Like the first cuckoo of spring, we detect the first signs of a general election campaign in the air. The Glimpse of the Past on page 8 is therefore topical, and may help us keep a sense of perspective in the days to come. Many of our current politicians and public figures are colourful - any nominations for a modern election as the Mayor of Garrett?

On page 14 there is Glimpse of the Past about the Iron Age and Roman past of Beddington. Sadly, the Roman Villa is no more, lost when gravel extraction started at the site, although, luckily, a serious excavation was carried out in 1986 before it was lost forever.

There is enough in this glimpse, however, to underline the point still debated within the Museum - in pre modern times, is there a real distinction between industrial and social history? Probably not, although the argument still rumbles. All old communities had to be self sufficient, which meant manufacturing and industry were integral to society. In ancient times, this meant survival. In medieval times, the great monasteries, and castles, were as much centres of industry as the cities.

Even in modern times, the planners recognise that, without the integration of a viable commercial element, residential development is lacking in purpose. As illustrated by the discussion on the development plans at Merton Abbey Mills (see article), this affects us all, still.

Nicholas Hart

The Wandle Industrial Museum would like to point out that the views of contributors to this newsletter are not necessarily the views of the Museum. We would be happy to give the right to reply to anyone who finds the content contentious.

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