Cleveland Street Workhouse

Plans to develop the site at Cleveland Street Workhouse have been brought to HAD’s attention recently.

Honouring the Ancient Dead exists to promote greater respect for and empathy with the ancient dead. Generally these include our long dead ancestors, but can include more recently deceased people, where, as here, their graves are vulnerable and not cared for e.g. as part of church yards or formal cemeteries.

In the case of this paupers graveyard, our preference would be to leave the graves undisturbed, but if disinterrment is agreed, then exhumation should be carried out as respectfully as possible by a specialist archaeological unit and following our guidelines available on HAD’s website. We are happy to provide further advice if required.

Above all it should be remembered that these are the remains of people (the spiritual if not the physical ancestors of modern Londoners), who died not that long ago. Their lives should be commemorated in some appropriate way. A plaque in memory of all the people who lived and died in this workhouse could for instance be set up as part of the future development. And those involved should follow an obligation of care to share information with local groups who may have an interest in the deceased – historical groups, churches, schools.

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