Salon Archive

Issue: 82

Weekly meeting report

The excavation of the 80-hectare (200-acre) site of Heathrow�s Terminal 5 has revealed an evolving landscape that demonstrates a remarkable degree of continuity from the mesolithic (6300 BC) to the third century AD. During that long sweep of history, successive generations showed their awareness of the monumental zones and structures in the landscape that they inherited either by integrating them into their own monuments or building new structures aligned on the old. Not until the third century, John Lewis and Ken Walsh told Fellows at this week�s Thursday meeting, was the pattern of the past overwritten by a new landscape of fields imposed without reference to anything that had gone before, though Bronze Age field boundary ditches were recut in the Middle Ages and are still traceable on a 1720 tithe map of the area.

A full report of the meeting is available on the Fellows� side of the Society�s website .

Forthcoming meetings

11 March: Ballot: Roger Bland, FSA, of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, will exhibit the coin of the Emperor Domitianus that featured in last week�s Salon, and Geoff Egan, FSA, of the Museum of London Archaeology Service, will exhibit a Winchester-style strap-end and a seventeenth-century �Surrey Ware� button and some comparable finds
18 March: West Heslerton: new views of a much-visited landscape, by Dominic Powlesland
25 March: St Weburh: the evolution of a regional cult, by Dr Alan Thacker, FSA, to be held at the Blue Coat School, Chester

The General Secretary�s contact details

David Gaimster, who took over from Dai Morgan Evans as the Society�s General Secretary on 1 March 2004, can be contacted by email at: dgaimster@sal.org.uk.

Corrections and amplifications

Last week�s report on the demands of northern MPs for the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels produced a number of responses. Julian Munby, FSA, called for the Book of Kells to go back to Iona, while Colin Tite, FSA, and several other Fellows pointed out that there was no evidence that Henry VIII�s Commissioners had removed the Lindisfarne Gospels from St Cuthbert�s shrine in Durham cathedral. Colin says: �it is not known when the Gospels left Durham and until Robert Bowyer (and possibly his father William) acquired the manuscript (later passed to Sir Robert Cotton) its post-Durham ownership is unknown. If it was removed by Henry VIII's Commissioners, why did it not enter the Royal Library in the sixteenth century?�.

Last week�s Salon item on the availability of the Society's catalogue of manuscripts on the A2A (Access to Archives) website run by the National Archives might have given the impression that the National Register of Archives website would be closing in summer 2004. In fact, the web address will change in the summer when the register is integrated into the National Archives, but the information on the site will still be available.

Consultation on Draft Planning Policy Statement One

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has published the draft text of the revised Planning Policy Statement One (PPS1), entitled Creating Sustainable Communities. This replaces the existing Planning Policy Guidance Note 1: Policy and Principles (PPG1). This is a critically important document for the historic environment since, as its old title suggests, it sets out the broad framework within which all other planning guidance sits and is the reference point for subsequent planning policy statements (including the current PPGs 15 and 16 covering designated buildings and archaeology, and the revised Planning Policy Statement that will eventually emerge from the merging of the two guidance notes).

Launching the consultation last week, the Planning Minister, Keith Hill, said that the main thrust of the Planning Policy Statement was the creation of �a simpler, more flexible, more predictable, efficient and effective planning system that will deliver the quality development needed to secure sustainable communities�. He went on to define �sustainable development� as �economic development that embraces social inclusion; protection of the environment and prudent use of natural resources�. Another key theme of the PPS is the need for community involvement in the planning system and the requirement for local communities to be informed about policies and proposals in good time.

Copies of the draft PPS and a consultation questionnaire can be downloaded from the ODPM website, and responses to the consultation are requested by 21 May 2004.

Silchester: 'the mini Manhattan of the Iron Age'

In an article published in The Times on 4 March, Norman Hammond, FSA, the newspaper�s Archaeology Correspondent, reported that a substantial planned Iron Age community existed at Silchester well before the Romans imposed their own street grid. Recent excavations by Mike Fulford, FSA, show that the street plan laid down by the Romans between AD 40 and 60, oriented on the cardinal points of the compass, overlies an earlier grid of streets and timber buildings oriented on the inter-cardinal points (northwest to southeast) and thus at an angle of 45 degrees to the Roman streets.

Not only did Iron Age town planning predate the Roman city�s layout (albeit under the influence of Romanised Gaul), but the Iron Age street plan persisted into the mid-third century. In parts of the city, masonry town houses replaced the timber structures, and were themselves replaced in the second century by yet another set of buildings on the same inter-cardinal alignments. Professor Fulford is quoted as saying that: �we seem to have evidence for the deliberate respect of a group of late-Iron Age houses ... [and] for continuity of ownership and tradition for about 200 years after the Roman Conquest�. He added that: �even after the establishment of the Roman grid plan, some notable families perpetuated their traditions into the middle of the third century ... [perhaps] only the sale of the property when the local Iron Age �dynasty� died out allowed it to be incorporated into the Roman layout�.

