Field Notes

Note 11: Flat Iron Square

Location: Union Street, Southwark, London SE1

Flat Iron Square field trip map

In 2001

In 2001

• We arrive to find they are ripping up the square, just outside the Island Café. The place is crawling with construction workers in hard hats and yellow safety vests. Someone has painted Good as Gold along the roofline of one of the Georgian buildings on the south side. Devonshire House looks like it’s ready for demolition. On the horizon is the Shard, symbol of the new Bankside. But round the corner is a symbol of the old: the Crossbones Graveyard was saved from London Underground redevelopment a few years ago. In medieval days it was given over as unconsecrated land for the burial of local prostitutes, or ‘Winchester Geese’, so-called because they were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work within the Liberty of the Clink – outside the jurisdiction of the City. It became a burial ground for paupers and outcasts, anyone outside the system, and remains an unofficial spot to leave tributes for those who have no official resting place.
• Words Tamar Yoseloff / Photos Vici MacDonald

Below: Flat Iron Square, neighbour to Shard and graveyard. Bottom: exhibition display of field notes.

Flat Iron Square field notes display