Date: Tuesday 11th April, 10-11am

Location: St James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL 

Cost: Free (booking essential) 


Please book your place HERE

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Londoners had a number of options for their burials, based on what they could afford. From plain cheap coffin for paupers, paid for by the parish, to highly decorated and ornate lead lined coffins which were within financial reach of only the wealthy.

Wealthy Londoners also could afford protection. Resurrectionists, also known as ‘body-snatchers’, were digging up people who had recently died to sell their bodies to medical students, doctors, and surgeons who studied anatomy. People were so worried they even bought special coffins with metal cages, straps, and other ingenious protection features. Many of these were uncovered as part of HS2 archaeological excavations at St James’s Burial Ground, near Euston. 

Join us at St James’s Church, Piccadilly to uncover this intriguing part of London’s history with Robert Hartle, burial expert and Senior Archaeologist at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology).

In this 1-hour talk, you’ll learn about some of the fascinating finds from the excavations, many of which are being presented to the public for the first time. This includes everything from anti-resurrectionist measures to beautiful and unusual coffin decorations such as glass windows and ornate lid motifs. You’ll also have a chance to ask questions about the finds and the excavations themselves.  


Fittings for the dead: The coffin furniture of St James’s Burial Ground is part of Stories of St James’s, a new, free exhibition for all the family, exploring discoveries made during HS2 excavations on the former St James’s Burial Ground near Euston.

With thanks to: 

HS2 Ltd 

Mace-Dragados JV 

Costain-Skanska JV 

St James’s Church, Piccadilly 

Headland Archaeology