Equally exciting is the discovery that the Iron Age alignments existed over a larger area than just these few elite homes. The same orientation has been observed beneath the basilica building in the forum, with the �implication of a major nucleated and planned settlement apparently extending over some hundred acres and more or less the same size as its Roman successor�. Such a community, Professor Fulford noted, �is so far unparalleled in Britain�.

Why the old grid was destroyed and replaced by the Roman one at 45 degrees difference is not clear, although ideological reasons � perhaps the semi-independent client-king Cogidubnus wanting to make his mark � may lie behind it. A more practical reason may have been to line the main street on the Roman road.

Brunel's first iron bridge discovered in the nick of time

Our Fellow, Steven Brindle, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for English Heritage, has not only discovered Isambard Kingdom Brunel�s first iron bridge hidden inside a 1905 brick road bridge in London, he has saved it from imminent demolition. Dr Brindle made the discovery while researching the history of Paddington Station. �I was leafing through six volumes of Brunel�s notebooks in the Public Record Office when I came across the design for this bridge across the Grand Union Canal beside Paddington Station,� he said. The records led Dr Brindle to inspect the structure on Bishop�s Bridge Road at Paddington, where he found the iron bridge hidden beneath a much larger road bridge spanning the rail lines into Paddington.

Dr Brindle said that �elation was coupled with shock� when he visited the canal towpath and found that the bridge had survived intact except for its railings but then discovered that the bridge was due to be demolished as part of a �62 million project to improve access to Paddington. �If I had started the book a little later or not bothered to examine Brunel's notes, it would have been destroyed by now � smelted down and forgotten,� Dr Brindle told journalists last week.

Agreement has now been reached to save the bridge by removing it and rebuilding it as a footbridge across the canal a short distance from its original site. English Heritage hopes that the reconstruction will be completed in time for the 200th anniversary of Brunel's birth in 2006.

Work on dismantling the structure is now under way and is helped by the absence of bolts from Brunel�s unique design. The various parts were slotted together and the entire structure has been held in place since 1838 by its own weight. Dr Brindle said: �It was an enormous relief to find there were hardly any bolted fixings because if Brunel had used them they would have been corroded solid by now. We would have had to drill them out, which would have been a much more difficult and time-consuming process, as well as damaging the structure. The graceful curves of the ironwork also shed water and prevented it from rusting.�

Brunel had previously built his bridges of brick, but iron was chosen for the first time on this occasion because of the exceptional 35ft span and the need for a shallow arch and gradient from the eastern side. �It undoubtedly deserves to be scheduled as an ancient monument. The bridge is remarkable because it was an evolutionary dead end and never repeated. Brunel was wilfully original and adopted a technique that required few bolts or fastenings and relied on gravity. Even now, the bridge just comes apart,� Dr Brindle said.

�It was optimised for the use of cast iron, which was rapidly superseded by wrought iron�, Dr Brindle added. The latter was stronger and more flexible, allowing Brunel to design much larger structures, such as the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash, in Cornwall.

Yorkshire pudding hoist restored

Writing in The Guardian on 4 March, Martin Wainwright reported the restoration of another industrial monument: the world's only surviving Tom Pudding hoist, built in 1912 to handle coal from Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire pits. The hydraulic boat hoist was part of a sophisticated system used to load coal into tub-like barges with a very shallow draught, known as Tom Puddings. Each barge was lifted, emptied, refilled and sent on its way within a space of ten minutes.

Closed in 1986, it was left to rust until it was rescued by Associated British Ports, English Heritage and local enthusiasts at a cost of �20,000. Jane Jackson, a buildings inspector for English Heritage in Yorkshire, described the hoist as �the cutting edge technology of the day, part of a coal transport network organised on a truly epic scale capable of handling up to 3,000,000 tonnes of coal a year and anticipating many of the principles of modern transport of heavy goods�. Three of the Tom Puddings, plus a sharp-prowed �jebus� boat, used to guide long convoys of barges from the pits, will go on display at a new visitor centre located beside the hoist at Goole docks in Yorkshire.

