Dozens of post-medieval and modern remains could be lying underneath the busy streets of Shoreditch.
Archaeologists believe commercial offices around 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, 1-5 Chance Street and 30-32 Redchurch Street are sitting on top of remains dating back to as early as 1540.
Tower Hamlets Council recently granted permission for developer BC Shoreditch Limited, to demolish existing buildings on the same site to make way for a mixed-use development that is part three, seven and nine storeys high.
The council would need to approve the archaeology investigation, which would put a pause to the recently-approved development. BC Shoreditch Limited has acknowledged the archaeological potential on the site in a document on Tower Hamlets’ planning portal.
The area could have the potential to lie within the 1642 to 1643 Civil War defensive boundary protecting London, which would have been made up of ditches and banks around 230m away from the site, planning firm Waterman Group has said.
As part of a stage 1 report to Tower Hamlets Council, the company said some evidence of post-medieval (1540-1900) to modern (1900-to present) has already been found within the site. Archaeologists have proposed a trial period, which would involve a trial trenching programme once the site has been demolished to “slab level”.
Archaeologists are hoping to find structural remains from the former Old Nichols slum, which housed East London’s poor communities during the late 17th century until the late 19th century. There is also potential to find structural remains from the now-demolished Huntingdon Buildings, which were built after the East London slums were knocked down.
Waterman Group said: “The lack of previous archaeological investigation within the site – being restricted to a small geotechnical borehole monitoring exercise to the east of the site – indicates the need to elucidate further the site’s stratigraphy, degree of previous disturbance and truncation, and remaining potential for archaeological remains in undisturbed pockets of the site.”