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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Yet another London erratic


Here's another interesting occurrence, now that we are looking at strange boulders in the London area.  the pic above (taken around 1960?) was kindly sent by Rob Ixer -- it shows Broomfield House, Southgate, North London back in the good old days.  The local museum there  had a 1.5m x 2m high erratic outside its entrance.  It's marked with a circle on the photo. Rob thinks it was Millstone Grit, found even further south of the assumed glacial limit than Romford.

Rob reports that this grade 1or 2 listed building was vandalised and burned, but there seem to be plans for it to be restored. I wonder if the stone is still there?

A Millstone Grit erratic in this location is rather interesting -- certainly far more interesting than a sarsen erratic that may or may not have been moved a long way........

You can see the erratic in this picture too, if you look carefully:


50 comments:

Anonymous said...

I originate from Millstone Grit country, and still reckon to contain a fair amount t'Grit, but when I relocated south, certainly did not bring yon erratic w'me.

G Boycott

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thank you, Geoffrey of the Dead Bat. That eliminates one possibility. Several others left......

Geo Cur said...

Why assume it's an erratic ?
You can't avoid tripping over millstone grit in London .
BTW .Southgate /Palmers Green is further north than the Essex Romford .

Geo Cur said...

Why assume it is an erratic ?
Millstone grit is found all over London .
BTW Southgate/Palmers Green is north of the Essex Romford .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- welcome back! Long time no see. It's an erratic because it is not where it should be. I didn't say it was a GLACIAL erratic.

Geo Cur said...

Does that mean that the term erratic can be used for human transported material?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Use the word however you like, Geo. It's a free world. As far as I am concerned, an erratic boulder is simply one which occurs in a place where one might not expect it, since it is far removed from its place of origin. Once it is recognized as being in an anomalous position, then we can start discussing how it got from A to B.

Geo Cur said...

In that case isn't a likely explanation for the Broomfield erratic ,human agency ?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Anything is possible, but it looks like a pretty ugly old boulder to me. Why would anybody want to hump that all the way from the nearest MG outcrop just to stick it outside this old house? But if it was gathered up from an anomalous position, it's much more likely that people would be amazed by it, and stick it somewhere prominent.

Geo Cur said...

Given the great amounts of MG transported from the north to areas south of Palmers Green human transport seems a more likely conclusion than a natural one .

Anonymous said...

Eeeh, Brian, dead chuffed t'be called Geoffrey of the Dead Bat. Very good that! But try tellin' these youngsters like Oscar Peiterson how to play a dead bat shot. Soft hands, that's the techneeeque, you see........(drones on)......

Geoffrey, ex- Fitzwilliam, Yorks

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah, those were the days when you could snooze off on the terraces at Trent Bridge, and wake up two hours later, and discover that Geoffrey was still there in the middle, on the same score. They don't make them like that any more.

Anonymous said...

Don't make them like that any more? Of course not! Me, I'm uneeeque, me.

G B [and proud t'be]]

Tony Hinchliffe said...

Did you not do some of your fieldwork for your PhD in Derbyshire, close to Millstone Grit country, Rob?

Anonymous said...

Least I could bat on in all weather conditions, such as these April gales and thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow, unlike these namby-pambies these days.

Nothing I liked better than an electric shock up me spine from a quicky.But I digress....

Geoffrey

Anonymous said...

I am trying to remember 50+ years ago!
The boulder has a plaque on it describing its finding (Victorian ?times) and I am pretty certain that it said grit and stated that it was a glacial erratic and came from north of Watford.At that time I had been as far north as St Albans so was yet to learn about faggots and peas and Banks Mild.
Now, thinking about sarsens, my memory of the stone is that it was homogeneous and highly indurated so I now wonder if it was Millstone Grit but sarsen instead.
Tony
Ph.D Manchester three years at Masson Hill above Matlock (loathed the town ever since)looking at fluorspar deposits. I have seen much Millstone Grit over the years
Rob
I shall try to find someone who can go and have a look at the plaque and report back.

Anonymous said...

While he's at it he might as well search for the Stone of Scone, which according to Maskelyne is composed of a similar but somewhat darker coloured rock.
Was it a portion of the second Altar Stone?

Anonymous said...

The Stone of Scone and the second Altar Stone being the same -now that IS a combination devoutly to be wished. Would explain why there is no Dev sst debitage at SH.
The first Altar Stone and Scone stone are both Devonian ssts.
The Scone sst is local to Scone according to first-rate petrographers from the BGS.
So is this proof of Brian's glaciers at last. Scottish erratics are well known in England.
Perhaps the Heddle Altar sst is really from the Stone of Scone/ a la reused second Altar Stone.
Would that not be too wonderful for words.
Maskelyne was of his time but had he known the Craig Rhos-y-felin outcrop and had a thin section from there he would have recognised it as the same as some of the SH debitage that he describes (very well) and would have made the connection.
Myris.

