SHA 2013: Leicester’s Pubs

Early registration closes on Monday 3rd December, so you have only one week left to register for SHA 2013 before fees increase. Conference pre-registration will close on 21st December. Members of the Society for Historical Archaeology or Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology get a substantial discount on the registration fee, so don’t delay!

Don’t forget to book your accommodation; there are still rooms available in the four conference hotels, as well as other budget options in the city. And don’t forget to arrange your travel either. The conference committee has negotiated a special offer for delegates travelling up from London by train, and there are many other bargain train travel options for those who book in advance.

The Globe Inn, Silver Street

The Globe Inn, Silver Street, Leicester

In the meantime, and as the cold winter nights are drawing in, our attention has turned to the cosy warmth and hospitality of Leicester’s pubs. The city has a great range, from continental-style cafe-bars to homely inns, all serving a wide range of drinks and food. Some of our favourites are on this map.

The East Midlands boasts a number of craft breweries, producing ales for sale in the city’s pubs. Everards is a major employer in Leicester, and most of the city’s pubs stock their ale; unfortunately the brewery is unable to offer group tours, but you can take an interactive tour of their Leicester brewery, here. The Grainstore Brewery is next to Oakham Railway Station, only a 25-minute train ride from Leicester, and offers group tours and tastings.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is a national voluntary organisation which campaigns for real ale, community pubs, and consumer rights; the members of its Leicester Branch keep a keen eye on the region’s pubs.

Delegates who have been lucky enough to get tickets for the now sold-out Guildhall Reception will have the chance to sample local ales, alongside local delicacies such as Melton Mowbray pork pies, Stilton cheese, and Leicester’s Indian cuisine; but if you are still looking for something to do on the evening of Thursday 10th January, do not despair! We will be holding a free pub quiz (sponsored by Antiquity), with a mystery prize for the winning team. Further details will follow…

SHA 2013: Trips and Tours

The conference program for the SHA 2013 conference in Leicester boasts a number of trips and tours; here is your opportunity to see more of Leicester and the surrounding area. You can register for these trips and tours, which take place on the days immediately before and after the conference, via the online conference registration website, or with the registration form enclosed with your latest copy of the SHA newsletter. All tours depart from the Mercure Hotel, in the centre of Leicester. Any tour that fails to register a minimum number of participants will be cancelled, and any moneys paid will be refunded to the registrant.

‘City of contrasts’ – a walking tour of Leicester

Wednesday January 9, 2013. 11.00am to 3.30pm

Cost: $10.00; lunch is not included; there are many places to eat in Leicester City Centre.

Leicester is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the UK outside London, with a rich urban heritage of archaeological sites and historic architecture. This walking tour led by local experts in Leicester archaeology and history will take participants through the city’s remarkable story from the Roman period to the 21st century. Leicester began life as a Roman provincial capital known as Ratae Corieltauvorum, and there are standing remains of a Roman building known as Jewry Wall next to Saint Nicholas’ church. The city was the county town in the medieval period, and the tour will include visits to medieval churches, the castle and the timber-framed guildhall. In the post-medieval period Leicester developed into a major industrial centre, and there are many fine 18th- and 19th-century houses, warehouses and commercial buildings to be seen. Leicester experienced dramatic growth in the 20th century with large scale immigration from South Asia, Uganda and the Caribbean among other places, and today has a rich cultural heritage of religious diversity and toleration, marked by the many Hindu, Sikh and Muslim places of worship across the city (not to mention fantastic international cuisine!)

NOTE – Participants should wear comfortable shoes for a day of walking.

‘If these pots could talk’ – the Staffordshire Potteries

Wednesday January 9, 2013. 8.30am to 4.30pm

$60.00; lunch included. 

A visit to the Staffordshire  Potteries which made many of the 17th and 18th century ceramics which are found on sites in the USA, such as creamware, salt-glazed stoneware, bone china and porcelain. See round the Gladstone Pottery Museum, one of the few surviving pot banks in the Potteries, where the processes from clay-processing to glazing, transfer printing and firing can be seen. Lunch will be taken at the Museum, followed by a talk from ceramics expert David Barker and a tour round the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, with the finest collection of Staffordshire pottery in the world.

‘More glass than wall’ – Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

Wednesday January 9, 2013. 9.00am to 4.30pm

$110.00; lunch included.

