A medieval charnel house below the streets of Spitalfields

Today, Spitalfields often feels like something of a battleground between the area’s rich and varied heritage and the seemingly unstoppable march of gentrification and redevelopment.  Located on the north-eastern edge of the City of London, in recent decades it has been transformed from a mostly working-class district that was home to textile producers and a large fruit and vegetable market to a hub for high-end boutiques and trendy restaurants.  It was the construction of a new office block in 1999 that led to the rediscovery of a medieval charnel house – the oldest building in Spitalfields – which had lain undiscovered for around 300 years.  Fortunately, the discovery generated enough interest that the office developers chose to incorporate the building’s remains into the new development, and today a glass panel allows the charnel house to be viewed from street level, while a flight of stairs leads down to the ruins themselves, which can be seen behind glass.  This little building gives the visitor a rare glimpse into medieval Spitalfields which was home not to market buildings or office blocks but to a hospital and an extensive burial ground.

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The abandoned Temperance Hospital in Euston

Not far from London’s Euston station is a slightly spooky old derelict building.  The former London Temperance Hospital on Hampstead Road has been closed for many years now, leaving a shell of mismatched buildings falling into disrepair.  The idea of a hospital set up by members of the temperance movement intrigued me, so I decided not only to have a closer look at the old hospital itself but also dig into its history.

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