Parties ‘will be held on graves of Londoners if events get go-ahead at former plague pit’

A rowhas broken out over plans to host events in a garden square at the site of one of the capital’s largest plague pits, with objectors claiming parties would be held “on the graves of Londoners”.

Bosses at the Charterhouse, a former Carthusian monastery, have applied to serve alcohol while hosting outdoor plays, films and music events.

Nestled between Farringdon , Barbican and Smithfield Market, the historic Charterhouse Square sits on the burial ground for about 50,000 victims of the Black Death , which swept through Europe between 1348 and 1350. But residents in nearby Florin Court, an art deco block used as Hercule Poirot’s fictional residence Whitehaven Mansions in the TV series Poirot, claim the plans are “disrespectful”.

Investment banker John Cutts, chairman of the Florin Court Freehold Limited residents’ association, told the Standard: “I think that not necessarily everybody is God-fearing, but they do feel when one is departed it’s not necessary to have a party on top of them. People don’t hold parties in cemeteries. The bottom line is there are enough places in London where events can occur. We don’t see why Charterhouse Square should be included.”

In 2013, Crossrail engineers unearthed 14 skeletons of plague victims beneath the square, solving the 600-year mystery of the burial pit’s location.

In an objection submitted to Islington council , one resident wrote: “[We] are talking about what is effectively the grave of thousands of people who died of plague in the 1300s. Their suffering and deaths were considered reason enough for a group of Carthusian monks to travel here from France to establish a monastery overlooking — but importantly, not on top of — the spot.” Another added: “It seems greatly disrespectful to party on the graves of Londoners.”

In 2017, the Charterhouse, which also runs the Surrey boarding school, opened its doors to the public. In a statement, it said it was aware of residents’ “misunderstandings and concerns” over plans to “hold a limited number of low-key civilised events”, including Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet.

Ann Kenrick, Master of the Charterhouse, said: “We are always very keen to keep noise to a minimum and finish all events by 10.30pm to ensure a good night’s sleep for all residents.” Some 34 letters of objection have been submitted to the council. The application, recommended for approval, is to be heard by the licensing sub-committee.

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