Cross Bones Graveyard

In the Southwark area of London with the looming Shard in the distance lies the Cross bones Graveyard. The small unconsecrated area that is still believed to hold the remains of over 1500 people.

Commonly referred to as a prostitutes graveyard, excavations of the site which began in 1991 revealed that in fact two thirds of those found were under the age of five. Despite its early links with the red light district, over the years it became a paupers cemetery, which was finally closed in 1853 with overcrowding at such a point that coffins were said to be placed just two feet from the surface.

In the early 1990’s excavations removed 148 skeletons from the top layers of soil, leaving almost 99% of the total still in the graveyard, packed below the surface. Today ribbons and messages adorn the metal railings and the site has become a symbolic place to remember the outcast dead. The graveyard itself has become a garden in which, on the 23rd of each month, a small ceremony of remembrance takes place.

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