ARCHAEOLOGISTS have begun controversial excavation work at a 230-year-old London cemetery which is likely to unearth 60,000 skeletons, as well as a treasure trove of history, to make way of the new HS2 high speed railway link between London and Birmingham.
The remains of 1,200 people have been exhumed so far, with new pictures showing painstaking work to remove thick clay from coffins.
The work is part of an exhaustive project which will delve bad 10,000 years into the past as the team works its way along the 150-mile HS2 route. The land at St James’s Gardens, formerly the site of a late 18th and 19th century burial ground adjacent to London Euston, is needed for the station’s expansion as it gears up for HS2.
Tens of thousands of skeletons are being removed, and protests and a memorial service were held last week in advance of work getting underway.
Lord Gordon led a mob which marched from St George’s Fields to the Houses of Parliament, triggering anti-Catholic riots.
Also buried there is famed navigator Matthew Flinders, who entered the navy at the age of 15 and served with Captain Bligh.
They are working alongside Historic England and the Church of England to “put appropriate plans in place for reburial”.
Heritage website A London Inheritance described the loss of St James’s Gardens as “unusual”.