Croeso! Professor Kate Clark


(Winter 2014)

Kate Clark is a Visiting Professor of Heritage Valuation in the Suffolk Business School and part of the wider Heritage Futures team at UCS. She has been interviewed about her new role as Chief Executive of CADW for the Winter number of Heritage in Wales (Issue 59). The interview picks us on her vision: ‘we’re promoting Wales’s heritage in our present and preserving our historic environment for future generations’.

The UCS Heritage Futures team wish Kate the best of success in her new role.

Walbrook, London

walbrook_mithThe excavations by William F. Grimes at the Walbrook in London captured the public imagination. The building that caught the imagination was the temple of Mithras and the Guildhall Museum published a guide to the Finds from the Temple of Mithras, Walbrook (price 1 s). There are 8 full page black and white photographs, plus the images on the front and read covers, and with two pages of text, one on the temple and the other on the ‘Works of art’.


A companion guide was Small finds from Walbrook 1954-1955 also published by the Guildhall Museum (price 1 s 6 d). This consisted of nine black and white plates with facing text description, and covered Grimes’ work in the mid-1950s.



The finds from the Mithraeum appeared in a volume by J.M.C. Toynbee, The Roman Art Treasures from the Temple of Mithras (London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, special paper 7; 1986). The introduction on the archaeological back ground is by Grimes (pp. 1-4). Several of the pieces are illustrated in colour.



The full account appeared as an English Heritage archaeological report in 1998.  This included Alan Sorrell’s reconstruction of the Mithraeum.




My earliest guide to Silchester is the Short Guide to the Silchester Collection published by the Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery (7th edition; 1927) [price 6d]. The text was by George E. Fox and was revised by Mill Stephenson.

The guide was illustrated with 12 black and white plates, and was intended to help the visitor to the museum around the collection. A foldout plan of the town appeared at the back.

The back cover gives a history of the guide with 1000 copies for the 1st to 6th editions (1903, 1905, 1908, 1910, 1912, 1920), and 2000 for the 7th edition.



The Reading Museum and Art Gallery continued to issue guidebooks to support the ‘Calleva Museum’ (formed in 1951). This guide (reprinted in 1979, but revised in 1972) was revised by George C. Boon. The cover uses Alan Sorrell’s 1975 reconstruction of ‘The Christian Church at Silchester with forum and basilica in background’. It contained a guide to ‘The Silchester Collection’ in Reading and a plan of the site. One new aspect was the section, ‘What to see and where to see it’.



A further guide appeared in 1987 with a text by Michael Fulford. This contains plans of the buildings and finds from recent excavations such as the amphitheatre. There are colour reconstructions including Sorrell’s aerial view of the town from the south-east. There is a spread on the ‘History of the Excavations’ and a single page on ‘Visiting the site’.

Skara Brae

Skara Brae


The Edinburgh Castle blog has reflected on the evolution of the guidebooks to the castle and it made me realise that there is little here so far on guidebooks from Scotland. One of the few was the foldout guide to the Antonine Wall (a companion to a similar one for Hadrian’s Wall).

This ‘blue’ guide is the eleventh  edition (1977) of the third edition (1950) written by the prehistorian V. Gordon Childe. The guide was printed in Edinburgh by HMSO (30p) and it follows the standard blue format for sites ‘held in trust for the nation by the Secretary of State for Scotland and cared for on his behalf by the Department of the Environment’. The subtitle, used since 1950 was Ancient dwellings at Skara Brae.

The ‘Preparatory note’ informs us, ‘This guide is intended to simplify a visit to Skara Brae’.

The guide is divided into two separate sections, history and description. The history considers:

  • Discovery and excavation of the site
  • The ‘history’ of the village [and note the use of ‘history’]
  • General character of the ruins

There is a foldout-plan along with sections through the settlement.

Skara Brae


The Department of the Environment (DOE) also published an interim report, The Neolithic Village at Skara Brae, Orkney. 1972-73 Excavations (Edinburgh: HMSO) by D.V. Clarke. The landscape format (and size) is identical to the DOE guide to the Saxon Shore.



Guides for Chedworth Roman Villa



Chedworth Roman Villa was acquired for the National Trust in 1924. The site is located in the Cotswolds.

Sir Ian A. Richmond prepared a 15 page guide in 1966. This was revised (‘in the light of recent work on the site’) by Roger Goodburn in 1981 guide (16 pages, paper). A reconstruction was placed on the cover, and there is a double page plan of the villa in the centre showing the sequence of construction, and then a second set of plans for the bath complex in the northern range. Essentially the guide introduces the concept of the villa and then described the ‘discovery, situation and plan’ (pp. 3-4). The rest of the guide consists of a room by room guide, with a short section on the Museum (pp. 14-15).


(1979 [2002])

Goodburn prepared a more detailed illustrated guide in 1979 (my revised copy dates to 2002). This is illustrated with black and white images as well as plans. The main sections are:

  • The exploration of the site and a brief history of the villa
  • The Chedworth region in the Roman period
  • The growth of the house
  • The mosaics
  • The Museum (including a section on the coins by Richard Reece)
  • Buildings in the locality probably associated with the villa
  • The life and economy of Chedworth
  • The fate of Chedworth and its neighbours

There is a bibliography for the site.



The 2012 guide is by Simon Esmonde Cleary. It is fully illustrated in colour and has a fold out plan at the front.

The sections are:

  • Rise and fall and discovery
  • A golden age
  • The decline of the Empire
  • Springing from the earth
  • Preserved for the public
  • Landscape and layout
  • The villa’s layout
  • Life in the villa
  • Decoration
  • Religion
  • Conserving and learning
  • Open to public view
  • Concerning conservation
  • Nature conservation
  • The story so far

The rooms appear in double page spreads with plans and reconstructions, e.g. The west range, the dining room, the west bath house, the north wing, the north bath house, room for interpretation (a wonderful bit of honesty!), the south wing, the kitchen, and the latrine.

There is a section on the Museum.

There is a note about the room numbers that were assigned in the Victorian period.

I particularly like the stress on a heritage site as a home for nature conservation with lizards and a distinctive type of snail (see here).

A Handook to Roman London

Roman London


A visit to the Museum of London prompted me to check my shelves for guides on Roman London. My Guildhall Museum handbook was written by Ralph Merrifield in 1973. The opening image is the Roman funerary monument from Camomile Street that now welcomes visitors to the Roman gallery.

The sections are:

  • The beginning of London
  • London as the capital of Roman Britain
  • Buildings of Roman London
  • The fort
  • The city wall
  • Roman Londoners
  • Trade and industry in Roman London
  • Religion in Roman London
  • The end of Roman London

There are reconstructions by Alan Sorrell, as well as a map of Roman London.

We Will Remember Them


War Memorial at the British Museum © David Gill

It was moving to stand in front of the war memorial under the portico by the main entrance of the British Museum yesterday, Remembrance Day. The simple words, that we know so well, were ones written by Laurence Binyon, a member of staff in the museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings.

Later in the day we reflected on the students of the British School at Athens who lost their lives in the Great War.

We will remember them.