Tony Hinchliffe said...

This being Nevil Story Maskelyne, who lived in Wiltshire for some time?

BRIAN JOHN said...

This gets interesting -- so the Stone of Scone was once a second Altar Stone at Stonehenge, and was pinched by some fine Scottish lads and carted off to Westminster? Have I got that right? or was it pinched from Stonehenge by a Scottish raiding party, taken back to Scotland, and then pinched again by some fine English lads and carted back south again? I must lie down and think about this......

Geo Cur said...

The stone taken by Edward and seen by Maskelyne and the firt rate petographer from the BGS was quite likely a convenient copy dug up near Scone whilst the genuine stone was hidden .

Jon Morris said...

This gets interesting -- so the Stone of Scone was once a second Altar Stone at Stonehenge, and was pinched by some fine Scottish lads and carted off to Westminster?

Wait a moment. Isn't this all idle speculation? Where's the proof that a second Altar Stone every existed?

(Mind you, I'd love there to be one, especially a stone set just south of centre)

BRIAN JOHN said...

Idle speculation is what we all love on this blog, Jon. Hadn't you noticed?

Jon Morris said...

Idle speculation is what we all love on this blog, Jon. Hadn't you noticed?

:-)

The second "Altar Stone" is something I'm very interested in because it's location and characteristics are a predicted potential feature of one of my pet hypotheses, (same predicted feature set as regards 17 and 18 mentioned elsewhere)

But looking at the evidence (for example that Dennis provides), it all seems to be based on heresay rather than archaeology?

Anonymous said...

Just wait for the tie-in to the 7 Pillars of Wisdom!
or my personal favourite The Hanging Gardens of Babylon complete with sandstone garden troughs/planters. (Pace P)
Are they not a folk memory of SH.
Or am I just whipping myself into a rufic lather.
I once as a joke said I would give a talk on 'The ores of Babylon' Early metallury in mid-stream'.
and was taken up on it. I had to rapidly backdown.

Yes the same Maskelyne.

Myris ever looking eastwards.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Seven Pillars of Wisdom? Now there's a funny thing. When I was at Jesus College my room was the TE Lawrence Room -- where he lived when he was a student. Very nice room too -- not a lot of people know that.

Anonymous said...

TE Lawrence also gave Alexander Keiller the money to rehouse the Avebury villagers in Avebury Trusloe.
Not a lot of people know that either!
PeteG

Anonymous said...

How does an erratic get all that way down to Southgate?

It maybe something to do with the river next to the house... but that's far too elementary!

Sherlock

Anonymous said...

Will the TE Lawrence room one day be called the Brian John Erratic room?? Time will tell.

A SYCOPHANT

Tony H said...

I always thought that Alexander Keiller had jars and jars of his own wealth:- in the family Marmalade Empire up in Dundee. But you live and learn (especially on this blogsite!).

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, a lot of very erratic things went on in that room over the course of 2 years -- put it down to learning about life. My lips are sealed...

Tony H said...

I see T E Lawrence was for a while a practising archaeologist, with Leonard Woolley, for example. Then Brian occupies his former College room, and eventually develops his own interests in matters archaeological. Coincidence?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Everything is connected. Something to do with Quantum Physics?

Anonymous said...

Tony,
when WWII broke out there was a sugar shortage so no marmalade = no money.
This is why Avebury is only half reconstructed.
TE stepped in to help out the displaced villagers,
PeteG

BRIAN JOHN said...

Good lord!! The things we learn........

Anonymous said...

Sorry. no river, the water next to the house is part of a Grade II star listed water garden only one of three still around.
I just thought it a series of dirty duck ponds with oriental decking!!!
The erratic has been LOST How do you loose a many 100kilos, metre diameter stone!!
The civic trust know nothing about it
"Rob,
I have asked the person in charge of the Local History Centre in Enfield about this stone and plaque. He was not aware of it, but he passed on the query to his boss, the Borough Museum Officer. She sent me a reply this afternoon. There was a mention of such a stone in a book about Broomfield House, which was published many years ago, but she had no knowledge of what happened to the stone or a plaque on it. I will ask some other people, who may have a longer memory or association with the district, and will get back to you if I discover anything".
Now I do feel old and unworldly (and just need the dead bird about my neck before entering the caverns measureless to .....Portlock?).
Myris

Anonymous said...

Myris (?)

Duck pond... a lake that was over 1000ft long when it was first built according to the old maps. So to fill the 'duck pond' you need.. water! So where does the water come from..um 'rain' no cant be right there's a drought on!!

