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GREATER LONDON INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY

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Notes and news — April 1976

In this issue:

Archaeology in Local History: A One-Day Conference, Harrow, March 6

The conference was organised by and held at Harrow College of Further Education. There were two main speakers: R T Rowley, staff tutor in Archaeology, University of Oxford Extramural Dept., and Denis Smith, chairman of GLIAS. Exhibitions were mounted by various societies including the Wembley History Society, the Pinner & Hatch End Local History and Archives Society and GLIAS.

Mr Rowley spoke of recent archaeological work in Oxfordshire during the building of the M40. Along the line of the motorway many sites of Roman and later settlement were found, indicating a greater density of population than had been thought. It seems likely that this would be the case throughout the country. Techniques such as aerial photography have proved invaluable in locating sites. Physical evidence of changing sites referred to in documents and of the age of settlements has been brought to light. Archaeology and local history must go together to build up an accurate picture of the past.

Denis Smith suggested that it was obvious that industrial archaeology and local history are related; IA providing a new angle on local history. The industrial revolution so changed the environment and society that it is impossible to understand modern society without studying it. We take for granted essential services such as gas and water supply and sewage disposal. In London the problems set by the lack of these services in the last century called for answers on a grand scale; the main drainage system with Abbey Mills and Crossness pumping stations and water pumping stations such as Kew Bridge and the Hampton complex. Techniques of industrial archaeology are not usually the same as for archaeology in that buildings are studied, photographed and drawn before they disappear. One advantage we have is that we can tape record the experiences of people who worked in a particular factory.

The conference ended with a discussion which brought out the important point that there was a need for more communication between local societies to compare work in similar fields, avoid duplication and share expertise. By being represented at such conferences GLIAS is becoming better known throughout London and more people are finding out that they are interested in industrial archaeology. Robert Vickers

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© GLIAS, 1976