|St Andrew’s Burial Ground,
Gray's Inn Road.
An attractive ground, with more gravestones left in situ than usual and flower beds instead of too much easy to mow grass. There is evidence of extensive subsidence here, with sinking paths and lopsided gravestones.
The church has gone, and has been replaced by a startlingly white and modern apartment block. Presumably the row of adjacent buildings were built in the burial ground at some point after it was closed.
The part south of where the church used to be is still quite untidy (see Holmes below) though the lumber has gone.
In 1819 a Mr Gilbert tried to have his wife buried in this ground in an iron coffin, as he had 'a great dread that her remains might be despoiled'. The authorities demanded a special fee of £10. Mr Gilbert wouldn't pay. In June of that year there was a 'disgraceful riot and disturbance' at the ground when an attempt was made to bury Mrs.Gilbert, the upshot of which being that Mr Bridgeman, the patentee of the iron coffin, was hauled off to the compter on a charge of assault. (He had upset the sexton by suggesting that he didn't like iron coffins because he couldn't get the bodies out, but who hit whom first was never established)
After much argument with the ecclesiastical authorities Mr Gilbert presented a petition to parliament, which was ignored. In 1820 it came before the Consistory court. Deliberations took five months. Eventually it was held that iron coffins, being durable, required a longer lease of the ground, and thus a higher fee was justified. However, Mr Gilbert got his way on a legal technicality, and in November 1820 Mrs Gilbert, who had spent over a year and a half in the St Andrew's bone-house, was finally laid to rest.
1¼ acres. This ground belongs to the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, adjoins the church of Holy Trinity, and is maintained as a public garden by the St. Pancras Vestry. It is well kept, except a railed-off piece south of the church, which is a sort of lumber-room. (Holmes)
|The Burial-ground of St. George's,
The Burial-ground of St. George the Martyr, Bloomsbury.
Well maintained public garden. To the south, there is a walled-off area attached to the Coram family centre. This is used as a playground.
These are out of Wakefield Street, Gray's Inn Road, and together form one public garden maintained by the St. Pancras Vestry, and very well kept. A part of the latter, which was consecrated in 1714 is still closed. Each ground is 1¼ acres in extent. There are vaults under the church in Hart Street. (Holmes)
Walled off area attached to Coram Centre
Whitfield's Tabernacle Burial-ground, Tottenham Court Road.
Workhouse ground of St Paul's, Covent Garden, in Cleveland Street.
The land for
the workhouse & burial ground was originally acquired on a lease
from the Duke of Bedford, and the workhouse was built - the front
building which still stands fronting onto Cleveland Street today. It was
originally an H block, with slightly longer wings at the back than at
could not be consecrated for burial because the Church would not
countenance consecrating leasehold land, so in the end the Duke of
Bedford agreed to grant the freehold - he was the parish patron after
all. That's why there was the delay until 1790. The Bishop of London
consecrated the REST of the site (i.e. the land not under the footprint
of the workhouse building) in 1790 in a big ceremonial event.
site was therefore ready to receive the dead poor of the parish. The
trouble was that under the New Poor Law of 1834, the workhouse was
designated the Strand Union Workhouse, the workhouse for a Union of a
number of parishes in the Strand area... and the pressure on the site
was therefore constant through to the mid-19th century - constant
pressure to accommodate the dead, and ditto for them to make room for
If you look
at the site from above on Google Earth, you'll see that the rear wards
have been replaced with some splendid Nightingale wards (1870s) and that
smaller buildings line both lateral boundaries, as well as the rear
boundary with the properties in Charlotte Street, except where the rear
access gate stands. I understand that the Nightingale Wards have no
basements, and that they were built on concrete floats as the soil was
so unstable, even 20 years after the burial ground was closed to further
burials in the mid-century burial reforms. Also that when a new lift
shaft was added to the south side of the front H block in the late
1990s, a word-of-mouth report from a local building worker involved in
digging the foundations human remains reveals that were found under what
had always been regarded as the side path.
was taken over by the Middlesex Hospital in the 1920s and became a
state-of-the-art surgical & maternity annexe, and later the
Outpatients' department until 2005/6, when that fine historic hospital
was closed and demolished.
In 2010 I was
approached by local people trying to save the Workhouse from demolition,
and I became involved in the campaign to save it. We managed to get the
front building listed Grade 2, which is splendid. The government agreed
to the listing because I had discovered in the nick of time that Charles
Dickens had twice lived 9 doors from the workhouse, for over 4 years in
what was a rather itinerant childhood: 1815-16 (his first home in
London) and 1828-31 (when he was a young clerk and newspaper reporter).
He would have been able to hear the workhouse bell, smell the place,
he'd have seen the queues outside, burials passing in, the Beadle - you
name it! The press got hold of the story and whoosh - Oliver Twist's
workhouse! With the Dickens Centenary in 2012, the Government certainly
saw it would not be politic to allow its demolition. In fact the press
was not far off the mark - I found a number of parallels between the
workhouse in Oliver Twist and the one in Cleveland Street. The clincher
was when I found right opposite the workhouse was a shop run by a man
named Bill Sykes!
involvement with the workhouse campaign was partly motivated by my
commitment to the dead in the soil. Unfortunately, the Church of England
has done nothing to help defend them - even though the Bishop said in
1790 that the land was consecrated to prevent any indignity to the dead
So the burial
ground is still there under the buildings, and it is unprotected from
soon need to be a battle over it - and I hope that you & readers of
the website will rally round when the time comes.
Vault: St. Pancras New Church.
Vault: Foundling Chapel.
Built around 1745 and associated with Handel Chapel demolished c. 1920. No information on how many burials there were in the vault, though Coram was buried there. His monument was moved to St Andrew's Holborn, though it is not clear what happened to Coram.
St Peter's Regent Square
Built 1822-4. Bombed during the war and demolished.