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St James's Westminster
Key:   Current observations and notes       Holmes (1897)     Other sources      Maps

St. Jamesís Churchyard, Piccadilly.
The paved area is to the North, on the Piccadilly side of the church, and is in use as a market selling tourist tat.  The raised 'Green ground' to the west is a pleasant enough space up a flight of stairs with a fountain. It contains a caravan providing emotional support counselling.  There are a number of notices stuck in the ground or hanging from trees with strictures about feeding pigeons, drinking alcohol, etc. 

Ĺ acre. This is a dreary ground, and might be made very attractive. The part where most burials took place is considerably raised above the rest. The yard on the north side of the church is entirely paved with stones, amongst which are many tombstones. In the upper part tombstones form the walks, the walls, &c. One gate is often unlatched. (Holmes)

Market in Full swing

Plastic garlic, anyone?

The Green Ground

St. James Workhouse-ground, Poland Street.
 Opened in 1693 in an area known as Pawlett's Garden, possibly on the site of a plague pit.  In 1711 the vestry received a complaint about the smoke issuing from the chimney of Cope the gravemaker's house in the burial ground. The smoke was 'noysome and offenceive' and was caused 'by the Burning of Old Rotten Coffin Boards, and by his Wife's Frequent Landring for People'.  By 1733 the ground was full: 
St James's workhouse was built  in 1728 and this had encroached on the ground.  Ground in  the adjacent Pesthouse Close was rented at this time.  At a vestry meeting it was computed that the new ground ' will hold 12,000 bodies, which rot so fast that 800 may annually be buried in it.'  Gone by 1870, when according to the O.S. map a chapel occupied at least part of the former burial ground. Now covered by various commercial buildings between Poland Street and Marshall Street. (Information from British History on-line).

The work-house was built upon a "common cemetery" where, at the time of the plague, many thousands of bodies were interred. A small part of it was kept as the workhouse burial-ground, but this has now disappeared, and all that is left of the original ground used for interments is the garden or courtyard of the workhouse. It is a pleasant recreation ground for the inmates, and is well supplied with seats, being about ľ acre in extent. (Holmes)


Marshall Street, 2006

Pest Field - Golden Square and nearby streets. The elegance of Golden Square hides a dark secret.

Green Park
-  Reputedly a burial place for lepers from the hospital where St James's Palace stands now.