London Crossrail the New Churchyard AD 1569 to AD 1714

Document type: Journal Publication
Author: Jay Carver BA (Hons) MIFA
Publication Date: 30/11/2012

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  • Abstract

    In AD1569 a new burial ground was set out in the north of the City of London to cope with the ever increasing demands for burial space within the local parishes. Increasing population, together with 16th century disease epidemics had created an urgent demand for more space and the new metropolitan solution for large extra-urban cemeteries in the suburbs was still some 300 years away.

    The Bethlem Burial ground, an acre of land adjacent to the infamous hospital, operated for some 200 years. During this time many thousands of interments took place, mostly in simple wood coffins or shrouds, and  exceptionally in family brick tombs. When it was discontinued the land was raised sufficiently and the cemetery disappeared from trace below new street layouts and buildings of the Georgian urban housing boom.

    In the mid-19th century (1861) the construction of the new Broad Street Station and underground ticket hall in the northern part of the cemetery no doubt came across human remains, but in the spirit of the day, there was insufficient notice taken to halt or alter the works. In 1985, development again struck the northern part of the site during redevelopment of the station to create London’s largest new business district at the time, the Broadgate Centre. This time, archaeologists from the Department of Urban Archaeology at the Museum of London were able to carefully excavate a sample of the burial ground.

    The final phase of the depositional history of the site is now being played out in advance of construction of the new Crossrail underground ticket hall which will remove the remaining undisturbed southern part of the burial ground. This paper will look at the historiographical background to the current research, the planning issues surrounding choices in research agenda, methodology, public relations and reburial of the remains.

    This paper was published in ‘the Proceedings of CHNT 17’, 17th International Conference on ‘Cultural Heritage and New Technologies’ Vienna, 2012, and can be accessed here.

  • Authors

    Photo of Jay Carver

    Jay Carver BA (Hons) MIFA - Crossrail Ltd

    Lead Archaeologist, Crossrail

    Jay was appointed by Crossrail to the technical directorate to author and develop the standards and procedures, procurement model, development of scope and specification for the archaeology framework contracts, tender evaluation of technical submissions, and oversee design consultant deliverables for the Crossrail Archaeology programme in 2006. He joined the Crossrail delivery team in 2010 to oversee completion of the detailed scope and programme design by Crossrail’s design consultant framework, liaise with all projects across the programme to ensure archaeology and non-listed built heritage works were successfully integrated into project programmes.

    Between 2010 and 2016 he has overseen  the successful delivery  of all archaeology survey and mitigation works during construction of Crossrail.  He acted as Crossrail lead spokesperson for archaeology stakeholder, community relations and media events during the course of the programme.

    Jay’s previous infrastructure experience includes project lead archaeologist for numerous major highway schemes (including the 28Km A46 Newark to Widmerpool dual carriageway in Nottinghamshire) and the London DLR City Airport extension, and as Senior Archaeologist for the High Speed 1 Channel Tunnel Rail Link project between Folkestone and London St Pancras.

    Jay has delivered numerous conference papers and lectures on the archaeology of the Crossrail project, some of which can be found in the legacy section, and he is author of the Historic Environment and archaeology sections in the CEEQUAL manual, and CIRIA Environmental good practice on site guide (4th Edition), and Cultural Heritage sections in the Highways England DMRB (various, including Vol. 10 Design Guidance). He is co-author of the CIRIA best practice guidance Archaeology and Development (2008).