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Bodies excavated during Thameslink works to be reburied

A funeral service for an 'unknown parishioner' will take place in Southwark Cathedral next month to represent all the bodies that were found during excavations as part Network Rail's Thameslink viaduct project around Borough Market.

The remains of over 330 people, mostly dating from the early 19th century, were removed from the site of the former St Saviour's Almshouse Burial Ground in Park Street.

The remains will be reburied in a special plot in the new Kemnal Park Cemetery near Chislehurst. The new grave was blessed by the Dean of Southwark early on Thursday morning.

The body of the 'unknown parishioner' will be placed under a monument in the plot which will commemorate all those reburied there.

"The former parish church of St Saviour Southwark had burial grounds around the immediate area," says the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark.

"We have an ongoing duty of care for parishioners, past and present and are therefore pleased to be working with Network Rail and Albin's to see that these remains will be treated with the respect they deserve as they are re-buried in their new, and we hope, permanent resting place."

Jim Crawford, Network Rail's Thameslink Programme director, said: "During the construction period for the Borough viaduct, Network Rail has been working closely with the community and statutory bodies so that the Thameslink works in the area are sensitive to the heritage of this historical conservation area.

"We want the cathedral service to support this commitment and provide a fitting reburial to those remains we found during our archaeological investigations.

"We will also be working with Museum of London Archaeology to share the archaeological finds with the community."

Barry Albin Dyer, chairman of F A Albin & Sons, added: "The burial ceremony and design of coffin closely follow the traditions that existed in the early 19th century.

"The ceremonial coffin was handmade using high quality materials. Albin's have also donated and engraved an original 19th century coffin plate from its museum archive.

"The obelisk memorial will prove to be a fitting historical tribute to the people whose remains have been buried."

• The funeral service takes place on Friday 8 June at 11am.

On Thursday flowers were laid at the tomb of Thomas Cure, who endowed the almshouses in Park Street, on the 424th anniversary of his death. Cure, who is buried in Southwark Cathedral, was a benefactor of what is now United St Saviour's Charity. The trustees of the historic local charity attended Choral Evensong at the cathedral before the wreath-laying ceremony.

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