Greenwich Park is the most historic of all London’s Royal Parks, but sadly much of its history has been lost.
Thanks to your generous support and following a successful pilot, we were thrilled to help fund a community archaeology project between 2014-2016, together with English Heritage and the Friends of Greenwich Park.
This three year community project included 28 ‘dig’ days, a volunteer programme and school workshops to unearth the hidden past. Volunteers worked with a team of archaeologists from the Keevill Heritage Consultancy to:
- Excavate the former Keepers Cottage, a complex of 17th century buildings demolished in the 19th century
- Locate and excavate the Tudor 'Snow Well'
- Clean, survey and do measured drawings, and relate findings to the historical evidence
- Record, analyse and publish results
The dig centred on uncovering the Keeper’s Cottage, or Lodge complex, which for 200 years was the working hub of the park. Volunteers found interesting pottery, clay pipes and even a Roman broach! They searched out tithe maps and early census records to reveal more of the park’s history.
The original Keeper’s Cottage complex housed several buildings and is shown in early plans of Greenwich Park such as the ‘Pepys’ map of 1680. It was demolished in 1853 when the only known image of the cottage was taken. Three of the buildings in the complex were unearthed in 2016, dating from 18th to 19th century based on the remaining brickwork. It is thought the find includes the cottage itself, an outside toilet and shed. A full report on the project will be drawn up shortly.