'A History of Covent Garden'
Much of the information in the History Section is from 'Save
the Jubilee Hall' published by Random Thoughts London and our thanks go to the authors Chuck Anderson
and Ray Green for their kind permission to use it on these pages, (This
site is supported by the sale
of '3D' Scape maps of the area and the book
You can find more historical references by typing
your keywords into the seach panel where it says 'search here'.
The Jubilee Hall Site Uncovers Covent Garden’s
Mysterious Past (page 1)
The Jubilee Hall was originally built in 1904 as part of the Covent Garden wholesale fruit
and vegetable market on ground formerly occupied by the garden of Bedford House, home of
Francis Russell, the fourth Earl of Bedford. It was he who instructed Inigo Jones to create
London’s first and noblest square, the Covent Garden
Piazza, on his property in 1630.
The Jubilee Hall was redeveloped and opened in 1987 but it was soon after excavation began
in 1985 that the digger’s shovels broke through into deep
vaults. The old vaults were full of loose backfill and apart from the
bottom of a few scattered pits all archaeological deposits had been
removed long ago
Then quite unexpectedly, the north-east corner, under two former house plots turned out to be
only semi-basemented, and beneath these the mechanical shovel bit into
a layer of 'dark earth' deposits of original
decayed organic matter. Further scraping revealed a narrow rectangle of
discoloured earth which someone, centuries before had dugout and then
replaced the soil and gravel. It was a shallow grave.
Digging carefully by hand, an archaeological team uncovered the remains of a
human skeleton. It lay on an east-west axis at the ancient layer, and may have
been buried in an open field between 530 and 675 AD. It was an adult male, about
5’ 8” (1.7 metres), who had been placed lying face down with hands pushed to the
right side of the body. The body, possibly whose wrists had been tied together,
seemed to have been rolled into the grave for it lay awkwardly on its left side.
The left ulna had sustained a ‘parry’ fracture, so called because it was a
frequent result of fending off a blow with the forearm. A lone burial of this
type in the prone position usually indicates that the deceased was an outcast,
a stranger or criminal. Some were buried alive.
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