New Tudor find could block Olympic event
Rains uncover brickwork which allows Greenwich campaigners to claim 'Queen Elizabeth stood here'
Sunday 28 March 2010
A coalition of residents and celebrities determined to stop the 2012 Olympic Games equestrian events being held in Greenwich's royal park have received a much-needed boost to their campaign: archaeologists have unearthed what are thought to be Tudor remains, just yards from the planned site of the events.
The group No to Greenwich Equestrian Events (Nogoe), which has the backing of high-profile supporters including the historian David Starkey, is now considering legal action in an attempt to reverse Greenwich council's decision last week to grant permission for the events.
The discovery will add weight to claims that the games threaten the park's archaeological sites and ancient trees, one of which is more than 1,000 years old. These fears were voiced by Dr Starkey in a letter to a national newspaper last week in which he claimed: "Greenwich faces its gravest threat since the 19th century."
Dermott Glynn, Nogoe's coordinator, said: "We've got a meeting on 10 April when we'll decide what to do. One option is to ask for a judicial review on the basis that the council hasn't understood the information it was presented with."
Archaeologists say unusually heavy rain uncovered historic brickwork in the park – ruins which may be the remains of a viewing platform used by Queen Elizabeth I and her courtiers. The queen was born in nearby Greenwich Palace.
In his letter, Dr Starkey emphasised the historical and architectural importance of the park, which is a World Heritage Site, and warned that the legacy of the games was likely to be "irreparable damage and the long-term scarring of the landscape."
Terry Smith, a specialist on historic building materials, said the brickwork was "more likely to be Tudor than anything else".
Archaeologists claim not enough is being done to protect the 79 known historic sites in the park. Harvey Sheldon, the chairman of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, who discovered a Roman temple in the park in 1979, said: "The route of the equestrian cross-country event passes very close to the site of the temple, but we're more concerned that the heavy footfall of 50,000 spectators will do untold damage to remains, which in many cases are close to the surface."
Last December, the Roman site and an Anglo-Saxon burial site were scheduled as ancient monuments by English Heritage, whose inspector of ancient monuments, Jane Sidell, said the route for the equestrian events had been carefully agreed with the Olympic organisers to avoid any historically sensitive areas. "I'm satisfied that the archaeology will be safe – geo-textile membranes will cover the sensitive areas. But that was before the new site was found."
The author Blake Morrison, a Nogoe supporter, spoke out against the plans this weekend: "The Olympic organisers have given assurances that Greenwich Park will be returned to its original state. But I'm yet to be convinced. And there will be no legacy. It all seems like an excuse for television cameras to provide a heritage shot or two."
However, a London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games spokeswoman denied that the brickwork was significant. She said: "It is complete speculation to suggest that Tudor remains have been discovered on the park."
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let’s see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
- 4 Pornhub pleads with users to stop uploading videos of Brazil 'getting f**ked by Germany' in the World Cup
Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Pamplona Running of the Bulls 2014: Briton critically injured in San Fermin festival
Elephant 'cries' while being rescued after 50 years of abuse in India
Google executive died on yacht after prostitute gave him fatal dose of heroin, say police
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£25000 - £40000 per annum + 23 days holiday Pension Scheme: Deerfoot IT Resour...
£90 - £130 per day + competitive rates, pension scheme: Randstad Education Man...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits : Deerfoot IT Resources Limited...
£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Primary: Key Stage 1 Teache...