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Kids dig for history at Stepney Green’s Crossrail site

PUBLISHED: 18:00 25 January 2011

The Museum of London's Senior Archaeologist David Sankey shows Redlands School pupils around the remains of Worcester House, Stepney.

The Museum of London's Senior Archaeologist David Sankey shows Redlands School pupils around the remains of Worcester House, Stepney.

Archant

Construction work will start in March in Stepney Green Park towards the rail lines which will eventually cross London and surrounding areas from 2018.

Before then, archaeologists from Museum of London have been excavating in the park and part of the Stepping Stones city farm in the hope of finding remains of Worcester House, a manor house built in 1597.

David Sankey, the museum’s senior archaeologist, and his team have already unearthed part of its tower and today (Tuesday) he showed eager young pupils from Redlands Primary School in Redman’s Road what they had uncovered.

The house was later used as a Baptist college and the archaeologists expect to uncover remains of 19th century slum housing as well.

Muhib Ali, seven, said: “It was exciting. He told us that in the 19th century, there was no water for the toilets so people got lots of diseases.”

The children had a go at digging themselves at All Saints Church in Stepney High Street, where museum staff had set up two sand boxes filled with genuine Roman artefacts, including mosaic tiles and animal bones.

Mr Sankey said: “The children get to have a go in a safe environment and learn some of the basics of archaeology.”

The archaeological site will eventually house a deep service shaft and will mark the point where the Crossrail line splits in two after Whitechapel station, with one tunnel going to a new Canary Wharf station and the other going to Stratford.

Jay Carver, Crossrail’s project archaeologist for, predicted that nearly all of the remains around the shaft will be preserved.

There will then be discussions between Crossrail and the Museum of London over how best to record and possibly exhibit what has to be removed to accommodate the 35 metre deep shaft.

Construction work is scheduled to start in March with an above-ground building above the shaft to be constructed by 2016 and the park to be restored to its original size by 2017.


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