The graveyard was first uncovered during work on the Jubilee Line extension in the 1990’s, when workmen unexpectedly started digging up human remains.
A little historical digging then revealed that this had been an unconsecrated, and therefore uncelebrated burial place for the prostitutes or “Geese” of Southwark, who had worked the many brothels, stews and bawdy houses of this area in the 14th 15th and 16th Century.
I’d never heard of Robert Elms’ Footnotes and Queries. More fool me.
He covers all kinds of London hidden history and geography, from the sorry story of Borough’s Crossbones graveyard (above) to the supposed system of Masonic temples in Picadilly:
This query came from a listener who had been taken to the top of Lillywhites store on Piccadilly Circus about ten years ago. A friend of his worked at the store and took him to the very top of the building where most staff never went.
Here [on the top floor of Lillywhite’s store] he was amazed to see a large ballroom, and even more intriguingly a Masonic temple decorated in full symbols and signs. This though was not all, he was told that there were a series of Masonic temples around Piccadilly Circus, which together created a Masonic symbol that could be seen from above.
The supposed pattern seems to be a construal added by shop workers familiar with London psychogeographers (the theme appears not only in Alan Moore’s From Hell but earlier in Iain Sinclair’s fiction). I do like the idea of each venerable department store having its own Masonic temple. The idea reeks of old-fashioned capitalist power.