonderful ‘A song for Gloucestershire’) into a massively expanded and updated edition of his Prehistoric Gloucestershire: Forests and Vales and High Blue Hills (ISBN: 9781848684201; Amberley).

Originally published by Gloucestershire County Library Service back in 1987, the new edition takes account of the many excavations and extensive fieldwork that has been carried out across the county in the intervening three decades. These show that the high blue hills of the Cotswolds, along with the valleys of the Severn, Avon and Wye and the Forest of Dean, possess a wealth of sites and monuments from the camps and caves occupied by hunter-gatherer groups visiting the area during the last Ice Age, through the long barrows and camps of the first farmers, to the massive hillforts and enclosures built in the centuries preceding the Roman Conquest.

Books by Fellows: Roman Gloucestershire

Fellow Tim Copeland continues the Gloucestershire story for another fifteen generations or so, from the late Iron Age into the post-Roman era, in Roman Gloucestershire (ISBN: 9780752457833; The History Press. In a book like this, it is to the final pages that one turns first, in order to understand the author’s take on that contested and intriguing period that marks the end of Roman rule.

Tim quotes the paper in the most recent Antiquaries Journal (Vol 91) by our Fellow Andrew Breeze which raises the intriguing possibility that Gildas (c 490—c 570), author of De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae (On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain), was educated in Corinium (Cirencester), which survived as an important centre of Roman culture into the sixth century. Tim asks what, in the vicinity of Cirencester, might have led Gildas to characterise the Britain of his time as divided between a handful of Roman (urban) places but mostly British (and rural) and to argue that Britain never actually became Roman and that most people went on being ‘exactly the same as they had always been’.

Tim then argues that the Roman client system ‘may not have been that different from late Iron Age practices [and] could keep families in power for centuries’, which might explain such continuities as ‘the growth of family wealth and the relationships with the countryside, especially through villa life, in the late Roman period’. Thus, with Roman power gone, Britain simply reverted (or indeed had no need to revert but simply continued) to be a society of elite families, commanding a band of loyal followers, ‘a social structure that had been in the foreground for centuries’.

Books by Fellows: Flint and Stone in the Neolithic Period

Flint and Stone in the Neolithic Period, edited by our Fellow Alan Saville (ISBN: 9781842174203; Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 11; Oxbow), contains sixteen papers arising from a conference of the Neolithic Studies Group held at the British Museum in November 2005. One aim of the conference was to counterbalance the tendency of archaeologists to neglect stone technology in favour of ceramics as soon as the latter appear in the archaeological record. These papers make it abundantly clear that, both in terms of everyday practical use and in ritual and symbolic mode, lithic artefacts were just as vital a part of Neolithic life as ceramics, and that Neolithic people had the knowledge to locate and exploit all kinds of lithic raw materials, combined with the craft-skill to work those materials to create functional tools and objects of great beauty.

The papers take stock of the current state of knowledge (introduced by Alan’s own paper, asking ‘What do we know, what do we want to know?’) and is packed with case studies from all over Europe looking at particular extraction sites, raw materials and implement types.

Books by Fellows: Aaron Lufkin Dennison — an industrial pioneer and his legacy

Fellow Philip Priestley’s book on the man who is known in the US as the ‘Father of the American watch-making industry’ is evidence of the extraordinary ups and downs that pioneers and entrepreneurs could experience in the nineteenth century. Born in Freeport, Maine, in 1812, Aaron Lufkin Dennison served as an apprentice to a watchmaker before first joining a firm of Boston watchmakers and jewellers in 1833, then starting his own watch-repair business in 1839. With several other investors, he next established a factory to produce watches using interchangeable machine-made parts, named the Waltham Watch Company when it moved to Waltham, west of Boston, in 1855. Despite having a competitive edge through employing women at a lower cost than rival and predominantly male watchmakers, the company failed in 1857, and was purchased at auction by the wealthy financier, Royal Robbins.

Aaron was retained as factory superintendent, but was no longer on the Board and, to add insult to injury, the company then flourished under new ownership, making its millionth watch in 1877. In December 1861, Aaron left after a disagreement with the management and emigrated first to England and then to Switzerland where, from 1863 to 1870, he lived in Zurich, organising the Swiss end of the Melrose watch company, sourcing watch parts in Switzerland for assembly in the USA. That company also failed in 1870, after which Aaron moved to Birmingham and tried yet again to make watches, with no greater success than any of his previous enterprises.

At this point, Aaron’s story is beginning to read like the tragedy that Thomas Hardy might have written, had he not given up writing novels after the negative reception of Jude the Obscure. But no: in 1874, aged sixty-two, he abandoned attempts to make whole watches, and concentrated instead on the manufacture of watch cases. The superior quality and competitive price of the products of the Dennison Watch Case Company were enough to win him a contract in 1875 to supply the UK branch of his original firm, the Waltham Watch Company, and by 1886 his factory in Handsworth employed 100 workers making 80,000 cases per annum, peaking at 200 employees in 1890, five years before his death in January 1895. His legacy proved enduring: the case factory lasted until 1967 (ten years longer than the Waltham Watch Company, which survived until 1957).

