Salon Archive

Issue: 43

Weekly meeting report

One of the challenges facing landscape historians is to explain the divergence in medieval settlement type between the nucleated villages of the so-called �central belt� of England, and the more spread-out villages to the east and west of that belt, Professor Dyer told Fellows at this Thursday�s weekly meeting. The project does not have answers yet, but the evidence suggests that nucleation began around AD 1000 and was driven by a cultural preference for living in villages and farming open fields rather than any external imperative.

A full account of the meeting can be found on the Fellows� side of the Society�s website at www.sal.org.uk.

Forthcoming meetings

13 February: �Written text and surviving textiles: English pre-Reformation liturgical textiles, 1530�55�, by Dr Maria Hayward

20 February: �Urban Archaeology: where now? by Dr Peter Addyman, FSA

Fellows� news

A memorial service is being held for Frederick Charles, FSA, who died in October of last year. The service is to be held at Bredon Barn on 16 March 2003. The family needs to have an idea of numbers so they have asked Fellows who would like to join the family for the service to contact Martin Charles on tel: 020 8560 6694.

Awards for the Presentation of Heritage Research 2003

For the second year running, the Royal Archaeological Institute, English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland are jointly sponsoring a competition designed to encourage archaeologists, historic buildings specialists and conservators to present the results of their research to the wider public. Two open awards are offered, of �1,500 and �500, plus an under-30 award of �500. The competition is open to all, whether professional or amateur. Entrants are asked to submit a written summary of their presentation by 15 May 2003. Short-listed finalists will be invited to speak at the awards session at the Festival of Science, to be held at Salford on 8-12 September 2003. The judges will place particular weight on the clarity of presentation to an informed but non-specialist audience, and on the interest and quality of the underlying research. Last year�s winner was Dr Harold Mytum, FSA, speaking about his work at Castell Henllys.

For further details and an entry form, please contact Sebastian Payne, English Heritage, 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET (or by e-mail: sebastian.payne@english-heritage.org.uk).

Admission prices cannot discriminate against tourists from other parts of Europe

The European Court of Justice has ruled that it is illegal for European Union member states to discriminate against visitors from other member states in fixing their admission prices to museums, galleries and public monuments. The case arose because concessions are offered by the Italian state authorities to Italian pensioners over 60 but not to nationals of other member states who fulfilled the same age requirements. The Court ruled that Italy was guilty in this case of discrimination on the grounds of nationality, forbidden under EU article 226.

Concession on Licensed Premises Act

The threat to music in churches and cathedrals was lifted on Tuesday 4 February when the Government agreed to an amendment to the Licensed Premises Act currently before Parliament. Under the terms of the Act, places of worship would have had to obtain a licence if they stage choral concerts or organ recitals. The Musicians Union has led a campaign to fight the proposal, which could threaten music festivals and charity fund-raising events throughout the country. Mosques, synagogues, temples and chapels have also been exempted, as have village halls and community centres.

The Musicians Union has not given up its fight, however. It is equally concerned about the effects of the Act on small-scale live music in pubs and bars � particularly its impact on the UK�s thriving jazz and folk music scene. A Union spokesman said �Clearly there is someone in the Department of Culture who doesn�t like folk music and who is determined to undermine a popular part of our cultural heritage!�.

Elizabeth I�s juvenilia on display

The teenager who was later to be crowned Elizabeth I is the subject of a new exhibition which opened at Windsor Castle last week. Among the items on display is a short poem composed by the future Queen, and a portrait of the thirteen-year-old dressed in a coral-coloured ermine-trimmed dress holding a leather-bound book (as featured on the cover of Elizabeth (2000), by David Starkey, FSA). The poem shows the fondness for wordplay that was to stay with the Queen all her life. It reads: No croked legge no blered eye, no part deformed out of kinde, nor yet so uglye halfe can be, as is the inward suspicious minde�. Also on display are books that belonged to Elizabeth at various stages in her life, including the fifth edition of Camden�s Britannia, dedicated by the author to the Queen. The exhibition, to mark the 400th anniversary of the Queen�s death, can be seen at the Drawings Gallery at Windsor Castle until 23 March 2003.

Plan to turn Caxton Hall into flats

Caxton Hall, originally built in 1878 as Westminster Town Hall, is to be turned into flats, if developers get their way. The building, with its ornate brick front, is a cause c�l�bre of the conservation movement, having been empty since 1979 and in deteriorating physical condition. Not only is the Hall on the Buildings at Risk register, it also had a Dangerous Structure Notice served on it in 1996.

In 1908 the Hall was the centre of Suffragette protest when meetings of the Womens� Parliament were held there. During the 1960s and 1970s its registry office was a popular venue for high-profile weddings, including those of Joan Collins, Peter Sellers, Yehudi Menuhin and Ringo Starr. Developers now want to turn the Hall into flats and build offices on the land behind � a scheme that will require listed building consent, as the hall is a Grade II Listed Building.

Courtauld Institute in row over loans to Getty

The Courtauld Institute is being accused of ignoring the wishes of benefactors by applying to the Charity Commission for permission to vary the terms of donors� bequests. In particular, the Institute wants to lend paintings by Rubens and Van Dyck, which form part of the Seilern Collection, to the Getty Museum in California. When Count Seilerne bequeathed the paintings to the Courtauld in 1978 his will stipulated that the paintings should not be loaned outside London. Trustees for the Courtauld have said that their aim in lending the paintings to the Getty Museum is to raise the international profile of the institution. Leading figures from the art world have written to the Charity Commission objecting to any attempt to alter the terms of Count Seilern�s bequest, saying that he held very strong views on the transportation of Old Master paintings.

For further details, see the Art Newspaper, at www.theartnewspaper.com/index.asp.

Huge Bronze Age haul found in Austria

Anananova, the online news agency, reports that archaeologists from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian National Memorial Office have found 360 items of Bronze Age weaponry and jewellery buried at the side of a crevice in Moosbruckschrofen am Piller, in the Tyrol. Europe's biggest-ever Bronze Age hoard seems to be part of a ritual offering made some time between 1550 and 1250 BC. As well as swords, axes, spearheads, sickles and jewellery, archaeologists have also found part of a bronze helmet, the only one known from this period apart from an entirely different type found in Crete.

Vacancy at English Heritage

Director of Planning and Development
Closing date 21 February 2003. Salary around �80,000.
To replace Carole Souter, who is moving on to be Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, this key post involves delivering a critical part of English Heritage�s service: advising Government on listing and scheduling, distributing �35 million in historic buildings grants and advising on some 15,000 planning cases a year. The service is delivered from English Heritage�s none regional offices, with a budget of �60 million and some 600 staff. Candidates need to be able to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills developed in a large customer-focussed environment. To express an interest in this role, send a CV to Brian Davies, Human Resources Director, English Heritage, 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET.