Bunhill Fields, just to the north of the City of London, is one of the capital’s most famous burial grounds and particularly noted as the final resting place of many of London’s nonconformist Christians. Close to Bunhill Fields is another green space, its history as a burial ground much less conspicuous than that of its famous neighbour. But like Bunhill Fields, Quaker Gardens has a long history of burial and religious dissent. I visited Quaker Gardens on a sunny winter afternoon in early 2020 to see what remained of this historic site.
Many people walking past the wall of St Bartholomew’s Hospital on West Smithfield, close to the memorial to William Wallace, stop to look at a series of craters and marks on the wall that look as though they were caused by an explosion of some sort. These scars are from a devastating V2 rocket attack on the area during the Second World War, but this wasn’t the first aerial attack to bring death and destruction to this part of London. Bartholomew Close, not far from the scarred walls, was hit during one of the very first air raids on London, a terrifying Zeppelin raid in 1915.