Worthington George Smith (1835–1917) and the archaeology of the Stoke Newington area
The name of Worthington George Smith will be familiar to many of you. The pioneering Palaeolithic archaeologist passed away on 27 October 1917 and the Lithic Studies Society has organised an informal event to commemorate the centenary of his death.
Born within a stone’s throw of the British Museum’s Franks House, Hoxton, Smith lived in various north London suburbs for the first fifty years of his life. Inspired by Evans’ The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons, and Ornaments, of Great Britain (1872), he began to collect and publish on archaeological material from the Stoke Newington area in 1877. The capital was expanding fast, making it an ideal time to enter the fledgling world of Palaeolithic archaeology: new buildings, especially those with basements, fresh transport networks, extensive brickfields and >5 m-deep graves provided a host of artefact-bearing exposures. Diagnosed with a heart condition in 1884, he moved to Dunstable in the following year where he enhanced his burgeoning reputation with sites such as Caddington, Gaddesden Row and Round Green.
The LSS excursion, led by Nick Ashton, Simon Lewis and Peter Hoare, will take place on Friday 27 October. It will start from the main gates of Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington High Street, at 2 pm. We shall visit a number of his best known sites, attempting to highlight details of the landscape and geology that were familiar to Smith but are now fairly comprehensively covered by the built environment. The excursion will end at around 4.30 pm in The Coach & Horses, Stoke Newington High Street, where we will raise a glass or three to the teetotal Worthington George Smith.