It is hard to believe that Hobley’s Heroes has now been in existence for over six years, having been conceived in 2010, and subsequently aired on Facebook in 2013. The initial aim and raison d'être of the site, was to document the life and times of the hundreds of largely forgotten archaeologists who worked for the DUA, by gathering together the fragmentary scraps of paper and photos that document their lives, working on excavations across the City of London in the period 1973-1991.
The story of the DUA, though central in the story of the rise of commercial urban archaeology in London, is nonetheless, only a single piece in a much larger story that has its origins in the aftermath of World War Two. Working amongst the ruins of the Blitzed City, the pioneering work of Professor Grimes and his assistant Audrey Williams, in conjunction with Ivor Noël Hume, and later Peter Marsden working for the Guildhall Museum, started a profession that continues to this day, with excavations on redevelopment sites across the City.
Anyone who worked with the DUA in the early days, will know that the unit co-existed with a number of other London units, including: Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Excavation Committee (SLAEC); the South-West London Archaeological Unit (SWLAU); the West London Archaeological Unit (WLAU); and the Inner London Archaeological Unit (ILAU), set up by the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS). From the mid-1970s to 1991, three organisations took on the ‘responsibility’ for different areas of Greater London. Almost all the professional archaeological work in the northern, western and southern Greater London boroughs was carried out by the Museum of London’s Department of Greater London Archaeology (DGLA). The Museum’s Department of Urban Archaeology (DUA) covered the City of London. The north-east London boroughs were covered by the Passmore Edwards Museum, part of Newham Borough Council; and archaeological work in the south-east was carried out by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit (KARU).
Our Contributors so far are:
LAARC (Cath Maloney)
The London Archaeologist
(The Archaeological Data Service (ADS))
London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Digital Archive
Hobley's Heroes is being compiled by Ian Blair and John Burke-Easton