�35m target to save the John Murray literary archive for Scotland

Frank McAveety, Scotland�s Culture Minister, announced on 2 March that the Scottish Executive would contribute �6.5 million from the public purse to help the National Library of Scotland reach its �35 million target for purchasing and displaying the John Murray archive. The archive consists of letters and manuscripts accumulated by the publishing house established in London in 1768 by the Edinburgh-born John Murray. It includes original manuscripts of works by Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott and Benjamin Disraeli and more than 150,000 letters from such people as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, David Livingstone and Charles Darwin.

The library has less than a year to raise the balance of �28.5 million. An application has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for �22 million. If successful, the library then has to raise a further �6.5 million from public donations: �4.7 million towards the purchase price, plus an additional �1.8 million to meet costs for making the collection accessible to the public. Altogether the bill for the entire venture will be �35 million.

Martyn Wade, National Librarian in Edinburgh, said that: �The archive has a distinctly Scottish flavour and it would be as though the collection were coming home ... the archive is a link to the critical role that Scots have played in the development of ideas and imagination throughout the centuries. Acquisition of the John Murray archive will enhance the national and international cultural and educational reputation and image of Scotland.�

Arts & Business launches campaign to encourage arts philanthropy

Arts & Business, the organisation that acts as a matchmaker between donors and cultural projects in need of funding, has launched its �Maecenas Initiative�, in the hope of increasing the amount that people give to the arts in the UK from the current figure of �236 million to �380 million a year. The figure has been chosen to bring the UK up to the US level of arts philanthropy.

Named after the 1st-century BC patron of Virgil, Propertius and Horace, the Maecenas Initiative will have three strands of work: a series of public and private events to stimulate a debate on arts philanthropy, the promotion of new models for encouraging arts philanthropy in the UK, based on current best practice around the world, the use of training seminars and a toolkit for small to mid-sized arts organisations to help them become more effective at fundraising.

Colin Tweedy, Chief Executive of Arts & Business, commented that: �for many it will be staggering to see that the figure for individual giving to the arts (�236 million) already far exceeds the figure for business investment in the arts (�111 million), but we feel there is potential for growth particularly outside London�. Further details of the campaign are available from the Arts & Business website.

Galleries net double windfall

Right on cue (though unconnected with the Arts & Business campaign), two London galleries announced last week that they had received major gifts of art and money valued at a total of �8 million. Professor Sir Colin St John Wilson, the architect of the British Library, donated his collection of 600 contemporary works of art valued at �5 million to the Pallant House Gallery, in Chichester, and John Madejski, the chairman of Reading Football Club, handed over a cheque for �3 million as his contribution to the renovation of the Royal Academy of Arts Fine Rooms at Burlington House.

Professor Wilson�s donation was made through the National Art Collections Fund and includes such defining images of the 1960s as Michael Andrew's 1962 study of the Colony Room, which was then the centre of the London art world, and Peter Blake's painting The 1962 Beatles. Richard Hamilton's Swinging London illustrates the arrest of Mick Jagger at a drugs raid in West Wittering. Professor Wilson explained that: �It's a very structured collection in the sense that all the artists are personal friends of mine. In many cases I have got not just the final work but the working studies for it because I'm so fascinated by the way that artists work.�

�19m grant to Leeds for a new museum

The Heritage Lottery Fund announced last week that it had awarded �19 million to Leeds for a new museum, the HLF�s largest ever grant to the region. The museum will be housed in the former Leeds Institute, a nineteenth-century landmark on Millennium Square, which will be comprehensively restored. The new museum will enable the best of more than a million archaeological and historical items to be displayed that have been in storage since 1942, when an air raid blew the front off the original city museum. Heritage Lottery Fund money follows a long consultation about what should be displayed when the building opens in 2007.

Monastery loses priceless artefacts

Fire destroyed part of the Mount Athos monastery complex on 4 March, resulting in the loss of medieval religious artefacts and seventeenth-century wall paintings. The blaze began in a stove and spread to the chapel, offices and monks' and visitors' rooms of the twelfth-century Hilandariou monastery. The thirty Serbian monks who live in the monastery tried to extinguish the blaze themselves, knowing that Mount Athos�s rugged terrain and lack of roads would hamper the efforts of professional firefighters from reaching the monastery. Firefighters were eventually bought in by boat twelve hours after the fire took hold and were able to prevent it spreading to other parts of the monastic complex, parts of which date from 1060.

Silence in court

Last week Salon reported on the impending sale of Victorian police stations in London, and this week Maev Kenndy, in The Guardian, draws attention to a report published by SAVE Britain�s Heritage on the fate of the nation�s court buildings. The report points out that the exteriors of Britain�s courts are familiar but the interiors are quite unknown to most members of the public, unless they have found themselves on the wrong side of the law, because of a ban on photographing court proceedings.

