The BBC’s Tom Edwards got up close with some dead bodies yesterday as part of a news report into the discovery of a graveyard roughly where Crossrail’s Liverpool Street ticket hall will be.

I jokingly commented yesterday on Twitter that they should leave the skeletons in place, and build the ticket hall on top with a glass floor to see the dead bodies. In truth, totally impractical and hideously expensive.

However, how about constructing a Charnel House in the station?

A what?

A Charnel House is a vault or building where human skeletal remains are stored. They are often built near churches for depositing bones that are unearthed while digging fresh graves.

The bones found in Liverpool Street are going to be removed anyway and some will end up in a vault in the depths of the Museum of London, while others will be reintered in a mass grave somewhere. I think it would tick a lot of boxes to leave them in the place they were originally buried, but in a modern day Charnel House – with a glass wall to show them off, and remind people of the deep heritage the site enjoys.

I doubt it would cost more than a few thousands to set aside a bit of space in a corner of the ticket hall where lingering observers wouldn’t cause a problem with passenger flows.

What do you think – crazy idea or nice thing to do?

Incidentally, there is an old Charnel House on display nearby, in Spittlefield next to a newish office block. There is a glass wall to peer in – although the bones were long removed – and occasionally they open it up to let people wander around.

Also, if you want to see an ongoing archaeology site – then starting next Saturday there will be guided tours of the site behind the British Library – but only for a few days. Details here.

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3 Comments

  1. Richard Newman

    Good idea – it could easily be incorporated in an alcove off a passenger foot tunnel – which would then become The Charnel Tunnel! :-)

    • IanVisits

      Ouch!

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