|St Mary's Additional Burial Ground||Tower Hamlets|
Formerly the additional burial ground for St Mary Matfelon, Whitechapel and Whitechapel Workhouse, this is now an area of open space within a modern housing estate. The land was consecrated for burial in 1796 and closed in 1853.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2012
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Site of St Mary's Additional Burial Ground, August 2010. Photo: S Williams
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The land was used as an additional burial ground for St Mary Matfelon, Whitechapel, whose churchyard is now Altab Ali Park (q.v.). It was the burial ground of the Whitechapel Workhouse, which had been built in 1768 over a former graveyard, with the land to the north set aside for burials and consecrated in 1796. Near the workhouse was the Davenant Foundation School founded in 1680. The entrance to the burial gound was from St Mary's Street, to the north of Whitechapel Road. When it was closed for burial in an order dated 9 May 1853 it was referred to as the Whitechapel Workhouse and Schools Ground. According to Mrs Basil Holmes, writing in 1896, the exact easterly extent of the burial ground is hard to ascertain, but it appeared that 'the recent addition to the school in Whitechapel Road' was built on part of the ground. She went on to comment: 'In 1833 the size was given as 2,776 square yards, but it was stated that in 1832 196 chlolera cases were interreed in an adjoining piece of ground. This is probably what is now used as a stone-yard, with carts in it'. In 2005 during refurbishment of the nearby Davenant Centre at 179-181 Whitechapel Road, human remains were discovered.
The westerly end of what is now Old Montague Street had existed as Montague Street by at least the 1670s when the area around Brick Lane was developing; the easterly section known as Prince's Street probably dates from the C18th. The site of the former mortuary of the Whitechapel Workhouse was built over by new buildings for Davenant School in 1898 and the burial ground appears to have been used as a playground. The area detoriated following WWII and eventually much of the land was redeveloped as housing and offices. The site of the old burial ground is now within a housing estate, but remains public open space.
Mrs Basil Holmes, 'The London Burial Grounds', (London) 1896; Robert Bard, 'Graveyard London' (Historical Publications, 2008