The report calls on government to find ways of adapting these buildings to provide modern facilities, rather than abandoning them to insensitive conversion. Some 800 historic courts have closed since the 1950s, to be replaced by �dull, heavy handed, insensitive, or even brutal� modern buildings. By contrast, historic court buildings include the twelfth-century great hall at Leicester Castle, which has housed a court for more than 800 years, but which has been empty since the county courts moved out in the 1990s, and Oakham Castle, in Leicestershire, another twelfth-century hall, famous for its collection of horseshoes, which has been a court since at least 1229, and is still in use, though under threat. At Presteigne, Powys, the unaltered Georgian courthouse is unused but open to the public, along with the sumptuous judges' lodgings, and in Birmingham the Victorian courts have interior decorations of �almost absurd richness�.

Silence in Court, the future of the UK's Historic Law Courts can be obtained from SAVE�s website.

Jon Rouse moves to the Housing Corporation

Jon Rouse, known to many Fellows as the energetic and politically astute chief executive of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), is moving on in July to be chief executive of the Housing Corporation, the body responsible for funding and regulating social housing in England. Last year, the Housing Corporation and the Institute of Field Archaeology jointly published a policy document, called Homes with History, on ways to improve the quality of social housing by integrating and working with the historic environment.

Jon Rouse (who, at 35, is 20 per cent younger than English Heritage wonderkind, Simon Thurley) has helped transform the old Royal Fine Arts Commission into an effective champion of high quality design, and he is expected to bring a similar commitment to the Housing Corporation's development programmes. Under his leadership CABE's remit and influence has grown to embrace the design and maintenance of parks and public space (through CABE Space), alongside a core programme of practical advice, public campaigns and educational programmes (CABE Education) to inspire the creation of outstanding public buildings.

Often portrayed as a champion of the new over the old, his more recent speeches (at the joint CABE/Heritage Lottery Fund conference on Heritage and Regeneration in January 2004, for example) suggest a growing appreciation of the value of a creative dialogue between historic and contemporary architecture.

IFA Yearbook just out

Mention of the Institute of Field Archaeology is the cue to announce that the 2004 Yearbook and Directory has just been published, with a preface by Heritage Minister Lord (Andrew) McIntosh of Haringey in which he says: �Since taking over responsibility for archaeology and built heritage in June 2003, I have begun to appreciate the passion that is felt for this subject by all sectors of society ... and of the need to protect and understand the heritage�. The Heritage Minister also notes and welcomes the �developing links between the IFA and the IHBC [Institute for Historic Buildings Conservation]�.

Elsewhere in the Yearbook, Peter Hinton, FSA, IFA Director, reports progress in building better relations with various institutes and associations representing civil engineers and contractors, and the forthcoming launch of a standard set of contract conditions for commissioning archaeological works. There are articles too by our General Secretary, David Gaimster, on the progress (albeit belated) being made by the UK to accede to the 1954 Hague Convention on protecting cultural heritage in times of war; by Stephen Johnston, FSA, on how the Heritage Lottery Fund can help archaeology, and by Steve Trow on saving sites from the plough � all this plus full details of the IFA�s 2,000 members and a directory of the sector�s main organisations.

Copies of the Yearbook can be ordered from Alex Llewellyn at the IFA.

Conference on the future of the Thornborough Henges

North Yorkshire will shortly become the focus of media attention when Tarmac submits a new application to extend its aggregates quarrying operations near the Thornborough Henges complex, where Iron Age finds have recently been added to those of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Although, as scheduled ancient monuments, the henges themselves are protected, the wider ritual landscape in which they are set, together with its sub-surface archaeology, is rapidly being destroyed.

In an effort to enable both local people and elected decision-makers to form a balanced opinion, the Council of British Archaeology has organised, jointly with the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, a one-day conference in Northallerton on 27 March. The intention of this event is to establish an objective and considered view of the archaeological consequences of continued quarrying in the setting of the henge complex.

In the morning session, introduced by Peter Addyman, FSA, there will be presentations by George Lambrick, FSA, Mike Parker-Pearson, FSA, Terry Manby, FSA, and Jan Harding (who has co-ordinated a ten-year fieldwork project at the Thornborough monument complex). The afternoon session, chaired by Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, FSA, will be devoted to landscape management questions. Presentations by Tarmac, the local protest group, English Heritage and North Yorkshire County Council will be followed by a panel discussion open to audience participation.

The conference will take place in the new function room of The Golden Lion on Northallerton High Street from 9am to 5pm, and costs only �5 admission, or �15 to include a buffet lunch. There is sure to be a heavy demand for places and seats must be reserved through the organiser, John Sheehan, on 01609 771878.