The book is available from the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, or from the author.

Books by Fellows: The Death of Archaeological Theory?

Fellows John Bintliff and Mark Pearce are the editors of this provocatively entitled collection of essays, The Death of Archaeological Theory? (ISBN: 9781842174463; Oxbow), which asks whether the time has come for archaeology to blow away the miasma of theoretical language and thinking that has slowly enshrouded the subject over the last fifty years to the point that it is now sometimes difficult to find any archaeology at all amongst the half-digested sociology and the Humpty Dumpty words (which mean whatever I choose them to mean) that fill so many theses and published works these days.

Of course, it is impossible to discuss the rise and fall of archaeological theory without engaging with that theory and using theoretical terms, so this book can sometimes resemble the thing it is attempting to anatomise. Several of the chapters assess the current state of archaeological theory and its future directions and for some of the authors, theory itself is not the problem: for John Bintliff, the problem consists of archaeologists who argue that a single approach or model is right to the exclusion of all others (Bintliff calls them ‘Ideopraxists’) — instead, theories should be regarded as a suite of ideas that can be brought to bear on a problem collectively and simultaneously.

Mark Pluciennik questions what we mean by archaeological theory and argues that intellectual fashions come and go: he predicts that genetic and human impact theory will be the next fashion. By contrast, Fellow Mark Pearce believes that the most striking feature of the present state of archaeological theory is that no emerging paradigm can be discerned; he proposes that theory is not dead, but has instead become more eclectic and nuanced. Fellow Kristian Kristiansen argues that theory is intrinsic to all intellectual activity, and therefore cannot be wished away, but it can change direction and he sees signs of a retreat from the present post-modern and post-processual cycle back towards a more science-based, rationalistic approach to archaeological data.

Books by Fellows: The Act Book of St Katherine’s Gild, Stamford, 1480—1534

The gild of St Katherine, Stamford, met in the room over the porch of the parish church of St Paul in Stamford; this register (Gonville and Caius MSS 266/670) contains the statutes of the gild on its re-foundation in November 1480 (by the Gild’s Alderman, William Browne of Stamford (1480—9), merchant of the Calais Staple), an inventory of its possessions, lists of members, their payments of entry fees and attendance at the annual feast, and the accounts of the officers, from 1480 to 1534 (with a gap between 1527 and 1531). It thus bridges those vital years of the late medieval and early modern periods just prior to the Reformation. Under William Browne, the Gild remained relatively small and local, but it grew in size and range under his successors as Alderman, enrolling such prominent persons as Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII), Cecily, Lady Welles (daughter of Edward IV), David Cecil (grandfather of Lord Burghley) and the abbots of Crowland and Spalding.

The full text of this unusual Act Book is included in this edition, which is edited and introduced by our Fellow Alan Rogers in association with the Stamford Survey Group, which seeks to promote the study of the history of the town by making records relating to the town available for study (the first borough Hall Book and an account book of Browne’s Hospital 1494—1518 are in preparation). Copies of the book can be purchased from The Stamford Survey Group, 2 Kings Road, Stamford PE9 1HD, at £19.95 per copy, plus £2.70 post and packing for the first book and £1.30 for each additional book.

Books by Fellows: Wakefield Court Rolls Vol 15

The Wakefield Court Rolls are the longest extant series of such documents, running from 1276 to 1925 in an almost unbroken sequence. They record the business of Wakefield Manor, one of the largest in England, covering not just Wakefield, but a huge area of the West Riding, from Holmfirth to Halifax, Heptonstall, Dewsbury and Normanton (31 miles from east to west, 21 from north to south). In recognition of their importance they were accorded World Heritage Status under the UNESCO UK ‘Memory of the World Register’ earlier this year.

Publication of the court rolls by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society under the General Editorship of our Fellow Dr Constance Fraser has just reached volume 15, covering the years 1433 to 1436. Fellow Emeritus Professor Paul Harvey chairs the editorial committee, whose members also include Fellows Kate Taylor (Publicity Officer), Dr John Hargreaves and Dr Adrian Green. The new volume can be obtained for £15 plus £2 postage from the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 23 Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9NZ.

Books by Fellows: Chopin in Manchester

Chopin in Manchester (ISBN: 9780904712056; Elysium Press) is ‘not your usual book by an FSA!’ says the author, Fellow Peter Willis, but a glance at any issue of Salon suggests that it would be very hard to define anything that could be described as ‘typical’ amongst the sheer diversity of the Fellowship’s output. An architect and architectural historian by profession, Peter completed a PhD at the Department of Music at Durham University in 2009 on Chopin’s visits to England and Scotland in 1837 and 1848 (future books are planned on Chopin in Scotland and Chopin in London).

This book concerns the visit that Frederick Chopin (1810—49) made to Manchester in 1848, the year before he died, having fled from Paris to London in the wake of the February Revolution. After giving recitals in London, he travelled north, and stayed with his friends, the Schwabe family, in Manchester, where he played in the Gentlemen’s Concert Hall on 28 August 1848. Peter’s book is a study of that visit, drawing upon a wide variety of documentary and visual material to set Chopin and his concert in the context of the life of mid-nineteenth-century Manchester. In addition to a discussion of the city’s musical life and architecture, the book provides new insights into the Schwabes and their circle, including vignettes of George Osborne, Jenny Lind and Professor A J (Sandy) Scott, first principal of Owens College, later the University of Manchester.

