There’s an exhibition inside London Bridge station, showing off what they found underneath the station during the recent rebuilding works.
The objects on display come from the excavations that took place between 2012 and 2017, and offer important insights into the area before the railway arrived in the 1830s.
The location is doubly important as London Bridge happens to sit right on top of the remains of a long lost 14th-century manor house, which was chopped up into ever smaller plots over over the centuries, until the railway amalgamated them once more.
Possibly from the manor house, they found some richly decorated, and for the time exceptionally expensive 13th century floor tiles. The excavations found huge numbers of pins, as there was a pin-making workshop on the site in the 1500s, along with that other staple of the area, clay pipes.
Rather less appealing to think about, but of considerable interest to archeologists, they found an old cesspit, and even though it was over 160 years since it had last been used, it still stank. There’s also the chamber pots that filled the cesspit, and too looking too similar for comfort if fumbling around in the dark, some cooking pots are on display.
What the exhibition offers is a snapshot of life before London Bridge station existed, and it’s really exciting to see these objects not in a museum, but out in the public areas where vastly more people are likely to stumble upon them, and maybe even spark an interest in history in the next generation of archaeologists.