Unearth the rail heritage that shaped London

MOLA team
04.04.2011

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) and Museum of London Archaeology  are inviting the local community to come and unearth history at the archaeological excavation of a 19th century Goods Yard at Brill Place, Somers Town, on Saturday 16 April and Monday 18 - Thursday 21 April.

The archaeological exploration is taking place ahead of construction of the UKCMRI. Before building commences archaeologists will be excavating the site to unravel its rich industrial history. The public open days are an opportunity for locals to visit the archaeological site and see the dig in full swing. There will be a chance to speak with the archaeologists about their work and what has been discovered. Objects from the dig will be on display and children will get the chance to don a hardhat and try their hand at digging.

Before the goods yard was constructed in 1887 the land was occupied by slum housing. In its time, the goods yard played an important role in the everyday lives of Londoners. It was a massive centre for the distribution of fresh products, such as milk and fish. The goods were brought into London by train, early each morning, from the countryside in the east of England and the Midlands. The yard was heavily bombed in WWII and eventually demolished in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Chief Executive of UKCMRI, Paul Nurse, said: “This area has an interesting history and it is important that it is fully explored archaeologically before UKCMRI is built.  We very much look forward to seeing the results of the Museum of London explorations on the site.”

Museum of London Archaeologist Louise Davies said: “The excavation at Somers Town Goods Yard will offer a more complete picture of the fascinating industrial history of the Kings Cross area. The community activities on the site give Londoners a chance to see the excavations up close. Aspiring young archaeologists will have the opportunity to find out more about how archaeology works in London and can even have a go themselves.”

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