Southwark & Lambeth Archaeological Society (SLAS)

Southwark & Lambeth Archaeological Society (SLAS)


Membership Secretary:    Membership Secretary, 35 Waveney Avenue, Peckham Rye, London, SE15 3UQ

Secretary:                               Richard Buchanan,

Aim: `To promote the study and knowledge of the history and archaeology of the area within the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark’

The Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society was formed in 1965 amidst a wave of intense enthusiasm and activity when many potential archaeological sites were under threat from developers. Its aim was to organise volunteer diggers to deal with the large amount of material already excavated, and take on new sites, under the auspices of the Southwark Archaeological Excavation Committee. Many of those early members developed a lifelong interest in archaeology and several are still active members of SLAS. Subsequent work undertaken by the two groups enabled a reassessment of previous work on Roman and Medieval Southwark.

SLAS has been in the forefront of post medieval archaeology and pottery sites. Research has established the wealth of potteries that existed in the area from the 16thC-I9thC. In 1968 the first tinglaze pottery kiln to be discovered in the UK was excavated in Lambeth and others were found in Montague Close in Southwark in 1969. The processing of excavation material at Montague Close continues today. Other individual projects, such as clay tobacco pipes, coins and mineral water bottles, were also researched.

From the 1970s archaeology has become an increasingly professional activity with a substantial increase in funding, government guidelines and local authority changes. By 1983 the Museum of London Archaeology Service (MoLAS) and contractors were responsible for most projects within Greater London, a service funded by English Heritage and individual developers. The professional archaeologist, perhaps with experienced volunteers, replaced the weekend amateur although opportunities still exist on some sites for individuals to take part in excavations. SLAS subsequently included a local history interest to widen its membership and to encourage those both interested in, and working on, projects on archaeology, local and family history.

Our programme, open to visitors, runs from October to July and consists of eight monthly lecture meetings, covering archaeological and local history topics. The evening walk in June, in or adjacent to the local area, lasts about two hours. A Saturday coach trip in July usually visits venues perhaps unfamiliar to many of our members. Regular reports of all our activities appear in the quarterly newsletter as do a wealth of original contributions. Articles for publication are always welcome, particularly from those involved in individual research. Items of particular interest and publicity from other organisations are included when possible.

Details of excavations requiring volunteers in and around London can be obtained from our secretary

Lectures are held monthly on the second Tuesday at 7.30p.m at the Housing Co-operative, 106 The Cut SE1, (direct entrance from the raised walkway), almost opposite the Old Vic (see map). Coffee or tea and biscuits are available from 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome but are asked to contribute £1 towards expenses.

The annual membership subscription is £7, due in October, giving free access to lectures, a quarterly newsletter and publicity for similar organisations and events. Donations to help offset our increasing costs are always welcome.