The long term future of the Crossbones Graveyard in Southwark has been secured after the housing development next to it signed a renewable 30-year lease with the local group, Friends of Crossbones.

At the moment, they have a 2-year lease on the site which had made fundraising for its long term future difficult, and its future had been put in doubt by a housing and retail development occurring next to the site.

Crossbones (c) Lewis Khan

As part of the planning permission granted last year, a 30-year lease was agreed upon, and that’s now been formally signed by the developer, U+I and Transport for London (TfL) who own the development site.

The disused graveyard, on the corner of Union Street and Redcross Way and close to London Bridge, was estimated to hold the remains of some 15,000 people when it was closed in 1853. A paupers’ graveyard, it is thought that Crossbones was originally established as an unconsecrated burial ground for sex workers and those on the margins of society.

From 2006, the local group Friends of Crossbones worked to preserve the graveyard. In 2014, they began working with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) to open a public garden of remembrance.

Under the plans for the neighbouring development, TfL and U+I will also be providing landscaping improvements that will be delivered as part of the Landmark Court scheme.

They have also committed to providing annual funding to BOST to support the maintenance of the garden and enable wardens to be on site during public opening hours, which will be extended.

The support package will be delivered through the planning obligations attached to the Landmark Court development.

Work is expected to start on site in 2021 and to complete in 2024.

(c) Landmark Court

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