Abstracts and speakers' biographical details for forthcoming talks

January 2019

By Gill Girdziusz

For further details of the Society's lecture programme click here.

Tuesday 15 January 2019
London Mithraeum: a new home for the Temple of Mithras
Louise Fowler

Roman temple dedicated to the god Mithras on a London building site provoked a national debate about whether it was right for archaeological remains to be sacrificed for development. Following a public outcry, the beleaguered site owners agreed to dismantle the remains of the temple and reconstruct them on a site nearby. Recently, redevelopment by new owners Bloomberg provided an opportunity to return the temple to the site of its discovery, as part of an innovative new public display embracing the site’s rich history. Louise will talk about MOLA’s (Museum of London Archaeology) work with Bloomberg and the team of exhibition designers, architects, engineers, stonemasons and artists who have brought the site’s fascinating past to life.

A visit to Verulamium Museum when she was eight years old inspired Louise with a lifelong interest in archaeology, and after pursuing the subject at university she now works for MOLA as a Post-Excavation Manager. She is part of the MOLA team that has been working with Bloomberg on the London Mithraeum.


Tuesday 22 January
From Farm to Avenue
Julia Merrick

Please note this is a replacement talk and speaker.

This is about the loss of farms and agricultural land for housing. It traces the sales of St Stephen's Farm on King Harry Lane in the mid and late nineteenth century; proposed plans for housing in the twentieth century from King Harry Lane down to the 'M10'; the involvement of SAHAAS in rescuing Roman finds from the footings of new houses and other archaeological surveys of the area intended for housing. Archives from the city, maps, letters, press cuttings and interviews with residents bring to life this area of St Albans that was developed from between the wars to the 1970s (although it was considered much earlier). The styles of architecture are also examined. The records show that this was always intended to be a middle class suburb. As well as farm land, Spriggings nursery also disappeared under housing during this time.

Julia Merrick grew up in rural Warwickshire before going to London to read physics at Westfield College. With a BSc and more of an interest in the past than in physics she began her working life in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art in Oxford in the 1960s. Since then her husband's medical posts led her and two children back to London and then for forty years to Edinburgh. She was able to assist him in some research. As a NADFAS volunteer she worked in the RCSE and RCPE handling treasured books of medicine and surgery and created several small exhibitions. For nearly ten years she worked in medical publishing. The archives of Churchill Livingstone supplied the seed for a biography of Sir Herbert Seddon. She also contributes regular vignettes on interesting medical men and women that appear in the journal of MDDUS. She and her husband joined SAHAAS about ten years ago when they moved to St Albans. With Kate Morris she researched the life of James Brown, whose grandfather was Scottish. She now concentrates on local history.


Tuesday 5 February
Hitler’s British Isles
Duncan Barrett

In the summer of 1940, Britain stood perilously close to invasion, and the prospect of German occupation was very much on the horizon. Thanks to the success of the Battle of Britain, it never happened – but ever since, the idea of German jackboots on British soil has continued to fascinate us, played out in counterfactual fictions such as SSGB and Dominion. But there is no need for fiction – in the Channel Islands, more than 50,000 British subjects lived side by side with the Germans for five years. In 2017, Duncan Barrett spent three months in the islands, interviewing more than a hundred local people about their memories of the Occupation. In this talk he shares some of their incredible stories.

Duncan Barrett is a writer and editor, specialising in biography and memoir. He grew up in London and studied English at Jesus College, Cambridge. In 2010 he edited the First World War memoirs of pacifist saboteur Ronald Skirth, published as The Reluctant Tommy. He is co-author, with Nuala Calvi, of a trio of Sunday Times Top 10 bestsellers: The Sugar Girls, which was ranked second in the history bestsellers of 2012, GI Brides, which was also a New York Times bestseller in America, and The Girls Who Went to War. His first solo title, Men of Letters: The Post Office Heroes Who Fought the Great War, was nominated for the People's Book Prize. His second, Hitler’s British Isles, was published in 2018.

This page was added by Jonathan Mein on 24/12/2018.

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