Could it be that river that is 200ft south of the house, (of which the original inlet has been covered by a modern road) which also leads to the three biggest reservoirs in Britain that feeds the 6 million people of London and flows down to the Thames.

No your right, must be a natural duck pond.

Sherlock

Tony H said...

Pete,

Thanks for the News from 1939-45. I vaguely remember the Wiltshire County Planning Dept did its own report on Avebury Trusloe and the building of the 20th Century houses, perhaps I should have looked at it more carefully. TE Lawrence seems to have been very modest about his financial generosity. I'm pretty sure this is not heralded, for example, by the National Trust in the two Museums at Avebury, surely it ought to be? After all, the National Trust is always seeking to increase its revenue and there will apparently be 1.5 million EXTRA tourists this Olympics Year.

Tony H said...

Myris

You never know, the Minerals Officer for the Strategic Planning Authority at some point in time might well have been aware of the erratic, from a geological background point of view.

Tony

Anonymous said...

Tony,
unfortunately the NT don't give a hoot about the Avebury villagers.
They are only interested in filling the car park at £5 a pop and selling their tat in the shop.
They won't even let locals look at any of the finds they hand in so people have stopped giving them anything.
PeteG

Tony H said...

Pete
You seem to have hit upon a crucial flaw in the NT's public relations policies. N.T. does seem to be primarily interested in the car-owning upper middle classes, as shown by the recent TV series on restoration of Avebury Manor with Margot Leadbetter/Penelope Keith etc. Meanwhile, the have-nots get less of a look in e.g. how many less well-off folk from down-town Swindon (just up the road) are actively encouraged to visit Avebury's National Trust properties by number 49 public transport bus? (though Sandi Toksvig, to her credit, demonstrated this is a viable possibility recently on a Radio 4 travel show, interviewing bus travellers and museum curators alike without fear or favour). In my experience, open days for the public at Avebury to do directly with archaeology are not marketed enthusiastically enough, events being called off, they have told me, through insufficient interest. I suspect National Trust Stonehenge do a better promotional job.

Anonymous said...

Yes the water presumably does come either from The New River built 1613 and very dull in this part of North London, clean water from the River Lea into centralish London..
Or perhaps Pymmes Brook but that is very shallow 10cms from memory. Salmons Brook the next nearest is on the otherside of the hill from Broomfield park.
No chance of moving anything anthrogenic -the natural streams are very local and very small; Salmons Brook could be dammed by small boys in an hour or so.
Rivers is a bit of a hype brooks is far more accurate.
Welsh money from Welsh base metal mines(not the gold)paid for The New River.
So for my money it is a glacial erratic.
Myris dowm memory lane

Anonymous said...

Well Watson AKA (myris)

Its gone now, do you think it was the hard frost we had last winter bringing a 'secret' glacier to push it to a new field?

Or can we deduce that the same human transportation (in this case a lorry) took away the same stone that was brought there in the first instance. Especially when you consider that nearly all tutor palaces were supplied by boat including their building materials as the roads were 'unreliable' for heavy transportation of goods and would continue to be so, until the 19th C.

So like the 'duck pond' it looked somewhat different in the past.

Sherlock

BRIAN JOHN said...

Where did this obsession with water come from? Is it entirely healthy?

Anonymous said...

Tony,
in the last 5 years Me and my daughter have been the only locals to go on the Behind the Museum Tours the NT hold in September.
They started as an hour long and are now a quick 20 minute quick tour.
Stonehenge doesn't treat locals any better.
PeteG

Tony H said...

Pete

I was referring to the National Trust walks organised from Stonehenge Cottages on the A303 Stonehenge-Amesbury Road, rather than anything starting close to Stonehenge itself. I've been on A behind-the scenes tour at Avebury's Alexander Keiller Museum in the days when they were an hour long.

Good to see that Amesbury is now getting its own Museum, so it will be able to display the Mesolithic finds from Vespasian's Camp, not so far from the N.T.'s Stonehenge Cottages base, appropriately enough found by the people's university, the Open University.

Anonymous said...

Sherlock

Do I detect Robert Langdon hiding behind the spelling and punctuation mistakes and dogmatic ignorance? Call yourself an author?!?

BRIAN JOHN said...

I strongly suspect, my dear fellow, that your deduction is impeccable....

Anonymous said...

I leave Dr Watson to dot i's and cross t's allowing me to think and make logical deductions of brilliance.

Consequently, I suggest you both should concentrate on the former.

Sherlock

Anonymous said...

Sherlock

Methinks you meant to say "the latter", old man, eh, what?

Shouldn't we be concentrating on your shafts of brilliance on these rain-filled, low pressure, depression days?