China’s plans could trigger an epidemic
British media have published materials expressing their concern over China’s plans to build its largest European embassy in east London. The place where the planned large-scale construction rests the bodies of thousands of victims of the bubonic plague. This was told in the “Historical England” company.
Beijing bought the former Royal Mint next to the Tower of London for £ 250 million in 2018 and began consultations with residents last month.
The PRC wants to create a “hospitable public face of China” with office space and staff quarters, as the embassy in Marylebone becomes already cramped for the diplomatic mission.
The Royal Mint was built in 1809 on the site of the Cistercian Abbey of Saint Mary of Grace, in the cemetery of which were the mass graves of the victims of the Black Death.
Tower Hamlets councilors today expressed concern that China’s plans to build safe basements and underground conference rooms would disrupt the abbey’s bodies and foundations.
Director Peter Golds said: “This place is of great historical importance. I am worried that this site will contain foundations and artifacts … as well as burial places for the victims of the Black Death. “
The Black Death is the deadliest plague in human history, claiming the lives of up to 200 million people worldwide. The epidemic is believed to have reached England in June 1348. It was brought by sailors who arrived in Weymouth from France. It has mowed between 30 and 50 percent of Londoners.
Part of the Royal Mint was excavated between 1986 and 1988, resulting in the discovery of three mass graves with 762 bodies.
Further excavations may reveal even more bodies.
Golds added: “Only a portion of the site has been excavated, and therefore I ask Historic England to conduct a full and proper survey of the site to ensure that the former foundations of the abbey are protected for future generations.”
“In addition, I hope there will be an investigation to see if the proposed developments are hampering the unexcavated repositories.
“In such a case, steps should be taken to remove the remains with care and dignity.”
Mr. Golds added: “Only part of the site has been excavated and therefore I ask Historic England to conduct a complete and proper survey of the site to ensure that the former foundations of the abbey are protected for future generations.”
Historic England has confirmed that it is partnering with the Greater London Archeology Advisory Service.
“Any advice from Historic England provided at the stage of preparation for filing an application is confidential,” it said.
The archaeological site at the site is included in the same Level 1 Archaeological Priority Zone as the Tower of London, and the former Royal Mint is listed as a Level 2 Archaeological Site.