Thursday 9 August

Weather dry, sunny and light clouds

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Ken Bird, Mick James, Mervyn Evans, Chris Appleyard, Muriel Hardman, Alan Goodwin, Frankie Saxton, Tony Driscoll, Anne Lake, Rose Sarkar, Kate O’Neill

Now that we have finished levelling (4), it can come off quickly. At the top of the slope, it is very superficial, while at the base, overdigging of (1) means that part of it has already been removed.

Ken has spotted that 127 Norton Road has a tap in the garden and a hose attached to it. If we could borrow the hose occasionally to soak the site, this would improve the seeing conditions and make it much less likely that we would over-dig deposits (everything is tending towards the same shade of grey at the moment).

Alan confirmed that the factory producing the ubiquitous vitreous waste was Kryn & Lahy (later K&L, which I remember as a child). It stood south of Works Road, east of Dunham’s Lane, and had its own railway siding, for which I remember the level crossing across Works Road (one of the gateposts of which survives on the north side of the road). I can now ask Bob Lancaster if there are any records of the company’s disposal of waste. The Belgian refugees Georges Kryn & Raoul Lahy established a munitions factory in the Garden City in 1915, using electric furnaces and a one-ton converter. They employed almost 3,000 Belgian refugees at the height of the war, but fell into a post-war slump. The company was later taken over by George Cohen, becoming part of the 600 group in 1928, although K&L remained in use as the company name. By 1930, it was said to be the best equipped steel foundry in the country and underwent another boom during the Second World War, when it was turned over to munitions production again. The site closed in the later 1970s. There are interesting facts about the company on its corporate website.

I’ve also emailed Bob to remind him that we ought to invite Oliver Heald MP to the open evening on 23 August (which is only two weeks away now).

Chris Hobbs called in with photographs of the bullocks on site on Monday. He’s also emailed copies to me, so I will post them to the blog.

The south wall of the barn

The poorly preserved south wall of the barn

Where (4) is coming off the slope, it looks as if (9) is continuing down: will it also overlie (10) at the base? There is also the question of the bricks that became visible yesterday: I brushed them this morning to see if they looked to be in situ and they are certainly aligned and level, so it is quite possible that they are part of the south-western wall of the barn. By the time more of (4) had been removed, more bricks were visible on this line, so it clearly is part of the structure.

We have now washed all the finds from previous days’ excavations as well as those from 6 Church Lane, so we’ve run out of finds to process. By tomorrow, though, we should be able to start using mattocks on at least part of (9), which ought to generate large numbers of finds.

A view of Norton in 1913
A view of Norton in 1913; the end of the barn is on the far right
©Lambeth Palace archives

Some time ago, Ken found a print of Norton Church dated 1913 in the Lambeth Palace archives. It shows the south-eastern end of the barn on the site.


About Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews

I'm the Archaeology Officer for North Hertfordshire District Council Museum Service. I was born and brought up in Letchworth Garden City, so I have a life-long connection with the area.

Posted on 9 August 2007, in Fieldwork, Norton Church Field Dig 2007. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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