Books by Fellows: British Architectural Books and Writers 1556—1783

First published in 1990 for £95 and long out of print, British Architectural Books and Writers 1556—1783, by our Fellows Eileen Harris and Nick Savage, is now available again as a print-on-demand paperback from the original publishers, Cambridge University Press (ISBN: 9780521283243), for the bargain price of £40. The authors very much hope that this will encourage further research into the topics it covers and stimulate somebody to continue along the same path to investigate the publishing history of nineteenth-century architectural books.

Gifts to the Library, July to September 2011

The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period from July to September 2011. Full records can be found via the online catalogue, and all these books are now available in the Library.

From the author, Sydney Anglo, FSA, L’escrime, la danse et l’art de la guerre: le livre et la représentation du movement (‘Fencing, Dance and the Art of War: the book and the representation of movement’, Conférences Léopold Delisle, 2011)

From Justine Bailey, FSA, Munibe (Antropologia — Arkeologia) 61 (2010)

From the co-author, Mark Bowden, FSA, Defending Scilly, by Mark Bowden and Allan Brodie, FSA (2011)

From the author, Richard Maitland Bradfield, A Syrian Archive: being a study of the early churches and convents on limestone massif, north Syria, AD 324—451, and of their consequences in the far West (to c 540) (2010)

From the author, David Breeze, FSA, Hadrian’s Wall (Frontiers of the Roman Empire, 2011)

From Iain Gordon Brown, FSA, Britannia, Italia, Germania: taste and travel in the nineteenth century (VARIE Occasional Papers 1, 2000); Early Croatian Heritage, by Stjepan Gunjača and Dušan Jelovina (1976)

From the author, Iain Gordon Brown, FSA, Elegance and Entertainment in the New Town of Edinburgh: the Harden Drawings (2002); Filling the Holes in the Todholes Aisle (from Scottish Archives 9, 2003); The Todholes Aisle: a family portrait gallery, by An Unknown Gentleman; transcribed and edited from the manuscript by Iain Gordon Brown (1994); The Pamphlets of Allan Ramsay the Younger (from The Book Collector 17 (1), 1988); Collecting Scott for Scotland: 1850—2000 (from The Book Collector 49 (4), 2000)

From John Chapman, FSA, Neolithic Communities in the Republic of Macedonia, by Goce Naumov et al (2009); Dyadovo. Volume 2: The Sanctuary of the Thracian Horseman and the Early Byzantine Fortress, by Boris D Borisov (2010)

From the author, Stephen Clarke, FSA, The Strawberry Hill Press and its Printing House: an account and an iconography (2011)

From the co-author, David E Coke, FSA, Vauxhall Gardens: a history, by David Coke and Alan Borg, FSA (2011)

From Gillian Greenwood (daughter of the author), Ideas and Images in Twelfth-Century Sculpture: the transmission of ideas and their visual images from the first to the twelfth centuries, by Mary Curtis Webb (2010)

From the author, David Griffiths, FSA, Vikings of the Irish Sea (2010)

From the editor, Alexzandra Hildred, FSA, Weapons of Warre: the armaments of the Mary Rose (Archaeology of the Mary Rose 3, 2011)

From the author, David Horovitz, FSA, Notes and Materials on the Battle of Tettenhall 910 AD, and other researches (2010)

From the author, D F Mackreth, FSA, Brooches in Late Iron Age and Roman Britain (2011)

From the author, Geoffrey Thorndike Martin, FSA, Umm el-Qaab VII: private stelae of the Early Dynastic Period from the Royal Cemetery at Abydos (Archäologische Veröffentlichungen 123, 2011)

From the author, Phil Newman, FSA, The Field Archaeology of Dartmoor (2011)

From Derek Renn, FSA, The Medieval World at War, edited by Matthew Bennett (2009)

From the author, Anna Ritchie, FSA, A Shetland Antiquarian: James Thomas Irvine of Yell (2011)

From the compiler and editor, Rita Ricketts, A Moment in Time: Blackwell’s at the Bodleian: an exhibition of selected editions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales celebrating 125 years of service to scholarship by ‘Blackwell’s of the Broad’ (2003)

From the joint editor, Martin Stuchfield, FSA, A Series of Monumental Brasses, Indents and Incised Slabs from the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century, edited by William Lack, H Martin Stuchfield and Philip Whittemore (2011)

From the author, Robert van de Noort, FSA, North Sea Archaeologies; a maritime biography, 10,000 BC—AD 1500 (2011)

From the author, David Watkin, FSA, The Roman Forum (Wonders of the World, 2011)

Vacancies

University College Dublin, School of Archaeology: Lecturer / Senior Lecturer in Archaeology; closing date: 4 November 2011
Candidates must have proven experience of teaching at tertiary level, have an established international publication record and a demonstrable ability to attract and generate significant external research funding. An ability to build international research networks is also essential. For further details see the UCD School of Archaeology website.