English Heritage statement on the Thornborough Henges

English Heritage (which is funding Dr Jan Harding�s research on the Thornborough landscape) has issued a statement saying that it believes that: �any extraction within the Thornborough Moor area would have a substantial and detrimental impact on the archaeological environment and the setting of the henges. We will therefore resist the inclusion of Thornborough Moor as a "preferred area" in the revised Minerals Local Plan through our role as statutory consultee in the planning process.

�English Heritage believes that the most appropriate long-term management regime for the henges and their associated landscape is as arable land, with increased public access to, and interpretation of, the landscape and monuments. In order to secure a positive management regime, English Heritage would support acquisition by an appropriate body of the henges and associated landscape, should the land become available for purchase.�

Books (and articles) by Fellows

The Architectural Review for February 2004 featured an article by Archie Walls, FSA, on the ancient city and citadel of Bam, so tragically devastated, with great loss of life, in December 2003. Archie reports that he had the honour of being asked to make a presentation at St James's Palace immediately before HRH The Prince of Wales and the Director General of the British Red Cross made their recent visit to Iran, when both visited Bam to support the humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Archie would be happy to supply a PDF version of the article to any Fellow interested in reading it (but be warned � because of the colour plates the files add up to a total of 12 megabytes): his email address is archie@quarme.com.

Three recently published books have been donated this week to the Society�s library by their authors. They are:

 Decorated Bookbindings in Marsh's Library, Dublin, by Mirjam Foot, published by Ashgate on 1 March 2004;
 Mortuary Monuments and Burial Grounds of the Historic Period, by Harold Mytum, Department of Archaeology, University of York, published by Kluwer in December 2003;
 The House of Godwine: the history of the dynasty, by Emma Mason, Emeritus Reader in History at Birkbeck College, University of London, published by Hambledon and London (details from Oxbow Books) in March 2004.

The 500th anniversary of Henry VII's Chapel

Our Fellow Marcus Binney, Architecture Correspondent of The Times, wrote an appreciation this week of the recently published Westminster Abbey: The Lady Chapel of Henry VII, edited by Tim Tatton-Brown and Richard Mortimer, FSA, published by Boydell & Brewer at �50.

Noting that this year is the 500th anniversary of the laying of the chapel�s foundation stone, Marcus describes Henry VII�s Chapel as �one of the supreme achievements of English architecture, worthy of comparison with the Sainte Chapelle in Paris and, for the sheer perfection and intricacy of its parts, to the Taj Mahal�. The new book �brings together the latest scholarship on this remarkable building, covering its origins, construction, furnishing, use and successive restorations�. The master mason is not known but Tatton-Brown now suggests that the lower half of the chapel was designed by Robert Janyns, and that �in 1506, or soon after, the design was modified by William Vertue to include the astonishing high vaults and pendants (Vertue was also probably responsible for the glorious vaults at Bath Abbey of which Bishop Oliver King said that there were none �so goodly neither in England nor in France�)�.

The book concludes with an account of the recent restoration of the external fabric under the direction of our Fellow, Donald Buttress, Surveyor Emeritus of Westminster Abbey. In all, more than 350 new sculptures were commissioned to replace those that had decayed, using clay models and trial carvings which were tested in place as plaster casts. Once approved, writes Dr Buttress in the book, �individual carvers were allowed increasing freedom to model and carve in their own way ... so that the chapel as a work of architecture is alive, when it could so easily have been deadened by over-zealous adherence to fashionable conservation dogma�.

The Wallace Collection Seminars in the History of Collecting

The next in this series of seminars will take place on 28 April 2004, at 4.30pm, when Dr Lucy Peltz, Curator of Eighteenth-century Collections at the National Portrait Gallery, will lead a seminar on �Engraved Portrait Head Collecting and the rise of extra-illustration in the mid-eighteenth century�. In 1802 a critic writing for the Gentleman�s Magazine, under the nom de plume �Anti-Guillotine�, satirised England�s sizeable herd of engraved portrait print collectors as �hydra headed monsters ... whom nothing could satisfy�. Four years later, the same magazine published the obituary of Richard Bull (1721�1805), a leading portrait print collector, where his innovative extra-illustration was described as being �of essential service to historical literature, by contributing to render its images clear, distinct and impressive�. Symbolic, didactic, emotive and patriotic, by the end of the eighteenth century the extra-illustration of books of national biography was an enormously popular pursuit. This paper will suggest some conclusions about the ways in which historical portraiture functioned, both metaphorically and physically, at the margins of eighteenth-century social life and at the individual�s intersection with cultural and national identity.

Places must be booked in advance by sending an email to Louisa Collins, Museum Assistant.