A unique opportunity for an exclusive visit to Hardwick Hall, a 16th century masterpiece and one of the finest historic houses in Great Britain. Created by Bess of Hardwick in the expectation of a visit from Queen Elizabeth I, its huge windows look out over the surrounding countryside of Derbyshire. The house is famous for having one of the best preserved Elizabethan interiors in Britain, with an extensive collection of original early modern furniture, decoration and textiles. A grand staircase takes visitors to the High Great Chamber with its great frieze of the virgin goddess and huntress Diana in a forest, an allusion to the virgin Queen Elizabeth. Participants will have the house to themselves, with a guided tour led by the National Trust’s House and Collections Manager at Hardwick. The visit will include a light lunch.

NOTE – as the house is not normally open to the public in January, it may be cold and participants should dress accordingly.

‘All the world’s a stage’ – Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Wednesday January 9, 2013. 9.00am to 4.30pm

$65.00; lunch included.

A special opportunity to visit Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations. As well as the famous attractions associated with Shakespeare’s life and family, Stratford-upon-Avon is a beautiful market town dating back to the medieval period, with a wealth of historic timber-framed buildings. Participants will visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Museum, where original 16th-century furnishings and interiors have been painstakingly reconstructed and will also have the opportunity to see Hall’s Croft (home of Shakespeare’s daughter) and Holy Trinity Church where the playwright is buried. In the afternoon they will receive a tour of the Guild Chapel and grammar school, which date back to the 15th century, where new research has reconstructed the original layout and decoration of the buildings.

 ‘Ship ahoy!’ – Maritime Greenwich and the Cutty Sark

Sunday January 13, 2013. 8.00am to 5.00pm

$115.00; lunch included.

Maritime Greenwich was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997, testimony to its central role in the development of British and European maritime power between the 17th and 19th centuries. The tour will visit the major attractions which make up the World Heritage Site: the National Maritime Museum, which is the world’s largest maritime museum with a remarkable collection representing 500 years of British maritime and naval heritage; the Old Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren; and the Royal Observatory, straddling the Prime Meridian and housing the famous Harrison timekeepers among other displays ( Lunch will be provided. In the afternoon, the tour will visit the Cutty Sark, the last surviving 19th-century tea clipper and once the greatest and fastest sailing ship of her time. The ship re-opened in mid-2012 after extensive restoration (following a devastating fire) with a new exhibition centre, so this is a great opportunity to see an important piece of maritime heritage brought stunningly back to life.

‘Poverty and prayer’ – the Minster and Workhouse at Southwell, Nottinghamshire

Sunday January 13, 2013. 10.00am to 4.30pm

$60.00; lunch included.

A visit to one of the East Midlands’ hidden gems, the historic Minster town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Southwell is known to have been an important Roman centre, and in the Anglo-Saxon period the town was granted to the Archbishops of York, who established a major Minster church here. The Minster is a beautiful miniature Cathedral, with a 12th-century Norman nave and a 13th-century gothic chancel and chapter house, famous for its wonderful naturalistic sculpted decoration.The small town surrounding the Minster contains pretty Georgian houses and shops. Outside the town stands a more dismal element of Southwell’s history; in 1824, the first Union Workhouse in Britain was built here, which survives remarkably intact and is now owned by the National Trust. A grim building designed to segregate, punish and reform the ‘idle poor’, the Southwell Workhouse became the model for the notorious ‘New Poor Law’ of 1834, and the bleak interiors display attitudes towards poverty, homelessness and institutional life from the 19th century to the present day. For delegates with an interest in institutions of incarceration and reform, this tour provides a unique opportunity to experience life in one of the most influential punitive institutions of 19th-century Britain.

NOTE – as the Workhouse is not normally open to visitors in January it will be very cold, and participants should dress accordingly. Comfortable walking shoes should be worn.

Ironbridge – Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution?

9.00am, Sunday January 13 to 4.30pm, Monday January 14, 2013.

Single occupancy $250.00; double occupancy $210.00 per person. Dinner, bed and breakfast included.

The Ironbridge Gorge was among the first group of UK sites to be designated as a World Heritage Site in 1988. The Quaker industrialist Abraham Darby first successfully smelted iron ore with coke here in 1700, and his grandson then built the world’s first cast iron bridge across the River Severn in 1779.  The Coalbrookdale Company created one of the first industrial settlements with its terraced rows of housing, institutes, churches and chapels.

This two-day tour will visit all of the museums which are part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.  These include the open air museum of Blists Hill, the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, The Jackfield Tile Museum and Coalport China Museum with its splendid displays of bone china. Dinner and overnight accommodation in the Telford Golf Hotel and Resort.  A highlight of the visit will be an early evening lecture from the Academic Director at Ironbridge, David de Haan. He is a leading expert on the 1779 iron bridge, to cross which even the Royal Family had to pay tolls, and he will also lead a tour to the bridge and its toll-house next day.

