15 JUNE 1929, Page 18


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]

SIR,—The North-East Coast Exhibition of 1929 is in a sense the culminating point of the industrial development of the Tyne valley during the last hundred years. 'During this period Tyneside has changed beyond recognition. Works, factories, and busy streets have 'obliterated all traces of one ot our greatest national monuments; the Roman Wall. '

The North of England Excavation Committee was therefore requested by the County History Committee to undertake investigations. A sub-committee of the Exca- vation Committee was appointed, consisting of four members —Mr. C. H. H. Blair, M.A., F.S.A., Mr. Parker Brewis, M.A., F.S.A., Mr. F. G. Simpson, M.A., Hon. F.S.A.(Scot.), and the Hon. Secretary of the Committee. A liaison with the local authorities within the industrial area was then established, the Corporations of Newcastle and Wallsend with patriotic enthusiasm voted contributions of free labour ; the County Council of Northumberland and the University of Durham have also lent their valuable support and assistance.

It would now seem certain, from recent finds made in the vicinity by the committee, that the line of the wall will lead the investigators to the Roman fort in central Newcastle on the mediaeval site of the Castle of Newcastle- upon-Tyne. In the west of Newcastle the course of the Valium is engaging the attention of the committee, and it would seem probable that this great earthwork turned southwards to the Tyne before reaching the top of Westgate Hill. No trace of its mighty ditch can be found in the Summerhill Grove district. To the west of Newcastle a number of turrets and mile castles were located by the committee in the autumn of 1928, and opposite the Elizabethan mansion of East Denton Hall an interesting turret on the wall has been excavated by the committee in May, 1929, by Mr. E. B. Birley, B.A., of Oxford, acting for the Committee. This excavation has produced valuable results. The committee (Mr. E. B. Birley in charge) are now begin- ning operations on a site of a mile castle located in 1928 at Chapel-house Farm on the east of Walbottle Colliery village (The Blucher Pit). As this site has an interior build. ing (the only one known in a mile castle on the wall) the excavations this month should reveal valuable evidence and add considerably to our knowledge of the mile castle interior arrangements. Visitors will be welcome after June 19th, and a small charge will be made during working hours.

The costs of the various excavations outside the municipal areas are being borne by private subscription, and the corn.. mittee will be very grateful to any reader who cares to support the enterprises by subscribing to the funds. Any donation will be welcome and should be sent to the Hon. Treasurer of the Committee, Mr. A. W. Price, 23 Grey Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Subscribers will receive the printed report of the committee.—I am, Sir, &c., G. R. B. SPAIN