I could imagine the school and a pile of schools above it, moving slowly but surely downhill and even uphill, forced by the weight behind, wrenching off rocks in its path and engulfing them. No way to stop itself. A cliff on castors.

A huge cliff of solid ice over a thousand feet high, moving south at less than the pace of any snail, ripping pieces of rock and stone, large and small, from the ground beneath it and carrying them away. Gathering stones and fossils from the different rock formations wherever it passed.

Now the teacher was waving a pamphlet. In 1850 a piece of Coppetts Wood had been felled to build St James's School. A little further into the wood was a Gravel Pit where people had dug gravel and sand for their paths for years. They might even have dug sand for the mortar to build this very school. In 1874 a strange discovery had been made in the Coldfall Wood Gravel Pit. A Mr Wetherell had found a deposit of fossils and rocks jumbled together only a few feet below the surface. There were fossils and pieces of granite, slate and chalk, all embedded in Oxfordshire Clays. Large Chalk nodules had been found in Tetherdown, where I walked each day, yet the nearest chalk was miles away.


The original map from the 1874 pamphlet
The Glacial Drift of Muswell Hill and Finchley

 

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