Crossrail unearths 4,000 skeletons at Liverpool Street station site

Thousands of skeletons from a medieval hospital burial site are having to be carefully removed before Crossrail can go ahead with its proposed station below Liverpool Street main-line terminal.

One of the two ticket halls on the construction plans is directly above the 16th century grounds of the old Bethlehem Royal Hospital, it has emerged.

Archaeologists from the Museum of London are carefully examining the bones this week, recording and preserving City heritage and history.

Excavating the human remains will have to be completed before construction starts, Crossrail has confirmed. The skeletons are to be reburied after consultations with the Ministry of Justice.

Details were revealed when Crossrail announced who has won the main construction contract for the new station complex, which has gone to Laing O’Rourke civil engineers, subject to a 10-day ‘stand still’ period under European procurement rules.

Programme director Andy Mitchell said: “High quality bids were received for Liverpool Street, as well as other proposed stations at Whitechapel and Farringdon.”

Construction gets under way later this year on the new station behind Bishopsgate, just minutes walk from Spitalfields. The new complex below the existing Liverpool Street concourse at one end and Moorgate station at the other will have direct interchange connections to five Underground lines, the Central from Bethnal Green, Metropolitan and Circle from Aldgate, Hammersmith & City from Whitechapel and Northern from Old Street.

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It has two ticket halls, at Broadgate and Moorgate. The Broadgate entrance at the Liverpool Street end is directly above the ancient Bethlehem cemetery where investigations by archaeologists on contract to Crossrail from the Museum of London have confirmed the presence of 4,000 complete human skeletons, buried just 8ft below street level.

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