SHA 2013: Public Archaeology event

The Past Beneath Your Feet: archaeology and history in Leicestershire

In addition to a three-day academic programme the Society for Historical Archaeology’s 2013 conference will include a free, public programme of events, to be held at Leicester University on the afternoon of Saturday 12th January.

The event will feature three headline public lectures, re-enactment performances, living history displays, archaeological exhibits, interactive and educational activities (delivered by Leicester University’s student outreach team), and stands containing information from local and national archaeology and history societies. The Portable Antiquities Scheme will be present so if you are from the local area and have a ‘find’ why not bring it along to be identified and logged on the national database?

There will be something of interest for everyone – from the youngest child to the oldest adult – and the event will showcase the depth and richness of Leicestershire’s archaeological heritage, representing a diversity of peoples, places, and events.

The provisional timetable for the afternoon’s events is as follows:
Public lectures (Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, Fielding Johnson South Wing)
12pm-1pm: Prof. Francis Pryor MBE FSA: The prehistory of the recent past
2pm-3pm: Dr Carenza Lewis FSA: Disaster Recovery? Reconstructing the impact of the Black Death from mini-digs in medieval villages
4pm-5pm: Dr Kevin Leahy: Historical archaeology and the Portable Antiquities Scheme: the Staffordshire Hoard and other bits and pieces

Archaeology and history exhibition (O2 Academy at the Percy Gee Students Union)
Confirmed exhibitors so far include:
- Re-enactors
- National organisations: National Trust, English Heritage
- Leicestershire museums: Jewry Wall Museum, Belgrave Hall, Guildhall, Snibston, Bosworth, Donnington-Le-Heath Manor House, Sir John Moore Foundation, Heritage Forum, Leicester County Council Parks
- Local archaeology and history societies: Archaeological Fieldwork Group; Leicestershire and Rutland Family History Society, Great Bowden Archaeology and Heritage Group, Friends of Jewry Wall, Croft Heritage Group, Vaughan Archaeological & Historical Society, Friends of Grace Dieu, Leicestershire Industrial History Society, Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust, Wigston Historical Society
- National archaeology groups: Portable Antiquities Scheme, Young Archaeologists Club
- University of Leicester: School of Archaeology and Ancient History (distance learning and campus-based education programmes), University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), Department of Genetics, Archaeology and Ancient History student outreach team.

Biographies of speakers
Dr. Carenza Lewis is an archaeologist based at the University of Cambridge. She is widely recognised for her 13-year stint on the innovative, long-running and award-winning Channel 4 archaeological series Time Team, and more recently for her involvement in Michael Wood’s The Great British Story (BBC). Outside of her television appearances, Carenza has long-standing research interests in settlement development in medieval England and since 2004 has developed and co-ordinated the Access Cambridge Archaeology programme at the University of Cambridge. The aim of this programme is to enhance educational, economic and social wellbeing through active participation in archaeology. It seeks to achieve this by running novel, fun and challenging activities for members of the public, including school pupils, to develop new skills and confidence; raise their educational aspirations, boost their academic performance; enjoy learning for the love of it; take part in new archaeological excavations and make new discoveries about themselves and the world around them.

Professor Francis Pryor has been a British archaeologist for over forty years, having excavated several major sites, mostly in the Fens of eastern England. He is famous for his role in the discovery of Flag Fen, a Bronze Age archaeological site near Peterborough. Francis has now retired from full-time field archaeology, but still appears on television and writes books as well as being a working farmer. His specialties are the Bronze and Iron Ages, to which he brings a unique perspective as a working farmer. Francis has tried to bring archaeology to a wider audience, with a number of books, radio and television programmes, including Channel 4’s Time Team and Britain AD.

Dr. Kevin Leahy. Before starting in archaeology Kevin trained as a foundry engineer and remains interested in metals. He read archaeology at Leicester and then spent twenty-nine years as archaeologist at the North Lincolnshire Museum. While at the Museum he excavated some important Anglo-Saxon sites including the Cleatham cemetery, which formed the basis of his Nottingham PhD. He started recording metal detector finds more than thirty years ago when he saw how ploughing was destroying sites. Kevin has written a number of books including ‘Anglo-Saxon Crafts’, ‘The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Lindsey’ and ‘Interrupting the Pots; Excavation of Cleatham Anglo-Saxon Cemetery’. Retiring from the museum in 2007 he now works part-time for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), as a National Finds Advisor covering the early medieval period but also assisting with flint and stone. Whilst with the PAS he was responsible for the first catalogue of the great Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure, a project with which he remains involved. He is also working on Anglo-Saxon tools hoards and Irish metalwork from England.